30 January, 2004

Thoughts on conscientious objection

Recently I had written a letter to Sammy Davis, an alumni from my recent battery.
Today, I got a response.
I can not put into words what this response meant. Yeah, I know, could have been a phantom auto-response; but then again, maybe not. I have no reason not to believe it was Sammy.
Sammy Davis is a holder of the Medal of Honor; his citation would be too long to post here, but I will post it to my web site under the war stories section, as well as the war wounds section, perhaps. It would go in both sections because Sammy fought in Nam, and he is, of course, a strong supporter of MIA activities.
Yes, I do like to make multiple and consecutive entries. It is because I write in phases, and when I write, I write a lot. The restriction to 7500 characters is not to limiting, except when I am in the mood to write. I used to train soldiers every day. It was my life. I am looking for a way to continue that, the training soldiers part, as well as to expand into other areas.
I asked for consideration as a CO, with 1A status, which means they could have used me in a training capacity. I had realized I cannot murder; and my sense of Duty was in conflict with my sense of Integrity. They turned me down, because I said I would defend my country in the event of an invasion. My Sergeant Major had asked me what my actions would be if the request was denied. I was advised to not apply, because it would ruin my career, even if it was denied. (It was my Soul I was talking about, so I didn’t give a damn about my career. Ever have to kill someone that didn’t need to be killed? And you knew it?) I told him I would still be the balls-to-the-wall NCO I had always been. I never considered that they would deny me.
Not only did the fuckers deny me, they acted like I was trying to use my knowledge of the regulations to swindle them. Hell and damnation, I figured, ain’t this just a peach. Here I am, trying to be Honorable, because I know the importance of being committed to my task, and they insult my Integrity. But, smile when it rains, right?
So, I went balls to the wall. Made a good run of it; check out my web site if I ever get it done, I will restrict my bragging to there; because it would take too much space here to list all my accomplishments in the last year of my career. Ok, maybe a little bragging…
Anyway, I went nuts. Diagnosed with PTSD, Acute Depression Syndrome, and Anxiety without Psychotic Episodes. They put me out to pasture. But my unit went to war soon after my breakdown. I feel like I let them down, and a lot of it is because I kicked such major ass in my 13 months as platoon sergeant.
I don’t know if Sammy remembers me from the desert, when he gave me that coin. I remember him, though. And am proud as hell he still considers me a Brother. Now if I can figure out a way to get all this information I have collected over the years to the troops that need it…
Maybe I will write a book.

29 January, 2004

What excites me?


It could be said that I am a very excitable person. If that were said, I would probably say that it is an understatement of the utmost proportions. I think that excitement is the natural state for a rational being. That, or sleep.
Why not live in the world being excited about what one is doing? Isn't it far better to live in the excited blissfulness of a child at play than in the dull drudgery of mere existence that so many of the world seems to crave, and then in self-delusion calling it comfort or security? Why anyone would chain their Selves to a yoke of existence that was not satisfying and exciting, I do not know, when the key to freedom is at ones fingertips.
Jesus said that he would spit out the soup that was lukewarm. Nietzsche said that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. People say that behind every cloud is a silver lining. Heinlein said you can't chain a free man, the most you can do is kill him. Franklin said that a country that trades freedom for security will get neither. The Germans say smile when it rains, cause it will rain anyway. SSG Mac said to embrace the suck.
Taken together, these concepts form a Pattern that is useful. I have tried to break down the basic Tao of the Pattern into a usable system of thought with which to free myself from knee jerk reactions as well as increasing my understanding, which can be gained by embracing situations that cannot be avoided. Since I think understanding is the Tao of Life, the very fact that I can use any given situation to increase my understanding gives me a positive reason to embrace the situation; to live in the Now.
This is the silver lining at it's most basic; it is ALWAYS there, one only has to shift ones focus from what one WISHES to be true, and instead look at the situation as it really is. All it takes is honest appraisal of the situation and acceptance of the Truth. There are generally many more silver linings, but this is the one I use in those unavoidable situations, which can otherwise get me to thinking that life sucks.
Embrace the suck. That is what I rallied my troops around in Albania. Worst fucking living conditions I had ever experienced, and I have experience. It was a good pun, because the mud was so thick and so prevalent that it was literally sucking people down into it to the extent we were recovering them with tracked vehicles. Sometimes life is gonna suck, I think this is a fact, though I cannot prove it. Life has sucked, liable to suck again. The particular manifestation of aforementioned sucking is not altogether outside of our control, but sometimes the Universe will conspire to make it difficult for us to find our happy place, no matter how we prepare. I think there is always a possibility that it is going to rain on the parade.
So, smile, for Pete’s sake. It is going to rain anyway. There are things outside of our control; no use crying over spilt milk, because the past is the one thing that is definitely out of our control. The weather, the fact that I need certain things in order to survive, and gravity; these are examples of things that are largely outside our control. I say largely because there is always Magick. I don’t do a lot of spells, and never felt the need to change the weather or levitate; yet. Cool to play and experiment, but out of respect for Chaos Theory, I don’t use Magick to do things I cannot comprehend the possible effects of.
But there will always be things outside of my control. If they are out of my control, why should I concern my Self with them? A Free man concerns himself with the things he CAN change; sometimes all that is in ones Power is ones attitude, but that is enough. And, like silver linings, there are usually quite a few more things than the basics that one can change, while still maintaining ones dignity, Integrity, and Honor. Betraying ones core values for a quick reward is no answer. Take the hard right over the easy wrong. But do not waste your Power on things outside your realm of influence. Power is limitless, but Time is the Great Limiter.
Worrying or complaining about the situation is not going to change anything. Instead, in those cases, I need to change my outlook, and dance in the rain. The gods will make it rain, it is already set up, like a Clockwork . Who am I to be upset by the Universe? I am but a fly on the windshield, a minor inconvenience but otherwise, my unhappiness and whining will not block the gods’ view for long. And if the manifestation of the gods is my boss, my parents, the police, etc; I am still limited to what I can change.
Accept the things I cannot change; what do the lilies of the field worry for, and are we not more in the eyes of the gods than the lilies? (well, actually, I could debate the value placement, but I was trying to quote Jesus). I don’t believe the gods throw anything at us that we cannot handle; but they also gave us more than enough rope to hang ourselves with, and they are more than willing to let us learn our lessons the hard way. They are good Parents, my gods. Even were I to die, it only means that the time was right, either through predetermination, or because, as a holder of the Purple Heart once said, because I zigged when I should have zagged. But even if I get myself into a situation that could pose a risk to my physical body, what of it? Pain, hardship, discomfort; these are nothing; they are transitory. These are times that one Wills their Self out of the Now, and takes themselves to their happy place, whether it be an Astral Temple, a fond memory, or the comfort of your gods. One does not have to continue feeling the pain or discomfort if one cannot change it. One merely turns off the alarms.
And whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. The strongest steel has been tempered the most times through the hottest Fire. As I said, the gods don’t throw stuff at you to strengthen your soul unless you can take it. We, however, can always bite off more than we can chew. So not all hardships we face in life are part of the original class schedule we set up for ourselves while in the Summerland, some of it is just bad decisions come home to roost. One should take their medicine, grimace with the taste if necessary, and drive on. Worst case scenario, I die and have to start over. Or, I just die and rot in the ground, but then I still feed the flowers.
Whining over spilled milk or milk that is about to spill or milk you are afraid will get spilt will only result in me not enjoying the milk that I have Now. And the Now excites me, and that is the best damn milk I ever had.
We are the only ones who can chain our minds. A slave can have the dignity of a King, and a king can be a mere puppet on a string.
We have the key. That excites me. I like to be excited. I find new things exciting. I love new books, and new Ideas. I meditate and still myself and live in the Now so that I might reach an epiphany, a new understanding, and that will excite me and disturb my calmness, shattering my peace. I LOVE that shit. I love to live on the edge, it is where we belong. Yes of course, on the edge means looking out over the abyss.
But that is from where one starts to Fly…

What interests me?

