Unforgiveness (from fear of rejected love) & Overpride (from fear of terminal abandonment)

“Why do you drink a poison brewed from the root of bitterness — in order to foment a curse on your adversary??”  rhetorically asks erudite sage Pastor Wilfredo Agngaray of our Filipino ministry behind our Hilo Shopping Center.   

 

Pastor Agngaray (Ilocano origin) look-alike as a young man

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1) Unforgiveness (perpetrator’s ego defensiveness which conscripts/ruins its victim — caused by the perpetrator’s spirit of fear of rejection/failure — estrangement/separation-brokenness-resentment; getting dumped)

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2) Overpride (self-inflated importance caused by the perpetrator’s smallness of spirit-inferiority/insecurity  — alienation/being dumped — abandonment; absence of self-respect

are self-destructive.  

Hebrews 12:15, Matthew 18:23-35

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Unforgiveness/judgmentalism/resentment usually consist of personal feelings of inadequacy/guilt  in relation to another person (e.g. getting dumped).

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Overpride/self-importance usually involve absence of self-confidence/esteem  — how you perceive yourself in the eyes & opinions of others  — the surrounding collective social milieu  — in addition to the most crucial matter  — absence of one’s personal intimate solitary self-respect, which also overlaps with unforgiveness at its deepest personal root above.   The collective shame against you which you perceive —  is all-consuming, which can result in needless extreme self-imposed despair-hopelessness, stress, neurosis, anxiety,  and depression.   Celebrated painter Vincent van Gogh was not able to separate himself (self-respect)  from his perceived opinions of others about him (issue of self-confidence/esteem)(van Gogh lived in abject poverty/isolation), so he self- compelled to wander/despair in this tragic, seemingly hopeless,  and indifferent world and life of ours, ultimately shooting himself in the heart (terminal abandonment), not the head (estrangement).  Perceived terminal abandonment seemingly appears worse than perceived estrangement/separation.

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Peculiarly, van Gogh was not swollen with overpride/egomania, but instead sorrowed/lamented over his perceived unhappy life.  Anthony Bourdain, on the other hand, probably was angry because he was not happy, self-evidently answering his own mother’s inexplicable puzzlement as to why he would commit suicide when he had all the fame & fortune one fantasizes about.  Fashion designer Kate Spade’s hanging 3 days before Bourdain’s hanging (unrelated to each other) apparently was triggered over her estrangement (getting dumped) from her husband, who was going to divorce her.

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The positive outcomes are the opposite of unforgiveness/”involuntary” separation/estrangement/brokenness  — i.e. wholeness/compassion (antidotes to resentful unforgiveness/judgmentalism, perpetrators such as some hubris-filled  pastors/condemnors/humiliators/accusers who revel/titillate in embarrassing the many so-called sinners)

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overpride/abandonment/alienation — i.e. freedom/humbleness.

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I stand incredulous before the sheer number of people reporting/experiencing symptoms of depression. I say again, I don’t believe our ancestors experienced the same proportion of depressive symptoms. Possible explanations for this phenomenon: Crisis of meaning, for example. An increasingly vacuous culture, with significant evidence of devolution. Or, perhaps depression/depressive episodes is in part provoked by the emotional self-absorption of moderns – the observable, inexplicable delay of real emotional conversance and maturity in modern people. — Steven Kalas

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Crisis of meaning consists of alienation/fear of terminal abandonment.   Healthy attitude/willingness/humbleness consist of deepest personal intimate self-respect, not how you perceive yourself in the eyes/opinions of others (matters of self-confidence/esteem).

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Self-absorption consists of estrangement/fear of rejection-failure.  Healthy authentic living consists of compassion/empathy/love for others, not selfish narcissism.  Elon Musk’s “arrested development” typifies unhealthy self-centeredness/inflated ego.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/07/17/brics-from-above-seen-critically-from-below/

Tesla investors demand Elon Musk apologize for calling Thailand diver ‘pedo’

Tesla CEO called immature after attacking Vernon Unsworth, who rescued trapped children

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My note to a person who has humbleness/self-respect and compassion (the person’s ancestor is Kunizo Suzuki, 1st Japanese entrepreneur in Hawai’i 1845-1915)   —

Thanks for the Hawaii Times article & for your dialogue.   “Kuni” was a spiritual guy.  Let me know if Kuni comes to you in a dream (cf. Acts 2:17).  If so, this dream says loads about you (incl. unconsciously), which might clue into your Kuni DNA (“the measure of the man Kuni”).  Example:  Beatle Paul McCartney’s mom died of cancer when he was 14 yrs. old (btw, Lennon’s mom died in a traffic accident when Lennon was 17  — both teens became goal-oriented, not slackers).  In 1968 at the height of Beatlemania’s “maddening” world,  the stressed-out McCartney was comforted by his deceased mom Mary in a dream.  Thence his song “Let it be” (“it’ll be all right, just let it be”).  On the other hand, “atheist” Lennon screeched “That’s not a Beatles song!” (ergo, McCartney’s song alone).  Ha ha.  Lennon a finicky guy. You can see Mary all thru McCartney’s “ballads” (Long/Winding Road, Here/There/Everywhere, etc.).

I like to imagine Ronald Reagan at age 150 yrs. old, mind/body still intact, & how he would change the things he did when he was 70 yrs. old (as U.S. President, 2nd oldest elected president next to Donald Trump).  Just reflecting.

To me there’s no difference between the cultural idea of healthy thought (“Kuni’s lifetime journey of authentic wanderlust”) & the Christian idea of Salvation (John 5:24/Revelation 20:12-15).   Maybe the notion of Reagan living to 150 yrs. old  —  is needless   —  since eternal truths reside in (the Bible) (your intuition/dream?)….

Bye for now.  Sweet “dreams.”  (Tch tch)

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“Kuni” look alike as a young sojourner

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fine composer Felix Cavaliere’s mom  also died when Felix was 14 yrs. old.  Like Elvis (sole surviving child) & Frank Sinatra, Felix was an only child.   Madonna also lost her mom (at age 5)

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“For me, there’s hardly a gnat’s whisker of difference between the psychological idea of healthy individuation and the Christian idea of salvation. Both include the lifetime journey of authentic living.”

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When the human ego conscripts the language, the work and the mantle of self-respect, you start to feel really good and right about discarding people from your life.

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And then you can know that you were right, because you don’t have any friends at all.

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Self-respect and self-importance — not the same at all. But they can feel the same.

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Why can’t I be like you or in sync with you?

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Because then there would be no need for a me —  just you. 

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/54285947.html

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In this gaping hole of despair & hopelessness of one’s predicament is a crushing emptiness and an aloneness that can make you lose your mind —  and a sadness that can make your heart question the wisdom and the relevance of continuing to beat — a sadness no person thinks one can bear alone.

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On some days, very much to wish it would stop beating.

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To die of unrequited love. van Gogh didn’t shoot himself in the head. He shot himself in the heart. He saw reality so deeply and clearly, yet could not ultimately disconnect his heart [“be not of this world” Matthew 13:22 — self-respect despite this indifferent and tragic sentient life] from this reality or the other people in it.

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van Gogh died because, in the end, he could not differentiate himself [self-respect] from the Collective Unconscious [Carl Jung’s format] [our indifferent & tragic lack of empathy/compassion in our broken/flawed sentient nature] into which he was compelled to wander.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/lifes-journey-includes-pain-of-suffering-69506497.html

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Share the suffering. The opportunity to tell the story of our suffering to a compassionate and skillful listener is helpful beyond measure. Simply in the telling and retelling, we begin to shift perspective, to put a healing distance between us and the pain.

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/_Retirement_leaves_time_for_pondering_self_relationships.html

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Question: What do all people seeking release from personal despair have in common?

Answer: They are suffering some combination of alienation and estrangement.

Alienation means a crisis of belonging. We are alien. We don’t belong.

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Estrangement means the painful disruption of the bonds of relationship. Interpersonal injuries and injustices. To become estranged is to become a stranger to the one we love and by whom we are loved.

Use of the word “misfit” sounds like a crisis of alienation and estrangement.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/western-religion-breeding-ground-neurosis

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When it comes to the question of the usefulness of guilt in shaping and inspiring a thriving human identity, I would say Western religion is, at once, beautiful, nutty and (potentially) pathological. Healthy religion knows these dangers. And psychologically healthy pilgrims embrace what is beautiful while keeping a keen watch on what is nutty or pathological.

Guilt is beautiful, holy, vital and important when it is healthy guilt. And healthy guilt is nothing more or less than the name of the grief we feel when we abandon our own values. The grief of estrangement and alienation. Healthy guilt, however miserable it feels, contains within itself a holy longing for reconciliation. (One prayer, for example, is asking God to “give me a contrite heart.” Meaning, “Please give me the courage to let my heart break over the ways I have hurt others, etc.”)  Healthy rites [e.g. liturgy], rituals and symbols — bear much beauty into the world to facilitate the blessings of healthy guilt, healthy shame.

The nutty or potentially pathological side of guilt happens when people, families or institutions (especially the church) peddle guilt to us with darker, perhaps unconscious motives. If you, for example, are threatened by another’s genius, gifts and “light” (envy!), then one way to dodge the threat is to instill in that person a grave, crippling self-doubt. An anxious, paralyzing self-consciousness forcing a default posture of apology to the world for daring to be him/herself.

Or, people/institutions instill guilt because they are projecting sadism. That is, they are reveling in the humiliation of sinners. Yes, some of our accusers are having a grand time!

Control, humiliation, hierarchy, authority, power — when discussions of guilt bear these darker motives, run away quickly!!

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In praise of an American Original Performer, Willy DeVille 1950-2009

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_DeVille#In_New_Orleans

This year marks the 30th anniversary of  eclectic entertainer Willy De Ville’s embrace of New Orleans, Louisiana, where he says he found his spiritual home. “I was stunned”, he said in a 1993 interview. “I had the feeling that I was going back home. It was very strange… I live in the French Quarter, two streets away from Bourbon Street; at night, when I go to bed, I hear the boogie that comes from the streets, and in the morning, when I wake up, I hear the blues.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_DeVille#Death_and_legacy

Visionary Willy De Ville who did his “New” based on the “Old”   —

Thom Jurek wrote about De Ville  after his death, “Willy DeVille is America’s loss even if America doesn’t know it yet. The reason is simple: Like the very best rock and roll writers and performers in our history, he’s one of the very few who got it right; he understood what made a three-minute song great, and why it mattered—because it mattered to him. He lived and died with the audience in his shows, and he gave them something to remember when they left the theater, because he meant every single word of every song as he performed it. Europeans like that. In this jingoistic age of American pride, perhaps we can revisit our own true love of rock and roll by discovering Willy DeVille for the first time—or, at the very least, remember him for what he really was: an American original. The mythos and pathos in his songs, his voice, and his performances were born in these streets and cities and then given to the world who appreciated him much more than we did.

Singer Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band said about him, “He had all the roots of music that I love and had this whole street thing of R&B — just the whole gestalt… He was just a tremendous talent; a true artist in the sense that he never compromised. He had a special vision and remained true to it.”

Writing in the Wall Street Journal about the posthumous release of DeVille’s Come a Little Bit Closer: The Best of Willy DeVille Live (2011), Marc Meyers declared, “There was creative heat and pain in Mr. DeVille’s eerie, edgy look and sound. While his punk-roadhouse fusion sailed over the heads of many at home, his approach inspired many British pop invaders of the 1980s, including Tears for Fears, Human League and Culture Club… He was a punk eclectic with a heart of golden oldies and Joe Cocker‘s pipes. A seedy sophisticate, Mr. DeVille was decades ahead of his time.”

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Like Willy DeVille after him, Rev. Hung Wai Ching 1905-2002 was THE ORIGINAL in Hawai’i  — Hung Wai our greatest modern historymaker (Kamehameha the Great the greatest ancient page-turner)  —

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/rev-hung-wai-ching-1905-2002-our-greatest-modern-destinymaker/

Rev. Ching look-alike as a young man

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Ancient Grecian (Greek) precept peripeteia — reversal of expectation/convention —  denote mysteries lost in the clouds of time!!

Rev. Ching, a Chinese American, Chinese being ancient enemies of the Japanese, is the reason the Japanese in Hawai’i survived the cauldron of WWII & the bombing of Pearl Harbor 12/7/41   —–  in addition to averting mass internment of  our local Japanese population in Hawai’i, Hung Wai is the genesis of the most decorated American military unit for its size in WWII   — the segregated 100th Batt./442nd RCT.

Keopu Kona’s Koji Ariyoshi 1914-1976, no relation to gutless coward George Ariyoshi, was a key acolyte of Hung Wai. 

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Rev. Hung Wai Ching got Merchant St. godfather/baron/scion Frank Atherton 1877-1945 to sponsor left-wing radical Koji Ariyoshi of Keopu, North Kona to grad from U Georgia Journalism School — Yale of the South — where Koji learned under master litérateurs  — peripeteia that premier capitalist yet well-meaning Atherton sponsored left wing radical Koji—   Koji look-alike as a young man   —

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Koji teamed up with West Coast legend Goso Karl Yoneda 1906-1999, who founded the ILWU on the West Coast (just as ‘Opihikao native Jack Kawano founded the ILWU in Hawai’i)  — Nikkei (Japanese ethnicity) all.

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Goso Karl Yoneda look-alike as a young man

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Our greatest Korean-American?  Forget “pollster” (spineless) Chief Justice Ron Moon & patsy Mayor Harry Kim.    It’s none other than our incomparable brilliant heartstopper granite mountain of integrity, Herbert Choy 1916-2004.   Young Oak Kim 1919-2005 also deserves mention.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Choy

Herbert Choy

Herbert Choy
Herbert Choy.jpg

Official portrait
Korean name
Hangul 최영조
Revised Romanization Choe Yeong-jo
McCune–Reischauer Ch’oe Yŏng-cho

Herbert Young Cho Choy (January 6, 1916 – March 10, 2004) was the first Asian American to serve as a United States federal judge and the first person of Korean ancestry to be admitted to the bar in the United States.[1]

Background

Choy was born in 1916 in Makaweli, Hawaii, to Korean immigrants who worked in sugar plantations in Hawaii. Choy received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawaii in 1938 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1941. He was the first person of Korean ancestry to be admitted to practice law in the United States.

He was a Hawaii Territorial Guard from 1941 to 1942, and he was in the United States Army from 1942 to 1946. From 1946 to 1947, Choy served in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. After leaving the service, he worked with the firm of Fong Miho Choy & Robinson from 1947 to 1957, where one of his partners was the future U.S. Senator Hiram Fong.

From 1957 to 1958, Choy served as Attorney General for the Territory of Hawaii. On April 7, 1971, at the urging of Senator Fong, President Richard Nixon appointed Choy to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, to a seat vacated by Stanley Nelson Barnes. At the time of Choy’s appointment, there were no Asian Americans serving anywhere on the federal bench. Choy was the first individual from Hawaiʻi ever appointed to the court. Choy was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 21, 1971, and received commission on April 23, 1971.

Choy actively served until October 3, 1984, when he took senior status, continuing to serve as a Ninth Circuit judge, but with a partially reduced caseload, until his death in 2004. He was a native of the Hawaiian island of Kauai and had chambers in Honolulu. In 2001, one of Choy’s former law clerks, Richard Clifton, became the second judge from Hawaii to serve on the Ninth Circuit.

Choy authored many significant opinions, upholding the constitutionality of a law allowing child sexual abuse victims to testify via closed-circuit television, allowing a Muslim inmate to sue Phoenix-area jail officials for imposing discriminatory security measures at Muslim services, and upholding California’s “green advertising” law regulating advertisers’ claims about “biodegradable” or “recycled” products.

He died in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 10, 2004 due to complications from pneumonia.[2]

References

  1. Jump up ^ “Isle Judge was Asian Pioneer in the Law Field Nationwide”. archives.starbulletin.com. March 12, 2004. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  2. Jump up ^ “Herbert Choy served on 9th Circuit Court”. the.honoluluadvertiser.com. March 12, 2004. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 

External links

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Young Oak Kim look-alike

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young-Oak_Kim

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Our greatest Luso/Portuguese — peripatetic intrepid man of God Rev. Ernest Gomes da Silva 1873-1955  (legendary greatest mob-buster Paul De Silva’s vuvu/grandpa, Paul’s providential divine educator dad Ernest Bowen De Silva’s father)  — look-alike        https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/our-greatest-portugueseluso-historymaker-christian-pastor-ernest-gomes-de-silva-1873-1955-fka-da-silva-for-his-ethnic-inclusion-his-congregational-calling-social-class-integration-upw/

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Dennis Farina in 2011.jpg

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our greatest Puerto Rican in Hawai’i —  Carlos Mario Fraticelli, Puerto Rican poet laureate of Hawaii 1863-1945      http://archives.starbulletin.com/98/02/05/features/dakine.html

look-alike

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Jon Seda at 2014 Imagen Awards.jpg

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our greatest Okinawan, Shokan Jesse Shima (bukuro) 1901-2002 look-alike (Hilo’s Jesse confidant to FDR’s chief advisor Harry Hopkins & to President Ike Eisenhower’s chief advisor Jim Hagerty, & Jesse great affiliate of African-Americans Mordecai Johnson/Charles Hamilton Houston — Brown v. Bd. of Education 1954 — greatest ever U.S. Supreme Court case)

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our greatest older Filipino immigrant  in Hawai’i  — Pablo Manlapit  1891-1969 look-alike  (but flammable Manlapit, 25 yrs. younger than our sage greatest Japanese immigrant Rev. Takie Okumura, ticked off Okumura for hothead Manlapit’s impulsive ferocity)

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Manlapit chutzpah (sass)

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and younger Filipino immigrant Ben Menor 1922-1986 look-alike

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Rev. Takie Okumura look-alike

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poignant Westernized assimilationist Buddhist Rev. Yemyo Imamura look-alike as a young man

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our greatest modern ethnic Hawaiian   —  Bill Richardson — look-alike

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_S._Richardson#Controversies

Richardson’s landmark decisions recognized the precedent of the state’s unique cultural and legal history; specifically the public’s interests in the environment, and the rights of the indigenous Hawaiian people. Under Richardson, the court held that the public’s interest in the natural environment may limit or prohibit commercial development of sensitive areas, particularly coastlines and beaches; that the public has right to access Hawaii’s beaches, and that land created by lava flows belonged to the state, not to nearby property owners. Richardson declared, “The western concept of exclusivity is not universally applicable in Hawaii.” When two sugarcane plantations each sought the right to a water source, Richardson cited precedent from the court of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, and declared that the water belonged to neither of them, but to the state. The Richardson court recognized previously ignored claims of the indigenous Hawaiian people.

