Friday, December 31, 2021

7 Goals for 2022, Provided the World Doesn't Collapse

As I mentioned in my last post, I've come to peace with the reality that civilization is burning down and there's probably not anything that can be done to stave off a total collapse. I don't know if it'll happen in a year or a decade, but it's coming and it's inevitable at this point. We've just gone too far off the rails. We're too atomized, too fearful, too obedient to the forces that manipulate us for their own ends. 

Too many people are OK with resegregation, with reverse racism, with subordinating biology to feelings, with creating a new class of untouchables and banishing them from society, with the politicization of science to manufacture and enforce specific social and political outcomes and to protect the ideologies and financial interests of our institutions of power, the likes of which we haven't seen since Galileo butted heads with the medieval church. 

Too many people are incapable of independent thought. Too many people hand over their brains to the leaders of the tribes they identify with and the ideologies they're told to embrace. Too many people are too self-absorbed with whatever micro-identity they choose to make themselves feel special in a world that doesn't care about your feelings or how special and unique you are. And we're all compelled to nod our heads and celebrate as others play pretend, denying the evidence of our own two eyes, as if someone can simply identify into manhood or womanhood like they were interchangeable costumes.

We've become surrounded by legions of masked zombies, conditioned to believe that immune systems are a dangerous right-wing conspiracy, who scream at us to respect their pronouns and check our white privilege, while their Woke High Priests threaten to cancel us for violating their dogma, unless we bend the knee, rebuke our wrongthink, and confess our Original Sin of being born white. 

And thus it is, in a culture where everything has to be hyperpoliticized, that logic, reason, individual liberty, personal autonomy, and the right to free thought and free speech are giving way to authoritarian superstition and irrational hysteria, as we sink into a new Dark Age.  

And it's all being accelerated by a sanity-shattering climate in which humans are discouraged from even making human contact, as we're relentlessly conditioned to see every other human as a walking disease -- as if our bodies lack the ability to fight off a respiratory virus with a whopping 2% death rate. 

Had I known a decade ago that the world would go so utterly insane, I probably would have opted for another pet over a child. I dread to think of the world my poor daughter will have to grow up in. So in 2022, I intend to simply do more of what's in my control to do, in hopes of making her life tolerable and our family's existence an act of quiet defiance against the status quo, inasmuch as I intend for us to live as normal a life as possible, in spite of the madness raining down all around us.

My goals for the new year, then, are as follows:

To be as good of a husband and dad as I can. That means hoping my body holds out so I can continue to provide for my family, but also making sure I balance work with personal time. My wife works tremendously hard to keep our house functioning, and I probably don't thank or support her enough for all her selfless dedication. My daughter, meanwhile, needs plenty of dad time. She comes to me to learn, to ask questions, to feel secure, to have fun. She likes playing card and board games, and she wants me to join her in some of her videogame worlds. I need to manage my time so I can do that. I know how much it will mean to her. 

To be a better Stoic. We began exploring the ancient philosophy in 2021, and I think I need to keep at it. I see how angry my daughter gets at the stupidity in the world outside our door. I used to be the same way, just filled with rage at everything and everyone. It's hard not to feel that way. I've managed to find a somewhat better balance by tuning out the divisive propaganda of the 24/7 news cycle. Whatever will happen will happen, whether I complain about it or not. I used to crap all over social media griping about the state of the world, but it didn't change anything. It only served to stress me out. So why do it? No one cares, just like no one will read this blog post. But at least this is my only outlet now, and it's a rare outlet at that. I'd rather focus on what I can control and find the equanimity to tune the rest out, to the best of my ability. 

To be more mindful of personal spending. Because I'm not getting any younger, and you never know what financially trying times lie ahead.

To simplify. We have a big house that's full of clutter. I have a strong desire to purge.

To try to at least maintain my current level of health. Every day is a challenge when you feel miserable all the time, you never know what affliction awaits you next, and you've given up hope that the doctors will ever figure things out. But I intend to hang in there for as long as I can. My goal is to at least see my daughter grow up. 

To indulge my new hobbies of mixology and sartorial peculiarity. We're trying out a new cocktail a day, and I got a drink-a-day book for Christmas. I enjoy experimenting with various flavors and adding a bit of spirits to our meals. I've discovered that I enjoy gin, tequila, and vodka, but not so much whiskey, brandy, and rum. I already knew I enjoyed port wine, sweet reds, and some kinds of beers. So I'm just expanding my horizons to see both where things go and what flavors are out there.