What Interests Me?
  • Animals, seems like they have more personality than a lot of people, with no facades.
  • Blues, taking pain or hardship and turning it into Art.
  • Computers, they’re patterned after our brains, after all, too bad so many peoples file systems are corrupted.
  • Drama, life is the great Drama, and Thespians bring the great Authors to life. Not bullshit drama
  • Epistemology, just another word for philosophy, except epistemology also gets into the practical applications of thought systems.
  • Freedom,  give me Liberty, or give me Death.
  • Great Work, Magnum Opus; to live Life to the fullest; to Love well, to Dance often, to Drum, to Die in Peace, even if not peacefully.
  • History, repeating it sucks, so I learn from it; few listen, and the UN don’t call to ask my opinion.
  • Ideology, trying to figure out what in the hell people are thinking when they do the things they do.
  • Justice, the Universe ain’t fair, but it is Balanced.  Justice is what We do to make it as fair as possible.
  • Kilt wearing ancestors, my Greats-grandfather Ona might well be the one who told Patrick the legends of the Celts, thereby causing them to be recorded for posterity.  How cool is that?
  • Love, when shone through the prism of Love, all Energy vibrates at a higher frequency.  Increase the Spiral!
  • Magick, merely science that hasn’t been explained.  I aim to explain it.  It is simple, really…
  • Niceness, mean people suck; and most of them don’t even mean to be mean; they are just ignorant or negligent of how they affect others.
  • Outer space, where else am I gonna migrate when the numbnuts blow this place up or make it otherwise uninhabitable?
  • Physics, learn the rules if you want to win the Game.
  • Quiet, of all the sounds, I like that one the best.
  • Resource conservation, use less stuff; Energy is limitless, but when viewed through the Time continuum, it is Finite.
  • Syrnx, enjoyment of the Arts is the worship of Syrnx.
  • Time, the Great Foe; it is so funny that we gave it the shackles to bind us…
  • Universal theorem, the One Truth, expressed mathematically.  Music is mathematical, so I will Drum it, when I find it.  Stand back.
  • Violence, half of our basic instinct; better to know how to do it well when the need arises; funny how the need arises less, then.  But when brute force becomes the standard for morality, again, then shall we see what happens when intelligent force is put into play.  Who is John Galt?
  • Water, may you never thirst.
  • eXotic dancers, OK, so I cheated, but I love the sensual Dance of a woman who does it for love of the Dance.
  • Yoni, ah, the delicate petals of a woman's sexuality.  How nice that there is a yin to the phallus’s yang.  Just think, we could be asexual.
  • Zen Buddhism, to increase the Peace until the waiting is full.
  • What gets me up in the morning?

    What get’s me up in the morning?
    I had a bit of trouble with this one, since I am at a happy point in my life that I don’t have to get up at all; in the sense that I am not on the clock.  My retired pay doesn’t allow me to jet from city to city to celebrate New Year’s in all the time zones, but I don’t really have a desire to do that.
    For most of my life I had gotten up for reasons placed upon me by the state (to go to school) and then for reasons placed upon me by my own decisions which placed my decisions in someone else's hands (enlisting in the Army).  I spent years watching the sun rise because I was still up from the day before or longer; it has forever destroyed my internal clock.  I still am liable to pull 36 or 48 hours straight when I get an idea fixed in my head, and then I will sleep for ten or twelve hours straight; been known to sleep for the whole day.  I think I still average the same amount of waking time that ‘normal’ people average, I just do it in different shifts.
    The last 12 years of my career I was getting up because I expected my troops to get up.  I am categorically opposed to leading from the back; so if I expect my troops to be up, I need to be up before them, to show them it is do-able.  If I expect my troops to work till the job is over, I need to be right there with them.  It sucks wind through a big straw to have to get up after only a few hours sleep; I figured it made it easier if there was a crusty old staff sergeant already up and about with his trusty cup of coffee cracking jokes and kicking the right butts to initiate movement.  It is difficult to lead from the front when the ones you are leading are half your age.  It takes an effort of will.  Or coffee.  Caffeine or willpower; if you don’t have one, you need a lot of the other.
    I don’t have troops any longer, but I do have kids.  They are tougher, in a lot of ways, than troops.  You can’t use reason on them, very often; least not the types of reasoning that work with adults.  Time is meaningless to a kid.  Everything is ‘NOW’.  That is actually quite a good lesson for us adults, I think.  Kids automatically live in the Now; and even though it is a pain in the ass, I can’t fault them for doing something that all the Masters say we are supposed to do.  Kids, like the Mission, don’t care that I just got to sleep.  If they want some time with Daddy, they want it now; and no amount of reasoning will suffice to encourage them to delay gratification.
    So, quite often, I get up because the kids have decided it is time to wake up the sleeping Bear.  And I have to give them credit, if they are willing to risk waking me,  (I am sometimes rather less than cordial before my coffee) it must be important to them that I get up.  I forget sometimes how important just spending time in the Now with my kids is.  They don’t even care what we do, so long as we do it together.  I am reminded of a Calvin and Hobbes panel in which Calvin is trying to get his dad outside to play in the snow with him.  The father, of course, thinks it is necessary and important  to do the work he had brought home.  He realizes, however, that the really important thing (his Son) is outside playing in the snow.  Hard work pays off in the long run, but procrastination pays off right Now.  It is a cliche’, of course, but there is Truth in it.  The Rule of the Oak comes into play, also.
    I wish I could say that I greet each day with the thrilling realization that a New World has dawned, and it is time for me to be out in it.  Sadly, this is both the case, and is not.  A New World  (Order) may have dawned, but I don’t like it much, and so I don’t want to be out in it.  There isn’t a hell of a lot that interests me outside our little world that the wife and I are creating.  I have not seen and done everything under the sun, but I have done enough that it is quite difficult to find something ‘new’ out there.  I do enjoy finding something new inside me; quite often I find it by looking through my kids eyes.  Everything is new to them, and so is new to me vicariously.  I don’t want to live my life through them; it is enough to see the world through their eyes.  They are not yet cynical; their possibilities are endless; the most frustrating thing in their world is being told that it is bed time.  And they wake up with such a passion for life that it is hard not to get caught up in it, if I only remember to let myself get caught up in it.
    I spend a lot of my time in reflection; which is the Right Action for me right now.  In order to evolve, I think it is important to periodically stop and process all the things that got programmed into us without our full awareness.  It is important, to me, to evolve.  If I am not busy growing, I am diminishing.  If I am not living, I am dying.  Interestingly enough, the key to living life with these absolutes is to walk the Middle Path; between the Then and the When.  The Now is the only part of our Universe that we can interact with.  I still love Life; and I still get a kick out of interacting with the Now.  There is so much more Power available to Man when one focuses all the energy into the Now, instead of wasting it on the Then or the When.  Watch a child at play; the focus that a child achieves when lost in play is the Truest form of existence that I know.  I learn a lot from my kids, when I remember that I do not know it all; and accept that they know some things instinctively that I have forgotten.
    I used to get up because the friggin alarm clock was going off; I hated that sound.  It was annoying.  Waking up still sucks; lucid dreaming is such a kick.  But now I get to wake up to a much better sound; one that fills my heart with joy when I allow it to.
    I wake up because I hear the sound, “Daddy”.