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Bill Paty look-alike (Paty lubed the money train for ethnic Hawaiian entitlements)

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Part-Hawaiian vocalists Irie Love & Anuhea

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outrageous abominations for proper society; &  “tribal” sexuality “disrespects” genderS

http://www.complex.com/music/the-greatest-rap-songs-about-sex/rasheeda-got-that-good

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Hawai’i local “gang rap” redemptively resents firearms/blades

because bare-handed “rite of passage” to “testosterone-HOOD aka DA HOOD” atavistically/tribally  comes from our loving Polynesian culture & our geographical separation from the Stateside culture of violence (i.e. American Civil War which resulted in murderous carnage of well over half a million soldiers 620,000  —  taken as a % of today’s population, the total KIA count is 6 million  — inexplicable/cataclysmic!

https://www.civilwar.org/learn/articles/civil-war-casualties

 “Negroes” very much suffered at the hands of “White” warfare

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/sick-from-freedom-9780199758722?cc=us&lang=en&  )

“Urban gangSTA rap” denotes firearms/blades as implements of destruction/domination

https://genius.com/21-savage-and-young-nudy-air-it-out-lyrics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gangsta_rap

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my message on June 5, 2018 to Scotty Brewster about our Kapoho lava inundation   —

https://www.facebook.com/spencerfamilyofhawaii/

Obadiah Spencer had his ranch/lumber mill/etc. (Spencer anthropology)  in our current East Rift Zone lava devastation area (incl. Kula Kapoho graben — lowland — literal meaning of “Kapoho” —  between perched Kapoho fault system to the south, & Koa’e fault system to the north), Spencer being connected with former owner Charles Kana’ina & wife Kekāuluohi, parents of monarch Lunalilo (exremely popular 1st elected monarch affectionately dubbed “The People’s King”), Kana’ina being descended from ancient ruler ‘Umi, whose exquisite heiau atop Kula Kapoho Puna “Pu’u Kuki’i” withstands this moment’s lava inundation. Aptly, so venerated was the stonework (not even a blade of grass could grow between stones) that one of its stones was emplaced in Kanaina’s ‘Iolani Palace location (cherished by King Kalākaua, Tom/Charles Spencer’s dearest friend/confidant), & another of its stones set at Lyman House (like Tom Spencer, literal racial integrationist Rufus Lyman eventually bought out Obadiah’s interests — site Kula means plains/meadows in Hawaiian — & Lyman’s Spencer ranch transitioned to Wm. H. Reed/stepson W.H. Shipman later pastoral holdings). Obadiah’s original ranch/lumber yards sites & Hawaii’s largest freshwater natural resource, Green Lake, were inundated by lava 3 days ago, being nestled in the bosom (at the east base) of Kapoho Cone protecting the Green Lake area for 400 yrs. till now. BTW, Kuki’i sister cone Pu’u Kukae tops the settler cemetery which was spared being overrun by the 1960 Kapoho lava flow (which extended the shoreline a half mile out to sea, in the process covering my parents’/our vacation home site & the gorgeous ocean tidepools). Lunalilo was descended from legendary seafarer Pa’ao, who introduced the heiau edifice/complex  — & volcano lava deity Madam Pele!!  Spencer anthropology converges concisely with the cultural genesis of Hawaiians right here at Pu’u Kuki’i!!!

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Our family’s oceanfront tidepools were situated 100 ft. oceanside of the homesite farthest toward the ocean in this video at timeclock 4:39   —

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What the 1960 Kapoho lava flow did not cover, the 2018 lava flow does as it creeps forward over uncovered territory  — see the gravel road at the bottom of the screen at timeclock :14 below, the same gravel road you see at timeclock 4:39 (gravel road heading toward the ocean) in the previous video above.   The lava inexorably creeps forward.

 

 

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Tremendous thinker & archetype of forgiveness —  investigative/research sleuth extraordinaire George Will   —

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/theres-no-good-reason-to-stop-felons-from-voting/2018/04/06/88484076-3905-11e8-8fd2-49fe3c675a89_story.html?utm_term=.231ae63824be

There’s no good reason to stop felons from voting

by George F. Will

 

The bumpy path of Desmond Meade’s life meandered to its current interesting point. He is a graduate of Florida International University law school but cannot vote in his home state because his path went through prison: He committed nonviolent felonies concerning drugs and other matters during the 10 years he was essentially homeless. And Florida is one of 11 states that effectively disqualify felons permanently.

Meade is one of 1.6 million disenfranchised Florida felons — more than the total number of people who voted in 22 separate states in 2016. He is one of the more than 20 percent of African American Floridians disenfranchised. The state has a low threshold for felonious acts: Someone who gets into a bar fight, or steals property worth $300 — approximately two pairs of Air Jordans — or even drives without a license for a third time can be disenfranchised for life. There is a cumbersome, protracted process whereby an individual, after waiting five to seven years (it depends on the felony) can begin a trek that can consume 10 years and culminates with politicians and their appointees deciding who can recover their vote.

Meade heads the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which gathered more than 1 million signatures to get the state Supreme Court to approve, and local supervisors of elections to verify, the ballot initiative that voters will decide on Nov. 6. Meade’s basic argument on behalf of what he calls “returning citizens” such as him is: “I challenge people to say that they never want to be forgiven for anything they’ve done.” Persons convicted of murder or felony sexual offense would not be eligible for enfranchisement.

Intelligent and informed people of good will can strenuously disagree about the wisdom of policies that have produced mass incarceration. What is, however, indisputable is that this phenomenon creates an enormous problem of facilitating the reentry into society of released prisoners who were not improved by the experience of incarceration and who face discouraging impediments to employment and other facets of social normality. In 14 states and the District , released felons automatically recover their civil rights.

Recidivism among Florida’s released felons has been approximately 30 percent for the five years 2011-2015. Of the 1,952 people whose civil rights were restored, five committed new offenses, an average recidivism rate of 0.4 percent. This sample is skewed by self-selection — overrepresentation of those who had the financial resources and tenacity to navigate the complex restoration process that each year serves a few hundred of the 1.6 million. Still, the recidivism numbers are suggestive.

What compelling government interest is served by felon disenfranchisement? Enhanced public safety? How? Is it to fine-tune the quality of the electorate? This is not a legitimate government objective for elected officials to pursue. A felony conviction is an indelible stain: What intelligent purpose is served by reminding felons — who really do not require reminding — of their past, and by advertising it to their community? The rule of law requires punishments, but it is not served by punishments that never end and that perpetuate a social stigma and a sense of never fully reentering the community.

Meade, like one-third of the 4.7 million current citizens nationwide who have reentered society from prison but cannot vote, is an African American. More than 1 in 13 African Americans nationally are similarly disenfranchised, as are 1 in 5 of Florida’s African American adults. Because African Americans overwhelmingly vote Democratic, ending the disenfranchisement of felons could become yet another debate swamped by partisanship, particularly in Florida, the largest swing state, where close elections are common: Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s margins of victory in 2010 and 2014 were 1.2 and 1.1 percent, respectively. And remember the 537 Florida votes that made George W. Bush president.

Last week, Scott’s administration challenged a federal judge’s order that the state adopt a rights-restoration procedure that is less arbitrary and dilatory. A Quinnipiac poll shows that 67 percent of Floridians favor and only 27 percent oppose enfranchisement of felons. These numbers might provoke Republicans, who control both houses of the legislature, to try to siphon away support for the restoration referendum by passing a law that somewhat mitigates the severity of the current policy. Such a law would be presented for the signature of the governor, who is trying to unseat three-term Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

Again, who is comfortable with elected politicians winnowing the electorate? When the voting results from around the nation are reported on the evening of Nov. 6, some actual winners might include 1.6 million Floridians who were not allowed to cast ballots.

Read more from George F. Will’s archive or follow him on Facebook.

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“Why do you drink a poison brewed from the root of bitterness — in order to foment a curse on your adversary??”  rhetorically asks erudite sage Pastor Wilfredo Agngaray.    

1) Unforgiveness (perpetrator’s ego defensiveness which conscripts/ruins its victim — caused by a spirit of fear of rejection/failure — estrangement/separation-brokenness-resentment; getting dumped)

and

2) Overpride (self-inflated importance caused by smallness of spirit-inferiority/insecurity  — alienation/being dumped — abandonment; absence of self-respect

are self-destructive.  

Hebrews 12:15, Matthew 18:23-35

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/1-peter-48-love-covers-a-multitude-of-sins-center-of-grace-or-in-the-secular-sense-forgive-yourself-for-what-is-not-in-your-power-to-do/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/energy-vamps-croix-and-george-brine/

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Unforgiveness/judgmentalism/resentment usually consist of personal feelings of inadequacy/guilt  in relation to another person (e.g. getting dumped).

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Overpride/self-importance usually involves absence of self-confidence  — how you perceive yourself in the eyes & opinions of others  — the surrounding collective social milieu  — in addition to the most crucial matter  — absence of one’s personal intimate solitary self-respect, which also overlaps with unforgiveness at its deepest personal root above.   The collective shame against you which you perceive is all-consuming, which can result in needless extreme self-imposed stress, anxiety,  and depression.   Celebrated painter Vincent van Gogh was not able to separate himself (self-respect)  from his perceived opinions of others about him (issue of self-confidence), so he self- compelled to wander in this tragic and indifferent world and life of ours, ultimately shooting himself in the heart (terminal abandonment), not the head (estrangement).  Perceived terminal abandonment seemingly appears worse than perceived estrangement/separation.

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Peculiarly, van Gogh was not swollen with overpride/egomania, but instead sorrowed/lamented over his perceived unhappy life.  Anthony Bourdain, on the other hand, probably was angry because he was not happy, self-evidently answering his own mother’s inexplicable puzzlement as to why he would commit suicide when he had all the fame & fortune one fantasizes about.  Fashion designer Kate Spade’s hanging 3 days before Bourdain’s hanging (unrelated to each other) apparently was triggered over her estrangement (getting dumped) from her husband, who was going to divorce her.

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Symbols are the language of dreams. A symbol can invoke a feeling or an idea and often has a much more profound and deeper meaning than any one word can convey.

 

http://www.dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary/

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Symbols (other persons/things)  often “mask” the actual person/thing  (of one’s deepest secrets and hidden feelings –

unresolved conflicts discoverable via transference, as an example

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoanalytic_dream_interpretation#Contemporary_psychoanalytic_approach

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Displacement_(psychology)    )

 –

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inasmuch the real person/thing emblematic of  immense suffering stretches oneself (e.g. the dreamer) into the vortex of vulnerability –

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a psychic well so deep that is not without grave cost    –

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perhaps in the extreme instance  –   to die as one lived –  as a person of self-determination and self-worth.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/02/brittany-maynard-death_n_6077482.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Yet, in the depths of despair, absurdity, and indifference of life,

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one finds the deepest connectedness, the deepest continuity,

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with the primary humanity which defines you  –

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 the piety of being who you are because someone loved you.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathleen-anderson/why-cornel-west-loves-jan_b_6140744.html?utm_hp_ref=books

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My life has been a Griffin Dunne character in After Hours    

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Paul Hackett (Dunne) experiences a series of misadventures as he tries to make his way home  (mishaps produce laughter via cynicism, skepticism, & the irony of incurring wrath thru one’s desire of pleasure).

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This film is on the list of “Great Movies,” and it combines comedy, satire, and irony (irreducible truth) with unrelenting pressure and a sense of all-pervading paranoia/destruction.

Hopscotch to oblivion’, Barcelona, Spain

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtPI9jIx1kU

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_Hours_(film)

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immensely passionate Anna Zorkina   —

 

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One should not feel worthless for being forsaken by another –

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The words were a powerful intervention and hapless. Like stepping out in your front yard to shout down a tornado. The pathos of helplessness.

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To live well in our grief, we have to forgive ourselves for what was not in our power to do.

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“The luck of the draw.” — Steven Kalas

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/family/best-approach-help-some-addicts-step-away

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/relationship-important-part-of-effective-therapy-127085853.html

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The points are to establish love and emotional support as our idyllic commands, in a tragic and indifferent world.

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Needless suffering is of this world, stuck in this indifferent and tragic life.

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Indeed, true love endures. It’s just that people need to close the gestalt of being in love with the person who no longer loves you and get through their hurt, bitterness, disappointment and anger before what endures can be apprehended as the honored friend it is (self-respect) and not the cruel enemy it appears to be right after we’ve been dumped by the love of our life.

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True love endures. That’s a good thing.

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But true love is different from needless suffering for the rest of your life.

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At the end of the day, we have to grow a self-respect sufficient not to want someone who doesn’t want us.

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http://www.lvrj.com/view/love-can-endure-if-people-work-through-lost-relationships-144330465.html

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Søren Kierkegaard says that life is full of absurdity, and one must make his and her own values in an indifferent world. One can live meaningfully (free of despair and anxiety) in an unconditional commitment to something finite, and devotes that meaningful life to the commitment, despite the vulnerability inherent to doing so. As sage Steven Kalas says, we’re here to love and be loved. That’s it. Dying people revel in who they became in meaningful relationships (soulmates)! Every other dimension of life — job, money, golf game, emptying the kitchen trash — is only important as it serves the end of how and why you are related to another soul.

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“Sometimes the worst pain comes from feeling unloved [negatively manifesting unforgiveness — ego defensiveness caused by a spirit of fear of rejection/failure — estrangement/separation-brokenness-resentment-recently getting dumped]

and

abandoned [thence imagining the opposite — entitlement– overpride (self-inflated importance caused by smallness of spirit-inferiority/insecurity  — alienation/being dumped -past/present tenses)].”

 [The positive outcomes are the opposite of “involuntary” separation/estrangement/brokenness — i.e. wholeness

&     abandonment/alienation  — i.e. freedom

   https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/music-a-bridge-from-abandonment-and-brokenness-to-wholeness-and-freedom/    ]

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That happened to me when my marriage of more than three decades ended. When my husband walked out on me, he took my sense of self-worth with him.

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Without him to validate me as a human being,

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I began to think I wasn’t worth anything at all.”

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It is very hard to let go of your past. For years I held on to my old life, refusing to let go. I just couldn’t see any other life worth living. Letting go of your past is a long, hard process, and for me that process isn’t over yet. In some ways, it’s just beginning.

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But here is why it’s important that we put in that time and effort — because if we live in the past, we will never discover our destiny. Destiny, promise, potential, purpose — all of these are things that have to do with the future, not the past.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/antoinette-tuff/three-steps-to-turning-pain-purpose_b_4979660.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS%20for%20the%20Soul

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I stand incredulous before the sheer number of people reporting/experiencing symptoms of depression. I say again, I don’t believe our ancestors experienced the same proportion of depressive symptoms. Possible explanations for this phenomenon: Crisis of meaning, for example. An increasingly vacuous culture, with significant evidence of devolution. Or, perhaps depression/depressive episodes is in part provoked by the emotional self-absorption of moderns – the observable, inexplicable delay of real emotional conversance and maturity in modern people. — Steven Kalas

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“For me, there’s hardly a gnat’s whisker of difference between the psychological idea of healthy individuation and the Christian idea of salvation. Both include the lifetime journey of authentic living.”

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The spirit of fear (1. unforgiveness/self-conscripted insecurity/ego defensiveness; 2. smallness ergo self-inflated importance to mask our insecurity) is selfishness.     https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/energy-vamps-croix-and-george-brine/

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When the human ego conscripts the language, the work and the mantle of self-respect, you start to feel really good and right about discarding people from your life.

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And then you can know that you were right, because you don’t have any friends at all.

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Self-respect and self-importance — not the same at all. But they can feel the same.

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Why can’t I be like you or in sync with you?

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Because then there would be no need for a me —  just you. 

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-write-to-live-authentically-having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-per-great-sage-viktor-frankl/

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I write to live authentically — “having been” is the surest kind of being, per great sage Viktor Frankl

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Usually, to be sure, man considers only the stubble field of transitoriness [the “now”]

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and

overlooks

the full granaries of the past [reflective lookback] –

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wherein he had salvaged once and for all his deeds, his joys

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and also his sufferings.

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Nothing can be undone, and nothing can be done away with.

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[for example, I dream of being loved & wanted in the most beautiful way, & even if this dream is not reality, such thought/”unction” comprises my strength & “positive/right” attitude, even in the starkest moment of despair/seemingly hopeless predicament/state of nonexistence-nonbeing closest to death itself, having been forsaken all the way around —

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which is why Jewish Viktor Frankl’s dream amid the Holocaust even when facing down the death chamber/firing squad was “the angels are in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.” Ohh, so true!!]

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I should say ”having been” is the surest kind of being.

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2782.Viktor_E_Frankl?page=2

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‘Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved –

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but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.’ “

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From “Logotherapy in a Nutshell”, an essay” Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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The reality of life is the luck or unluck of the draw [a crapshoot] —

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“fair” & “unfair” are nonexistent in life’s vocabulary —

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life “just is.”

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Thence, how I deal with setbacks is the key to existence, not the external factual triggers [to despair/hopelessness of predicament].

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/54285947.html

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In this gaping hole of despair & hopelessness of one’s predicament is a crushing emptiness and an aloneness that can make you lose your mind and a sadness that can make your heart question the wisdom and the relevance of continuing to beat — a sadness no person thinks one can bear alone.

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On some days, very much to wish it would stop beating.

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To die of unrequited love. Van Gogh didn’t shoot himself in the head. He shot himself in the heart. He saw reality so deeply and clearly, yet could not ultimately disconnect his heart [“be not of this world” — self-respect despite this indifferent and tragic sentient life] from this reality or the other people in it.

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Van Gogh died because, in the end, he could not differentiate himself [self-respect] from the Collective Unconscious [our indifferent & tragic lack of empathy/compassion in our broken/flawed sentient nature] into which he was compelled to wander.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/sharing-grief-puts-a-healing-distance-between-us-and-the-pain-this-is-why-storytelling-matters/

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sharing grief puts a healing distance between us and the pain — this is why storytelling matters

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Share the suffering. The opportunity to tell the story of our suffering to a compassionate and skillful listener is helpful beyond measure. Simply in the telling and retelling, we begin to shift perspective, to put a healing distance between us and the pain.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/because-in-the-end-great-journeys-of-integrity-are-walked-alone-sage-steven-kalas/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/10174701.html

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Great journeys in emotional maturity are walked alone

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When another man’s life forces you to behold your own smallness, all you have to do is retro-narrate pathologized stories about him. Just like that, your world is a safer, happier place.

Your friends who are simply gone? You force me to behold,  something I hate to think about:

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All great journeys in emotional maturity are ultimately walked alone.

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The archetypal picture here is probably Jesus, whose friends agreed to accompany him into the garden of Gethsemane that night to pray. Jesus is scared. Anxious. Asking God if there isn’t some other way. He looks to his friends for support and encouragement.

And they are sound asleep. And Jesus asks a rhetorical question into the silent night air: “Will no one stay awake with me?”

As a matter of fact, no. Tonight Jesus will suffer, and he will suffer alone.

How to maintain some sense of respect and optimism for humanity? I can only tell you what I do.

When I’m feeling low, when I’ve lost track of why I keep putting one foot in front of the other, when I am sick and tired of paying the price for living out values about which no one else appears to have much if any investment, when I can no longer argue with Protestant theologian John Calvin who used the word “depraved” to describe the essential nature of human beings …

… well, that’s when I think of people like you [who suffers alone in ennobled integrated fashion to care for his incapacitated wife].

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/9380491.html

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Mystery surrounds deep connections we make with others [making friends with “Alone”]

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An old friend writes from far away. Oh, not that old. She’s 48. I mean we’ve been friends a long, long time.

There’s this bond between us. A connection. I felt it the first time we spoke, which is funny because the first thing she ever communicated to me was disdain. I was 23, so I reached into my repertoire for managing repartee with beautiful women and selected “boyish cockiness” for my retort.

When you’re 23 and male, boyish cockiness is pretty much the extent of your repertoire.

But that was it for us — bonded. A connection that has survived time together, protracted times apart, even years of no communication whatsoever. The friendship has survived love affairs — not with each other — marriages and becoming parents. We’ve been drunk together. And sober. It occurs to me that I’ve never seen her cry.

She was 20 when I met her. Once, on a whim, she sent me a picture of herself at age 5. I smiled. Somewhere inside myself I knew her then, too. Recognized her. In some alternative past, she and I played together in a sandbox (until she made me cry because she was so bossy). Like the bond between us contains secret passages that defy time and space.

She writes to me: “I get you, Steven Kalas.”

Her words strike me like thunder. Truly awestruck, like the way you fall into a spectacular sunset, or the way you stop breathing when you’re standing in a barn at 2 a.m. watching the birth of a calf. I’m focused in a point of time, staring at my monitor. It’s like she’s right here. Right now. I have a friend who gets me. She sees me. I jumble a few words and she says, “Oh yeah.” She not only understands, but understands why and how things matter to me.

