Thoughts on Getting Old(er)

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Hi all.  The reason why there are pics of Robert Plant above is twofold.  One, I’ve been doing a kind of “Zepathon,” going through myriad YouTube videos of Led Zeppelin and Page/Plant performances and interviews over the years.  Two, I’ve been also checking out Plant’s solo career with all of the vast changes in musical genre – and when all is said and done, I’m depressed.

I like that Robert has spoken of all of his phases in life as sort of becoming another person, reinventing and morphing with time.  That’s healthy, isn’t it?  We all age and mellow, we all move on when our (at the time, immortal) youth fades.  On the other hand, to go from untouchable rock GOD, to delegating yourself to singing watered-down country versions of your greatest hits, is so very strange to me.  To have held in your hand the power to churn out the most innovative, unique, epiphany-inspiring epic sagas, to Black Dog done in a repetitive, soft whimper – yeah, I’m depressed.

Because that means I’m old, too.  The swing in my hips has given way to the pain of bursitis.  Skipping up a stairway, two steps at a time, has turned into a long journey, grasping the handrail because my balance is not quite right any more.  I have to tend my little organic garden bent over, because if I get on my knees, forget getting back up again without possible permanent injury.

I look at Robert’s face, and I see a life well-lived.  I see the lines of experience and wisdom, and – what I most would love to spend time hearing – a hell of a lot of good stories.  I know if I looked in the mirror, I would see the same thing.  But I would much rather dwell on Robert’s advancing old age than my own.  It’s easier to do that.  To mourn the loss of his youth, rather than mine.  That perfect mouth, those eyes, the lion’s mane that he would toss, shoulders back in an arrogant stance, knowing that he was adored by millions…how hard is it for him now to ignore the loss of that?  How much courage does it take to walk on stage and sing, knowing that you don’t even resemble any more the person that got you there, aware that there are expectations in the crowd that you can’t fulfill any more?

I remember going to see Page/Plant when they toured.   It was at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California.  I remember being mesmerized the entire time.  Like I had entered another plane of existence.  Even though I was only eight or nine when Led Zeppelin I was released, I wore out my brother’s first copy (there were many over the years) and fell in love with Robert.  I really did, and looking back, I know it was love.  I wasn’t getting any of that at home, and he spoke to my soul.  My best friend Roxanne was enamored of Jimmy Page, but I couldn’t really see anybody else in the band.  All I saw was Robert, and I made a scrap book of every image and news article I could get my hands on.  No idea where it is now, though I wish I did.  I would love to peruse it.  The time when my idol was at his most perfect.  Pictures that never age, where he (and I) stay young and idealistic eternally.  I never did get to see Led Zeppelin when they came to San Francisco over the years – I was elsewhere every time.  However, when I finally saw Page/Plant in the mid-90’s, it was as if every year had fallen away.  I was a child again, and my Gods (by now I had a much fuller appreciation of other musicians) were standing in front of me, and they sounded just like only a few years had passed, rather than decades.

Now, in 2013, it’s different.  There’s no pretending that they will live forever, let alone regain their glory one last time, like they did on Celebration Day (whew!  Amazing!).  I watched the Kennedy Center honors, saw all three surviving members sitting in the balcony, watched the silly musicians on stage in their feeble attempts to bring back the glory of Led Zeppelin’s songs, and cried.  It was a nice tribute, and Jack Black said all the right things (“Best Band EVER”). but they looked somewhat frail and vulnerable in my eyes, and that means I’m frail, and it’s going to be all about old memories from here on.  I don’t want any more adventures.  I don’t want riches or fame or glory.  I still want to change the world, but for the better – not to satisfy my own ego.  Maybe that’s the equivalent of giving in to country music, that bastion of inanity, even though I know better.   That’s what getting old means to me.

I don’t want to look in the mirror.  I would rather thank Robert Plant for reflecting what graceful aging looks like, back at me.  At least he has the guts to go out there and do it, no matter how different it is from his beginnings.  He’s still alive.  I think I might need a new hobby.  All I need is the motivation.

Ah, nostalgia.  I never thought I’d live this long.  dammit

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Oh, and go vegan, fuckers.  It’s on you to do the right thing.

2016 UPDATE – I take it all back.  I’m the one that’s achieving decrepitude.  His tour with the Sensational Space Shifters just blew me away.  Thank goodness that his Allison Krauss period is in the wind.  He’s STILL THE ROCK GOD!  And I’m happy about that.