    Thoughts on the perception of time


    Not complete, obviously; only brainstorming and didn’t want to forget…
    I don’t live by the same clock civilians do. I never did, I think; but for damn certain I do not now. I have always looked at time through the filter of mission accomplishment. I could go 96 hours straight if necessary to accomplish the mission. Coffee, cigarettes, and excitement kept me going. I was a dynamo.
    As I got older, and became responsible for the lives of others, I realized I could not sacrifice my sleep, I had to learn to delegate. If I sacrificed my sleep, I would soon begin making piss poor decisions. And that would be a stupid thing to do; try to do it all and I would fail my men. Learn to delegate, and I could get the required 4 hours at least, cat nap here and there; in order to delegate, I had to trust the competence, motivation, loyalty and dedication of the troops, or at least that of my squad leaders.
    People don’t delegate out of fear that they will be shown up (because the troops did it by themselves or under the supervision of another) or the mission will fall (better to learn this in training, so that the cause can be rectified). People think that they have to do it all themselves, and pretty soon, they have to. And then of course they are martyrs about it. Shut the fuck up, I say to them. I don’t want anyone to martyr themselves, and I damn sure ain’t gonna do it. Mostly, I think people who do not delegate are afraid to because they know in their heart of hearts that they have not done all they can to train their subordinates. There, I said it. That’s right, I judge. Judge me back. I loved the ORTEP; a test the Army of One would shit if it had to take. Test me, test my men, make us better, for fucks sake; don’t be afraid to dig as deep as necessary to root out any weakness in the chain. I wanted to always come back, and my men and I did. Lucky, yes. But we also cut the cards, by training our asses off.
    Accomplish the mission, that is the Primary concern; all Tao should be focused on that goal. And the Tao should be relentlessly reshaped and forged; because the more one sweats in peacetime, the less one bleeds in war. It is just good self serving wanna stay alive instincts to keep myself trained. It is good self serving want the mission to succeed (which means that we win, minimal losses, and go home to make babies) to keep my men trained. There is nothing at all altruistic about my service. I did it for me.
    If anyone benefited from my worth, it was pure icing. I did it because I value the concepts outlined in the Constitution. I also loved to excel, and I loved to train others to excel; and damn we were good.
    But this is about time, right? I digress…
    I don’t work a normal shift, I am a swing shifter. I do a good 60 hours a week of the ‘work’ I set out, still; I can sometimes go up to 120 hours, or sometimes I give myself a vacation. I might go three days in a row, and then sleep for twenty hours, if the mission will allow. I make my own missions now, and I enjoy being the Ops Sergeant AND the approving authority. Nothing quite so frustrating as coming up with a damn fine plan to have it ignored or fucked up by the brass. But, they are the brass; it is their ultimate responsibility, so they have the ultimate say. I am fine with that relationship, or I was.
    Anyway, I have my own clock, it is not related to the clock in the hall. It is internal. I determine my time to sleep, eat, motivate. I do it to accomplish the mission; anytime could be morning to me.
    But, I freaking hate morning. Never saw a reason to get out of bed before the crack of noon, really. I did, cause I had to; and then I did, cause the troops were watching; troops only do what you demonstrate and prove possible, and profitable.
    Anywho….Time…The Great Limiter. I hate the clock. I hate the Gregorian calendar. We made our own calendar this year and will continue to refine it as we get more in sync with Nature at the farm. I think I will use hands of time instead of minutes and hours. We also decided to count our days in the Celtic and Judaic manner, days beginning at sundown and ending at sundown, instead of any other variation.
    I decided to do this initially in order to embrace my roots better; I sold the idea to Hyacinthe. Time is irrelevant; it truly is. The only reason it matters is because we decided it did. Down to seconds and crap; who needs that? On a time to fire, ok, seconds count. When ready fire for effect, ok, seconds count. On a danger close mission, seconds cost lives, as does lack of accuracy. I had no time to hesitate; which is why one needs to be fully committed, or get the hell out of the way. Combat is no time for soul searching. It is too late. Combat is the time to act; and goddess help us if we are not trained to standards.
    But Time, what is it to me? Nothing. Nothing at all. When will planting time be here? I measure it by the moon. When is dinner, I measure it by the sun, or the state of my current mission. I eat when I am done. Time means nothing.
    And then, BAM! Epiphany. The Celts, my beloved Ancestors were friggin brilliant, if they thought about it the way I did. I hate mornings, what a shitty way to start the day, by waking up, and I hate to wake up.
    The Celts started their day by Relaxing after ‘yesterdays’ work (it is evening tide, grok?), then they eat dinner, have sex, party if it is festival, and sleep. These are some of my favorite activities. How brilliant. They didn’t wake up till midway through their day, what is noon to us, merely because they counted time different. They started their day with the best part of the day, then it ENDED with waking up and work, and then one is DONE!, instead of STARTING with these two most un-lazy requirements of life.
    I am simply amazed at the sheer simplicity of this.

    Greatest tool of Internal Communication EVER


    I found my tape recorder recently, the one I used to take to combat with me. It gave me a chance to hear the words, cadence and inflection of my past; it was wierd and wonderful at the same time.
    It was a very formative time in my life, in that I was moving away from my willingness to be a soldier, losing my faith in the military (well, actually the civilian bosses of the government) and their willingness or ability to place me only in a moral fight, and grokking who the enemy was better than I ever had.
    You see, I was learning the language of the Albanians, and plus the translators were A: babes in their own right and B: highly intelligent and C: more than willing to talk to me, and I was more than willing to listen. Great accents, great beauty, great minds. Plus, I am in combat and get to spend time with these goddesses I would have given up a weekend pass to disneyland to be with; hell yes.
    You learn a lot about a people when you learn their language. I was also always taught (and took it further than I was taught) to learn everything I could about an environment that I was going to fight in or fight through or attack. Know what you can, and make a plan to deal with any other situation that may come up, and practice the most likely courses of action. I learned a lot about these people.
    These are the people that I was completely willing to blow up from a distance just a short time ago. They were from a Communist bloc country, grok? They were where I used to AIM, for christs sake, and I grew to love them. All the people there; even the Serbians. They were fighting because they had always been fighting; they knew no different. But they couldn’t see it; how silly it was, and that the buck had to stop somewhere. But it is not stopping. The Albanians are taking their revenge. The tide goes in and out; can we change the tide? Only if one changes the primary cause. The Prime Factor.
    But how to determine that prime factor? That is a good friggin question. Maybe Jimmy Carter can see it, I can not. Maybe just a way to get them to be satisfied with stopping long enough for dialogue; Jimmy is good at that, also. I am not.
    But, the important thing is that it gave me wonderful insight into the working of my mind at a critical time. I applied for consideration as a conscientious objector a short time later. I did this against the advice of my best friend, and priest. He had told me to just go with the flow, not rock the boat, it would destroy my career. He said that the chances there would be another war were so negligeable as to not count. He advised me to be untrue to myself, and to pose as a false warrior. How could I do that? I did no longer believe in the use of war as a reasonable alternative.
    There will be wars, and rumors of wars, and all manners of wars. That is a no brainer and it don’t take a revelation to figure that one out. We are a violent race; we have the capacity to love one another, but we rarely explore that option with as much gusto as we try to take which is not ours, or govern that which not ours to govern, or try to control others ‘for their own good’.
    The Constitution is being raped, I think. Gang raped, to be exact, and the American people are holding Her down. Shame on you! And for those who say they are doing nothing to assist in the rape, what are you doing to stop it? The only thing evil needs to flourish is the inaction of good people! If one is not part of the solution, one is part of the problem.
    I know not any longer what to do to stop the fall. I see which way the tree will fall much sooner than some who are not paying attention to the forest, because they are so caught up in their little leaf.
    Perhaps I am hypocritical, since I have withdrawn; but I think I am merely preparing to reseed after what I see as inevitable. I shall not hasten the decline, as John Galt did, but I shall no longer stand in the way.
    It was odd hearing my first thoughts from years ago on this subject, and the frustration with which I was dealing with the situation. I think I dealt with it OK. I don’t know. I am afraid I let some people down, because I did so well, after the CO packet was denied. I told them I would be just as hard charging as I could be. I did go out with a bang; which is as it should as a Redleg, by God!
    I always pick at my scabs, to see if, as Rudy asked, “Have I done All I can?”.
    I loathe failure, but that is perhaps what spurs me on. I don’t give up in the face of hardship. I WILL accomplish the mission, because failure is not an option. I thought it was important enough to reinforce it on many levels. Whatever I had planned for myself in the Summerland, I hope I am true to it still.
    Try journaling into a tape recorder, sometime, and then just put it away for a few years. Wie das Geist den Wienachten Vorne.