Amen.

Then I have this other friend. Or did. Or thought I did. Could’ve sworn we were friends. Soul mates. Years we were friends. Across passion and victory and folly and failure. Across celebration and loss. This friend knows me. And doesn’t know me at all.

We’re not connected anymore.

And I know as much about why we’re no longer connected as I do why I’m still connected to the other friend. Which is to say I don’t know anything at all. And I’ve been railing against the disconnection, like, if I protest loudly and long enough, my erstwhile friend will snap out of it and be connected to me again.

I’ve decided to stop railing. Sad, yes. Probably sad forever. But pounding on it serves all the purpose of pounding on a grave. Why would I look for the living among the dead?

See, both connections and disconnections deserve the same responses. Awe. Respect for the mystery. Even I, a man who believes his gifts and his calling to be teaching people how to be in relationship — well, I can’t tell you much of anything about why some connections happen and some connections don’t happen and still others disintegrate.

The most terrible thing my therapist ever said to me was also the most important: “Steven, we’re alone. No one has anyone.”

Yikes-oi. (Sorry. This sort of thing happens when a GoyBoy tries to express himself forcefully in Yiddish.)

I hated what she said. Railed against it. Argued with it. She had thrown existential sand into the gas tank of my fine-tuned DeLorean of delusion. And my pricey car would go not one mile farther.

My therapist was right. And, as with every other time when she is right, it’s time for me to grow up. We’re alone. No one has anyone.

Strangely, this new truth, while initially a scalpel slashed across my chest without anesthetic, did not burden and depress me for long. Surrender to separateness and aloneness quickly began to create a new space in me. A space for … for …

… relief. A kind of peace. And, most precious, gratitude and humility. Relationship is a grace. A kind of miracle. Human communion emerges as a gift. An unmerited joy. Yes, there are ways of living more conducive to forging and maintaining lasting relationships than other ways of living. I’m not saying there’s nothing we can do. Just that, in the end, I no longer think I have earned or deserved the people who stand in the inner circle of my life.

I just give thanks.

We’re alone. No one has anyone.

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Human beings cannot be possessed. They cannot be apprehended. They can only be respected and enjoyed. Or respected and bid farewell. Relationship is mystery.

Who really sees you? Who gets you? If you need more than one hand to count those people, you are rich beyond your dreams.

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Individualism as ego overpride is not the solitary reflection of an authentic life –

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http://www.lvrj.com/view/steven-kalas-we-are-individuals-in-consequential-relationships-162688016.html

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/culture-s-approach-to-suffering-only-prolongs-pain-129608658.html

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And, for those kinds of sufferings/losses that can never be entirely healed, to bear it. To find meaning in it. To turn that suffering into some transformative work in the world.

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And the truth is this: The human journey includes suffering. No one comes to ask for help who isn’t suffering.

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But, here’s another truth: In any given time in your life, the number of people who actually, really, honestly want and

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are willing to grant you an engaged and healing audience for your suffering/loss is …

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small!! Or nonexistent!!

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Even people who sincerely love and adore you might find themselves ambivalent about really engaging and listening to the part of you that suffers. See, the people around us have egos, too. Their egos mobilize to protect them just like your ego does. “Cheer up … get over it … God has a plan … everybody is doing the best he or she can … don’t cry” — the felt motive for these messages is to help you.

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But each of these messages also contains the anxiety of the messenger:

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Please stop bothering and disturbing me by suffering.

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And that’s what most modern people do. They try to stop suffering. They “get over it.” They build layer upon layer of pretense and persona over their wounds, because it’s, well, the sociable thing to do. Most of us, then, suffer unconsciously. Because that’s the way we’ve been taught to suffer.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/9146411.html

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Lots of people don’t want to be present to sadness — their own or anyone else’s.

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Other people would like to be present to their bereaved friends and family, but don’t know how.

We live in a culture where grief is treated as a disease to be “cured,” or a weakness cursed of shame or self-loathing.

Contrarily, grief is the holiest of human journeys.

One of my favorite Friedrich Nietzsche quotes is, “Everything holy requires a veil.” Now, modern Americans might think he means that we should keep things covered up because those things are shameful. Nope. He means that some things are so beautiful, so huge, so powerful, so naked, so intimate, that to gaze casually upon them would be injurious to their meaning and value. Injurious ultimately to us.

Grief is such a thing.

I concur with your observation that people around us are largely inept at befriending us in grief. Yet I also encourage people like you to remember to veil (protect and value) their grief. Keep the circle of confidants small. Pick two and no more than five people who will hear the depths of your pain.

There are two ways to read your question at the end. Literally you ask how you might numb the heartache. But I’m guessing you aren’t being literal. In fact, it’s not a question at all, is it? It reads more like an indignation. Like, how dare anyone ask you to numb the heartache! How dare the medical community suggest drugging your bereavement!

See, you know how precious your sadness is. A breathless, crushing burden, yes. But precious.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/alienation-i-dont-belong-and-estrangement-getting-dumped-because-i-dont-belong/

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alienation [I don’t belong] and estrangement [getting dumped because I don’t belong]

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Alienation & estrangement – the results of Loss [e.g. getting dumped] by your beloved [lifemate/soulmate]

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/_Retirement_leaves_time_for_pondering_self_relationships.html

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Question: What do all people seeking release from personal despair have in common?

Answer: They are suffering some combination of alienation and estrangement.

Alienation means a crisis of belonging. We are alien. We don’t belong.

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Estrangement means the painful disruption of the bonds of relationship. Interpersonal injuries and injustices. To become estranged is to become a stranger to the one we love and by whom we are loved.

I’m saying your use of the word “misfit” sounds like a crisis of alienation and estrangement.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/western-religion-breeding-ground-neurosis

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When it comes to the question of the usefulness of guilt in shaping and inspiring a thriving human identity, I would say Western religion is, at once, beautiful, nutty and (potentially) pathological. Healthy religion knows these dangers. And psychologically healthy pilgrims embrace what is beautiful while keeping a keen watch on what is nutty or pathological.

Guilt is beautiful, holy, vital and important when it is healthy guilt. And healthy guilt is nothing more or less than the name of the grief we feel when we abandon our own values. The grief of estrangement and alienation. Healthy guilt, however miserable it feels, contains within itself a holy longing for reconciliation. (One prayer during the rosary, for example, is asking God to “give me a contrite heart.” Meaning, “Please give me the courage to let my heart break over the ways I have hurt others, etc.”) Catholicism — its rites, rituals and symbols — bears much beauty into the world to facilitate the blessings of healthy guilt, healthy shame.

The nutty or potentially pathological side of guilt happens when people, families or institutions (especially the church) peddle guilt to us with darker, perhaps unconscious motives. If you, for example, are threatened by another’s genius, gifts and “light” (envy!), then one way to dodge the threat is to instill in that person a grave, crippling self-doubt. An anxious, paralyzing self-consciousness forcing a default posture of apology to the world for daring to be him/herself.

Or, people/institutions instill guilt because they are projecting sadism. That is, they are reveling in the humiliation of sinners. Yes, some of our accusers are having a grand time!

Control, humiliation, hierarchy, authority, power — when discussions of guilt bear these darker motives, run away quick!

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Irony about Darwin is that though Darwin ended once and for all the “scientific” notion of racial white superiority over blacks/global slavery    http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2014/07/saint-darwin.html    — nonetheless imperialist Whites/social darwinists/eugenicists incorrectly cited Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” to advance White “master race” tyranny.   This is why supposed antagonist Bryan railed vs. Scopes/Darrow in the “trial of the century” in that “evolution” ergo Darwinism propounded by Darrow trumped of/gloated racial White superiority over folks of color, something Scopes was naive about.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scopes_Trial

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Origin_of_Species#Publication_outside_Great_Britain

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

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Erudite sage George Will’s oeuvre (sum-point) of federalism over fractured local power

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/shopping-has-changed-south-dakota-wants-in-on-the-action/2018/04/13/91ee0294-3e75-11e8-8d53-eba0ed2371cc_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a635071132f3

Shopping has changed. South Dakota wants in on the action.

A consumer checks out Cyber Monday sales

South Dakota has become what South Carolina once was — stubborn, pugnacious and wrong. In 1860, South Carolina became the first state to vote to secede. In 2016, South Dakota’s legislature picked a fight in the hope that the U.S. Supreme Court would reverse a prior decision, thereby handing the state a policy victory it failed to win in Congress.

South Dakota has enacted a law contradicting a 26-year-old court decision concerning interstate commerce, and a law Congress passed and extended 10 times. It wants to tax purchases that are made online from vendors that have no physical presence in the state. South Dakota wants to increase its revenue and mollify its Main Street merchants. On Tuesday, the court will hear oral arguments for and against South Dakota’s response to the greatest disruption of retailing since the Sears, Roebuck catalogue, more about which anon.

In 1992, in the Internet’s infancy, the court held that retailers are required to collect a state’s sales taxes only when the retailers have a “substantial nexus” — basically, a physical, brick-and-mortar presence — in the state where the item sold is purchased. Such a nexus would mean that the retailer benefits from, and should pay for, local government services. Absent such a nexus, however, states’ taxation of sales would violate the Constitution, which vests in Congress alone the power to impose such burdens on interstate commerce. Furthermore, Richard A. Epstein of the University of Chicago and New York University Law School, says the 14th Amendment’s due process clause (“No state shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law”) is a guarantee of fundamental fairness “powerful enough to shield any party from taxation by a jurisdiction with which it does not interact.”

Internet commerce has burgeoned partly because many online retailers, by not collecting sales taxes, enjoy price advantages. This, however, is less valuable to them than their other advantages of convenience (no need to drive somewhere to shop) and choices (almost everything saleable is sold online). Such commerce could not have flourished if vendors bore the burden of deciphering and complying with the tax policies of 12,000 state and local taxing jurisdictions, with different goods exempted from taxation. So, in 1998 Congress enacted the Internet Tax Freedom Act. (It was made permanent in 2016.) This expresses Congress’s policy choice to prohibit state and local governments from imposing unique tax rules for Internet transactions.

The act, an exercise of Congress’s enumerated power to regulate interstate commerce, is intended to shield small Internet sellers from discriminatory taxes and compliance burdens. (Amazon pays sales taxes in all 45 states that have them. Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Post.) In 1998, the ITFA passed the House by unanimous consent and the Senate 96 to 2. For revenue reasons, only four governors endorsed it. Now South Dakota is seeking the court’s permission for its extraterritorial grasping. It wants the court to overrule this congressional policy calculation: The social benefits of dynamic Internet commerce, with small companies enabled to compete with large ones, exceed the costs to traditional retailers, such as Sears, which once upon a time was a problem for then-traditional retailers.

Late in the 19th century, the Sears, Roebuck catalogue was a retailing response to what government had directly (the Homestead Act) and indirectly (government-subsidized railroads) created — vast, thinly populated swaths of rural America where farm families had few if any shopping opportunities. By 1898, the catalogue had 583 pages. In 1907, when the nation’s population was 87 million, Sears mailed out 3 million catalogues. In 1927, the nation of 119 million received 75 million Sears catalogues and other mailings, helped by another government program — rural free delivery. Some traditional downtown retailers were annoyed, not for the last time: Walmart and other “big box” stores were coming to the edge of town.

South Dakota’s impertinent law reflects this fact: Governments often are reflexively reactionary when new technologies discomfort established interests with which the political class has comfortable relations of mutual support. The state’s sales-tax revenue has grown faster than the state’s economy even as Internet retailing has grown. Its brick-and-mortar retailing survived Sears, Roebuck, and then survived Walmart (often better than Sears, Roebuck has). Indeed, many brick-and-mortar retailers are now bricks-and-clicks enterprises, offering online shopping.

Traditional retailing will, like Walmart (which is now being challenged by Amazon), prosper or not depending on market forces, meaning Americans’ preferences. State governments should not try to prevent this wholesome churning from going where it will.

Read more from George F. Will’s archive or follow him on Facebook.

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above case decided in favor of States over Federalism   —

http://www.scotusblog.com/2018/06/opinion-analysis-court-expands-states-ability-to-require-internet-retailers-to-collect-sales-tax/

(Majority opinion) Kennedy discussed at some length the changes to the national economy and retailing brought about by the internet.

“The Internet’s prevalence and power have changed the dynamics of the national economy,” he said, noting that mail-order sales in the United States in 1992 totaled some $180 billion, while e-commerce sales last year were estimated to be $453.5 billion. This expansion has increased the revenue shortfall faced by the states, he continued, citing estimates that range from $8 billion to $33 billion.

The retailers’ arguments based on reliance interests in the Quill rule were unpersuasive because the physical-presence rule has not been as clear and easy to apply as suggested, Kennedy said. Nationwide sales-tax collection may impose a burden on smaller sellers, he said, but “eventually, software that is available at a reasonable cost may make it easier for small businesses to cope with these problems.”

“And in all events, Congress may legislate to ad­dress these problems if it deems it necessary and fit to do so,” Kennedy said.

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(Dissent)

“If stare decisis applied with special force in Quill, it should be an even greater impediment to overruling precedent now, particularly since this Court in Quill tossed the ball into Congress’s court, for acceptance or not as that branch elects,” the chief justice said.

Roberts noted that Congress has been considering whether to alter the physical-presence rule, and “nothing in today’s decision precludes Congress from continuing to seek a legislative solution. But by suddenly changing the ground rules, the Court may have waylaid Congress’s consideration of the issue.”

The majority “proceeds with an inexplicable sense of urgency,” the chief justice said, and it “breezily disregards the costs that its decision will impose on retailers.”

There are complex distinctions made in more than 10,000 taxing jurisdictions, he said.

“New Jersey knitters pay sales tax on yarn purchased for art projects, but not on yarn earmarked for sweaters,” Roberts said, while Texas imposes a sales tax on plain deodorant but not on deodorant with antiperspirant, and Illinois treats Twix and Snickers bars differently for sales-tax purposes.

“The Court is of course correct that the nation’s economy has changed dramatically since the time that Bellas Hess and Quill roamed the earth,” Roberts said. “I fear the Court today is compounding its past error by trying to fix it in a totally different era. … I would let Congress decide whether to depart from the physical-presence rule that has governed this area for half a century.”

 

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Big Government issue:   

Factions whose affluence makes them desirable taxpayers and whose political influence makes them politically potent will join governments in seizing the property of low-income citizens who are not as lucrative for local governments.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hollywoods-newest-action-star-the-constitutions-taking-clause/2018/04/18/1d7ae45c-4264-11e8-ad8f-27a8c409298b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.8cbba298ca26


The home of Susette Kelo in the Fort Trumbull section of New London, Conn., in 2005. (Jack Sauer/AP)
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Coming soon to a cinema near you — you can make this happen; read on — is a bite-your-nails true-story thriller featuring heroes, villains and a history-making struggle over . . . the Constitution’s takings clause. Next Feb. 24, “Little Pink House” will win the Oscar for best picture if Hollywood’s political preening contains even a scintilla of sincerity about speaking truth to power.

In 1998, New London, Conn., was experiencing hard times. Its government decided, as governments always do, that it wanted more revenue. A private entity, the New London Development Corp. (NLDC), wanted to entice the Pfizer pharmaceutical corporation, which was about to introduce a popular blue pill, to locate a research facility on land adjacent to a blue-collar residential neighborhood. The city empowered the NLDC to wield the awesome, potentially life-shattering power of eminent domain if, as happened, it failed to persuade all the homeowners to sell for an upscale private development to “complement” Pfizer’s facility. Some, led by Susette Kelo (played by Catherine Keener, two-time Oscar nominee), refused.

Kelo’s tormentor is an oily NLDC operative (played by Emmy nominee Jeanne Tripplehorn) who is fluent in the pitter-patter of crony capitalism: The NLDC will make New London “vital and hip” using a public-private “collaboration” wherein uprooted homeowners will be “part of our team” because “social justice and economic development go hand in hand” as the NLDC integrates “the infrastructure of large corporations to the brass-tacks needs of our city’s most . . .”

Kelo’s plight got the attention of the Institute for Justice (IJ), a.k.a the fourth branch of government, nonprofit libertarian litigators who prod the third branch (the judiciary) to police the excesses of the other two. IJ lost, but won.

Kelo lost 4 to 3 in Connecticut’s Supreme Court and 5 to 4 in the U.S. Supreme Court, which accepted New London’s sophistical argument that virtually erased the Constitution’s circumscription of government’s eminent- domain power. This used to be limited by the notably explicit Fifth Amendment, which says “nor shall private property be taken for public use , without just compensation” (emphasis added). The Constitution’s framers intended the adjective “public” to do what the rest of the Bill of Rights does: limit government’s power. Government could take private property only for the purpose of creating things — roads, bridges, tunnels, public buildings — directly owned by government or primarily used by the general public. In 1954, however, to facilitate slum clearance in the District, the concept of “public use” was stretched to encompass eradicating “blight,” an expansion exploited nationwide by corporations in cahoots with city governments that found blight in cracked sidewalks or loose awning supports.

To seize Kelo’s pink house, New London did not assert blight. Instead, it argued that “public use” is synonymous with “public benefit,” and that the public would benefit more from Pfizer paying more taxes than would Kelo and her neighbors. During oral arguments, Justice Antonin Scalia distilled New London’s argument: “You can take from A to give to B if B pays more taxes.” In a dissent joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Clarence Thomas and Scalia, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor warned that the decision’s consequences “will not be random”: Factions whose affluence makes them desirable taxpayers and whose political influence makes them politically potent will join governments in seizing the property of low-income citizens who are not as lucrative for local governments.

By getting the U.S. Supreme Court’s attention, and eliciting strong dissents that highlight the horribleness of the majority’s decision, Kelo and IJ ignited national revulsion that has produced new state limitations on eminent domain, limitations that reestablish the framers’ intentions.

The movie, representing the vanishingly small category of “Movies for Grown-ups,” has just debuted in New London, where government economic planning ended predictably badly: Pfizer came, exhausted its subsidies and then departed, leaving a vacant lot where the pink house once stood. View the trailer and consult watch.LittlePinkHouseMovie.com to learn about showings elsewhere. Organizations or groups of about 75 people can go to TUGG.com to book a theater and receive help promoting the showing. People who send their email addresses to LittlePinkArmy.com will be contacted and helped through this process. This bypasses Hollywood’s normal distribution procedures, but the movie industry might benefit from it.

Does Hollywood want to reverse the four-year ratings decline (43.7 million viewers in 2014; 26.5 million this year) of the Academy Awards telecast? Imagine the viewership for a contest of David (“Little Pink House”) against a gaggle of Goliaths (big-budget best-picture nominees boosted by major studios’ promotional budgets).

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/gorsuch-strikes-a-blow-for-constitutional-equilibrium/2018/04/20/78139ef6-43f2-11e8-bba2-0976a82b05a2_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ef6141c91fb2

Vague laws “invite the exercise of arbitrary power” by “leaving the people in the dark about what the law demands and allowing prosecutors and courts to make it up.” The lack of “precise and sufficient certainty” (criteria stipulated by the English jurist William Blackstone, whose writings influenced the Constitution’s framers) invites “more unpredictability and arbitrariness” than is constitutional. Furthermore, the crux of America’s constitutional architecture, the separation of powers, is implicated.

Last week, one week after the first anniversary of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch’s ascension to the Supreme Court, he delivered an opinion that was excellent as it pertained to the case at issue, and momentous in its implications pertaining to the institutional tangle known as the administrative state. If he can persuade his fellow court conservatives to see why they were mistaken in disagreeing with him, and if he can persuade his liberal colleagues to follow the logic of their decision with which he concurred, the judiciary will begin restoring constitutional equilibrium. It will limit Congress’s imprecise legislating that requires excessive unguided improvising by all those involved in seeing that the laws are “faithfully” executed.

