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Some thoughts on Human life, society, and more..


 

Ideally, no man should see his own death, as it happens.

 

The growth of one’s character is a selfish endeavor, but it leads to a societal growth of all human charater.  Thus, it is the most selfish, and least selfish act a man might indulge in.

 

No matter what you may think of the current state of our world, improvement is the only path we’ver ever had.

 

The is no Road to Ruin.  Ruin happens in its own time.

No matter what you’ve been told, or what you think, there are no easy rides through this journey of living.

 

-Jack

Always Listening.

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Blessings

May the Lords of Happiness always protect us from the Legions of Misery.

Death is the absence of Being.

Life is the process of Being.

-Jack
I Listen.

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Wow, I had no idea how long it had been since I had posted an entry here. What can I say, sometimes life just catches up with you.

This is not to say that I stopped writing all together. I’ve made a lot of headway on my two big fiction projects, The Cost of Magic, and The Tribe of the Star. The Tribe of the Star has taken on a pleasant change of tone, which I think, and my girlfriend concurs, will be much more appealing to the reader. You’ll get to see the first of those pieces online here in the next couple of days.

I started out posting The Cost of Magic here at Loki Listens every time I added to it. I dropped that in favor of completing it and polishing it after 20 some-odd parts. It’s become a bit of an epic work for me, being the longest piece of fiction I have ever written. It’s still a long way from completion, but I have very high hopes for it. To be cliche, it’s a labor of love.

Jack
I Still Listen.

Update

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A few weeks ago I asked on my blog and on twitter for Humanists willing to discuss their belief system. I was pleasantly surprised when Ryan Sutter, webmaster of humanistsofmn.org, contacted me.

I explained to Ryan what I was looking for, and what he sent me was so personal and informative, that I asked if I could publish the entire email. So, here is what Ryan Sutter has to say about Humanism, and how he found it. Enjoy.

I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and stayed one until I was 30 years old at which point I lost my faith in it and didn’t know what to call myself or what I believed. I took the Beliefnet Belief-O-Matic and found out that my beliefs were most closely defined as humanist. Not having really ever thought about humanism before this, I was a bit surprised to find a web site telling me that I was one. 🙂

I went on to study it a little and found that the whole idea of humanism was fairly straightforward and could be boiled down into the statement: Do what is right because it’s right and there may be nobody else to do it. In other words, we live in a world that may or not have any supernatural element, but that really should have no bearing on being a good and moral person. Goodness and morality are things you need to practice if you want them to exist in the world, they don’t come from somewhere other than us and if we don’t do them, they don’t exist. This is a compelling alternate reason for living a clean moral life as opposed to the reward/punishment model of Christianity.

You don’t do good and avoid evil in order to reap a reward or avoid a punishment, you do so simply because you wish for good in the world and you wish to avoid evil in the world and you let the supernatural aspect take care of itself, if there is such a thing.

That is humanism and it is my deep belief that even the religious person who hates or fears the “godless atheists and secular humanists” basically lives a moral life for the same fundamental reasons, if you press them on it. Most Christians will admit that they aren’t restrained from killing their neighbor and raping his life because they are afraid of God but because they know it’s the wrong thing to do. They know this innately, because they wouldn’t want it done to themselves. “Do unto others” is a very humanist statement.

Of course, in conversations with religious believers (including my own father) I’ve come to realize that this is not what humanism means to fundamentalist eyes. To a lot of people it seems that humanism means “whatever man decides to do is right” or “there is no god so we’re screwed, ACK! let’s call our pathetic plight ‘humanism’ and worship ourselves”. The first commits the naturalistic fallacy and the second conflates humanism and atheism. Humanism does not glorify people or set them up for worship. The whole concept of worship means to give praise and obedience to a higher power. When you are a human, and a humanist, you are not suddenly a higher power. In fact, it’s humbling. You look at yourself and your limited capabilities and you look at humankind and their messy psychological and sociological situations and you realize that we all need to work really hard to solve our problems, cooperate more, communicate more, help each other more, because if we are all we have then none of us is an island, none of us can operate without considering the fates of the others, and we all need each other. Kinda’ knocked me down a peg from when I thought I was personally fashioned in God’s image, while simultaneously making me feel a sense of civic and moral obligation as opposed to how I felt when I thought God would charge in and fix everything. The sense of personal responsibility implicit in humanism is extremely powerful. I think that explains why so many humanists are involved in social justice and activist causes, as well as volunteerism. They have to be, on some level, or their conscience nags at them because all it takes for bad people to have their way is for good people to do nothing.