    28 January, 2004

    On common sense

    For all the talk about ‘common sense’ as something which is a good thing, I thought I would share with you my interpretation of where it comes from.
    Common sense is that which we have determined works in a given situation. We always try to loosen to the left (lefty loosy righty tighty) because that is the way it has always worked before.
    We apply common sense to a problem immediately, in order to refrain from thinking the problem through; we are lazy. Me too. Laziest man you’d ever met, right over here.
    Problems arise when we are taught the wrong things, by society or by environment. If my mother always cleans up after me, common sense will tell me I do not have to be responsible for my actions, mommy fixes it. If the only way I can see that I can get respect (a higher need, according to Maslow, and I agree) is to be a gang banger or a drug dealer, what does my common sense tell me to do?
    I have no common sense. Drill Sergeants told me that, and I believe them. I always had to ask questions about WHY something worked the way it did. I can now poor piss out of a boot, but because I read the instructions on the heel.
    I don’t have a whole lot of uncommon sense about some things, and about some things I am downright ignorant. But the things I know, I know because I thought them through; not because it is’common sense’. Call me stubborn, I confess it’s true, but that is just what I call my determination.

    A response to 'Cowboys': Conclusion, and On Privacy

    However, and the most misunderstood thing that I did, probably, was in sending my response to
    everyone that you had forwarded that to. I am sure you must be wondering just what in the heck my
    reasons could be for that.
    Have you thought about the ten commandments? What they mean? How to manifest them in our daily
    lives? Let me just take a moment to reflect on the ninth commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false
    witness against thy neighbor.”
    What this means, to me, is more than just not lying. It actually is not a proscription against
    falsehood in general (I have my own reasons for that, so I don’t (try not to) lie), but against
    speaking falsely against ones neighbors. It means that we should not say things about people that
    are not true, we do not spread rumors, we do not gossip. We should say what we know to be true,
    and on all else be silent, in regards to the motives and thought processes of our neighbors. This
    will ensure that we do not accidentally imply that our neighbors believe or behave in a way that
    is not True.
    Do you see where I am going with this?
    By including my e-mail address in that post along with everyone elses (and I must say that had you
    used BCC, I would not have been able to react the way I did, nor would I have). But you first,
    invaded my privacy by giving my e-mail address to all those you forwarded the message to, as well
    as implicitly grouping me with those people who would be pleased that some senior citizen cared so
    much about our country they just had to make this extremely professional and well spun addition to
    the Net traffic. As I said, I am not convinced that this was not an attempt to garner support for
    the administration. Have you studied the mass media, and the way it is used to mold peoples
    perceptions? The Truth shall set you free, but the mass media is not all Truth. Surely you
    recognize this, or else you would be a consumer driven person who spent all of their time keeping
    up with the Jones’. I do not perceive you as that way, My Sister; indeed, I have faith in all my
    family that you are able to see more clearly than the average American citizen. I ask you to look
    closely at what is going on.
    I will not have untruths spread about me. Implying that I would appreciate what you sent me (and
    indeed, why would you have sent it to me if you did not think I would appreciate it?) implied that
    I believed the same as the creator of the Cowboys document. I do not. I am diametrically opposed
    to what the administration is doing. I support our troops, because they gave up their choice to
    decide, when all is said and done. They trusted America to not send them into harms way for
    reasons other than the gravest threat to our Nation. Violence is to be used sparingly; not for
    the ‘shock and awe’ value. These are the things I have decided are True. I do not think I am
    alone in these thoughts on the use of violence; but America was ‘wounded’ on 911, and like any
    animal, the first thing it wanted to do was to strike back. And so we did. But the striking back
    was not reasoned, and so we lost our status as the good guys.
    And no amount of wearing a white hat will change that. I also like Chuck Norris, at least his old
    stuff. Good Guys Wear Black. The Lone Ranger wore a mask. And beware of the wolf in sheeps
    clothing.
    The only possibility that I have thought of that I have yet to discuss is the possibility that you
    sent it to me knowing that I disagreed. It is fine if you do this. I like to discuss issues. I
    do not think I have the final answers to many of my opinions. I know my opinions are filtered
    through all of the crap in my subconscious. But I have made my Magnum Opus the discovery of
    Truth. My opinions are not arrived upon lightly, and they are not based upon perceptions provided
    for me. They are based on research, experience, prayer, meditation, and above all WORKING my
    philosophy.
    But, if you did indeed send it to me knowing that I disagreed, surely you would have assumed I
    would respond in a negative fashion. If it shocked you that I disagreed, I apologize for the
    disruption of your peace. If you thought that it would change my mind, you’ll have to do better
    than that. So will the administration. I stick with Paine and Franklin and Jefferson and
    Hamilton. They would have fought against what this administration is doing. They would have
    condemned the country that allowed the administration to do it.
    Be very careful about thinking that I am unpatriotic based upon my reaction to Mr. Bush’s actions.
    Call my words unpatriotic or my acting on my first amendment freedom to voice my dissent
    traitorous, and you will find that it also does not have the desired result. I KNOW what a
    patriot is. I KNOW what America stands for. I READ the Constitution for kicks. Mr. Bush’s
    father gave me a copy of the Constitution shortly before I fought in my first conflict. I still
    have it, next to my oath of enlistment. The quickest way to be called a traitor in this new world
    order is to repeat the words written by the founders of this country. How sadly ironic.
    I still love and respect you all. However, I know that my views are not your views. I will not
    start a conversation trying to prove that I am right and you are wrong. I am more than happy to
    discuss anything in a nonjudgemental manner, but this, it has been made evident, is likely not
    going to happen. I am a Priest of my religion, a Shaman, and a Warrior. It is EVERYTHING that I
    am, because I have weeded out of the garden of my mind all forms of self delusion, which is the
    original sin. IF you do not wish to know me as a priest, a warrior, or a shaman, then you are
    very limited as to what parts of me are left for you to know.
    But, if my family decides that they do not want to know the why’s and how’s and what’s of who I
    am, then they should be very careful about what they say in their ignorance of the man who is in
    this body.
    I did not come up for Christmas because I knew that my views are not yours. It is no fun for me
    to be around people who disagree with me, unless there can be diologue. If it is your wish to
    ignore my views, so be it. But accord me the same benefit by not sending me your views without
    expecting me to respond with mine.
    My views are worth defending. If they were not, I would discard them for views that WERE worth
    defending. I am not saying that my views are right, I acknowledge I could be mistaken. But I
    KNOW why I hold the views that I hold, and so someone merely thinking I am wrong will not get me
    to change them. Through open dialogue, all parties can win in any discussion or conflict. Just
    like in Chess, there are no losers. One will be proved to have the better Tao, or game, or
    argument; the other will have the opportunity to learn a more efficient and correct manner in
    which to act.
    I hope this clears up any questions that may have arisen.