In 1992, when James Dimaya, a Philippine citizen, was 13, he became a lawful permanent resident of the United States, where, unfortunately, his behavior has been less than lawful: In 2007 and 2009, he was convicted of residential burglary. The Department of Homeland Security says he should be deported because he committed a “crime of violence,” hence covered by a portion of immigration law that, after listing specific crimes (rape, murder, etc.), adds a catchall category of crimes involving “a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.” How are judges supposed to apply this?

Writing for the majority in a 5-to-4 decision — and joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor (with Gorsuch concurring in the judgment and much of the opinion) — Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the law’s category, a “crime of violence,” is so indeterminate (“fuzzy,” she said) that deporting Dimaya under it would violate the Constitution’s “due process of law” guarantee. Vague laws beget two evils that are related: They do not give citizens reasonably clear notice of what behavior is proscribed or prescribed. And they give — actually, require of — judges and law-enforcement officials excessive discretion in improvising a fuzzy law’s meaning. In agreeing with this (and disagreeing with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.), Gorsuch wrote:

Vague laws “invite the exercise of arbitrary power” by “leaving the people in the dark about what the law demands and allowing prosecutors and courts to make it up.” The lack of “precise and sufficient certainty” (criteria stipulated by the English jurist William Blackstone, whose writings influenced the Constitution’s framers) invites “more unpredictability and arbitrariness” than is constitutional. Furthermore, the crux of America’s constitutional architecture, the separation of powers, is implicated. All legislative power is vested in Congress. The judicial power, Gorsuch wrote, “does not license judges to craft new laws” but only to discern and follow an existing law’s prescribed course. With the fuzzy “crime of violence” category, Congress abdicated its “responsibilities for setting the standards of the criminal law.” So, allowing vague laws would allow Congress “to hand off the job of lawmaking.” Hence such laws not only illegitimately transfer power to police and prosecutors, but also would “leave it all to a judicial hunch.”

The principle Gorsuch enunciates here regarding one provision of immigration law is a scythe sharp enough to slice through many practices of the administrative state, which translates often vague congressional sentiments into binding rules — a practice indistinguishable from legislating. Gorsuch’s principle is also pertinent to something pernicious concerning which he has hitherto expressed wholesome skepticism: “Chevron deference.”

This is the policy (named for the 1984 case in which the Supreme Court propounded it) whereby courts are required to defer to administrative agencies’ interpretations of “ambiguous” laws when the interpretations are “reasonable.” Gorsuch has criticized this emancipation of the administrative state from judicial supervision as “a judge-made doctrine for the abdication of judicial duty.” It also is an incentive for slovenly lawmaking by a Congress either too lazy or risk-averse to be precise in making policy choices, and so lacking in institutional pride that it complacently sloughs off its Article I powers onto Article II entities. Gorsuch wants Article III courts to circumscribe this disreputable behavior.

Gorsuch represents the growing ascendancy of one kind of conservative jurisprudence, “judicial engagement,” over another kind, “judicial deference.” Many conservatives have embraced populism where it least belongs, in judicial reasoning. They have advocated broad judicial deference to decisions because they emanate from majoritarian institutions and processes. Progressives favor such deference because it liberates executive power from congressional direction or judicial supervision. Gorsuch, a thinking person’s conservative, declines to be complicit in this, which raises this question: When has a progressive justice provided the fifth vote joining four conservative colleagues?

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/america-is-about-to-get-more-law-abiding/2018/05/16/0ce93166-5871-11e8-b656-a5f8c2a9295d_story.html?utm_term=.32be465fd66f

“Prohibition” has been lifted off sports betting

Repeal of Prohibition in 1933 instantly reduced crime by reducing the number of criminalized activities, including some that millions of Americans considered victimless activities and none of the government’s business. Now, America is going to become more law-abiding, the Supreme Court having said that the federal government cannot prohibit states from legalizing what Americans have been doing anyway with at least 150 billion of their dollars annually. This figure (almost five times the combined revenues of MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL; 14 times the movie industry’s domestic ticket sales) is a guess and might be much less than the actual sum that Americans wager on sports.

In 1992, when sports betting was illegal in most states, Congress, prompted by New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bill Bradley (Princeton all-American basketball player, Olympian, New York Knick), passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This did not do what Congress has the power to do: Because of the court’s permissive construing of Congress’s power to regulate all sorts of more or less economic activities for all sorts of reasons, Congress could criminalize sports gambling. Instead, however, it gave New Jersey, alone among the 46 states that did not have such betting, one year to adopt it, after which New Jersey would be forbidden to do so.

Illegal sports betting was estimated to involve only $25 billion annually when PASPA was passed. Its subsequent burgeoning is redundant evidence that restraining a popular appetite with a statute is akin to lassoing a locomotive with a cobweb, which should chasten busybody governments. While one should formally frown upon the lawlessness of wagering Americans, their anarchic tendencies are, on balance, wholesome.

Also in 1992, the Supreme Court began enunciating the “anti-commandeering” doctrine: The federal government may not pursue its objectives by requiring states to use, or refrain from using, their resources for those objectives. The Constitution’s 10th Amendment (“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people”) means, the court has held, that “while Congress has substantial powers to govern the Nation directly, including in areas of intimate concern to the States, the Constitution has never been understood to confer upon Congress the ability to require the states to govern according to Congress’ instructions.”

In a 2011 referendum, New Jersey voters strongly approved sports betting; two months later, the legislature approved such betting in casino sports books and at horse tracks. After courts twice held that New Jersey was violating PASPA, the state appealed to the Supreme Court, saying: “Never before has federal law been enforced to command a state to give effect to a state law that the state has chosen to repeal.”

On Monday the court ruled, 6 to 3, in favor of New Jersey and three principles of good government that are threatened by federal commandeering. Writing for the majority, and joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan and Neil M. Gorsuch, Samuel A. Alito Jr. said: The anti-commandeering rule protects individual liberty by maintaining a “healthy balance of power” between the states and the federal government. The rule “promotes political accountability” because “voters who like or dislike the effects” of a regulation “know who to credit or blame.” And the rule “prevents Congress from shifting the costs of regulation to the states.”

This season, a National Hockey League team began playing in Las Vegas, where the NFL’s Oakland Raiders will relocate in 2020. Because of what the court did Monday, soon a majority of states, with a majority of the nation’s population, probably will be regulating and taxing legalized sports gambling. The unembarrassable National Collegiate Athletic Association has said without blushing that sports betting threatens “student-athlete well-being and the integrity of athletic competition.” Actually, an infusion of run-of-the-mill back-alley bookies in soiled raincoats might elevate college basketball’s moral tone.

Just after PASPA was enacted, 56 percent of Americans opposed legalized betting on professional sports events. A quarter of a century later, 55 percent approve. The nation’s most insistent promoters of gambling are state governments that run lotteries. Law lags morals, but not forever.

The professional sports leagues were on the losing side Monday, but they will find ways to profit from betting on their products. Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and a maverick himself, thinks intensified fan interest will double franchise values across baseball, football, basketball and hockey. Want to bet against him? Go ahead.

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George Will says the U.S. Supreme Court overreached its bounds in Roe v. Wade         https://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/story?id=132567&page=1

[Roe v. Wade 1973  is] the most imprudent act of judicial power since the Dred Scott decision.

In Dred Scott, the Supreme Court tried to settle the slavery controversy. Instead it hastened civil war.

With the Roe v. Wade decision, the court tried to end the debate about abortion.

Instead, it inflamed the issue and embittered our politics — because the court, by judicial fiat, abruptly ended what had been a democratic process of accommodation and compromise on abortion policy.

States Were Dealing With It

Before the court suddenly discovered in the constitution a virtually unlimited right to abortion, many state legislatures were doing what legislatures are supposed to do in a democracy: They were debating and revising laws to reflect changing community thinking.

In the five years before 1973, 16 states, with 41 percent of the nation’s population — including then-Governor Reagan’s California — liberalized their abortion laws.

But reversal would not make abortion illegal. It would just restore abortion as a matter for states to regulate. And probably no state would outlaw first trimester abortions, which are almost 90 percent of all abortions.

Changing Culture

Whether you like it or not, the culture has changed a lot since 1973. Today, abortion ends more than one in five pregnancies. Abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures.

The widely exercised right to abortion is not about to be extinguished. But neither is the debate about abortion, which continues to trouble thoughtful people.

Unfortunately, [in Roe v. Wade]  the Supreme Court said to the American people: Shut up. Pipe down. Your debate about abortion is pointless, because we will decide policy.

Thus, did the Supreme Court diminish American democracy.

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Nonetheless, cogent Will has a detractor here       http://www.libertylawsite.org/2016/08/09/george-wills-constitution/

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Liberals should not swagger (loose lips sink ships ergo animus-prejudice)

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/there-will-be-more-wedding-cake-cases/2018/06/06/8bd4a50c-68e6-11e8-9e38-24e693b38637_story.html?utm_term=.e36705f8ad00

There will be more wedding cake cases

“Loose lips sink ships” was a World War II slogan warning Americans against inadvertently disclosing important secrets, such as troop ships’ sailing schedules. On Monday, the Supreme Court showed that loose lips can sink cases.

In Colorado in 2012, a Christian baker declined the request of a same-sex couple to decorate a cake for a reception celebrating their marriage in Massachusetts. The baker said that compelling him to put his expressive activity of cake artistry in the service of an act his faith condemns — and that was not legal in Colorado — would violate his First Amendment right to free speech, which includes the freedom not to speak, and to the free exercise of religion (which also is his basis for refusing to make Halloween cakes).

Rather than find, as would not have been burdensome, bakers with no objections to their request, the couple abandoned what once was the live-and-let-live spirit of the gay rights movement. In the truculent spirit of this era, they sicced the Colorado Civil Rights Commission on the baker. It said he violated the state’s law against sexual-orientation discrimination.

On Monday, the court held 7 to 2 for the baker, but only for him . Writing for the court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy (with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Elena Kagan and Neil M. Gorsuch joining in the judgment) concluded that the Civil Rights Commission manifested animus regarding the baker’s religious beliefs. For example, a notably obtuse member said that “despicable” rhetoric about freedom of religion had been used to justify slavery and the Holocaust.

The nation remains resolutely committed to the public accommodations section of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which Colorado law anticipated in an 1885 law: If you open your doors for business, you must serve all who enter. Furthermore, it is maddeningly problematic to begin carving out exemptions from obedience to laws of general applicability that are neutral regarding religion. Wedding planners, photographers, flower arrangers, even chauffeurs who have religious objections to same-sex weddings can claim, with varying degrees of plausibility, that their activities are “expressive” and therefore their varying degrees of “participation” in religious events implicate the two First Amendment provisions the baker invoked.

In this case, the court prudently avoided trying to promulgate a limiting principle that would distinguish essentially expressive conduct from that with merely negligible or incidental expressive elements. But because the principle remains unformulated, other cases will come to the court lacking the sort of convenient escape hatch that the court found in the commission’s loose lips. Looking down the road, Kennedy on Monday warned that “there are no doubt innumerable goods and services that no one could argue implicate the First Amendment.”

First Amendment protections of freedom of speech are now more comprehensively attacked than ever before. The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1790s (which were allowed to expire), the abuses of the post-World War I “Red Scare” and the McCarthyism of the early 1950s arose from temporary public fevers, and ended when the fevers broke. Today’s attacks, emanating from authoritarian intellectuals, will not be as transitory as a mere political mood because they are theoretical: They argue that free speech is a chimera — speech often is a mere manifestation of an individual’s retrograde socialization, a.k.a. “false consciousness,” hence it is not morally serious and does not merit protection. Or they argue that free speech is only contingently important — it should be “balanced” against superior claims, such as community harmony or listeners’ serenity.

Because attacks on freedom of speech are today ubiquitous and aggressive, its defenders understandably, but sometimes more reflexively than reflectively, support any claim that this freedom is importantly implicated, however tangentially, in this or that dispute. A danger in the cake case was that victory for the baker would make First Amendment law incoherent, even absurd: Expressive activities merit some constitutional protection, but not everything expressive is as important as speech, which America’s foundational political document protects because speech communicates ideas for public persuasion.

Friends of the First Amendment should not be impatient for the court to embark on drawing ever-finer distinctions about which commercial transactions, by which kinds of believers, involving which kinds of ceremonies, implicate the Constitution’s free speech and free exercise guarantees. Taking religious advice, the court on Monday acted on the principle that “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” which means: Cope with today’s ample troubles and cope with tomorrow’s when they arrive, as surely they will.

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Actor George Raft actually a splendid dancer  

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Out-of-this-world raspy textured vocal mastery

 

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Clapton’s southern blues derivation via Freddie King’s modernist electric sound  —

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_King#Playing_style_and_technique

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In memoriam Robert Paul Hickcox 1948-2017, & in praise of Julio Tomas, Sr. born 1932 & Donald W. Amaral

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Bob Hickcox look-alike age 35 circa 1983

See the source image
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Bob Hickcox is my alltime positive role model and inspiration for his contemplative/reflective   countenance/personality and his overall empathy and love for everyone.  A Navy veteran, Bob worked at JC Penney after leaving military service (we worked in the shoe dept. at JC Penney), and then attended UH.  Ever concerned for the wellbeing of everyone, Bob was a giant in compassion and humility.  Bob went on to a fine career with the Hawai’i County Police Dept., retiring as captain.   I always will venerate the soft touch and gentle spirit of my dearest hero, Bob Hickcox.  It’s amazing that I never had contact with Bob in his police career and in my law career, both spanning over 3 decades- long timelines.  Bob simply was the greatest person I ever met!!

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Julio Tomas, Sr. born 1932, look-alike

Julio’s dearest wife Janet Masoco Tomas look-alike

MaggieQSmileSDCCJuly10.jpg

 Ilocano Julio Tomas, Sr. born 1932 is our  legendary basketball star  (Hilo High ’52) whose impact reaches far beyond the “hardwood floor” of the gym   — Julio Sr. was everyone’s role model in Amau’ulu (Julio from Mill Camp 1, then Camp 3 Waiau switch station/stream site, then Camp 4 above Kaaumoana enclave), then in Wainaku (mill camp site across my family’s store, warehouse, & pool hall) — Julio’s devotion to his gorgeous loving wife Juanita “Janet” (Visayan Masoco maiden name, but Janet’s mom was Ilocano) & to his 3 kids are “beyond compare.”   A heartstopper handsome man & every woman’s “dreamboat,” this “Jim Dandy” (great inspiration) always regards his dearest wife Janet as the love of his life  — utterly devoted to her as if this heartthrob couple were on its first tingling date (forever young/young at heart!)

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZXxa9J7qh0

Julio’s “provider” & loving support for his wife Janet & kids Julio Jr., Jeff, & adopted daughter Maria are every man’s virtuous pious ideal!!   Not to mention Julio’s mentoring of youngsters & others all thru the decades as a man of quiet dignity & compassion.    All through Julio’s life, Julio was lucky to have great mentors (Julio’s mom & dad & Julio’s siblings/national hoops hall of fame coach Beans Afook — Hilo’s Civic Auditorium named in part after Afook/sportsman Doc Francis Wong — as in Hilo’s Wong stadium complex/employer Tai On Chock/older work peer-crane operator my uncle Charley Narimatsu/etc.).   Julio in turn shares their vision for Julio (born positive loving leader/tremendous common sense gut instincts/unmatched fighting spirit-winning attitude/foresight visionary intellect/etc.) with everyone — come one, come all, love one, love all!!   No matter, Julio’s innate humble spirit & overflowing sense of gratitude distinguish Julio as the natural-born positive leader for us all!!  No one knows that Beans Afook got Julio a scholarship to play basketball at UH Manoa, following in the footsteps of Kiyo Hamakawa & Tai On Chock 5  & 6 yrs. respectively before Julio, & later legendary coach Al Manliguis 4 yrs. before Julio, a virtual “power train” of legendary athletes.   The greatest point guard of the pre-NBA era, Hilo’s Ah Chew Goo (NBA’s Pistol Pete Maravich’s alter ego), drooled over Julio’s athleticism (e.g. jumping jack rabbit legs that could jump thru the rafters!)  & great intelligence (a la cogent NBA braintrust Hubie Brown) .   Inasmuch the Korean War still was decimating our troops, Julio eventually enlisted in the Army & discharged honorably as an infantry combat 1st sgt.   Julio served well our U.S. military.   In all aspects of life, without exception, Julio is our shining light & inspiration!!    Kudos to our greatest legendary hero, Julio Tomas Sr.!!

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In praise of my cousin Donald W. Amaral born 1952

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Donald’s paternal grandmother Yukiko Amaral was my Dad’s sister, & Donald’s deceased dad Herbert was my first cousin.   Like Bob Hickcox and Julio Tomas, Sr. above,  tough-as-nails mason Donald is a quiet unassuming reflective person, steeped in humility and empathy.   Tremendous strength of character  — my quiet hero — integrity and character to strive for — truly super-natural in countenance and disposition.   Never have  I met big heroes like Bob Hickcox, Julio Tomas, Sr.,  and Donald Amaral.  I always worship Donald!!

Donald Amaral look-alike

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I like to timeline “forebearer” role models born a century before one’s birthdate.   My cherished heroes are P’iehu I’aukea 1855-1940 for his vision and art of compromise https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_P._Iaukea   — and OT Shipman 1857-1942 for his independent spirit & compassion for all https://www.ancestry.com/genealogy/records/oliver-taylor-shipman_35193337

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I consider my dearest daughter Staycie’s century  old role models as Charles Hemenway 1875-1947 for his empathy & humanitarianism http://encyclopedia.densho.org/Charles%20Hemenway/    and Frank Atherton 1877-1945 for his beneficence  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/24411024

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My friend  — erudite Bob Yanabu Hilo High ’60– has his forebearer in Japan industrialist who ensured the survival of Japanese immigrants to Hawai’i   —  Eiichi Shibusawa 1840-1931 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibusawa_Eiichi

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/music-a-bridge-from-abandonment-and-brokenness-to-wholeness-and-freedom/

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On sincere spiritual inquiry   —

 

https://peteenns.com/paul-biblical-interpretation/

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I threw up on the worldwide interwebs a little post about Paul and the book of Romans, namely that, Paul seems to be winging it.

I say that for two reasons.

1. The gospel Paul preaches seems to back him into a corner, logically speaking, especially with his fellow Jews.

He relentlessly makes the case for placing Jesus and Gentile inclusion at the center of God’s plans all along, rather than the Law of Moses centered on Jews. In fact, he makes such a strong case that it looks like he is throwing his fellow Jews under the bus. So at several points, Paul seems to realize he might be going too far and steps back away from the ledge.

It seems we are watching Paul struggling to work out the ever-present Christian theological challenge of continuity and discontinuity between (1) the story of Israel (as told in the Old Testament and in Judaism thereafter) and (2) the gospel. Paul must hold in tension his unwavering belief that #2 grows out of #1 (Jesus completes Israel’s story) while dealing with the undeniable fact that #2 is a surprise ending to #1 (a crucified and risen Messiah who flings open the doors of the kingdom to both Jews and Gentiles by faith alone).

But I’m not going to talk about #1 here. I want to elaborate on the second point I made in the aforementioned post, which is:

2. Paul quotes the Old Testament a lot.

And it looks like Paul is riffing—at times it almost seems like he is grasping for a text, any text, that he can use to make his case stick, that all this unexpected Jesus business (discontinuity) is fully anticipated in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (continuity).

I want to tease this out a bit because saying that Paul is “winging it” doesn’t quite get at the dynamic. On one level, yes, Paul’s use of the Old Testament seems haphazard, but on another level it’s not.