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Thoughts on the “Great Awakening”

I’m waiting for the Big Shift in Consciousness, that most likely is nothing but a stupid fantasy, but I wait for it nonetheless.  All one has to do is hang out on any typical “conservative” facebook page nowadays to see that the idea is futile.

Billions of people are in the iron grip of religious fervor, the politics of greed, corporate marketing, mass control; none of which allow for individual thought or action.  How can people “awaken” to something as inconceivable to them as ahimsa?  With no ability to look critically at their conditioned beliefs, it’s IMPOSSIBLE.  No amount of sound information, or calls to empathetic choices, can penetrate the ignorance they have been indoctrinated into – that they consider righteous, appropriate, and effective in their daily lives.  Even their concepts of right and wrong is warped beyond comprehension to me. 

Therefore, I must conclude that the Great Awakening is nothing more than a pipe dream.  Even if we experience some huge global upheaval, power and might will win the day in the case of humanity.  We are one screwed up species.  Love really IS all you need, but we are not satisfied with simple truths.  Conquest and subjugation, which leads to full coffers, is desired over all else.  

It has killed us as effectively as if a nuclear bomb fell on every city block.  Our souls are blackened and diseased.  If something doesn’t happen soon to take mankind down a multitude of notches on the arrogance meter, there will be no recovery from it.  I hope that something happens, but I think that when it does happen, it’s not going to be pretty.   This isn’t very upbeat, I know; but where has positive thinking made any positive effect on the behavior of mankind in general?  It only gets worse – more cruel, less empathetic, devoid of compassion – even for ourselves. Time to see things as they really are – and we are in big trouble.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahimsa

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Ethics Training for the Planet

I thought of starting a page on facebook titled the above, but then I realized that it would only become a vicious cycle of argument between those with basic ethics, and those without a clue as to what the word even means.  So I decided to simply write something here about it, where possibly no one will see it, and it could be my secret little journal entry, saved for posterity as another illustration of my reasons for self-imposed exile from the world.

From Wikipedia comes this definition:
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.[1] It comes from the Greek wordethos, which means “character”. Major areas of study in ethics may be divided into 4 operational areas:[1]

  • Meta-ethics, about the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions and how their truth values (if any) may be determined;
  • Normative ethics, about the practical means of determining a moral course of action;
  • Descriptive ethics, also known as comparative ethics, is the study of people’s beliefs about morality;
  • Applied ethics, about how moral outcomes can be achieved in specific situations;

If you want to read the breakdown of each aspect, it’s here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics

I realize, of course, that “morality” is subjective, and is usually defined by one’s upbringing, traditions, and level of experience.  Usually, if one grows up in a social bubble, one’s definition is steeped in bias.  I believe that we have to seek truth outside of our traditional teachings in order to fully grasp the meaning of ethics.

Honor.

Dr Samuel Johnson, in his A Dictionary of the English Language (1755), defined honour as having several senses, the first of which was “nobility of soul, magnanimity, and a scorn of meanness.”This sort of honour derives from the perceived virtuous conduct and personal integrity of the person endowed with it. On the other hand, Johnson also defined honour in relationship to “reputation” and “fame“; to “privileges of rank or birth”, and as “respect” of the kind which “places an individual socially and determines his right to precedence.” This sort of honour is not so much a function of moral or ethical excellence, as it is a consequence of power. Finally, with respect to women, honour has traditionally been associated with (or identical to) “chastity” or “virginity“, or in case of a married woman, “fidelity“.

More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor

I love that he used “magnanimity” and “a scorn of meanness.”  That’s what I think of when I look at the word.  Of course, even this definition is riddled with traditional belief.  I think of honorable behavior as being that of walking one’s talk.  Of keeping one’s word.  Of honest appraisal of a person or situation.  Of doing the right thing, even if no one is watching.  The “right thing” being the humane thing, of course.  Of being driven to always seek a higher level of inner strength and compassion and service to this world.  And all of this blather about being virginal is a simple extension of patriarchal power, and has nothing to do with being truly honorable.  Unless you’re a nymphomanic, of course – then you have problems.  Anything in excess is bad for the soul.  Unless it’s love.

Then there’s Honesty.

Honesty refers to a facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness and straightforwardness along with the absence of lying, cheating or theft.
“Honesty is the best policy” is a famous statement. However, it is unclear who coined this statement. Possible authors are William Shakespeare[1] and Benjamin Franklin.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honesty

And, last but not least, Integrity.

Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy,[1] in that integrity regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.