    A response to 'Cowboys' Pt 6



    Now, as to your motivations for sending me the object in question….
    I assume that you thought I was a republican, or at least that I supported Bush. I am not, and I
    do not. As I said, I think Bush is a bully. I think he is a liar, and the best he is in my
    estimation is an incompetent boob who chooses not to accept responsibility for the intelligence
    failures of his administration. That makes him a piss poor leader. Any way you cut it. A leader
    is responsible for the actions of his squad, platoon, battery, corps, army, or nation. He was
    entrusted with the lives and spirits of the men and women of our nations armed services, and HE
    BETRAYED THAT TRUST. I do not like Bush. I did not vote for him, but he took the election,
    anyway.
    I assume that you thought I appreciated the cowboy spirit of America, the pioneer spirit. And I
    do. That is precisely the reason I responded with such vehemence that anyone would correlate the
    heroes of my youth with the villain that is in the White House. I have met cowboys, and Mr Bush
    is not a cowboy. He is a bully that I wish would just ride the hell into the sunset. I cannot
    wish him into the sunset, so I shall ride off that way instead. I can refrain from acting, now.
    I do not have to act on the flimsy reasoning that has caused my men to take innocent lives. But I
    shall not forgive him for it. This country deserves a better leader than one who appears to want
    to show the world just how large his penis is. He is a thug who has the support of the masses
    because they are so maleable. I didn’t think that the Mac an Airchinnig’s were maleable. I know
    I am not.
    I do not know how you could have thought this, but I must assume that you thought I was pleased
    with the capture of Saddam. Actually, I think it was a spin. It was nice they caught him just in
    time for a nice victory celebration during the christmas holiday, sort of a way to show the
    triumph of good over evil, of Christianity over Muslims; the victory of the one true god,
    according to General Boykin, over the heathen gods and idols of our ‘enemies’.
    Mr. Bush is using the strength and power of the American Military to carry out an agenda which
    does not have Freedom’s interest at heart. The country which decides to trade Liberty for
    Security deserves neither. It WAS Ben Franklin who said this. Do you think he was wrong? Doi
    you think his words have lost their meaning? I do not. And I place a lot more faith in the words
    of a man I know existed and I agree with and respect than I do in the words of a man who was
    almost certainly misrepresented and misquoted, if not through deliberate action, then through
    inadvertant mistranslations. There are so many Truths that one can read in the red letter print
    of the KJV. But the best way to put a lie over on the masses is to bury it deep deep deep in a
    bunch of Truth.
    Freedom requires that we read the fine print. I think that America as a whole has lost the
    ability, or at least the desire, to read the fine print. I think that it is sad. But I shall not
    shed tears over a society that chooses to go this route. It is historical. All societies come
    and go. And a greater nation always rises from the ashes of the old, just like Rome was stronger
    and more free in it’s time than Athens, and America was better than Rome. But all things come to
    pass. I believe in the words found in Leviticus, as well as those sung by Simon and Garfunkle.
    ____________________________________________________________
    End Part 6

    A response to 'Cowboys', pt 5

    GW Bush was not elected by the people of this country. War was not declared by this country.
    This country did not want to send troops to Iraq, and did so only after they were convinced by
    their ‘leader’ that it was a necessary evil in order to prevent an attack by WMD, which we were
    assured were there, just waiting to be used.
    This country was LIED to, My Dear Sister. If you have excused that action, and still respect your
    leaders, then that is your choice, and ye shall reap what ye sow, as it says in the KJV.
    I think that it will begin to weigh heavily on the conscience of this country the amount of
    innocent lives that are being lost. And I am not just talking about OUR lives. I am also talking
    about little Achmed who was just trying to get some milk and was gunned down by our troops who
    returned fire (christ, we are using ARTILLERY to return small arms fire) indiscriminately. I
    think that it already weighs on the hearts of our servicemembers, I know it does with those in my
    last unit, whom I have spoken with. But I think we will not be able to protest like in Viet Nam.
    Too much spin has taken place. The animals that are ‘more equal’ than others will not let us
    voice our dissent. Dissenters are branded as ‘unpatriotic’ or ‘traitors’ or ‘islamic
    fundamentalists’ or ‘bleeding heart liberals’. And so the dissenters, thinking that their society
    is more important than the FREEDOM to state their dissent, cow down and shut up. I am not a cow,
    and I will not be led to that final shoot by some hick from Texas that thinks he can think for me.
    This country has lost the pioneer spirit. It is so caught up in bread and circuses that it
    doesn’t care what the powers that be do, as long as they are fed and entertained. Democracy has
    to be more than two wolves and a sheep voting over what is for dinner.
    I submit that Jefferson and Franklin and Hamilton were also branded as ‘unpatriotic’ and
    traitorous’. I am not, I say again, I AM NOT suggesting that we dissolve this government. This
    is the best form of government that the history of man has ever shown, and I don’t have all the
    answers. I do know, though, that we are moving away from what our founding fathers wanted for us.
    They did NOT want a federal government that controlled everything and determined the morality of
    the nation. They most assuredly did not want a federal government that chose one religion over
    another, because that is the first step in banning all other forms of worship.
    (And as an aside, the founding fathers were NOT all Christian, and they were NOT trying to protect
    the rights of only the Christians. Most of them were actually Unitarians, many of them
    Freemasons. Freemasons recognize that religious texts are important as a guideline for behavior,
    but they do not chose one text over another. The Bible is in every Temple, but the Koran or the
    Torah or the Talmud is just as welcome. It is not what book one reads, but how one applies those
    teachings to life that connects us as Humans. Trying to say that this book or that book is the
    actual and ONLY word of God the Father or Goddess the Mother is so pompous and arrogant and so
    easily disprovable it is laughable; or would be if it had not been the cause of so much slaughter
    in the History of Man.)
    So, take a moment, please, to process what I have written, because now I shall share with you what
    I must assume your motivations were to cause you to send me that little presentation on cowboys.
    I do not know why you did not know these things about me. I do not think it is because of any
    vagaries on my part. I am more than willing to talk about my reasons for things. I am quite
    proud of my thought processes, and think that I have hit upon many Truths in my travels. I also
    feel that I am more in touch with what is going on in the world that is someone who is merely
    spoonfed their news from CNN or Fox. Not saying you are spoonfed, but I will say most of America
    is sorely happy to have the rosey outlook that comes from ignorance.
    _____________________________________________________________
    End Part 5