As for the sartorial part, I've taken recently to wearing bow ties. I don't like neckties, but my daughter gave me the idea of trying a bow tie with my Sunday church attire. I like the way the experiment is going so far. I feel a little better about myself when I dress up and figure it might even help me feel less ill all the time, as a good frame of mind counts for a lot. And I've already noticed that people seem to treat you with more respect if you dress well. They're more likely to strike up a conversation. Or maybe it's just the peculiarity of the bow tie that acts as an icebreaker. I guess time will tell.

To continue my spiritual growth. Though I was born and raised Catholic. I've come to terms with understanding Christian teaching in a metaphorical way. It's impossible for me to take any of it literally. I continue go to church because it's comforting and familiar, and I'll probably continue to go to our local Latin Mass until the horrible, petty little bureaucratic bully of a pope that runs the church kills off the traditional Mass once and for all. I may split my time between the Latin Mass and the Byzantine Catholic liturgy, though the Byzantines live over in the jackboot people's republic of Washington, whose proto-fascist governor could at any time declare that papers be shown and useless masks be worn as a condition of entry even into a place of worship. We have none of that nonsense affecting the Orthodox church here in North Idaho, which is like the Byzantine Catholic church in all ways except that I'm not invited to communion with the Orthodox -- and I don't think I have the stamina or the patience to go through the long catechism classes that the Orthodox require before I can partake in what Christ offered freely to everyone at the Last Supper. 

I'll probably continue developing my own theological system that incorporates Taoism, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, the Kabbalah, the Sacred Feminine, and a little bit of Hinduism and Christianity, mixed with bits of Jung, Alan Watts, Jiddu Krishnamurti, the idealistic pandeism of Bernardo Kastrup, the notion of a universal consciousness, and more. I have a book rolling around in my head that lays out all the tenets. I envision an intertwined three-part story that involves new scripture, an academic explanation, and an imagined conversation in an abandoned church between the Virgin Mary and Lilith, whom I envision as one of the most maligned and misunderstood characters in all of Judeo-Christian history and legend. I was going to join an online seminary program in 2022, with the end goal of taking holy orders in a few years, with the laying on of hands, apostolic succession through the Old Catholic order, and all that comes with it. I'm already an ordained minister and hold a Th.D. degree, but the idea of being an actual ordained priest holds great appeal. I just don't know if my dodgy health will hold out. Even if I started an actual church as a priest, there are periods stretching for weeks at a time where I can barely get myself vertical. So I just don't know, physically, if I could do it. That's something I need to weigh before I take the next step.

Meanwhile, my daughter, who considers herself a Taoist like her mom, is also thinking she might want to give Wicca a whirl. Being the most spiritually knowledgeable one in the house, I'll have to be the one to get her up to speed so she can properly assess the belief system and see if it's something she'll want to pursue. 

I also plan to keep up our daily Zen habit of drawing ensos, to help us embrace imperfection and spontaneity. And I intend to finally go through with my plans to devote one day a week to being silent, in an effort to remind myself of how much mindless chatter we all engage in, and to cultivate my own mindfulness. I hate talking anyway, so I don't think this will be too hard.


That's seven goals for 2022, and that's plenty. At a bare minimum, I just hope I can stay vertical and sane for another year. 

Fingers crossed.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

This Is Fine

We're coming up on two years of people acting like Chicken Little over a virus with a whopping 2% mortality rate. I'm pretty sure I've had The Black Plague of Our Time two or three times now. I survived, like the overwhelming majority of people do. 

And yet the world out there is full of media-brainwashed and perpetually enraged people, looking at those of us who haven't forgotten that immune systems exist and blaming us for keeping the world from getting back to normal, when we're the ones who've been saying all along that if you want "normality" back, then stop hiding behind a useless mask and go out and demand it. 

Granted, I imagine that if I watched the daily news and heard nothing but new variants and cases cases cases, absent of any context -- like the astronomically high survival rate, or the fact that heart disease and cancer deaths dwarf the number of C-19 deaths, yet there's no one breathlessly reporting on that every minute of every day -- I'd be in a never-ending panic too. But turn off your TV, and your only reminders of TBPoOT will be when you venture out and see all the obedient mask zombies who themselves have taken their orders from their idiot boxes. 

The problem isn't the virus, or those who resist the narrative and the mandates. The problem, as usual, is those who mindlessly conform. Those who are told whom to blame and obey without reflection. Those who are fine creating an entire class of untouchables over a virus with a 98% survival rate. I look forward to seeing "Unvaccinated Only" lunch counters in the near future as our trigger-warning, safe-space, wear-your-seatbelts, risk-averse, hypervigilant, bubble-wrapped society falls off a cliff in a fit of screaming hysteria. 

