Monday, May 22, 2017

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fraud . . . Orwell's take

Society is of its nature oligarchical, and the power of the oligarchy always rests upon force and fraud.
(…) Power can sometimes be won or maintained without violence, but never without fraud, because it is necessary to make use of the masses, and the masses would not co-operate if they knew that they were simply serving the purposes of a minority.
George Orwell

And the USA society serves the purposes of a tiny, endlessly greedy, uncaring elite -- guys like our man baby prez, eh?


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

what you seek

"What you seek is already within you. In Hinduism it is called the Atman, in Buddhism the pure Buddha-Mind. Christ said, 'the kingdom of heaven is within you.' Quakers call it the ‘still small voice within.’ This is the space of full awareness that is in harmony with all the universe, and thus is wisdom itself.
--Ram Dass

Monday, May 15, 2017

love the world as it is

 "What is most difficult," Arendt writes, "is to love the world as it is, with all the evil and suffering in it." And yet she came to do just that. Loving the world means neither uncritical acceptance nor contemptuous rejection.

volo ut sis: I want you to be

A beloved quote, for me, is from Hannah Arendt, the great Jewish philosopher who escaped a death camp in Nazi Germany. She got her PhD under the supervision of the anti-semite Heidegger, who was also her love for awhile. How does an anti-semite allow himself to be sexual with someone who belongs to a category of human he hated and excoriated in the rise of fasism?

Oh well. Arendt found a great love, the man she married. There is a book of their correspondence, back in a time when people wrote long letters back and forth whenever they were parted.  I think my beloved quote is from that correspondece.

. the great and incalculable grace of love, which says, with Augustine, "Volo ut sis (I want you to be)" without being able to give any particular reason for such supreme and unsurpassable affirmation.    ---- Hannah Arendt

Katie Joy Kreifels, I want you to be. I want you to be happy, joyful, beloved. I also want you to have a relationship with me but even though you have shunned me for sixteen years, I still want your happiness. I want all good things for you. I even want enough life lessons for you so you might grow. But happy happy happy.

I need to want myself to 'be', to want myself to be happy as much as I wish it for those I love. I turn 64 at the end of this summer. The Beatles song 'when I'm 64' plays in my head when I think "I am going to turn 64.'. I know the answer to all the questions in the song, such as they might relate, only in my mind, for surely not in Katie's, to our mother-daughter bond. I know you will not send me Valentines or birthday greetings or bottles of wine, eh?  How I wish I might stop longing for you to do so.

volo ut sis:  I want you to be.

And, geez, just one reason why I wish I had ever interacted with you once you became an adult:  I steadily comb my memories of mothering you and I kinda hate it when I lovingly go over the details of a snippet of memory from when you were a baby, toddler, child, teen.

Like when I bought you your first pair of shoes.  They were soft pink leather, high-top, Capezios. Wonderful shoes. The best part of my memory is how you strutted around that Westroads malls, stopping frequently to bend over to look as closely as you could at those b eautiful pink shoes. You were thrilled. You were happy, And a co-worker of your dad's walked by and she also saw how adorable you were as you leaned over, your nose alost as low as your shoes, to closely admire the wonderful, but so simple, new thing. A pair of shoes.

Now I am crying so I will stop. Volo ut sis, no matter what.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

So, I'm in Canada, eh?

I am in Ottawa Ontario, staying with wonderful friends who are treating me like beloved family. Since I have no family, it feels great to be cherished, valued, feted.  I am thinking, just now, of Parsifal's first arrival at the Grail Kingdom. It is his destiny to be King of the Grail Kingdom, which is the Kingdom of Love, but he must first voice empathy for the then-sitting King who has a perpetual wound.  Is this wound an analogy for original sin? Must Parsifal offer empathy or simply acknowledge the Grail King's perpetual wound? Ponder, ponder.

In his first entry into the Grail Kingdom, which the young, new, untrained knight bumbled into, Parsifal was greeted with astonishing warmth, feted all night with many dancers, musicians, food.
All in the Grail Kingdom knew Parsifal's destiny, that he would ascend to happiness and love as the next Grail King.

First, he had to acknowledge he saw that Grail King already on the throne was wounded.

That Grail King had to be carried into the hall for the big party shown to celebrate Parsifal's arrivel. The whole kingdom was eager for Parisival to ask of the King, "What is it that ails thee?" and then P would ascend to the throne, giving the kingdom a needed, new king.

Although Parsifal had been raised in a shielded, protective way, for his mother hoped to keep him from his destiny as a knight. His father had been a knight and had died in far away lands without ever seeing his son. Parsifal's mother believed in the impossible. A mother cannot shelter her child from the child's destiny. It was Parsifal's destiny to be a great knight and the next Grail King.

So she had sent him off with a broken down horse, shabby clothing and no armor, hoping no one would take her son seriously and he would soon return home. He never returned home. He never saw his mother again.

When Parsifal set off, young, naive and untrained, he just went along, wherever his horse went was okay. The horse brought Parsifal to one kingdom and that one took him in. The king had a daughter and he immediately had an instinct that Parisfal would make a good husband for his princess daughter. Parsifal stayed with that king and his kingdom many weeks. And that first king tried to mentor Parsifal in the ways of knighthood.

That first king gave Parsifal some poor advice.  He told Parsifal that since he was so young and inexperienced, he should not ask a lot of questions.