Let me put it this way: it seems to us that Paul is winging it, playing fast and loose with the Old Testament, rummaging through it to find passages that sorta kinda work and then bending them to his will.

From our perspective—and I think it is crucial to acknowledge this—Paul is out there when it comes to Old Testament interpretation. But our perspective can’t drive our understanding of what Paul is up to and it can’t be the basis upon which we judge what Paul is doing.

From an ancient Jewish perspective, Paul isn’t winging it. And that’s my point.

Paul’s readers back then might have agreed or disagreed with what he was arguing, but not with how he argued.

They wouldn’t have given a second thought to the manner in which Paul handled his Bible.

A creative handling of scripture had by Paul’s time a long and honored history, going back to the Old Testament itself: the writer of 1 and 2 Chronicles creatively adapted Israel’s older history (in Samuel-Kings) in order to let ancient scripture speak into new circumstances that scripture did not address or anticipate (namely, exile in 586 BCE and return under Persian rule in 539).

For Judaism, this unexpected turn of events caused a lot of pain and questioning of God, which continued through Persian, Greek, and the finally Roman rule, and onto the cataclysmic destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE.

That wasn’t how Israel’s story was to have panned out, and so accessing Israel’s ancient story after the return from exile meant reading between the lines, beneath them, above them, and around them to see how God’s word back then was speaking to them right now.

What we might call a fast and loose use of the Old Testament was for Paul and his contemporaries a normal and expected approach to biblical interpretation—creatively connecting the past with the present.

What is interesting about Paul, historically speaking, isn’t his method of interpretation. What set him apart was his content.

For Paul, as for his Jewish contemporaries, scripture was malleable—like forging metal or shaping clay on a potter’s wheel. Scripture necessarily had to be “worked with.

Paul’s faith in God’s dramatic inbreaking of the kingdom in the resurrected Christ, however, is what drove him to read his scripture in a particular wayto fill in the content by bending Israel’s past toward the Lord Jesus Christ and his kingdom, made up of Jews and Gentiles as fully equal partners.

This is why I absolutely never get bored reading Paul. Wrapping our heads around what exactly he is up to and why is an energizing and uplifting mental workout that takes us out of our stale modern expectations of how the Bible is supposed to behave.

In other words, for me, watching Paul at work (rather than judging or defending him) is interesting not simply for understanding Paul, but coming to terms with the nature of scripture: what the Bible “is,” what we should expect of it, and therefore what it means to read it today.

I’ve gone deeper into Paul’s use of the Old Testament in a few places, especially the entire second half of The Evolution of Adam. You can also check out chapter 4 of Inspiration and Incarnation and chapter 6 of The Bible Tells Me So. I blog about it a lot, too (search, for example, Paul and the Old Testament). Gee, now that I think about it, I sure do write a lot about this topic. Maybe I think it’s important or something.

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shake off the dust and move on, baby!!!

 

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go to timeclock  :44 (44 seconds) & listen to the great instrument arrangement   —

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My dad Toshiyuki’s parents Masayuki 1880-1931 and Otome 1881-1954 are cousins with the same last name/surname who immigrated  (“Issei” immigrants) from Kumamoto, Kyushu Island, Japan (southern Japan  archipelago)  in 1902.  Masayuki was an entrepreneur/business person like his shoyu/soy sauce  maker parents, who opened up his own liquor & food store, warehouse, & pool hall on Wainaku Ave. (old Mamalahoa Highway) after he & wife Otome settled across Hilo Sugar Co. mill camp from their initial settlement at “Nikai” (Wainaku Camp 2) 2 miles up the slope of Mauna Kea mountain.   Masayuki constructed the roadway to the newly formed Nihon Gakko Japanese language school for mill camp children  — adjacent to Masayuki’s business location.

The Japanese language school in large part was formed because our native-born Hawai’i  Japanese children (“Nisei” 2nd generation) had no grandparents to mentor them in the old ways of Japan, especially since their Issei parents who were only 20 yrs. or so older than our Nisei children were way too busy working/slaving just to feed our Nisei children & survive.  Traditionally Buddhist (funding source, inasmuch Christian/Shinto resources were unwilling and/or scarce), the language school emphasized secular piety (proper decorum) over religious doctrine (ergo Buddhist precepts).

Truck farmers (including Masayuki’s oldest adult daughter Haruko  — Masayuki would fret to Haruko that Haruko’s husband Manjiro Hasegawa was a lazy inept provider  — Masayuki understandably was a stern disciplinarian dad) eventually formed their own school just above Masayuki’s store & 1st home  (1st home northwest of the warehouse behind the store — adjacent to eventual neighbor Ichi Kawakami) — because the independent truck farmers (who eventually used Masayuki’s roadway) didn’t approve of the “servile” philosophy of the plantation labor Japanese language school  — the truck farmers were independent-spirited/bold Americanized capitalists, though destitute (Big 5’s Amfac had stranglehold monopoly on ag produce market  — Big 5 is nickname for 5 oligopolists — American Factors “Amfac,” C. Brewer, Theo. Davies, Castle & Cooke, & Alexander & Baldwin– which triggered eventual “revolutionary” politician Stanley Hara 1923-2009 to break the bondage of the Big 5 haole missionary descendant e.g. Castle & Cooke – separate seafarer capitalist e.g. C. Brewer — oligopoly).   Masayuki (nicknamed “Ole’ Jake” — a whiskey term of endearment — Masayuki specialized in selling okolehao — distilled ti root — during Prohibition 1919-1933) became fatigued in the final decade of his life from emphysema (perhaps due in part from his handling chemicals in his early supervisor jobs at Hilo Mercantile & Hackfeld/later Amfac  lumber yards, but mainly from cigarette & eventually pipe smoking), necessitating the building of his 2nd home adjacent to his store’s warehouse (to eliminate the walking distance from home to store), the 1st home later being occupied by Masayuki’s daughter Yukiko (married to Antone Amaral).   After Yukiko & Antone contracted TB, the 1st home was dismantled & the lumber stored under the 6 ft. post & pier 2nd home, the same lumber which I viewed when I grew up (& attended Ha’aheo Elem. School like my Dad & siblings northwest of the mill camp).  The truck farmers’ Japanese language school eventually was dismantled & the lumber/materials recycled for their home building timelines.

It’s amazing that Masayuki’s wife Otome, who didn’t know how to write in English, was able to carry on the merchant lifestyle after Masayuki died at age 50.   My Dad at age 18 took on Masayuki’s role as patriarch, since oldest son Masaaki didn’t enjoy being the substitute patriarch with its many responsibilities, & Masaaki moved to Pahala to start his own life there.   It helped that my Dad was poker king of Wainaku & eventually became poker king  of the famed WWII 442nd combat regiment  — the poker winnings sustaining the merchant expenses (especially because plantation labor credit — workers got paid only at the end of each month — often went unpaid by manual labor customers/patrons  — Great Depression/perennial hard times).

Masayuki look-alike

 Otome look-alike

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Masayuki/Otome (Issei immigrants) children were Masaaki “Fat” (though not fat, but large-boned/frame like tough guy character James Cagney  — also light on his feet dancer like Cagney) 1903-1970, Haruko (married truck farmer Manjiro Hasegawa old enough to be Haruko’s father) 1905-1995, Masako (married Hatsuyoshi Kiyojima, who was bosom buddy of Manjiro Hasegawa) 1907-1990, Yukiko (who married Antone Amaral) 1910-1955 (tragic, Yukiko/Antone died from TB), my dad Toshiyuki 1913-1998, Chiyoko (who married my tremendously loving uncle Solomon Kauinui of Napo’opo’o Kona) 1915-1992, Yukio 1918-1955 (tragic too — died of bleeding ulcer just before Christmas at age 37, leaving behind widow & 7 young children, incl. 2 sets of twins  — my Dad had Dad’s bosom buddy baby brother Yukio move into the converted store/warehouse & 2d home when Yukio started having children  — Yukio’s funeral photo is in

  https://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Hamakua-Coast-Small-Towns/dp/0972093222

—  this book is available from our Hawai’i State public library system throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

I’m leaning into my Dad’s waistline & my brother Lloyd is cradled in my Mom Teruko “Ruth’s” arms), & Yushin “Charley” 1920-2013 (the only one to finish intermediate/middle school & grad from high school  — Big 5 oppression enslaved plantation kids to feudal labor system by imposing unaffordable public school tuition fees after the 6th grade up to 1924 and after the 8th grade up to 1933 — akin to expensive private school tuition costs   https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/yushin-charley-narimatsu-1920-2013-died-age-93-my-nisei-2nd-generation-uncle-the-last-of-his-generation-in-my-kazokufamily/    —   thence, only plantation kids who were born in 1920 & after — such as Charley, finally were able to complete/graduate from high school.)

my dad look-alike (Chiyoko’s son Dennis also looks like this)

See the source image

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Uncle Yukio look-alike  (Yukio’s son Donald born 1946, & Yukiko’s grandson Tony also look like this — handsomest as the summer day is longest)

Samart Payakaroon.jpg

Masayuki apparently was a learned man (Meiji era 1868-1912 transformed/westernized Japan with compulsory education), designated as ceremonial Japan consular rep who wrote letters back to Japan for manual laborers.   Otome must’ve been sexy and/or sparkling in personality in Masayuki’s eyes because she certainly was not cerebral in nature (but she was musical & loved/played the shamisen string “uke”  — my brother Lloyd, a yr. younger than me, & Yukio’s son Donald, & Chiyoko’s son Dennis, all can sing tenor exquisitely, Donald & Dennis both ’64 Hilo High grads; Lloyd was a teen idol/titlist rock band vocalist/musician, & all-state baseballer — Lloyd got eventual golden wedding anniversary wife Vicky pregnant while both were in high school, so Lloyd never went to college).   Masayuki was a drop dead handsome suitor/man, though small in stature like actor James Cagney, but with the V-shaped torso of a Cagney/fitness buff.   Otome was a lousy cook, but as irony would have it, my Dad Toshiyuki loved her kogare/black-burned crispy rice at the bottom of the rice pot which she cooked at too high a heat!!!   Incredulous turn of events where a negative outcome (burned rice pot)  triggers a positive event (Toshi loved kogare rice)  — a la ancient Grecian peripeteia principle which also incl. positive causing negative e.g. obsessed goal to be glorified results in scornful humiliation ergo Richard Nixon .

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Haruko, like her Naichi parents (Mainland Japan immigrants), had son Gaichi Tokeshi out of wedlock from itinerant Okinawan sojourner, at her age 17.  Father Masayuki disowned Gaichi for being half Okinawan, and had Gaichi adopted out to affluent Okinawan Tokeshi across the street from Masayuki.   Gaichi would come over to Masayuki’s 2d home next to warehouse/store & call Haruko “Mama (Mom),” though Gaichi loved his adoptive mom Tokeshi.  Masayuki was bed-ridden throughout the 1920s when Gaichi would come over to play with Gaichi’s biological kin.  Sadly, Gaichi refused to meet his biological Okinawan dad when Gaichi’s dad came to visit Gaichi  as an adult.   Certainly Gaichi’s loss.   Gaichi’s dad’s redemption was noble, esp. since Gaichi was unaware that Masayuki banished Gaichi’s biological dad from setting foot on Masayuki’s premises (Naichi ethnocentrism/homogeneity “pure blood” racism).        https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/japans-homogeneitypure-blood-master-race-mentality-only-in-the-past-two-decades-has-japan-acknowledged-some-of-its-past-brutalities-including-medical-atrocities-and-use-of-poison-gas-as-well-as/

442nd RCT combat veteran Gaichi, like Gaichi’s  combat “brother in arm” my dad (actually, Dad was Gaichi’s uncle)(Dad also was a bootleg boxer pre- legalization 1929), and like Gaichi’s uncle Yukio (nicknamed “Big Body” for Yukio’s Charles Atlas physique), & like stepbrother Tommy Hasegawa & later like Gaichi’s half-brothers James Eddie Hasegawa & Ray Hasegawa —  was quite the heavy-handed puncher/boxer  — at Hilo’s Jimmy’s Drive In restaurant 1947, a kanak called Gaichi “Jap” (because of Pearl Harbor), at which point Gaichi dropped the kanak like a  rock into the water  — just the same, the prosecutor dismissed the assault charge against Gaichi (racial animus instigated by the “victimized” kanak).  Whoa!!  Akin to Yukio’s former “shoe-shining” (rat-tat-tat machine gun punching from tummy up to collarbone) a humongous 6 ft. bully fellow buddahead at a Papaikou gym dance who forcibly was trying to yank Yukio’s eventual wife away from Yukio on the dance floor!!

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Yukiko also was disowned by Masayuki when she married faladoo (show off) Antone Amaral, dapper roadster hotshot Luso/Portuguese.   Yet, as with Gaichi being disowned, Yukiko still was partially supported by her dad Masayuki, to wit she/Antone/progeny occupied Masayuki’s 1st home after Masayuki/Otome moved into their 2d home next to the store/warehouse.   Yet, undeniably, Masayuki should’ve welcomed Antone/Luso kin into Masayuki’s home/family.   Yukiko’s oldest child Herb was housed/quartered at Father Louis’ Boys Home, for gosh sake!!!  (ironically, mega-banker Luso/Portuguese Walt Dods. Jr.’s dad Walt Sr. also orphaned at Father Louis’ Boys Home where today’s Hilo Terrace complex is)   Terrible on Masayuki’s part to be so racist!!   Which is why we as an extended family never had contact with the Amaral side of the family!!   Look at Yukiko’s son Tony, whose daughter Rox is P & R director today under Mayor Harry Kim, & Rox’ son who’s a prosecutor with the court system!!   Gee whiz!!   Terrible bigotry/separation via Masayuki’s horrible legacy all thru the decades!!

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Progressively, when Chiyoko married “out of race” pure Hawaiian handsomest suitor Solomon Kauinui of Kona (our most loving generous uncle  — Polynesian/Hawaiian love for all!), Masayuki was dead for a decade past, & mom Otome was not racist like Masayuki.  But young wanderlust Chiyoko eloped with Solomon in Kona, & Otome suffered a nervous breakdown over Otome’s youngest favorite pet daughter Chiyoko   — separation anxiety to the -nth degree!!   Very sad.

Chiyoko look-alike (as 21 yr. old adult)

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“Uncle Kona” Solomon Kauinui, Chiyoko’s husband look-alike

Image result for images abraham williams
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https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/02/21/george-will-billy-graham-neither-prophet-nor-theologian/

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George Will: Billy Graham, neither prophet nor theologian

In 1972, unaware of Nixon’s Oval Office taping system, when Nixon ranted about how Jews ‘totally dominated’ the media, Graham said ‘this stranglehold has got to be broken or this country is going down the drain.’ He also told Nixon that Jews are ‘the ones putting out the pornographic stuff.’

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Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some and there are many “miracles around us today, including television and airplanes.” Graham was no theologian.

Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said “a prophet hath no honor in his own country.” Prophets take adversarial stances toward their times, as did the 20th century’s two greatest religious leaders, Martin Luther King and Pope John Paul II. Graham did not. Partly for that reason, his country showered him with honors.

So, the subtitle of Grant Wacker’s 2014 book “America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation” (Harvard University Press) is inapposite. When America acquired television and a celebrity culture, this culture shaped Graham. Professor Wacker of Duke’s Divinity School judges Graham sympathetically as a man of impeccable personal and business probity.

Americans respect quantification, and Graham was a marvel of quantities. He spoke, Wacker says, to more people directly — about 215 million — than any person in history. In 1945, at age 26, he addressed 65,000 in Chicago’s Soldier Field. The 1949 crusade in Los Angeles, promoted by the not notably devout William Randolph Hearst, had a cumulative attendance of 350,000. In 1957, a May-to-September rally in New York had attendance of 2.4 million, including 100,000 on one night at Yankee Stadium. A five-day meeting in Seoul, South Korea, in 1973 drew 3 million.

Graham’s effects are impossible to quantify. His audiences were exhorted to make a “decision” for Christ, but a moment of volition might be (in theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s phrase) an exercise in “cheap grace.” Graham’s preaching, to large rallies and broadcast audiences, gave comfort to many people and probably improved some.

Regarding race, this North Carolinian was brave, telling a Mississippi audience in 1952 that, in Wacker’s words, “there was no room for segregation at the foot of the cross.” In 1953, he personally removed the segregating ropes at a Chattanooga crusade. After the Supreme Court’s 1954 desegregation ruling, Graham abandoned the practice of respecting local racial practices. Otherwise, he rarely stepped far in advance of the majority. His 1970 Ladies’ Home Journal article “Jesus and the Liberated Woman” was, Wacker says, “a masterpiece of equivocation.”

The first preacher with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame was an entrepreneurial evangelical who consciously emulated masters of secular communication such as newscasters Drew Pearson, Walter Winchell and H.V. Kaltenborn. Wielding the adverbs “nearly” and “only,” Graham, says Wacker, would warn that all is nearly lost and the only hope is Christ’s forgiveness.

Graham frequently vowed to abstain from partisan politics, and almost as frequently slipped this self-imposed leash, almost always on behalf of Republicans. Before the 1960 election, Graham, displaying some cognitive dissonance, said that if John Kennedy were a true Catholic, he would be a president more loyal to the Pope than to the Constitution but would fully support him if elected.

Graham’s dealings with presidents mixed vanity and naivete. In 1952, he said he wanted to meet with all the candidates “to give them the moral side of the thing.” He was 33. He applied flattery with a trowel, comparing Dwight Eisenhower’s first foreign policy speech to the Sermon on the Mount and calling Richard Nixon “the most able and the best trained man for the job probably in American history.” He told Nixon that God had given him, Nixon, “supernatural wisdom.” Graham should have heeded the psalmist’s warning about putting one’s faith in princes.

On Feb. 1, 1972, unaware of Nixon’s Oval Office taping system, when Nixon ranted about how Jews “totally dominated” the media, Graham said “this stranglehold has got to be broken or this country is going down the drain.” He also told Nixon that Jews are “the ones putting out the pornographic stuff.” One can reasonably acquit Graham of anti-Semitism only by convicting him of toadying. When Graham read transcripts of Nixon conspiring to cover up crimes, Graham said that what “shook me most” was Nixon’s vulgar language.

Of the My Lai massacre of Vietnamese civilians by U.S. troops, Graham said, “we have all had our My Lais in one way or another, perhaps not with guns, but we have hurt others with a thoughtless word, an arrogant act or a selfish deed.” Speaking in the National Cathedral three days after 9/11, he said “it’s so glorious and wonderful” that the victims were in heaven and would not want to return.

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In praise of Megumi Kon

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My  2017 interview with larger than life hero Megumi Kon as supplement to my  tribute  also below to freedom fighters Nadia and Maria from Russia  —

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Megumi Kon look-alike (Megumi as a young man)

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older Megumi Kon look-alike

Image result for Togo Igawa

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I just read negative role model/self-aggrandized Rick Tsujimura’s autobiography  https://www.amazon.com/Campaign-Hawaii-Inside-Politics-Paradise/dp/1935690825

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and positive role model/altruist Fred Koehnen’s autobiography   https://www.clarkhawaii.com/blog/2015/09/fred-koehnens-autobiography-a-delightful-look-at-growing-up-in-hilo/

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and I was moved to note positive role model/longtime political pundit Megumi Kon  —

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In reflecting back over the past 112 years of Hawai’i County government’s chief executives, Fred Koehnen (named above) and Megumi Kon stand out as our greatest managing directors who served their chief executives  (Fred served under our most idealistic mayor, Shunichi Kimura, and Megumi served under Kimura’s successor, investment advisor Herbert Matayoshi).  Coincidentally, both Fred and Megumi built their homes in the same neighborhood, and Fred and Herb Matayoshi worked for the same investment company in Fred’s family’s building block on Kamehameha Ave. in Hilo.  “Geographical or interlocking power block?” No, just coincidence. None of these fellas was an egomaniac.