I have found a lot of prejudice against humanism over the last 5
years. People say Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot were humanists, to
which I say bullshit. Humanism is a philosophical justification for moral and humane behavior. If a psychopath or despot commits acts of atrocity and cruelty, their actions are immoral and inhumane and therefore anti-humanist, whether they believe in a supernatural or not. Like I mentioned earlier, humanism does not say there is no God, humanism says that regardless of the metaphysical state of things, if we want to see good in the world we have to do it ourselves. The sad fact is that some people decide their is no God so they DO murder their next door neighbor and rape his wife, and other people do the exact same thing and say God made them do it, or the Devil, or whatever. The point is, that any behavior that is anti-human is anti-humanist and people can decide to be evil with or without belief in God. When people start to connect the two questions of “Does God exist” and “How should I behave” as if they are inextricably linked they are committing a fallacy. They are two separate questions that do not necessarily relate.

Thanks for the insight, Ryan.

Jack
I Listen.

Basic Ideology 101
Lesson #23
The Battle of Human Action

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This is the 26th section of my novel. If you haven’t read the first 25, you might want to start here.

Jane’s Journey
—-

In the astral world, Jane’s soul was exploring. She saw the pyramids of Egypt in their greatest glory. She flew over Atlantis, populated by ethereal glowing balls, that she could only assume had once been something like human.

In this level of consciousness, she could move at the speed of thought. Was this alacrity in it’s first stages? She wasn’t really sure at all.

In all of these wild and wondrous places, she felt like an observer. No one seemed to notice that she was there, even when she tried to get their attention(which she did. Often.). Even without interaction, she was learning much by observing.

She could sink her soul down to the material realm and fly through cities. People using magic, or even attempting to, shot up lights like a beacon. Jane would fly to these beacons and watch the people. Sometimes it was someone walking down the street, and she couldn’t tell what was causing the light. Other times, people would clearly be focusing on an antiqued and mundane spell of sorts.

Every now and then, as she floated through the streets of large cities, people would see her. They would give her funny looks and walk off. Children would smile and giggle. Dogs would bark at her. Sleeping cats would send their astral selves to her hands, floating lazily in the air, until she would stroke their oddly soft fur. It was an odd feeling, petting these not so real cats.

Jane thought of all the Earthly places she had always wanted to see. She visited them one by one. She thought of places that had disappeared with time. She visited them as well. She was experiencing history.

When Jane realized this, she also realized that she was not bound by time here. She could watch the past, and to an extent, the future.

She watched as hundreds of men built the great wall of China. She saw the Berlin Wall torn down. Julius Caesar died a bloody death before her. Yeshua ben Yoseph preached his new ideas to a crowd of Romans and Isrealites. Years later a man named Paul would twist words and confuse people with the teachings of ben Yoseph.

Jane could see beyond that. She could see the tiny bluish-white lines that tied all of these people to their history and to their destiny. She could see that undeserved pain was sometimes necessary for the world to grow. She thought it was odd that the history of the world so often hinged on one person. One person’s self-sacrifice to appease the lonely astrals.

She was getting tired. Very tired. Astral travel taxed her physical constitution. She needed to sleep. She thought of her body and of Minus’ basement. She closed her eyes, and could feel the rapid movement. When she opened her eyes, she was not in her body, but instead, inside a large building filled with books. Thousands and thousands of books.

“Fuck. What? Where am I? Is this the Akashic Library?”

A booming masculine voice answered her. “Some beings call it that. But it is so much more. Welcome to my home, Jane De la Moore.”

She went silent with shock. Someone could see and hear her! She felt a sensation of shear excitement. If she had been in her body, her heart would be racing.

“I am the Keeper,” the voice boomed again. She saw a robed and hooded figure coming down a set of stairs to her left. “This is my home. You are welcome to use my library. I have expected you for some time.”

—-

Jack
I Listen.

The Cost of Magic
Section #26
Jane’s Journey

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This is the 24th section of my novel. If you haven’t read the first 23, you might want to start here.

The Tao of Minus
—-

Mancini was a little startled when Jane asked about the Akashic Library. But he knew that she had that right, even if she did not have that power.

So, they talked at length about the great teachers of the past, about the holy guardian angel, and about the Akashic Library.

He suggested she take the six month sojourn to learn about the Holy Guardian Angel before trying to access the Akashic Library.

“But… hmm.. When Minus returns, we will talk. He may have a short cut for you. You have every right to view it for yourself. Especially since I have an oath to not speak of what I see there. Minus is not allowed to enter. But neither of us really know why. Sometimes, it’s almost like he has no book. Like his lifetime is not recorded, as it is with the rest of us.”

Jane didn’t know how to answer. Mancini appeared puzzled, even in his ghostly astral form.

Mancini continued, “The information I have about Minus is from my personal experience with him, and from reading the life books of others that have interacted with him. There are large blank periods, that I can find no information on. Five years ago, shortly after we had met, he completely disappeared. No one knows why. Or where he was. He refuses to talk about it.”

“From what I’ve learned of alacrity,” Jane interjected, “Is it possible that he got lost in it?”