The word “integrity” stems from the Latin adjective integer (whole, complete).[2] In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.

value system‘s abstraction depth and range of applicable interaction may also function as significant factors in identifying integrity due to their congruence or lack of congruence with observation. A value system may evolve over time[3]while retaining integrity if those who espouse the values account for and resolve inconsistencies.[4]

The more I think about these basic values that have been extolled by the greatest philosophers, artists and literary authors in history, the more I wonder why we, as a collective being, seem to relish the idea of discarding them, joyfully adding them to the category of obsolete, archaic, worthless and dangerous traits.  Sometimes I think that we’re all being drugged or something.  How can so many feel so disconnected from our own natural evolution into self-reflective beings, how can we ignore the passionate cries of the victims of our sadistic tendencies?  How can we make a definitive statement that we are superior to other species, other races, and still retain the ideology that we are honorable and good?  I simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND how this kind of self-deception is possible, after we live year after year, taking in knowledge and experience, with daily exposure to war and poverty and the betrayal of innocents for profit and the annihilation of our natural world – turning a blind eye to facts and clinging to some fantasy that we are contributing something good to the world – simply by consuming everything in our path.  What is the antonym to the words Ethics, Honor, Honest, Integrity?  Rationally, would not those definitions apply to a person who does not practice their counterparts, who ignores all of the information that would force any person who wants to be good to choose to live otherwise, if one was truly good, spiritually evolved, or thoughtful of others?

Direct Antonym of ethical

unethical,wrong,unethical

Direct Antonym of honor

dishonour,attaint,shame,disrespect,dishonor,disgrace,dishonor,dishonour,attaint,shame,disgrace,abhor,contemn,detest,execrate,ridicule,abominate,despise,dislike,hate,scorn

Direct Antonym of honesty

dishonesty,dishonesty,deceit,duplicity,falsehood,fiction,lie,deception,error,falseness,guile,mendacity,delusion,fabrication,falsity,imposture,untruth

Direct Antonym of integrity

dishonesty,inequity,partiality,unlawfulness,untruth,favoritism,injustice,unfairness,unreasonableness,wrong

http://www.antonym-dictionary.com

I have gone from one spectrum of emotion to the other over this question about people in general.  I am sad, I am hopeful that we will experience a mass awakening; I am disappointed; enraged at the apparently conscious refusal to just be compassionate in their choices.  After all is said and done, I have come to some sad conclusions.  Humanity is losing the ability for self-reflection.  We are devolving into lesser beings.  Selfishness and sadism are the new rules of existence, and compassion is a dirty, dangerous thing.  I don’t like people any more.  Even my closest, life-long companions are petty and shallow to me.  Innocence attracts me now.  Meanness – I struggle with it.  I see it in myself, I see it in everyone I encounter.  The possibility that I, too, have lost my soul, scares the shit out of me.  I walk the walk of compassion, but I want to hurt those who hurt others, at the same time.  I know that it is not my place to punish another.  I realize that my path to enlightenment has a huge fallen oak in its way.  This obstacle, this judgment of others, is wrong, unethical, hypocritical – so I remain alone.

It all goes back to us, personally – every judgment we make against others is a karmic block to the end of our own cyclic existence.  This life has been an important one for me, filled with immense lessons, and I have advanced in leaps and bounds – but the brick wall is intact.  I stepped out of the mantle of illusion into the real world, and all I see is destruction all around me.  Caused by human hands, happily eating away at all of the rest of life, not caring about what tomorrow will bring to their children, or their grandchildren…pretending that everything is infinitely available, that animals do not feel pain, that war is okay as long as it’s in the national interest (or not in their backyard) – and living in the USA I have been exposed to the most self-entitled, arrogant, narcissistic, selfish, hateful, abusive population on the planet.  Without self-reflection, we have destroyed every good thing.

Wow.  I’d better stop.  I’m too emotionally spent to proof this, so sorry for errors.

Monica

Introduction, Part 2

Hello again.  Now for a “meaty” subject…

I am an ethical vegan.  I arrived at this place through awareness of my empathetic nature, through trial and error, and through recognizing that I would never be a complete human being until I crossed that line between complicit in killing innocents, and walking with a clear conscience.  I will never forgive myself for my willful blindness of so many decades, however.  I do my penance by fighting for animal rights, and speaking out against the cruelty that is firmly entrenched in today’s society, through indoctrination by tradition and marketing from the day we are born until our last breath.  To tear oneself away from it, is to isolate oneself from the rest of humanity.  There are very few of us fighting for the great awakening to occur, and at times it seems so very futile and masochistic, but…there’s no going back, once the decision is made to open one’s eyes to the reality of the animal holocaust.