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Megumi grew up in sugar plantation village Pu’unene, Maui, and Megumi would’ve led a nondescript unassuming life if not for his unique mom, who was 1) raised among ethnic Hawaiians in rural Pu’ukoli’i Maui (on the way to Lahaina)(Hawaiians/Polynesians are among the friendliest peoples worldwide), she 2) of rural Hiroshima Honshu Island Japan site ancestry (Westernized Hiroshima descendants are commercialized — e.g. Hilo’s Bobby Fujimoto of HPM Bldg. Supply and Barry Taniguchi of KTA Stores) 3) as a second generation (“Nisei”) Japanese American, marking Megumi as an unusual third generation man via his mom, in that Nisei were born up to 1935 (Megumi was born in 1930) — making Megumi more Americanized/Westernized a generation sooner than Megumi’s peers.  Understandably,  learning curve leader Megumi professionalized as a licensed civil engineer, and possessed the empathy (ethnic Hawaiian influence via Megumi’s mom) and social skills (Hiroshima backdrop)(Megumi’s common laborer dad was of Niigata Honshu Japan site origin, rice country, among the few Niigata immigrants to the Hawaiian Islands, and Niigata immigrants as a site source minority were more goal-oriented to survive, vs. the profuse Kumamoto/Fukuoka immigrants from Kyushu Island, Japan; Kiyo Okubo of Hilo’s Japanese Immigrant Museum and Kea’au notable Richard Imai of Kea’au Hongwanji church are Niigata descendants)   — to excel in the cauldron of politics, which Megumi never foresaw as Megumi’s destiny, Megumi strictly schooling as an operations engineer.

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Nonetheless, when Gov. Jack Burns confidant Blackie Yanagawa of Hawai’i Housing Authority had Megumi come to Hilo to head the Kaiko’o Redevelopment Agency (to rebuild Hilo after the 1960 tsunami), Megumi was embraced by Gov. Burns strategy ace Hiroshi “Scrub” Tanaka of Hilo (Scrub of the famed 442 Military Intelligence Service along with eventual Hawai’i Supreme Court justice Masaji Marumoto of Capt. Cook, Kona, our nation’s 1st ever Japanese American supreme court justice)  —  and 442nd Bronze Star awardee Willy Okino Thompson, hydrology engineer (Willy’s uncle Tom Okino was a legislator and Harvard-trained circuit court judge, and chief 442nd recruiter in 1942-43), not to mention Megumi serving under age peer Mayor Shunichi Kimura (1930-2017).   Megumi’s patience, empathy, and great listener talent/blessing all projected Megumi to the top of the “in demand” political charts.   Megumi’s understated vision and “prophetic” gifts benefitted us all via responsible and prudent city planning and  implementation.

 

1st Japanese-American Highest Court Justice Masaji Marumoto of Capt. Cook Kona look-alike 1906-1995

See the source image

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Hiroshi “Scrub” Tanaka look-alike 1915-2006

Image result for Akira Takarada

Megumi’s name comes up frequently in regaling over previous government leaders and executives over the past 112 years, based on Megumi’s immense cognition (trained as civil engineer, but with the wisdom “of the ages” in common sense like his Hawaiian-influenced mom and survival-oriented dad), pure heart (compassion and humble nature like his mom and dad), and great patience/listener/empathy gifts/skills (the ethnic Hawaiian in his mom’s Pu’ukoli’i roots).

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When one is blessed (often the luck of the draw/crapshoot) with positive leaders/mentors, society as a whole benefits, as we see with Megumi’s impact on us all.   It’s important to remember Megumi’s own understated influences (both positive as mentioned above, and negative — how not to be, e.g. cronyist politico Richard Jitchaku, or grandstander Bill Kawahara), or for that matter, Megumi’s forebearers’ own mentors, subconscious or otherwise!   Willy Thompson’s 442nd genro (old leader) was Chaplain Hiro Higuchi of Hilo’s Holy Cross Japanese church, nearly 20 yrs. Willy’s senior (reprise the 442 holy trinity of Chappies Hiro, Chicken Yamada of Hilo and Kaua’i, and Stateside’s Israel Yost), and Willy’s sempai (older brother) was my dad, 12 yrs. Willy’s senior (my dad was awarded the Silver Star for retrieving his mortally wounded CO and his fellow rifleman in an ambush/firefight

  https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/music-a-bridge-from-abandonment-and-brokenness-to-wholeness-and-freedom/).

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listen to rock guitarist Jimmy Page’s classic licks/riffs (repeated series of musical notes) timeclock 1:00 to 1:42

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Page’s licks/riffs derive from the Louisiana  (Slim Harpo) & Mississippi/Chicago (Otis Rush) blues sounds, e.g. Baby Scratch my Back (Harpo) & All Your Love/I Miss Loving (Rush).   Boogie-woogie (8 quarter notes) gave rise to rock n roll, which is  a combination of a back beat and a boogie-woogie baseline.

 

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Willy Okino Thompson look-alike

 Image result for public ownership ken watanabe images

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“Chappie” Hiro Higuchi look-alike (Chappie Hiro also my dad’s party/singing/dancing pal)

Image result for public ownership ken watanabe images

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Indefatigable terrific role model “Chappie” Chicken Yamada look-alike

Image result for public ownership ken watanabe images

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Choose happiness, baby!!          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0unT_Urh7E

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Another example of peripeteia (ancient Grecian “reversal of expectation” e.g. All-“Jap” combat riflemen 100th/442nd units transfix high chief Gen. Marshall & doubter Gen. Ike Eisenhower with the 100th/442nd super-human exploits in the field of battle)  — in music is that history-steeped rockers from “southern” England incl. guitarists Jimmy Page/Eric Clapton — as always is the case — built their “electric” plugged-in licks/riffs on American southern blues sounds (African-American folkways).   The “new” picks up everything on the “old.”   Not so with ingénue Beatles Lennon/McCartney/Harrison, who created their own sounds via their tabula rasa (blank slate)  — yikes, peripeteia!!

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true friend of the 100th/442nd boys  — undaunted braveheart journalist Lyn Crost   look-alike

 

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And in praise of courageous freedom fighters from Russia   —

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See premier visual arts (filmmaking) icon David Lynch’s affirmation of Pussy Riot’s significance    —   timeclock 6:00 minutes

Nadezhda “Nadia”  Tolokonnikova
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (Pussy Riot) at the Moscow Tagansky District Court (crop).jpghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadezhda_Tolokonnikova

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Maria Alyokhina  — For me, this trial only has the status of a “so-called” trial. And I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of lies and fiction, of the thinly disguised fraud in the sentence of this so-called court. Because you can only take away my so-called freedom. And that is the exact kind that exists now in Russia. But nobody can take away my inner freedom.

Maria Alyokhina
Maria Alyokhina 2014 (cropped).jpg

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

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

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/morgan-guyton/why-my-heart-is-turn-betw_b_4828605.html

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One of the most important foundations of my Christianity was my experience being bullied in late elementary and middle school.

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I have always self-identified as an outsider.

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I am attracted to the outsiders, and I have the audacity to say that Christianity is supposed to be religion of outsiders,

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even though Christianity has spent most of its two millennia developing a triumphalist tradition post-Constantine in which it has catered to czars and emperors and had its theology shaped almost exclusively by social insiders, whose infallibility is acclaimed by the insiders of today.

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When I see Jesus say “Take up your cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34) to a group of people who could only understand a cross as the most brutal, dehumanizing object in the Roman Empire, he’s not talking about spiritual discipline; he’s talking about utterly your renouncing social status by becoming a despised one (c.f. 1 Corinthians 1:28), homo sacer , a proletarian.

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So when the women of Pussy Riot stand up for the people who don’t fit into their “Father Putin knows best” paternalistic society,

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they’re expressing a side of Jesus that has been lost to the Russian church.

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As much as I grimace at the thought of disrespecting the beautiful sanctified space of a cathedral (in a protest song which sent them to prison for two years),

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it was right for them to call out Russian Orthodox officials for their fawning praise of Putin’s dictatorship.

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They are not rebels without a cause.

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They have a very precise understanding of what they are doing, as expressed in Pussy Riot member Nadia Tolokonnikova’s letters from prison to radical theorist Slavoj Zizek:

We are a part of this force that has no final answers or absolute truths, for our mission is to question. There are architects of apollonian statics and there are (punk) singers of dynamics and transformation. One is not better than the other. But it is only together that we can ensure the world functions in the way Heraclitus defined it: “This world has been and will eternally be living on the rhythm of fire, inflaming according to the measure, and dying away according to the measure. This is the functioning of the eternal world breath.”

 
 

Heraclitus? WHAT?!! (She’s not typing this on her wifi laptop in an academic library, but hand-writing quotes of ancient philosophers from memory in a cold Siberian prison).

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And is this not the same vision that Christian naturalist Alexander Schmemann has?  I hear Jesus talking about the same “eternal world breath” when he says, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

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How does the liberated wind that Jesus speaks of look anything like a church that considers change itself to be a sin?

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A church that hates people whose crime is their complication of anthropological categories?

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Most people in Russia hate Nadia and Pussy Riot. They are extremely unpopular in opinion polls. They represent the infiltration of our disgusting Western culture that I hate no less than Russians do. (Some actually accuse them of being CIA agents!) I honestly think that what most Russians hate about feminism, homosexuality, and even basic concepts of democracy like freedom of speech is that it all looks like Miley Cyrus’s wrecking ball to them. But Nadia is no trashy Western hedonist. This is what she tells Zizek about her prison experience which wasn’t quite like the old GULAG, but was still physically brutal:

You should not worry that you are exposing theoretical fabrications while I am supposed to suffer the “real hardship.” I value the strict limits, and the challenge. I am genuinely curious: how will I cope with this? And how can I turn this into a productive experience for me and my comrades? I find sources of inspiration; it contributes to my own development.

 
 

In other words, she interprets the hardships of prison ascetically, like a Russian Orthodox monk would.

It may be outrageous of me to say this, but I think Nadia Tolokonnikova and Pussy Riot are one of God’s most important gifts to the Russian Orthodox Church right now.

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Even if the scowls at First Things will sneer at me for my inconsistency, I will persist in my unsubmissive Protestant priesthood of the believer, holding in one side of my heart the liberated eternal world breath of the balaclavaed anarchists from Pussy Riot, while in the other side, I feast on the beautiful eucharistic vision of Alexander Schmemann.

 

And if you ask me how I can do this, my answer will probably be incomprehensible to you: it’s because I fear the God whose ancient truths are also always new since the church has ever conquered them. Jesus said, “Do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). I dare not submit to any Father less than He.

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

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Churches in which the prosperity gospel is taught are often non-denominational and usually directed by a sole pastor or leader, although some have developed multi-church networks that bear similarities to denominations.

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Such churches typically set aside extended time to teach about giving and request donations from the congregation, encouraging positive speech and faith.

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Prosperity churches often teach about financial responsibility, though some journalists and academics have criticized their advice in this area as misleading.

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Prosperity theology has been criticized by leaders in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, as well as other Christian denominations. These leaders maintain that it is irresponsible, promotes idolatry, and is contrary to scripture.

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Some critics have proposed that prosperity theology cultivates authoritarian organizations, with the leaders controlling the lives of the adherents. The doctrine has also become popular in South Korea; academics have attributed some of its success to its parallels with the traditional shamanistic culture.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-dannemiller/christians-should-stop-saying_b_4868963.html

When I say that my material fortune is the result of God’s blessing, it reduces The Almighty to some sort of sky-bound, wish-granting fairy who spends his days randomly bestowing cars and cash upon his followers.

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Second, and more importantly,

nowhere in scripture

are we promised worldly ease in return for our pledge of faith.

In fact,

 

the most devout saints from the Bible

 

usually died penniless, receiving a one-way ticket to prison or death by torture.

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If we’re looking for the definition of blessing, Jesus spells it out clearly (Matthew 5: 1-12).

1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him,

2 And He began to teach them, saying:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 
 

I have a sneaking suspicion verses 12a 12b and 12c were omitted from the text. That’s where the disciples responded by saying:

12a Waitest thou for one second, Lord. What about “blessed art thou comfortable,” or 12b “blessed art thou which havest good jobs, a modest house in the suburbs, and a yearly vacation to the Florida Gulf Coast?”

12c And Jesus said unto them, “Apologies, my brothers, but those did not maketh the cut.”

So there it is. Written in red.

Plain as day.

Even still, we ignore it all

when we

hijack the word “blessed” to make it fit neatly into our modern American ideals,

creating a cosmic lottery where every sincere prayer buys us another scratch-off ticket.

In the process, we stand the risk of alienating those we are hoping to bring to the faith.

And we have to stop playing that game.

The truth is, I have no idea why I was born where I was or why I have the opportunity I have. It’s beyond comprehension. But I certainly don’t believe God has chosen me above others because of the veracity of my prayers or the depth of my faith. Still, if I take advantage of the opportunities set before me, a comfortable life may come my way. It’s not guaranteed. But if it does happen, I don’t believe Jesus will call me blessed.

Jesus will call me “burdened.”

Jesus will ask,

“What will you do with it?”

“Will you use it for yourself?”

“Will you use it to help?”

“Will you hold it close for comfort?”

“Will you share it?”

So many hard choices. So few easy answers.

So my prayer today is that I understand my true blessing. It’s not my house. Or my job. Or my standard of living.

No.

My blessing is this. I know a God who gives hope to the hopeless. I know a God who loves the unlovable. I know a God who comforts the sorrowful. And I know a God who has planted this same power within me. Within all of us.

And for this blessing, may our response always be,

“Use me.”

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great Christian “samurai” missionary Shiro Sokabe look-alike as a young man  1865-1949 (Sokabe our intrepid Honomu Hawai’i disciple)

http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2012/11/21/samurai-missionary/

Image result for images old time japanese samurai actors

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our greatest Luso/Portuguese historymaker, the incomparable Rev. Ernest Gomes Da Silva (mob-buster Paul De Silva’s vuvu/grandpa) look-alike

Dennis Farina 2011 Shankbone.JPG

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Hawaii’s Greatest Revivalist  Titus Coan was mentored by America’s greatest revivalist Charles Finney.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Finney

 

Charles Grandison Finey
Charles g finney.jpg

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

Titus Coan
Titus Coan.jpg*

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Great Waikoloa Bible scholar Cliff Livermore born 1941 is descended from Charles Finney.

Cliff Livermore look-alike

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Like Coan & Finney, brother Cliff Livermore  emphasizes a personal relationship with Jesus from newly styled (yet genesis/original) ‘non-denominational’ churches and ‘community faith centers.’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Great_Awakening#New_religious_movements

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Brother Livermore heralds a charismatic awakening via the Pentecostal movement that places emphasis on experiencing gifts of the spirit, including speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy — not to mention strengthening spiritual conviction through these gifts and through signs taken to be from the Holy Spirit.

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Brother Livermore accordingly advocates via Scripture a reduced emphasis on institutional structures and an increased emphasis on lay spirituality — that Jesus saw no separating wall between clergy and laity.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_war#Battleground_issues_in_the_.22culture_wars.22

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 Great man of wisdom George Will (steeped in history with flourish of contempo investigation/research)   —

It was an assertion of hard-won personal sovereignty: Frederick Douglass, born on a Maryland plantation 200 years ago this month, never knew on what February day because history deprivation was inflicted to confirm slaves as non-persons. So, later in life, Douglass picked the 14th, the middle of the month, as his birthday. This February, remember him, the first African American to attain historic stature.In an inspired choice to write a short biography of this fierce defender of individualism, Washington’s libertarian Cato Institute commissioned the Goldwater Institute’s Timothy Sandefur, who says that Douglass was, in a sense, born when he was 16. After six months of being whipped once a week with sticks and rawhide thongs — arbitrary punishment was used to stunt a slave’s dangerous sense of personhood — Douglass fought his tormentor. Sent to Baltimore, where he was put to work building ships — some of them slave transports — he soon fled north to freedom, and to fame as an anti-slavery orator and author. His 1845 “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” is, as Sandefur says, a classic of American autobiography.Abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison said there should be “no union with slaveholders,” preferring disunion to association with slave states. They said what the Supreme Court would say in its execrable 1857 Dred Scott decision — that the Constitution was a pro-slavery document. Douglass, however, knew that Abraham Lincoln knew better.

“Here comes my friend Douglass,” exclaimed Lincoln at the March 4, 1865, reception following his second inauguration. After the assassination 42 days later, Lincoln’s widow gave Douglass her husband’s walking stick. After Appomattox, Douglass, who had attended the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention on behalf of women’s suffrage, said: “Slavery is not abolished until the black man has the ballot.” If so, slavery ended not with the 13th Amendment of 1865 but with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.Douglass opposed radical Republicans’ proposals to confiscate plantations and distribute the land to former slaves. Sandefur surmises that “Douglass was too well versed in the history and theory of freedom not to know” the importance of property rights. Douglass, says Sandefur, was not a conservative but a legatee of “the classical liberalism of the American founding.” His individualism was based on the virtue of self-reliance. “He was not,” Sandefur says, “likely to be attracted to any doctrine that subordinated individual rights — whether free speech or property rights — to the interests of the collective.”
Although Douglass entered the post-Civil War era asking only that blacks at last be left to fend for themselves, he knew that “it is not fair play to start the Negro out in life, from nothing and with nothing.” A 20th-century Southerner agreed. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson said: “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race and then say, ‘you are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.” As the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. knew: In 1965, he met Alabama sharecroppers who, having been paid all their lives in plantation scrip, had never seen U.S. currency. Peonage had followed slavery in sharecropper society.By the time of Douglass’s 1895 death, the nation was saturated with sinister sentimentality about the nobility of the South’s Lost Cause: The war had really been about constitutional niceties — “states’ rights” — not slavery. This, Sandefur says, was ludicrous: Before the war, Southerners “had sought more federal power, not less, in the form of nationwide enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act and federal subsidies for slavery’s expansion.”Nevertheless, in the South, monuments to Confederate soldiers were erected and Confederate symbols were added to states’ flags. In the North, the University of Chicago’s Charles Edward Merriam, a leading progressive, wrote in a widely used textbook that “from the standpoint of modern political science, the slaveholders were right” about some people not being entitled to freedom. As an academic, Woodrow Wilson paid “loving tribute to the virtues of the leaders of the secession, to the purity of their purposes.” As president, he relished making “The Birth of a Nation,” a celebration of the Ku Klux Klan, the first movie shown in the White House.Douglass died 30 years before 25,000 hooded Klansmen marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. That same year, Thurgood Marshall graduated from Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High School, en route to winning Brown v. Board of Education. Douglass, not Wilson, won the American future.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/16/AR2008061602041.html

The day after the Supreme Court ruled that detainees imprisoned at Guantanamo are entitled to seek habeas corpus hearings, John McCain called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.” Well.Does it rank with Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), which concocted a constitutional right, unmentioned in the document, to own slaves and held that black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect? With Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which affirmed the constitutionality of legally enforced racial segregation? With Korematsu v. United States (1944), which affirmed the wartime right to sweep American citizens of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps?

Did McCain’s extravagant condemnation of the court’s habeas ruling result from his reading the 126 pages of opinions and dissents? More likely, some clever ignoramus convinced him that this decision could make the Supreme Court — meaning, which candidate would select the best judicial nominees — a campaign issue.

The decision, however, was 5 to 4. The nine justices are of varying quality, but there are not five fools or knaves. The question of the detainees’ — and the government’s — rights is a matter about which intelligent people of good will can differ.