“It’s possible. But Othin practices alacrity too.. I’d think Othin would have been able to find him…”

“And then he disappeared for three years with me, at that bar..” Jane was trying to string together the facts. This whole mess was terribly confusing to her. She had never known magic like this. All of these things were brand new to her.

“Yes, that’s right. Minus is… well, odd. It’s almost like he has a cloaking ability. Kotoko witnessed it with trying to find this house. This house is totally off the official radar. Only a handful of people know it’s here at all. But it has been here for fifty years at least.

“Although it wasn’t his fault, you two were completely masked inside that bar. In the same way, Minus is completely hidden now, at the world tree. No magic can find him there. If you were to walk up to the exact tree he was on, you would not be able to see him.”

“Does he know this,” asked Jane.

“Sometimes.. Definitely not all of the time. He doesn’t dabble in divination, so he really doesn’t understand the concept at all. All of his magic comes naturally, through self-sacrifice.”

“Like now? Like his trip to the world tree?” Jane’s curiosity was peaked.

“Yes,” the doctor answered. “Just like now. This is not the first time he has performed the self-sacrifice rituals for knowledge, or power. It’s almost like the gods favor him. His family has no history of magical blood. Unlike me and you. There is no reason for Minus to have the power and understanding that he does. I’ve spent a long, long time trying to figure it out.”

“What about Othin? I thought he was Minus’ uncle?” Jane interjected.

“Othin is not a blood relative. He was a friend of Minus’ mother. But she never knew about Othin’s magical side life. You see, to most people, Othin just looks and acts like an old, burned-out hippie. I’ve known him for five years. He has not aged a day, but we can discuss that later.

“It really boils down to the fact that Minus basically gave me my powers. I’m certain that he has had a positive impact on your magic as well. Probably Kotoko, too. Othin often tells me about personal relationships with gods, but I usually chalk it up to metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. Most of the gods are dead, or were never there to begin with. Maybe I should reconsider that. We’ll talk to Minus about it when he returns. Not long left.”

And so, that night, Jane began to practice astral travel to see if she could find this Holy Guardian Angel and the Akashic Library. She was tired of being out of the loop. She was worried about Minus, and she had to do something about it.

—-

Jack
Listen.

The Cost of Magic
Section #24
The Tao of Minus

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This is the 20th section of my novel. If you haven’t read the first 19, you might want to start here. Section 20 starts Part 2 of the novel.

Enter Odin, or The Hanging of a Demi-God
—-

Minus woke up a few hours later, hanging upside down from the giant tree. He could see an older man, with unkempt hair and beard. He only had one eye and the ravens were sitting on his shoulders. He was still very large and muscular for his age.

“What is it this time, old man?” said Minus.

“Oh, so you do remember our last talk, youngling? This is indeed a surprise. My brother Othin told me you would be here. Of course, I knew already. What is it you seek, child? What more could I possibly teach you? You are too weak. Your mind too fragile.”

“All-Father, I did not come here for your knowledge. I have come for my own.” Minus spoke with a harshness that his expression could not show, since he was hanging upside down by a rope tied to one ankle.

“Ahh… I see. You are tired. Tired of your delusional life and your ‘doctor’s’ pineal poisons. This is admirable. To hold ones own memories as only the Aesir can. I will take my leave. Should you succeed, you will see me again.”

The old man looked weary as he left. Minus had never seen him look so tired and beaten. He didn’t like what this could mean.

***

Back at Minus’ house, Jane was busy studying with a see-through Victor Mancini. She was alone today. Some days Kotoko would show up, and they’d study together, but Kotoko had a job and she was still in school.

Minus had been gone for three days now. Mancini insisted he would be fine and return unharmed. Jane tried not to worry, and regularly took the tiny little purple pills that Mancini had recommended. Apparently they were something that Minus had made up in his “Apothecary,” as Mancini referred to it.

Sometimes Jane would go upstairs and look out the windows to watch that horrible Mist. She didn’t like the idea of Minus and Kotoko being out in it. Kotoko couldn’t even see it until the night she met Minus.

“And what was so important about Minus?” Jane thought to herself. She loved him, she knew that much. But it seemed like he affected everyone he came into contact with. Without even realizing it, people seemed to find that their lives revolved around Minus and his actions.

Sometimes, when Mancini would be talking, Jane would daydream a little. She would start to get the feeling that there was something important that she could not remember. There was a hazy feeling to her eighteenth year. She started to think a lot about that time period.

After Mancini would leave for the day, she would try to remember things about that year. But everything seemed perfectly normal. That’s what really bothered her. The more she thought about it, the more she realized that her memories had a sense of fabrication to them. It was too normal. She would dream of it at night.

These thoughts began to occupy more of her time as the days passed. On the fifth day, she asked Doctor Mancini about the Akashic Library, and how she could get there.

—-

Jack
I Listen.

The Cost of Magic
Section #20
Enter Odin, or The Hanging of a Demi-God

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