At least where I live, and at least for now, people are pretty chill about just living normal lives again. If I'm stuck doing business with our local freedom-loving merchants and being otherwise confined to my house and ordering the stuff I need from Amazon, so be it. I'll wait the world out till it gets this insanity out of its system, if it ever does.

In other words...

Go ahead. Burn the world down. 

I look back on my nine years of blogging now and laugh at how much emotion I invested in political crap I never had any control over. And the current load of crap likewise isn't going to end until the media stops talking about it. 

So go ahead.

Act like you're not a racist when you're the one cartoonishly overrepresenting minorities in advertisements, tokenizing minorities in movie roles and hiring practices, and telling white people to "check their privilege" -- i.e., telling a group of people they don't get an opinion because of their race. 

Please, tell me how your vision of "equity" is not outrageous racism when, instead of seeking equality for all as Dr. King envisioned, you turn old inequalities on their head and call that progress, as if the remedy to blacks to the back of the bus is whites to the back of the bus. Didn't your mama ever tell you that two wrongs don't make a right? Have you even read the Fourteenth Amendment?

Go ahead and tell me how you support women and value science when you insist that men can identify into womanhood just by saying they're women. Tell me about how men can have a uterus and women can have a prostate. Compel me to use "they" as a singular and to call men "she" and "her" when they clearly are neither. 

As long as you're compelling me to play pretend, I'm a 13-year-old handicapped black Japanese lesbian android dog. Prove I'm not, you small-minded bigot.

And as long as we're celebrating body identity disorders rather than telling mentally ill people to get help, let's help anorexics feel good about being anorexic. It's the exact same concept, after all.

Meanwhile, remind me how "male" and "female" are not biological realilites but mere "social constructs" and costumes you can change at will, since all humans are just amorphous interchangeable blobs with different plumbing. Please, please, prevent me from stating the glaringly obvious truth that I can see in front of me with my own two eyes. Don't let me proclaim that the emperor has no clothes. Go ahead. Keep on gaslighting me.

Speaking of womanhood, show us how utterly demented your value system is when you try to cancel "Baby, It's Cold Outside," hearing it as a rape song when its female character is actually being playful and coy, essentially saying to her date, "Propriety says I shouldn't stay, but I actually really want to." And then you turn around and praise the vulgar, degrading porn of "WAP" to the heavens. I'm sure you'll lecture me on feminism anyway. 

And speaking of Christmas, keep on letting tiny minorities dictate what we can do, say, and think. When 90% of the nation celebrates Christmas, please do insist that I say "holiday" instead so I don't run the risk of offending 10% of the population. (Funny how this word-policing never happens at Easter, still mostly a religious holiday, and one that often falls adjacent to Passover, a major Jewish holiday, which Hanukkah is not. But no one said the social-justice warriors acted with logic. In fact, they pretty much run on irrational emotion.)

When a tiny group of people think they're something they're not, you'll compel us all to say "pregnant people" instead of "pregnant women" because a few loose screws think men can actually get pregnant. And please, speaking of "WAP," let's reduce women to their body parts, calling them "people with vaginas," to make the Gender Propagandists and a few deluded people feel better about themselves.  

And of course, force us to wear useless, porous masks and get vaccines as a condition for participating in society over a virus with a 2% death rate.

Here's the problem in a nutshell: Minority rights are one thing. Minority rule is another thing entirely. The former is a hallmark of a free and open society; the latter can only be achieved through bullying authoritarian control of the majority. The last time a minority controlled the majority so thoroughly as we see now, it was called apartheid. That didn't work out so well. Tyrannies never do, whether it's a tyranny of the majority or of the minority.

It's like one wise person recently observed: It used to be that if five people wanted to play basketball and four wanted to play volleyball, the majority won and we played basketball. (And then we might squeeze in a game of volleyball, just to be fair.) Nowadays, if eight people want to play basketball and one person wants to play volleyball, we don't play anything at all, because everything is black and white, all or nothing, and we can't risk offending the non-basketball-identifying person. In fact, let's hold the volleyball fan up as a forgotten hero, struggling under the weight of the privilege of all the evil basketball fans who are oppressing his will.