The purpose of a writ of habeas corpus is to cause a government to release a prisoner or show through due process why the prisoner should be held. Of Guantanamo’s approximately 270 detainees, many certainly are dangerous “enemy combatants.” Some probably are not. None will be released by the court’s decision, which does not even guarantee a right to a hearing. Rather, it guarantees only a right to request a hearing. Courts retain considerable discretion regarding such requests.

As such, the Supreme Court’s ruling only begins marking a boundary against government’s otherwise boundless power to detain people indefinitely, treating Guantanamo as (in Barack Obama’s characterization) “a legal black hole.” And public habeas hearings might benefit the Bush administration by reminding Americans how bad its worst enemies are.

Critics, including Chief Justice John Roberts in dissent, are correct that the court’s decision clouds more things than it clarifies. Is the “complete and total” U.S. control of Guantanamo a solid-enough criterion to prevent the habeas right from being extended to other U.S. facilities around the world where enemy combatants are or might be held? Are habeas rights the only constitutional protections that prevail at Guantanamo? If there are others, how many? All of them? If so, can there be trials by military commissions, which permit hearsay evidence and evidence produced by coercion?

Roberts’s impatience is understandable: “The majority merely replaces a review system designed by the people’s representatives with a set of shapeless procedures to be defined by federal courts at some future date.” Ideally, however, the defining will be by Congress, which will be graded by courts.

McCain, co-author of the McCain-Feingold law that abridges the right of free political speech, has referred disparagingly to, as he puts it, “quote ‘First Amendment rights.’ ” Now he dismissively speaks of “so-called, quote ‘habeas corpus suits.’ ” He who wants to reassure constitutionalist conservatives that he understands the importance of limited government should be reminded why the habeas right has long been known as “the great writ of liberty.”

No state power is more fearsome than the power to imprison. Hence the habeas right has been at the heart of the centuries-long struggle to constrain governments, a struggle in which the greatest event was the writing of America’s Constitution, which limits Congress’s power to revoke habeas corpus to periods of rebellion or invasion. Is it, as McCain suggests, indefensible to conclude that Congress exceeded its authority when, with the Military Commissions Act (2006), it withdrew any federal court jurisdiction over the detainees’ habeas claims?

As the conservative and libertarian Cato Institute argued in its amicus brief in support of the petitioning detainees, habeas, in the context of U.S. constitutional law, “is a separation of powers principle” involving the judicial and executive branches. The latter cannot be the only judge of its own judgment.

In Marbury v. Madison (1803), which launched and validated judicial supervision of America’s democratic government, Chief Justice John Marshall asked: “To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing, if these limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained?” Those are pertinent questions for McCain, who aspires to take the presidential oath to defend the Constitution.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/april-fools-day-tsunami-reduxed-1946-tsunami-killed-159-people-in-hawaii/

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from tsunami expert Gerard Fryer April 5, 2017   —

Aloha Curtis,

The earthquake which spawned the 1946 tsunami displayed exceptionally slow rupture, as Lopez & Okal showed (they calculated that the rupture speed was about one kilometer/second, only about a third of the speed shown by most earthquakes). The slow rupture was accompanied by a huge slip—the distance one side of the fault moved relative to the other. What the actual slip was we don’t know for sure, but if you try to model the tsunami that hit Hawaii, you need a slip of at least 30 meters. Why the slow slip? Again, we don’t know for sure, but rupture reaching up into shallow, weak, sediments is the likeliest cause. [emphasis is Curtis’]

Could one of these tsunamis [tsunami earthquake event] sneak in and hit us unawares? Until about 1990, the answer was probably “Yes.” Now, though, I’m confident that we would get the measure of the earthquake in time.

For all earthquakes above about magnitude 6.5, PTWC runs a slowness check which looks at how the energy radiated at short periods compares to that at long periods. Slow earthquakes push out a lot more energy at long periods. This check is only possible because of the worldwide distribution of broadband seismometers: there are at least 700 such instruments all over the Earth and almost everybody shares their data in real time.

All the best,

-Gerard

On Apr 5, 2017, Curtis Narimatsu  wrote:

 

Hi Gerard:   I ponder Okal’s study which overlays tsunami earthquake” discussions.

Tsunami earthquake

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Did the 1946 Aleutian earthquake have a slip which amplified (via soft clay) the tsunami?

Will a “tsunami earthquake” be our “silent/quiet killer” undetected by current technology?

 

Thanks, Gerard   — always, Curtis

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http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL061232/full

https://www.unavco.org/science/snapshots/human-dimensions/2016/butler.html

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https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11069-016-2650-0

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Via a 2,000 year time period, the Aleutian Islands spot (equidistant between the location sources of the 1946 tsunami to the east and the 1957 tsunami to the west) will send a 9.4 moment magnitude generated tsunami straight ahead to the Hawaiian Islands with 105 ft. high runups (from sea level to the highest point on land) which will cause utter devastation to all low-lying areas.   Such a tsunami is overdue inasmuch the center spot has not had such a humongous event over the past 2,000 years.   Mayor Harry Kim foolishly discards the risk of the overdue event.   After what science discovered via the 2011 Japan tsunami, it is criminal to overlook such an apocalyptic event.    The evacuation areas in Hilo include clearing everyone oceanside of our Prince Kuhio Plaza, as a conservative measure.

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Fig. 10

Hilo Harbor—which experienced great tsunami disasters in the twentieth century—is shown in relation to the Hawaiian Islands. The tsunami evacuation zone based on historic tsunamis (cream textured, ca. 2010) is dwarfed by a great Aleutian tsunami (colored zone, amplitudes noted in meters) that extends >2-km inland.

 

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http://www.staradvertiser.com/breaking-news/geologists-say-section-of-aleutian-islands-could-send-devastating-tsunami-to-hawaii/

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09xQ8n6GiTY

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2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the song Abraham, Martin, and John  (in praise of our fallen peers/forebearers).  All respect to our fallen ones   —

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the 2011 Japan tsunami at Soma port was twice as high as the deadly waves which hit Hawai’i in 1946 & 1960, not to mention that the seashore sank 3 feet along Japan’s northeast coast (thereby rendering useless  all anti-tsunami seawalls except for Fudai’s 50 ft. high barrier  — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhxlBGzNyzk  )    —     while all of Honshu moved 8 feet eastward.   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_T%c5%8dhoku_earthquake_and_tsunami 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2v6VMqRA5w

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibewcn1-mEI&index=34&list=PL42F01C0B2AEAC1C9

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all 5  employees at the Soma port office miraculously survived   — go to timeclock 13:13 here

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLQZ4P6CASk

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Japan’s “giant” mega-thrust earthquake generated tsunamis    —   the interval is one such tsunami every one thousand years  —

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(6 mega-thrust tsunami events 1,000 years apart between 6,000 B.C. & 100 A.D., then the 869 A.D. Jogan Sanriku tsunami, then the 2011 A.D. Tohoku tsunami   —

 

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http://factsanddetails.com/japan/cat26/sub160/item1741.html

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http://factsanddetails.com/japan/cat26/sub161/item1742.html

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2011 megathrust tsunami predicter Yasutaka Ikeda   was ignored     —

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one

Yasutaka Ikeda

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http://www.earthmagazine.org/article/superquakes-supercycles-and-global-earthquake-clustering-recent-research-and-recent-quakes

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110315-japan-earthquake-tsunami-big-one-science/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/in-ishinomaki-japan-stories-of-survival-and-loss/2011/03/28/AF6FPoyB_story.html

http://openoregonstate.pressbooks.pub/earthquakes/chapter/16-an-uncertain-appointment-with-a-restless-earth/

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also,   http://theweek.com/articles/485635/geologist-who-predicted-japans-tsunami

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supercritical wave flow focus  (even reinforced concrete is destroyed by large lateral force of water)    go to timeclock 29:30  (Kuji port)  —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2FHoOUyZ-k

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lateral force hazard generally   — timeclock :46 (Onagawa city)   —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-5cJseEsmc

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http://www.jsnds.org/jnds/23_2_3.pdf

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/869_Sanriku_earthquake

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http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4099073.htm

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http://extremeplanet.me/2014/02/04/detailed-imagery-of-the-2011-japan-tsunami/

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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111205181924.htm   (underwater topography/bathymetry can amplify wave pulse energy)

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“Slow” quakes (not tsunami earthquakes) might correlate with  eventual huge earthquakes  —

 

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/slow-earthquakes-are-thing-180960248/

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_earthquake

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http://www.nature.com/news/in-japan-small-shakes-presage-big-quakes-1.19252

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http://www.voanews.com/content/subtle-seismic-activity-hints-predicting-large-quakes/3167842.html

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http://theconversation.com/rumbling-from-ocean-trenches-could-be-sign-that-japan-faces-mega-earthquake-41464

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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4260540/

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http://www.oneindia.com/international/slow-motion-earthquakes-may-also-lead-tsunamis-2091387.html

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http://phys.org/news/2016-05-world-shallowest-slow-motion-earthquakes-offshore.html

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https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160505144723.htm

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timeclock 14:58 to 18:44 (asperity means rough stuck area)    —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUmcrezGEAk

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timeclock 16:19 to  17:25  —

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timeclock 23:22       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUmcrezGEAk

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL063959/full

https://www.fujipress.jp/jdr/dr/dsstr000900030317/

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Rise, then withdrawal/drawback, of coastal waters in the Hawaiian Islands from subduction earthquakes (Pacific Rim local coastal plate e.g. Aleutian Islands/Japan  — snaps up/forward over “diving” Pacific Plate) — expert Gerard Fryer’s description   —

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January 30, 2018

To Curtis,

A subduction earthquake, regardless its magnitude, causes uplift offshore  and depression near shore. That means on the local coast the first thing you’ll see (e.g., Japan in 2011) is a withdrawal. On the ocean side of the earthquake (e.g., Hawaii in 2011) the first thing you should see, because you’re on the uplifted side, is a rise in sea level.

Indeed, in Hawaii in 2011, the first thing we saw on tide gauges *was* a rise in sea level. The initial rise, however, was not as pronounced as the following depression, and the next wave was larger than the first, so to someone on the beach it’s possible that the first thing you were aware of was a withdrawal.

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This is a pretty crummy description of what happens   —

Whether inundation or drawback occur first is determined by how the tsunami is generated. Magnitude 8 earthquakes cause uplift of the sea floor and then subsidence (down) of the seafloor. Subsidence causes drawback and uplift will cause inundation.   http://www.sms-tsunami-warning.com/pages/tsunami-drawback#.WnI-MGczUdV

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The 2011 Japan tsunami truly was of biblical proportion  —

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B004JAN0Ahg

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Go to timeclock 5:15 below to see 2 persons perched atop moored ship viewing “Niagara Falls” 35 ft. high seawall (15 ft. higher than at Daichi nuclear power plant) being “flooded” over at Hachinohe harbor, northern Japan.   Then go to timeclock 10:09 to see the enormity of the “flooding/deluge.”  Experience the “agitation cycle” of a gigantic washing machine at timeclock 3:36.   —-

 

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zoom in to this moored ship above in the photo below   —

http://www.worldportsource.com/ports/maps/JPN_Port_of_Hachinohe_1406.php

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Regarding Hawai’i Island volcanology    —

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January 31, 2018

To Frank Trusdell
US Geological Survey (Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)

from Curtis

Hi Frank:  In one of your USGS Hawai’i Trib articles, you described an old Mauna Loa lava flow  approx. where today’s Hilo police station is off Kapiolani St.  Current construction excavation on the mauka side of Kapiolani St. about 300 ft. south of the police station public parking lot reveals est. 4 ft. of dirt on top of rock.  I don’t know if this site is part of the old lava flow.  Aerial photos est. 60 yrs. ago show a greenbelt from Imaizumi Dairy (where today’s Pacific Heights condos are off Kumukoa St. up to today’s Komohana St.) all the way down to Kilauea Ave. approx. where New China restaurant is.  A stream ran down the Imaizumi Dairy area across/under  today’s Popolo St. extension.

Why was the old lava flow not covered by later flows?   Topography “anomaly?”  Your assistance will be very much appreciated.  Thanks in advance for your mana’o (wisdom).

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To Curtis,

We call the flow, at the location you mention, the Kinoole Street flow.

It is ~8600 yrs old (its been dated).  And it is not surprising that it has

that much soil.

The drainages we see now almost certainly are not the same as before

due to flood control projects and consolidation of drainages.

Why not covered?  Hilo is far from the rift.  It is slightly higher standing

ground.  But close by are the 1880-81 lava flow and another prehistoric

flow dated at ~1300 yrs.  The toe of the 1880 flow crosses Mohouli and

is pointed toward the Kinoole Street flow (floral hobbyist Otake’s property

at junction of  Mohouli & Popolo Sts.)

See here for a PDF version of our geologic map of Hilo:

Trusdell, F. A. & Lockwood, J. P. (2017).

Geologic map of the northeast flank of Mauna Loa volcano, Island of Hawai‘i, Hawaii.

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map , 2932-A,

pamphlet 25 p., 2 sheets. doi:10.3133/sim2932A

Frank

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Frank Trusdell

US Geological Survey–HVO

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https://bigislandnow.com/2018/02/23/hawaii-volcano-watch-slow-slip-event-on-kilauea-volcanos-south-flank-expected-this-year/

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Slow slip vs. sudden terminal cataclysm?   Earthquake/unimaginable tsunami

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Black arrows indicate the amount and direction of motion measured by GPS stations in HVO’s monitoring network during the October 2015 slow slip event. Arrow lengths correspond to the amount of motion at each station (see scale at bottom of map); arrow points show the direction the stations moved. Color indicates topography, from sea level (green) to 4,000 feet elevation (brown). The ocean is shown in blue. USGS graphic.

Today’s Volcano Watch begins with a question: Can you guess when the next slow slip event will happen on Kīlauea Volcano’s South Flank? As a hint, the last one was in October 2015, and before then, events occurred in May 2012, February 2010 and June 2007. If this seems like a pattern, you’re right.

What is a “slow slip event” anyway?

Slow slip events are sometimes called “slow earthquakes” or “episodic slip events.” They happen when a fault begins sliding, just like in a regular earthquake, but so slowly that it takes several days to finish instead of several seconds.

At Kīlauea, slow earthquakes occur on the nearly flat-lying décollement fault that underlies the volcano’s south flank at a depth of four to five miles. This is the same fault that was responsible for the magnitude-7.7 Kalapana earthquake in 1975.

However, slow earthquakes produce no seismic waves and, therefore, none of the damaging shaking of a regular earthquake. Because of this, we actually look forward to them! [emphasis added] They help relieve a small amount of stress on the fault and give us a view into frictional properties of this hazardous fault beneath Kīlauea.

Motion of Kīlauea’s south flank is recorded by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s GPS (Global Positioning System) monitoring network. These instruments show that the south flank moves steadily seaward about 2.3 inches every year, which is attributed to a phenomenon called “fault creep.”

During a slow earthquake, the south flank surges seaward by an additional amount, usually about 1.2 inches. This additional motion occurs over two to three days, and is about the same amount that would happen in a regular magnitude-6 earthquake.

Kīlauea slow slip events tend to occur evenly in time; in particular, events after 2005 have occurred every 2.5 years, give or take three months. They are also caused by slip on the same section of the fault every time and tend to be about the same size.

In fact, Kīlauea slow slip events are examples of so-called “characteristic” earthquakes—a series of several earthquakes of similar magnitude and location, which indicates that they are breaking the exact same part of the fault again and again. According to the “characteristic earthquake hypothesis,” this series should continue into the future, allowing scientists to forecast the time, location and size of a future earthquake.

The characteristic earthquake hypothesis was originally developed in hope that it could predict regular, and possibly damaging, earthquakes. This idea emerged from observations of a series of earthquakes that seemed to strike about every 22 years near the town of Parkfield, California. After earthquakes in 1857, 1881, 1901, 1922, 1934 and 1966, all of which occurred as magnitude-6 events in the same part of the San Andreas fault, scientists predicted the next earthquake would occur in 1988.

As it turned out, the next Parkfield earthquake did not occur until 2004, 16 years after the predicted date. However, even though the characteristic earthquake hypothesis wasn’t successful at predicting a regular earthquake, it has been useful for forecasting the occurrence of slow slip events around the world.

Locations where recurring, predictable slow slip events happen include the Cascadia Subduction zone offshore of Washington and Oregon. This fault produces slow slip events equivalent to a magnitude-6.7 earthquake every 15 months. In Japan, on the subduction zone along the Nankai Trough, major slow slip events occur approximately every seven years and are equivalent to magnitude-7 earthquakes!

Because the most recent slow slip event on Kīlauea happened in October 2015, and the events have a recurrence time of 2.5 years (give or take three months), we can forecast that the next one might occur between now and August 2018. But remember, there won’t be any shaking or other effect that could be easily felt by individuals.

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My reaction:   Isn’t the terminal consequence of slow slip that of sudden cataclysm??   Eventually, the ocean side of Kilauea breaks off via an incomprehensible “apocalypse!”  This end result certainly does not make joyful a volcanologist studying slow slip.   Rational discussion of slow slip vs. bone-chilling endpoint   — is it unfair or not to discuss the ultimate consequence of slow slip?

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http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread724317/pg1

It’s not “if” but when large pieces of the Hawaiian Islands will slip into the ocean, the entire Pacific Rim will be smashed by the resulting tsunamis. In New South Wales, Australia, and the west coast of the United States there is geological evidence that parts of these coasts was scoured by a Hawaii generated tsunami over 100,000 years ago. The postulated wave started out about a 1/2 mile high in Hawaii.

 


Perspective view of the Big Island of Hawaii, looking northeast. The giant Alika landslide descended the western slope of the volcano Mauna Loa (ML). The northern lobe of the landslide, Alika 2, was about 120 cubic miles in volume (the 1980 Mt. St. Helen’s landslide was less than one cubic mile). Sediments lying on top of the Alika 2 debris are 120,000 years old. credit: Gerard Fryer, SOEST/University of Hawaii

Geologists classify these slides as either “slumps” or “debris avalanches.” These move just a few inches a year but are prone to much bigger movements. In Hawaii, both varieties of movement can involve massive blocks of real estate. In the huge Nu’uanu debris slide, stone blocks 6 miles across tumbled 30 miles out to sea. Both slumps and debris slides may create colossal tsunamis.

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Worse waves are possible in the very near future. A 4,760 cubic mile chunk of Hawaii is breaking away at the rate of 4 inches per year. This is the Hilina Slump, and it is the “the most rapidly moving tract of ground on Earth for its size.” The Hilina Slump can and will move much faster. At 4:48 AM, November 29, 1975, a 37-mile-wide section suddenly dropped 11½ feet and slid seaward 26 feet. The result was a magnitude-7.2 quake and a 48-foot-high tsunami. This was a just speck of the slump. If the entire 4,760-cubic-mile block decided to break off, it would most likely create a magnitude-9 quake and a tsunami 1,000-feet high. All the coast-hugging cities of the Hawaiian Islands would be destroyed.

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Here is a snippet on my larger-than-life hero Nobuji Tokushiro   —

 Nobuji Tokushiro look-alike

Image result for images kichimatsu tanaka

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/contrarian-opinions-provide-the-richness-of-diversity/

 
 

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Shinmachi had pockets of Issei settlers at the turn of the last century, including our 1914 Taishoji founders (its website says 1916).