    A response to 'Cowboys', pt 4

    Our ancestors were Warrior Priests. I am sure Dad knows about King Cas, about the Druids, about
    the Masons, and about our historical fight against tyranny. Our family has done this for
    generations upon generations. I have not forgotten the face of my Ancestors. It is extremely
    important to me to live my life in a manner Honorable enough to face my Ancestors as well as my
    Creator. There is no forgiveness for an intentional sin; none, nada, zip.
    If I settle a conflict with force when I could have settled it with words, I consider myself a
    bully. There is no benefit to fighting, generally, an offensive battle. I cannot prove my point
    by beating my opponent senseless. I can only prove that I am stronger, more powerful, or more
    willing to fight. On the other hand, I will never change my opponent by beating him. I will
    galvenize him against me, and make of him an enemy, where before there was just an opponent.
    When I went to Albania and Macedonia and Kosovo, I met people on both sides of the conflict.
    There were no good guys or bad guys, just a fucked up country in which they have been killing each
    other for 1300 years for no other reason than that is the way it has always been done. But we
    somehow arbitrarily decided to step in on the side of the Albanians. Now, in accordance with what
    I had predicted, the Albanians in Kosovo are the oppresors. Force will not solve the issues in
    that region. Period. It just gave us some feel-good time, so that we could say we stopped the
    violence. We did, and there are people alive today that would be dead, I am sure. But the
    underlying issue is still there, and will only escalate. We only postponed the inevitable.
    So I was already faced with the knowledge that I would continue to be used as an instrument for
    killing people that did not deserve to die, by my definition. And since, the Nuremberg trials
    showed us, the defense, “I was only following orders” is not a valid defense in the face of war
    crimes, I was very concerned. I was more concerned because that defense is even less useful when
    trying to explain ones actiuons to ones Creator, however that Creator manifests in ones world
    view. There is no forgiveness for a sin committed with full knowledge. There is no forgiveness
    needed for mistakes. I hope this makes things a bit clearer about where I am coming from. If you
    understood me, you would understand why I responded the way I did.
    Please understand, also, that I am a staunch supporter of the Liberties set forth in the
    Constitution. I have made a hobby of studying the philosophy and politics of great authors, great
    societies, and great religious figures. Ghandi and Bhudda, Christ and Mohammed, Rand and
    Aristotle, Kant and Jefferson, Heinlein and Hamilton. These are a few of the people who have
    helped me along my chosen Path. I think that it is imperative that we THINK about things. Knee
    jerk reactions are not the reactions of a reasoned mind. They are the reactions of a mind that is
    controlled by someone or something other than the person living in the same body as the reactor.
    I am not saying that I think there is a conspiracy of mind control rampant in our government. I
    am saying that when we do things without reasoning them out, we are not acting, we are reacting.
    And if I am merely reacting to a stimuli, I am no better than Pavlov’s dogs. I am a Human Being,
    Created in the Image of the Almighty, and the thing that differentiates me from a common animal is
    the fact that I can THINK, I can JUDGE, and I can DECIDE to ACT or to REFRAIN from acting.
    If I do not have the choice to act or to refrain from acting, I am not free. If I give up that
    choice, and instead merely give the reaction that madison avenue or the spin doctors in DC
    anticipate me having, then I have made myself a slave. I give you much greater credit than that
    of a Pavlovian creature, Sister of mine, so I shall not try to anticipate your reactions. I would
    that you would think, and then decide how to act; I think this is much better than reacting.
    I requested CO status because I recognized I was not free. I did not like the direction the
    country was heading, and did not like the moral caliber of the people that the country was
    electing to determine who and where I would kill. I did not like the fact that politicians had
    little or no accountability for their actions, and was ashamed that the American public was
    letting them get away with it.
    I was living on the line protecting the freedoms of America while America as a whole was not
    paying attention to where the country was heading, and freedoms were being destroyed as surely as
    the wall in Animal Farm was repainted. Well, I never gave a vow to protect the citizens of
    America, nor even the borders of this Nation. My vow was to protect the Constitution. I have not
    broken this vow, but I submit that there are those in power now who have. I submit that there is
    an agenda loose in this country that will be the end of us if the tide is not stemmed. I submit
    that the american people as a whole will not see this in time to stop it, if indeed it is not
    already too late.
    ________________________________________________________________
    End Part 4

    A response to 'Cowboys', pt 3

    Well, as luck would have it, my Sister was a bit taken aback by my response. She sent back a message that asked what her response should be. This is what I wrote:
    ____________________________________________________________
    Dear Sister, I do not try to predict your responses. I could not have predicted you would send me  what you sent me. How then could I pretend to give you the appropriate response to my post?
    However, if you wish me to explain what I think an appropriate response would be, I shall have to make some assumptions as to your motivations and perceptions. So I shall endeavor to do that now.
    As mentioned, I never would have thought you would send me something like that piece of propaganda. Here is what I thought you understood about me:
    I had applied for consideration as a conscientious objector after returning from Kosovo. I did this because I realized that we were killing people that didn't need to be killed. There are no good guys or bad guys in our foreign policy, any longer. It is all about whether it benefits the government to help or not. If we were truly still about Freedom, and the propagation of the concepts of Liberty, we would have gone into Tienanmen Square back in 90. We did not. We let people die that deserved our protection. Think about that, and try to understand how that changed my attitudes towards allowing the government to determine where my Sword is wielded.
    I met citizens of the former Soviet Union. I liked them. They are just like us. They love their kids and they just want to make the best of their lives; they had a lot less opportunity than us, though. I would have killed them, if their government had told them to attack, and my government had told us to defend. Can you see how this killed me inside? To know that I had placed myself under the authority of a group of people who wielded Power not with an ultimate aim towards increasing Liberty in the World, or even just decreasing pain and suffering.
    I loved Reagan, and I loved (much of) my time in the military. I loved learning how to be an efficient master of the Art of War. However, though it be a cliche’, with great power DOES come great responsibility. Why else am I taught self discipline as well as martial arts? Why does the 3rd degree black belt fight less often than the street thug? Because the learned warrior has nothing to prove, and much to lose, by the indiscriminate use of Force.
    So, I hope you have some understanding of my sociopolitical ideologies concerning the use of Force.
    _____________________________________________________________
    End Part 3

    A response to 'Cowboys', pt 2

    And so, to pay for the mistake of the administration (papa Bush), under the pretext of some
    “imminent threat” which never has materialized, this so called ‘cowboy hero’ of whoever started this thread, has killed tens of thousands of more or less innocent people. He is denying the liberties that this nation stands for to hundreds of people who do not even meet the international definition of combatant. I have met and talked with and enjoyed the company of some people whom you would now consider an enemy merely because of the religion of their choice, the color of their skin, or the location of their homes. This administration has bred racism and nationalism and raised it to a fever pitch, and if that is what you all want to think is a wonderful thing, then ok. But, please, Sister, I beg of you, because it hurts and offends me that you would send such a thing to me; but I know it is my fault because I have not shared with you my reasons.
    I had friends die in that war, and in the last one. Each and every soldier placed his faith in
    the administration doing the ‘right thing’ that they never considered the consequences. I lost my faith, and so I do not have to pay for the loss of innocent lives; I got out. My men do. I just tried to make them competent enough to come back safe, which they all did. My contribution is complete, and tied me just as assuredly as the rest of the supporters to the consequences of what we have done, internationally, internally, as well as karmically.
    I do, chuckle, however, at the thought that this e-mail is possibly a spin tactic designed to do
    just what it appears inspired to do: inspire you and get you to equate Mr.. Bush with all the
    heroes of your youth. Pretty pictures and touching sentiments to distract you from what you
    should be concerned about. Bread and Circuses. Nero is rosin up his bow, I can hear it.
    I do not think the country is safer now than it was. Indeed, I think the country now faces a far greater threat than that of any terrorist organization or even foreign government. We risk
    following the same footsteps as Athens, Rome, and Carthage. I have literally hundreds of quotes from authors, philosophers, historians, and the most influential thinker in my room, ME, that support what I say. You offer me an ad campaign that is poorly disguised. And on the holiday set aside for one of the last great men who championed liberty and the worth of the individual. How crass.
    Perhaps you say that at least Iraq is a better place?