When Parsifal witnessed the Grail King being carried on reclining bed into the Great Hall for Parsifal's welcoming party, Parsifal did, truly, have a question for that Grail King. P. wanted to ask 'what is it that ails thee?" but he did not because he was naive and untrained and he remembered the first king's advice, that he not ask too many questions. So P's moment to meet his destiny as Grail King passed.

When he awoke the next morning, no one was in the entire castle. All the people who had happily showered him with gifts, such as a fine steed and an excellent set of armor and all the women who had danced and parried with him were gone. His horse and aror remained. He walked through the castle calling out. When he was sure the castle was empty, he put on his armor and fine new clothing, mounted his fine new horse and left. The drawbridge from the castle to land was down. He rode across that drawbridge and when half way across it, it stopped and looked back but he could not see the castle.

He spent many years trying to find that Grail Castle again. He married. He visited the great Round Table in another kingdom. He searched and searched. When he was ready to step into his destiny, he came upon the Grail Kingdom again, just as unexpectedly as he had the first time. On his second visit, he had matured. He knew he should voice his empathy for the King's wound. So he did so.

As soon as Parsifal asked his question of the Grail King, rays of light appears on him. A throne was brought forth for him. A crown, a royal robe. and all in the great hall of the great castle bowed down before their new King.

I'm chewing my cud on Parsifal. I have a sense I might be ready for the message of Wolfgang von Eschebach's great, epic poem, published in the 14th Century but, previously, it had been told by roving storytellers for a long time.

I sometimes think I have discerned why this tale has arisen so strongly for me. I sat down to write this, hoping to find out. It slipped away.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

our common humanity inspires . . .

"It is among the most basic human truths: Every one of us, some day, will be brought to our knees. By a diagnosis we didn't expect, a phone call we can't imagine, or a loss we cannot endure.
That common humanity inspires our mercy. It fortifies our compassion. It drives us to look out for the sick, the elderly, the poor, and the most vulnerable among us.
Yesterday's bill -- yesterday's devastating bill -- does the opposite.
The bill is more than premiums and tax cuts. It is a cold and calculated world view: One that scapegoats the struggling, and sees fault in suffering. One dead set on dividing us based on who we love, where we come from, the direction of our faith and the size of our fortunes.
We see it in their tax plan, their budget cuts, their immigration policy, their civil rights assaults -- and yesterday, in their cruel health care plan.
We must reject it.
We must decide, instead, to take care of each other -- because, but for the grace of God, we will all one day wake up in need of a little mercy.
This nation's character has never been defined by the power we give the already strong -- but by the strength we give the weak."
- Joe Kennedy III, after the evil attempt by the House of Repugnant Representatives to eviscerate health care for tens of millions.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

no health care for you!

Waiting for the hospital shuttle bus to begin my trek back home, today, from getting a heart monitor placed on my body, a black woman waited with me.

She had been given a $20 taxi script to pay for her ride home from N. Oakland to El Cerrito. When the cab driver arrived, he said it would cost more than $20 to get to El Cerrito. She said "Ok, I see you take credit cards, I will pay anything over $20 with a credit card." The taxi driver, a man she reported to be, she thought, South Asian, said he would take her to a cash machine and see her cash, he would not take her credit card.

She told him to go fuck himself, as I might have.

This would never have happened to me. I was discharged from that same hospital in February and was offered taxi script home. The nurse who gave me the script called the taxi company to find out how much the fare might be to my home, which is not as far from the hospital as El Cerrito. The taxi company estimated $18 and the fare was $18 exactly. I tipped the driver with a bit of cash for he had loaded my cart in and out of the trunk of his taxi.

I suggested to my bus stop mate that she go back to the department she had been in and ask for more script. She shrugged off my suggestion, saying she'd take the shuttle to MacArthur BART and her mother would pick her up in El Cerrito.

Once we got on the shuttle, by the way, she said "I think that taxi driver refused to trust me for the few extra dollars because of my color."

"I think you are right. Was he a person of color?"  I asked because most taxi drivers seem to be people of color with lots of South Asians in the gig.

It was only when I sat down to write this that it occurred to me that the nursing staff who gave her the taxi script were also likely racist because they did not check the cab fare to El Cerrito as they checked for me.

How ironic that this woman and I had the conversation we had today, the day 217 evil humans in the House of Representatives passed a bill that will not only take away all health care from an estimated 27 million Americans but it will allow states to decides, state by state, if pre-existing conditions have to be covered. The bill had some really ugly pre-existing condition provisions. Pregnancy, rape, a past-Caesarean, diabetes, cancer no matter how long healed. And the list goes on. I have not remembered many of the pre-existing conditions that could lead to insurances costs so high that many, most, will just have to slip away, crossing the veil to death.

The woman as the bus stop told me she had been hospitalized for what they thought was pneumonia, that  the doctors never decided what she had, whether it was flu or pneumonia but were discharging her.  She is HIV+, she told me.  Gosh, I am quite sure the House Evil humans would consider being HIV+ a pre-existing condition. Who is going to insurance that woman, who is poor if the hospital is giving her taxi script, plus she told me she is on SSI, any kind of insurance at any price?

I think being disabled is a pre-existing condition.

I bet being overweight is a pre-existing conditions, with the weight limits tougher on women than men. Men get away with portly paunches.  Our deragned presidente is full out fat but he hides it with personally tailored suits that act more like tents over his big fat rump than jackets.

The woman at the shuttle bus stop had other conditions. Some kind of cancer.

I listed my growing preconditions and she responded with a long, scary list that I think I am blanking out because today is an awful day for imperfect, not-rich humans.