And oh, do tell me how it's OK to impose your gender-neutrality on a gendered language. That's how you end up with the non-word monstrosity Latinx in place of Latino and Latina. No one asked for your linguistic colonialism, but being the perpetual white savior you are, you're going to impose it on Spanish for the language's own good. You never could shake that habit of thinking you speak for all minority groups, could you? Half a millennium ago, the ignorant Indians needed the Bible. Now the ignorant gendered Spanish language needs Latinx when it never even asked for it or knew it needed it.

You see, Puritanism never dies. It just takes different forms. Now, instead of confessing in a church, we grovel on bended knee before the High Priests of the Woke as we atone for our ideological sins, lest we be excommunicated from our livelihoods. Woe to the one who holds the wrong opinion, for he -- ahem, they -- shall be canceled. But alas, there is no true redemption here, especially for those contaminated by the New Original Sin of being born white. 

Seriously, burn it all down. I don't care anymore, and I can't stop you anyway.

In the midst of all this insanity, I've taken to spending my Sundays at Latin Mass. And even there, I'm happy to say that after years of wringing my hands over finding the right religious/spiritual community for me, I'm OK not believing in a literal sense what 99% of the other folks there do. I believe there's something bigger than us out there, beyond this Earth and this life, and I think all religions are taking their best stab at what that is. They're all certain they've found the answer, and they argue with each other and condemn each other, when no one really knows the answers, since obviously none of us are dead yet. But I found peace in a crappy childhood sitting in the quiet beauty of our local Catholic church, and after all the years of struggle to find a spiritual home as an adult, I find I'm content just to sit in the quiet of a Latin Mass and contemplate the Big Questions silently in my own head. That's enough. And if you take the Bible as a series of metaphors, allegories, and symbols for humanity's quest to struggle with its own shortcomings and find redemption, then the overarching story still holds some value. And Mary can still be my spiritual Mom, the way she always has.

I still prefer the relaxed reverence of Eastern Orthodox worship and its comparative flexibility in regard to individual situations to the overly regimented, rigid, and foolishly legalistic Catholic approach. But having already been baptized and confirmed Catholic, I also don't have to endure a yearlong catechism just to fully participate in the service. That counts for something. Besides, if you present yourself for communion, the priest just assumes you're a Catholic in good standing and a state of grace. It's only the Orthodox who look askance at you as you approach, wanting to know who your bishop is before you'll be administered the Eucharist. Who needs that kind of control-freak drama? 

But either way, I'm not there because I'm obsessed with sin and hell. I'm there because I find church a peaceful refuge from the hysteria and stupidity of the world at large. Besides, Latin Catholics are good political allies to have in these times, at least until Pope Francis shuts down the Latin Mass for good. There aren't many churches you can go to where there isn't a face diaper in sight and no one hectors you to put one on or show your papers, Nazi Germany-style. One of the Latin Mass priests recently made an ironic joke about "freedom-loving Washington" in contrast to Idaho, where the appellation actually fits. I like him. I like the church. Yeah, they're uptight and Pharisaical about proper dress and crying kids and being properly disposed to receive communion, but I would expect no less and find their hyperserious joylessness all kind of a funny affectation. As if Jesus would criticize someone for not wearing a clean, pressed cloak of the finest cloth. As if he'd turn anyone away who sought him out in the Eucharist. 

The rad-trads totally miss the point of Christ's message. But then almost all Christians miss the point in one way or another. The evangelical nutters worship Paul and apparently think Jesus was just blowing hot air when he expected his followers to actually live out the values of the Sermon on the Mount. Just head up at the altar call and say you believe, and then you can act however you want for the rest of your life because your ticket to heaven is irrevocable. "Sin boldly," as Martin Luther once put it. 

Yeah, keep me a mile away from those people. At least the Catholics think your salvation can be lost, so they regularly confess their sins and try to stay on the straight and narrow, which means that at least some of them actually make an effort to pick up their crosses in imitation of Christ. 

And forget the liberal Christians, who reduce Jesus to a feel-good hippie, recoil from any and all theology like it was a flaming pile of dog crap, pretend that the Bible doesn't actually condemn gay people, and worship transgenderism more than they do the Almighty. Also, put on your masks for the rest of eternity, because yay faith and logic alike. Why bother going to a church like that when you could just attend a Democratic Party-sponsored political rally?

 This is fine. 

All of it. 

As much as my health sucks, I don't know how much longer I'll be vertical on this planet anyway. I feel horrible for the garbage my daughter is going to have to endure in her lifetime. But there's not a damn thing she or I can do about it. 

And when you can't do anything about it, you might as well come to terms with the fact that you can control what you control and let the rest burn down.

And then look out at the stupid world and say... that's right...