    It is sadly ironic that the citizens now have LESS actual freedom than before we ‘liberated’
    them. Now a Shi’ite population that has been repressed is doing the repressing, just like in
    Kosovo. How similar in beliefs are the Shi’ites of Iraq and the Shi’ites of Iran? Do you know?
    Have you thought about it? How about we just push those two populations together and make one big pissed off bunch of people. And the sad thing is, they have a right to be pissed off. We placed Saddam in power, we placed the Shah in power. These were the ones that REPRESSED the Shi’ite populations. This already happened in Iran. The history hasn’t all been rewritten, take a look. Did you ever wonder why they called us the Great Satan? It wasn’t all cause they were jealous of our wealth. They were jealous of our freedoms. And look what we are doing to them. The nation that decides to trade security for Liberty deserves neither. I believe Ben Franklin said that.
    Do you think that maybe this story proves that we need to crack down harder on the Islamic
    militants, because they are targeting Christians? You are being played like a fiddle, my Sister. Do you really think that it was a slip of the tongue that Mr.. Bush called the War on Terror a “Crusade”? He is spitting on the very Constitution I swore to defend, as did he.
    I support our troops. They do not enjoy the right to choose their wars, and after the debacle of the last election, it doesn’t seem that they have the right to choose their leaders.
    Again, thank you for the post. It had some great pics of some of the heroes of my youth, and some pics of heroes that even today I respect. The subject is not one of them.
    I would appreciate it in the future if you would refrain from forwarding me any of the patriotic stuff; at least for the time being. The cats and dog pictures were absolutely hilarious, though.  
    Thank you for those.
    ___________________________________________________________________
    End Part 2

    A response to 'Cowboys', pt 1

    Recently, I received a forwarded e-mail from my dear Sister, the one where the supposed senior citizen is extolling the virtues of our dear president. This was my response:
    _______________________________________________________________
    Thank you Shannon.
    I also like cowboys. But I also recognize that not all of the Indians that the Cowboys killed had to die. I think Bush is more of a bully. Cowboys had their share of those, also. Plus, he doesn’t strike me as all that literate, but I am sure he is; so that leads me to believe he thinks he is sneaky, using his hick persona to lull the country into trusting him, not unlike a cowboy guiding his cattle. See, the funny thing about real good guys and real bad guys is, it isn’t so easy to tell the difference.
    It strikes me as odd that you would send me such a horrid thing knowing that I am out of the Army, and I assume you at least have some understanding of why I am out; Dad doesn’t understand or seem to want to understand, so I am not asking you to. But please, my Sister, understand this about me: the use of violence, indeed, any Force at all, when it is unnecessary, is abhorrent to me.  It sickens me. I have enough adrenaline in me to kill a freaking rhino. The Army considers me unfit to kill, and so they retired me to pastures.  I guess I am fit to not kill.
    I am unfit to kill, in the biblical sense. Thou shalt not kill is not really a good translation, in my understanding. In my understanding, a better translation is Thou shalt not Murder; meaning, in my understanding “Thou shalt not take a life unnecessarily”.
    I take that Commandment to an extreme. I truly am an extremist, not what they would have you think an extremist is. Look it up, sometime, and quit talking newspeak. But anyway, in my extreme worldview, I think that one should always use the minimum force necessary to the ensure accomplishment of the mission; whatever mission it be, from communicating with ones child to the protection of the planet and the human race. One should also be competent in the use of force. And one should most definitely think long and hard before resorting to fisticuffs or F-16’s.

    Isn’t that sort of what we teach our children? It is what I teach mine.
    We have a great military, and I am damned proud to have served in it as long as I did, and with as much distinction as I did. My uniform hangs proudly in my closet, and I still look, act, and think like a Warrior. Men should be warriors, as well as women. We have the greatest fighting force ever known in the history of Man. But one should be fully convinced, and therefor committed before using that force, because the Karmic debt will be paid, and ignorance of the Law is no excuse. We bullied our way into a conflict with Iraq.
    Mr.Bush has shown no evidence that the reasons he gave are true, and yet he had asked us to trust him, that time would prove him right. Evidence has been shown that the administration knowingly lied, or at the very least obfuscated and finagled. This is allowed in a country that no longer holds it’s leaders accountable for the telling of Truth. We do not hold them accountable for their actions. I perceived this about to happen, and that is why I started making noises after I got back from Kosovo; that is why I put in for CO status. He is making our soldiers kill what are at best people merely unlucky enough to be born in a crappy country, at worst people who are soldiers trying to fight off an invading army.
    Hussein didn’t have anything to do with 911, at least no connection has ever been shown to me that makes me think so. I have, however, seen the things that this country has done. We are the ones that put the Al-Quaida network into power to combat the Russians. We put Hussein in power and kept him supplied with arms to fight Iran. At the very worst, Hussein is a pit bull this country trained and then we destroyed a whole bunch of them because they were cowed by the pit bull. The Iraqi people don’t hate us, they don’t give crap about us, they are too busy trying to survive. The crowds of protesters were forced or paid by the regime. Saddam was a bad man, but we put him there.
    _____________________________________________________________
    End of Part 1

    The middle path: Tantric Philosophy, Pt 3


    From the notebook Lazarus Long: Self-deception is the root of all evil.
    Think about that. We know that honesty is the best policy; but yet we still lie to ourselves about all kinds of things, as well as lie to other people to spare their feelings (or worse motivations, but none of us do that, do we?). Honesty does not need to be cruel. All you need is a little bit of tact, compassion, and some basic communication skills. And yet we say we cannot be honest because it will hurt someone's feelings. Before I could start looking at my world honestly, I had to tear out any inconsistencies in my thought processes that excused dishonesty in any form. And my world is under my control to the exact extent of my honesty.
    Total honesty is perhaps not attainable for any of us, some would say. Total dishonesty is. Therefor, I say total honesty is just as attainable, if not so easy. And it is scary, and it hurts. I thought I was ready to rip out all the bogus thought processes that had self-programmed or, worse, been programmed into me. I would have told Yoda I wasn't scared to face my worst enemy, which is me. Yoda would have replied, 'You will be. You will be.'
    Tantra can help you focus the energy that is a natural occurrence resulting from the stress of desire into a light that helps you see through the shadow of unreality. It will shed light on your misconceptions. It will allow you to fully commit to a course of action designed to achieve your happiness, because with it, you will shred all doubts as to why you want something. It will also allow you to focus your energy (unlimited, but limited when viewed through the time continuum) on attainable goals instead of unrealistic goals.
    misconceptions, also. But there is sex involved in Tantra, because sex is a desire that can be so strong it becomes a need. And that is what our passions are intended to do. We are more focused on basic needs, because we know we will die if we neglect them.
    All right desire should be focused upon with the intensity of a need, and you should be fully committed to attain it. Then you will not be your worst enemy.
    Siddhartha was a Prince who had absolutely everything, a la Coming to America. All his needs were met, and all his desires were met. But he was not happy. He felt that it might have been because he was being responsible, so he through himself into his decadence, until he was 29, and he realized he was still not happy. So, in order to attain fulfillment, he thought he must give up everything in a Great Renunciation. He did this for six years, self-mortifying himself for any desire that came into his consciousness, until he was denying himself basic needs. He was, at the end, to weak to even meditate, but had yet to find fulfillment.
    After receiving some milk rice from a woman, he was rejuvenated enough to meditate all night on the dilemma. It was at this time that he achieved enlightenment and became the Buddha.
    The Buddha realized that it was neither through the collection of worldly desires nor the self-denial of satisfaction that led to happiness. It was a rational conquest of attainable goals.
    He set forth an eight-fold Path in order to facilitate this. The eight-fold path is this:
    1. Right Understanding
    2. Right Thought
    3. Right Speech
    4. Right Action
    5. Right Livelihood
    6. Right Effort
    7. Right Mindfulness
    8. Right Concentration
    Tantra is a more than a belief system. It is a set of practical guidelines based on the philosophies in these entries that are designed to help achieve fulfillment in life. Thou art God/dess. You have been given the tools to create happiness in this Life. Tantra practice is one of those tools that I think is effective.