I am unable to attend celebrations and other events any more.  I don’t even like to shop, because I have to avert my eyes against the blatant displays of death and exploitation around me at all times.  The meat counter looks like a scene from a horror movie to me – with the exception that it’s not staged, but real.  The bodies of slaughtered innocents is in every frozen food section, almost every can of food, it’s in bakery products, it’s the entire dairy section, and I faithfully read every label, and subject myself again and again, to having to place an item back on the shelf because it’s made of death.

The fact is, nobody in my real life even grasps the enormity of my conviction, my promise to harm none.  They balk at the idea that animals are not here on earth to exploit.  The Bible told them it was okay (those who quote it selectively for their own benefit), every commercial on TV tells them so, every fast-food restaurant lets them know it’s a normal activity to chow down on dead flesh, and the idea that there might be something wrong with it is even laughable to them.

However, these same people live their lives in a constant state of cognitive dissonance, dubbing themselves “animal lovers,” while consuming the flesh of slaughter and gore.  To me it’s cannibalism, to them it’s a great barbecue.  There can be no compromise, under those conditions.

Therefore, I have rejected society as a whole.  In my self-imposed solitude, I live in a vegan world.  One without leather, or eggs, or dairy milk, or fur.  One that does not have death on display, as if it were natural.  To me, it’s unnatural to kill.  To me, it’s a mortal sin.  If God truly exists, he would not smile upon our methods, or our madness, when it comes to how we treat animals.  If you really want to know what the hell I’m talking about, take off your blinders and go to factoryfarming.com.  Open your eyes.  Go to Mercy For Animals, go to Farm Sanctuary, google Animal Rights.  Check out the Animal Liberation Front.  Go there, do your research, and if you really want to debate me on this issue, know your facts.  Because what the average person believes to be the reality is far from it.

I don’t shop at Whole Foods anymore.  I used to think they were awesome, though expensive, and I gave them my support.  Then, through my vegan friends on facebook, I found out that they are very actively promoting the concept of “humane meat.”  What the hell is “humane” about meat, when your animals are only bred to eat?  There’s no love there.  Animals trust the hand that feeds them, pets them.  And one day, you take them to the shed and cut their throat?  Humane?  You’ve got to be kidding me.  I reject the idea that we should keep an animal except in order to save their lives, and allow them to live in comfort, until they die of old age, just like any human being should be treated.  We shouldn’t be breeding domestic animals at all.  The only reason to do so is to exploit them in one way or another.  But the reality “out there” is so different.

This is why solitude is the only answer for me.  I can’t live with humanity any more, and retain my sanity at the same time.

More later…Namaste.

On the Road Home

On the Road Home

Santa Cruz Mountains, above the fog

It’s Harvest Time

It's Harvest Time

Pumpkins in Half Moon Bay, CA

An Introduction

Hello, my friends.

I’ll start my blog with a personal introduction.  I am a solitary human being, by choice.  Having grown up in the bustling city of San Francisco from 1957 on, I’ve certainly had a full and eventful life, but those stories are for later on down the road.  At present, I am living in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, in a redwood forest, with two cats, several skunks under my house, and plenty of other wildlife.  Being there reminds me of an old ballad, “Ridgetop,” that was Jesse Colin Young’s #1 hit when I was almost 16 years old.  I always wanted to live in the place that he described, and I have finally achieved that dream in time for my 55th birthday.

Even though I commute down out of the mountains every workweek, I sit in my office all day, doing word processing projects that are usually emailed back and forth, so I’m mostly alone.  And when I go home, get out of my car, breathe in the earthy scent of the air, and hear my river unceasingly flowing past my house, I am so happy that no human being is waiting for me to arrive,  just Mouse in the greenhouse window peering out to see me come through the gate, and Anubis lurking in the depths of the closet.  My rescued kitties.  There is no one so happy to see you as a rescued animal is.  They know what it’s like to be kicked and broken, and they know what it is like to be loved.   So do I.

It’s Friday today, and thus I am anticipating a wonderful two days without people.  Just me, nature, and the kitty cats.  And a lot of housework, which I pretty much ignore during the week.  I have a long commute, eighty miles a day, so there’s an easy choice between doing the dishes and lounging with Mouse, giving him a good scratch behind the ears, listening to his purr.

I’m going to stop here for now.  I know it’s not very exciting so far, but the intros never really are.  Setting up the base.  Talk at you later!  🙂