    Definition of Happiness: Tantric Philosophy pt 2


    Freud was wrong about a lot of things, I think, but he was right about a lot more. Plus, like Gardner, he put his knowledge down in print first, so he gets credit, like it or not. Freud thought that pleasure was merely the absence of pain. It follows that happiness is the absence of unhappiness. I think that is kind of lame, and Jesus and Zarathustra both agree with me when I say that it is far better to be upset than merely content. Happiness is best, but at least with the struggle to move from unhappiness to happiness lets me know I am alive. I need passion in Life, and I do not think I am the only one.
    However, I do know that if I am not unhappy, I can be passionate about whatever I want to at the time, thus giving me the two ingredients I need for bliss: Passion and absence of Pain, because I believe that the secret to happiness is merely by living in the Now. But one cannot live in the Now when one is feeling guilty or bitter about yesterday, or apprehensive about tomorrow.
    In AA, there is a saying that if you stand with one foot on yesterday, and one foot on tomorrow, you are pissing on today.
    The Tao of happiness, as I define it, is to have what I need (absence of pain) and the reasoned acquisition of that which I desire. The first step in this process is to determine what is a need and what is a desire.
    Maslow did a pretty good pyramid on needs. He postulated that without the basics, the “Higher Needs” couldn’t be met. Basic needs are what is required for life. If I do not have water, shelter, food, or security, it avails me not to go searching for Love, sex, or BCNs. I am not completely in sync with Maslow, because he said that self-actualization required the pre-meeting of all other needs. I think that quite a few in the mountains of Tibet would disagree.
    The Higher Needs of Maslow’s hierarchy are what many would term ‘wants’ or ‘desires’. They are things such as peer recognition, sense of social belonging, and self-actualization (sort of ‘be all you can be’). According to Maslow, the Higher Needs become needs after the lower needs are met. In other words, the desire to fit in, (et al) becomes a need after the need to eat (et al) has been met).
    Desire is that which is required for quality of life. I can place such an emphasis on a desire that it becomes a need. And this is how it should be, I think. Any desire that I choose to pursue I should pursue with the seriousness of a child at play. Nothing else should matter; and so in order to maintain my ‘reasoned’ part of the Tao of Happiness, I must think it through carefully, and ensure that I really want it (meaning, it is worth the cost and I am not deluding myself as to the worth of the object of desire nor the cost of acquisition).
    The Tao of unhappiness is when I place an unreasonable emphasis on a desire as a means to my happiness, or an unreasonable expectation on myself in my ability to achieve it. Things are not ever going to MAKE me happy; neither will a person, or a place. I would have said nouns will never make me happy, but a concept is a noun, and they concepts make me happy. And I have limitations on what I can achieve, and what value what it is I have to offer in exchange for the acquisition of my desire.

    On Leadership


    It would probably surprise many people how I use the knowledge I gained in the military to make my way through civilian life.
    Many people, automatically assume that when I use the terms ‘leadership’ and ‘counseling’ that it means that I think everyone is in my army or something. No, it just means that this is what I did through many formative years, and I still use the lingo that I picked up.
    However, if I can share with you the definition of leadership, I think you might see how simple it is to take the lessons learned from these manuals and apply it to situations not martial in nature.
    Leadership: the actions taken to persuade others to willingly accomplish the mission by providing purpose, direction, and motivation.
    • Purpose is just the ‘why’ of what we are doing.
    • Direction is just the ‘how’ of what we are doing.
    • Motivation is just the ‘why in the hell do I want to do what you say’ of what we are doing.
    Name me one group that doesn’t need to know where it is going, how it is going to get there, and why it is going in the first place. I think that the principals of leadership communication and counselling can be used in all walks of life.
    Having said that, I will submit that there needs to be a leader in just about any endeavor. For instance, in the kitchen, there should be a head cook. Or at least a rotating head cook. This should be the best cook, or the one most able to cook what is on the menu. Or, as is often the case, at least the one who is there. There is a saying, ‘when in charge, take charge’. That is not so different than assuming responsibility for ones own happiness, or ones breakfast.
    I think it is quite a good Tao to have areas of responsibility clearly outlined in any given relationship that requires maintenance. I am not able to fully cover my lane (group of targets, please excuse all the military metaphors, it is how I think) if I am concerned about someone elses lane. An efficient unit, regardless if it is a parental unit or a military death squad, should
    all know what their respective responsibilities are, as well as the jobs and duties of the rest of their unit. The ball will always drop; it is not about placing blame, it is about being able to pick up the pieces quickly and carry on the mission.
    Equality in a relationship does not mean that I am as good a cook as my wife. She is a superior cook. I am a good organizer and planner. We are an efficient team because our strengths compliment each other, and help to overcome our weaknesses (as a unit; I still can’t cook as well as she, but I have learned. Kids won’t starve).
    I am a better driver, she is a better gardener, I am the better fighter, she is the better peacemaker, I am the better lyricist, she is the better singer. Equality is not the same as congruence. We are a team, that makes us equal. It will never make me the better cook.
    I do not think that a patriarchal type marriage is the way to go. (with the emphasis on the Obey and Submit parts) I do, however, consider Hyacinthe and I to be a command group, with she as the Commander, and me as the Top. (That is Top as in First Sergeant, not Top as in BDSM, you sickos) The things I learned about acting as an efficient command group allow me to be, I think, a better father. And a better husband. And a better priest.
    We Were Soldiers Once, and Young was a great book, and Mel did a good job turning part of it into a movie. One of my favorite lines in the movie was in response to the Louie who had just become a father. Mel said this about being a leader and a father: “I like to think that being good at one makes me better at the other.” I like to think that, too. I am a father to my platoon just as surely as I am a leader to my son. Not all of either to either but a little bit of both to both.
    Doesn’t mean I am the best. It just means that I took what I could learn, and I apply it where I can. Take what is useful, discard what is not, leave with that which is uniquely yours. Jeff Kun Do, if you will. I am still learning. All I have learned as an adult I learned through the eyes of a soldier and a leader. Should I discount my Truths merely because they wear camouflage?
    If I were to discard something just because I learned it in the military I would be just as foolish as if I were to take as gospel something just because it was told to me in Sunday school.
    I try not to be the Great Santini, but I am who I am.
    *if it’s stupid but it works, it ain’t stupid*