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giri ninjo (Issei creed — serve humanity)  –   kuni no tame (Nisei creed — serve our U.S.A. country)
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Hilo Taishoji church actually started in Shinmachi (today’s Kamehameha Statue area).    Chigo “sacred child” festivity thru Motomachi (Kamehameha Ave.) & Punahoa St. area behind downtown Hata Bldg. (Little Tokyo) was a cultural activity partaken by the Taishoji fraternity in Shinmachi.   I briefly discussed this online below.   Richard Imai 1910-2009 was a Taishoji product whose dad was a Hilo Taishoji founder, & Richard participated in such “chigo” parades even after the current Kilauea Ave. Taishoji church was built.   Of course, Western Culture jujitsu/judo genesis Kichimatsu Tanaka’s consecrated grounds, so to speak, were at the current Taishoji locality along Kilauea Ave. (makai side —  Furneaux Lane Garden Exchange area).  
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Kichimatsu Tanaka look-alike

Image result for images kichimatsu tanaka

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Grooming for great leadership —

In conversing with a parent whose child is an alltime prep judo star,

I mentioned our Issei/immigrant Kichimatsu Tanaka 1875-1954 who

introduced what we know today as judo (Kichimatsu’s yoshin ryu jujitsu

learned from his master Jigoro Kano 1860-1938, the father of judo in

Japan) to the Western World starting right here in Hilo at Furneaux Lane,

then Kilauea Ave., & finally at fabulous humongous dojo/hall Shinyu Kai bldg. 1915

owned/built by our esteemed Mainichi newspaper/Nobuji Tokushiro at “Nippon Alley” ergo

Ponahawai St. which included Dodo Mortuary (1st mortuary elevator

here 1923) & Tokushiro’s Mainichi newspaper bldg. 1918 (formerly across the

street at Punahoa lane — also called “Nippon Alley”)(Nobuji being Hilo’s most influential Issei/Western assimilationist as a prolific writer/leader). I mentioned that

Oyabun Kichimatsu’s granddaughter is Karen Tanaka Tanabe born 1951, to which

the parent/communicant exuded, “Yes, she’s great at sewing these

judo outfits.” Kichimatsu, my unspoken hero, the lowly itinerant masseur

who brought judo to Western Society!! Still forgotten today by mainstream

judoka/pundits. Kichimatsu learned his art (“The Gentle Way”) from the

Master, Kano. Kichimatsu in turn passed it on to his star pupil, Seichiro/Seishiro “Henry”

Okazaki 1890-1951, founder of Danzan ryu jujitsu in the U.S. (so-called

eclectic martial art), who in turn spawned all the self-attentive judoka

we see today. Tanaka sensei not a household name, sadly. Why do

I reprise this obscure note? The Bible of Sports, ubiquitous Sports

Illustrated Magazine, just featured among the greatest-ever mixed martial

arts titlists, Hilo’s BJ Penn, linking him to antecedent/forebearer Seishiro

Okazaki (actual bully Penn’s strengths are floor action/jujitsu/grappling), with no

mention of the man who created Okazaki, both in martial arts & in

later Hollywood renown as masseur to historymakers like FDR/Douglas

Fairbanks/Jean Harlow/Johnny Weismuller — Kichimatsu Tanaka. Our Genesis.

In politics, LBJ’s dad groomed eventual House Speaker Sam Rayburn, who

in turn groomed LBJ (greatest Civil Rights advocate), who in turn

groomed “Johnny” Burns (as LBJ affectionately called Jack Burns), who

in turn groomed Dan Inouye. Dan’s saddest fact? Dan didn’t groom

anyone (such as Ed Case) to take Dan’s place. In “parson” lexicon,

Rev. Hung Wai Ching 1905-2002 spawned later great religious leaders/

character builders such as Rev. Abraham Akaka.

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Literal savior of the Japanese in Hawai’i, the indubitable Rev. Hung Wai Ching (incl. as genesis of 100th Batt. & 442nd Regimental combat team) look-alike  —

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Here is my non-Tokushiro snippet on peripeteia (reversal of conventional thinking) in Issei matters (from my blog article above) —

Thanks to Fred Kinzaburo  Makino’s fellow English brew/kin attorney Joe Lightfoot, Steere Noda was mentored by “Jap-hater” Lightfoot as a court clerk/interpreter/district court practitioner, all because Noda wholly backed up Makino’s crusade to stop forced Christian marriages (Takie Okumura) on incoming Japan picture brides, along w/Makino’s crusade to save our Nihon gakko/Japanese language schools (haole oligarchy/Big 5 coercively sought to eliminate such bi-lingual mode to defeat “Tokyo-nizing” Hawai`i kids), a crusade which Hongwanji chief Yemyo Imamura 1867-1932 fully sponsored (immigrants mostly Hongwanji Buddhists, not Christian).  Of course, Noda was a “made” man by Imamura himself a la Brando’s Godfather cinema.   Christian leader Takie Okumura 1865-1951 vehemently opposed Makino/Imamura on grounds that “when in Rome, do as the Romans do, ergo do unto Caesar as secular currency emblems Caesar’s inscription.”  Makino’s chief rival — publisher Yasutaro Soga of Nippu Jiji 1873-1957 —  though Makino’s compadre/spiritual kazoku in the unified Nikkei Sugar Strike 1909, sided w/fellow Christian assimilationist/accomodationist Okumura.  Ironically, Soga was interned WWII, not “hapa-haole” White man Makino the provocateur/instigator.   That 1st Hongwanji high school alumnus Noda also was the 1st National Guard volunteer pleasantly aroused esteemed attorney Lightfoot’s cackles (Lightfoot’s progeny is C. Joseph Lightfoot 1917-1944 Navy KIA WWII).  In other words, power grid/relationship cemented Noda’s legacy (Englishmen Makino-Lightfoot)(Noda’s unfailing allegiance to Hongwanji protector Makino).  Irony is that Imperial Japan persecuted Christians/Catholics, but worked w/Hawai`i Christians to promote language schools so long as our Big 5 would permit such endeavors — yet tolerated Buddhists in Japan despite forced State Shinto (not Buddhist, but “paganism”), but undercut Imamura in Hawai`i (Imamura protested the military’s takeover of Buddhist churches).   So Makino tried to “Tokyo-nize” Nikkei here, despite being wholly at odds w/Japan militarists vicariously via Imamura (U.S. assimilationist), & Christians Okumura/Soga tried to Americanize Nikkei here, despite being supported by Japan militarists  (vs. blowback from Buddhist Imamura).    Man oh man, manifold prism, huh??!!   Odd/contradictory alliances!!   (Fred Steere Jr.’s wife just passed away — Fred Jr. 1907-1988 was a great Punahou athlete & Big 5 exec, but it was his dad whom Steere Noda named Noda himself after, not Jr.   Steere Sr. was Noda’s alter ego/role model/mentor, Sr. an early Waterhouse/banking exec.)

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courageous “salt of the earth” journalist/publisher Yasutaro Soga look-alike as a young leader

Image result for images koichi ose

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poignant Westernized assimilationist Yemyo Imamura look-alike as a young man

Image result for images dean fujioka

 

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tremendous American assimilationist/my hero Rev. Takie Okumura look-alike

Image result for images japanese actors
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Kona Hawai’i Japanese culture heritage      —

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/in-praise-of-albert-baer-ikeda-80-years-young-now/

 

 

 

Baer’s lineage/DNA typify very Americanized (assimilated Americans) Holualoa North Kona (like our Civil War’s Union North) as the genesis of our astronomically greatest leaders in West Hawai’i (vs. backward Dixie Rebel South further down the old Mamalahoa Highway along later Gold Coast South Kona)  — Baer’s Inaba kazoku/family galvanized immense altruism/leadership among our pre-WWII born kids   —  including Baer’s uncles WWII famed 442nd soldier Goro Inaba (my dad’s combat buddy)/WWII’s protected engineer Yoshio (mentored my dad to attend Dale Carnegie course)  — the only Nisei w/top secret entry to O’ahu military nerve centers/greatest rural land developer Norman (sadly, Norman succumbed to Mammon — money is god — Exh. A: Norman’s “alarming friends” who sat in the front pews at Norman’s mama’s funeral service, with Mama’s casket bedecked in the most expensive funeral wreaths  — bling bling Norman style)(Hollywood’s Carrie Ann is Norman’s granddaughter).     Our famed Holualoa Goto kazoku also catalyzed extraordinary leadership  — such as godlike Baron & Baron’s cousin Kenji (Honolulu Japanese Hospital ergo later Kuakini Health Systems guru Kenji Goto).     Of course, Keopu’s multi-millionaire lawyer Frank Sogi was a stone’s throw from Goto/Inaba (Frank a whiner who bit off the hand that fed him  — Mike Masaoka helped form our Japan-U.S. Wall St. cabal along with Honolulu’s 100th Batt./442nd creator Rev. Hung Wai Ching — yet insolent Frank Sogi knocked Masaoka as a traitor collaborator w/WWII internment martial law military authorities),  just as Mao Tse Tung’s brainwashed disciple Koji Ariyoshi suffered unbearably under the weight of oppressive haole coffee mill owners a stone’s throw from our Inaba/Goto kazoku.       Tokuichi Tsuji 1881-1973 was a cook for Waterhouse (genesis Waterhouse emigrated from Tasmania 1851 — island south of Australia — was longtime capitalist, whose grandson benefacted Tsuji as Bishop-1st Haw’n banker & as connected w/Big 5 oligarchs), was catalyzed by  Tsuji’s “master” Waterhouse to become our Issei/immigrant entrepreneur, & eventually started Sunrise Soda Works as our earliest Issei entrepreneur here.  Of course, by the time baby boomers like yamato damashii/fighting heart Ellison Onizuka 1946-1986 rolled around, our Union North Holualoa was matched in parity by our Dixie South Kona (Baer coached Ellison in sports).      Only a few pre-WWII born leaders emerged from South Kona, incl. famed Yale sociologist Chitoshi Yanaga 1903-1985, earliest Bank of Hawai’i AJA boss Tasuke Yamagata, & City Bank founder Jimmy Morita (later was bought out by CPB), all 3 of Kealakekua, our Nation’s 1st ever AJA highest court judge in 1956, Justice Masaji Marumoto of Capt. Cook’s Marumoto Store adjacent to Manago Hotel (Masaji’s dad started the store  — sadly, Masaji’s mama died & Dad’s new wife mistreated Masaji — so that Masaji buried himself in the love of book learning & eventually fled to Honolulu to live w/Masaji’s aunty), & famed 100th Batt. shovel samurai Jesse Hirata of Honaunau (beat off attacking Germans with Jesse’s shovel after Jesse ran out of ammo).     North Kona Holualoa’s ubiquitous Japanese immigrant avatars M.D. Saburo Hayashi (Kona Echo publisher) his son M.D. Chisato Hayashi don’t have the societal impact of Gabby Inaba, the Hayashis connected at the hip w/Issei immigrants & older Nisei (2nd generation AJAs).    North Kona’s educator Winston Towata married Saburo’s progeny, but even Winston’s entrepreneur kazoku/family had only limited influence vis a vis  the Social Gospel (blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth & the kingdom of heaven, so to speak).    Gabby apprenticed for Saburo’s Kona Echo newspaper, & learned that Saburo’s stern samurai disposition was not good for Hawaii’s multiethnic mix  — which is why Gabby was always sociable/jocular (but not noisy/chatterbox!)  till Gabby’s dying day.    Gabby always encouraged and enabled others to fulfill their potential, whatever their potential might be.    Locally, Gabby stands among the rarest of leaders with a great positive attitude and mental toughness like Jack Burns/Rev. Hung Wai Ching/Statehood Joe Farrington, and historically on the national scene like Norman Vincent Peale/Abraham Lincoln/George Washington.

Gabby Inaba look-alike

Image result for Tadanobu Asano 47

 

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Gabby had a vision that both North & South Kona could live harmoniously with equality/parity  — & the way to trigger such peace and harmony was thru schooling — which is why Gabby’s nephew & disciple Baer Ikeda (& today’s famed Ohio educator Minoru Jerry Omori) went off to famed Bowling Green U. in the heart of Ohio — to acquire the needed tools to bring back altruism & encouragement among society’s underclasses, especially in South Kona, not just where business-minded Hiroshima/Honshu Naichi ancestral sojourners/settlers lived in Holualoa/North Kona  — but also in South Kona many expatriate Kumamoto ken/ stubborn souls escaped to from beasts of burden sugar plantation life East Hawai’i.

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Of course, Big 5 oligarch Hackfeld enabled many itinerant coffee planters to buy building materials on credit at the turn of the last century (German National Hackfeld & Germany facilitated tremendous improvement in Japan health services 120 years ago), and when Hackfeld was frozen as German enemy alien WWI,  AmFac stole Hackfeld lock/stock/barrel, & AmFac a decade after WWI forgave Great Depression delinquent debts of Kona common folk coffee planters  — which is why our greatest baseballers till this day were from the Great Depression era — such as Baer’s fabled Kona baseball squad of kids born between 1928 & 1937  (the Great Depression lasted to 1937 in delayed effect economics outcome Hawai’i). 

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Japan’s best/brightest studied in Germany a century ago, which is why original Big 5 Hackfeld was beneficent to our Issei immigrants, especially Kona coffee farmers.

Because of Germany’s prominence in medical science and Japan’s preference for the German medical system, Uchimura among many young Japanese medical scientists, travelled to the institutes of German-speaking Europe for training. http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a921279945

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1294688/pdf/jrsocmed00082-0031.pdf

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It is crucial to have insightful dialogue/connecting up with intriguing fascinating leaders like the Inaba kazoku ergo Gabby  — Gabby’s personal remembrances/reminiscences reveal Gabby’s attitude and values which helped shape our tremendous positive island community history!

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So that here is a bigger picture than Baer’s own fabled venerated stature as the Abe Lincoln of Kona   — Baer’s educator & jock fame are far-overrun by Baer’s astronomical DNA leadership traits — among them Baer’s welcome attitude in encouraging & facilitating others to live their dreams.       Banzai, Baer!     No, Baer is not like well-intentioned day dreamer solon Bill Kawahara (Bill’s ganko/hard nosed baby brother Karl is Gabby’s son in law)  — Kawahara had fine vision but lacked the practical DNA to implement Kawahara’s vision.    Karl Kawahara once asked hardened 442 veteran Isamu Kanekuni born 1921 what Isamu thought if Karl decided to run for politics — Isamu recounted, “What do I think?    I think you need to get your head examined.”      Yikes!

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Sen. Julian Yates comes in second to Gabby Inaba as Kona’s greatest-ever leader.    Sadly, well-intentioned Julian Yates bucked vs. our oppressive Big Five oligarchy — & Julian suffered fools gladly (became a martyr for us common folks), so to speak.    Julian’s son-in-law was Mao Tse Tung foil Yasuki Arakaki of Kea’au/Ola’a, just as well-intentioned Keopu’s Koji Ariyoshi [no relation to gutless George Ariyoshi] fell for Mao Tse Tung (but Mao’s brainstorm/nerve center Zhou En Lai was an admirer of Honolulu immigrants’ son Rev. Hung Wai Ching, founder of my Dad’s famed 442nd combat team/Honaunau war hero Jesse Hirata’s 100th Batt.).    Ellison Onizuka married great jock Ralph Yoshida’s older sister of Na’alehu.   Ellison yamato damashii like fearless Arakaki/Koji Ariyoshi (though our A bros’ brainwashed by Mao Tse Tung).      Gabby had many friends in politics when Jack Burns asked Gabby to be Kona’s solon — Gabby was much more effective at pushing the right buttons to get great positive community outcomes  — thanks to Gabby’s trusted friend & our greatest Statehood leader Jack Burns.    But unquestionably, without Gabby’s magnanimous equanimity, Jack Burns could not have gotten done Jack’s progressive reform for Kona.    Gabby was the fulcrum upon which positive outcomes happened.     Pololei (righteous).    Pono (balanced) too.

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Julian Yates look-alike as a young man

Image result for Tagalog Actors
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Left wing radical Koji Ariyoshi look-alike (no relation to gutless coward George Ariyoshi)(Rev. Hung Wai Ching got Merchant St. godfather/baron Frank Atherton to fund Koji’s education at U of Georgia Journalism School — Yale of the South  — peripeteia!)

Image result for Yuji Okumoto
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Boxing fatalities bombing of Pearl Harbor 12/7/41

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http://ejmas.com/jcs/jcsart_svinth1_1200.htm

(including Hawai’i Island  — “Big Island”  — greatest boxer ethnic Okinawan Paul Inamine of Waiakea-Uka camp 4 —   Paul Inamine was featured on December 7, 2016 — 75th year memoriam  bombing of Pearl Harbor — by KITV 4 television news reporter Catherine Cruz, who interviewed Paul’s sister Mitsuko Inamine of Kawaihae.   Paul never got a chance to experience full adulthood, dying just after turning adult. )

Paul Inamine portrait (courtesy of his sister Mitsuko Inamine)

Paul Inamine


My toplist of the greatest boxers in world history.

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/boxing-is-the-art-of-self-defense/

I  also list the greatest boxers in the Hawaiian Islands in order of priority (David Kui Kong Young of Waikiki #1, followed by Dado Marino of Wainaku –1st ever pro world titlist 1950 from Hawaiian Islands, followed by Bobo Olson whose grandparents were from Honoka’a, followed by Frankie Fernandez of Houghtailing tract, followed by Stan Harrington of Kalihi).  Paul Inamine is the best-ever from the Big Island (Wainaku mill camp’s Dado Marino, where I grew up, moved to O’ahu in 1935), followed in order of priority by Richard “Pablo” Chinen (silky smooth boxer a la Ali), Bobby Hayashida, Wainaku mill Camp 1940 National AAU titlist Naichi Paul Matsumoto, not blowhard Naichi Paul Matsumoto of Waiakea-Uka Camp 6, Kohala’s ethnic Okinawan “Uchinanchu” Choken Maekawa–1956 Olympian, Uka’s Camp 5 pro Uchinanchu Joho Shiroma (fought 3 pro world titlists), whose son Julian is a master karate instructor, and Uchinanchu Henry Oshiro (David Kui Kong Young’s stablemate partner).

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Because Okinawans were the last/final “Oriental” Asian immigrants a century ago (preceded by Chinese 1852, Japanese 1885)(Filipinos immigrated in 1906 & after), Okinawans were the “bottom of the totem pole” in the plantation “food chain.” Which is why our greatest boxers as a collective unit emerged from the predominantly Okinawan plantation outskirts of Waiakea-Uka (“Uka” means upland toward the forest line) camps 4 to 10 (Camps 9 & 10 consolidated with Camp 8, which is where Paul Inamine’s best friend “Naichi” Ed Sumitani grew up, Ed & Ed’s brother also being outstanding boxers) along Ainaola sugar cane railroad line five miles southwest of Hilo town.  Camp 6 also produced tremendous ethnic Okinawan boxers Richard “Pablo” Chinen (Hilo Civic Auditorium named in part after Chinen) and Chinen’s best friend, Harunori “Henry” Oshiro (Oshiro’s stern oldest brother Kiyotsugu later developed the area between camps 7 and 8)(Oshiro’s daughter Cynthia was esteemed Okinawan immigrant historian at UH-Manoa, and youngest daughter Sandra was Honolulu Advertiser assistant editor)(Chinen/Oshiro mentors were ethnic Okinawans Charley Higa of Camp 6 & Toy Tamanaha of Pi’ihonua Camps 3/4), along with original Camp 5 pro Slim Suzuki & amateur Paul Uyehara.  Camp 6’s greatest global boxer is Naichi Bobby Hayashida, 1956 Olympic prelim competitor (recruited by Mike Tyson’s godfather Cus D’Amato).

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David Kui Kong Young 1916-2012  from BoxRec.com   http://boxrec.com/media/index.php/David_Kui_Kong_Young

Photo

Name: David Kui Kong Young
Alias: Clouting Celestial
Born: 1916-12-05
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Died: 2012-12-29 (Age:96)
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Stance: Southpaw
Height: 5′ 3″   /   160cm
Boxing Record:click

Click to view this Print Chinese Museum

Image result for images david kui kong young

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older Dado Marino look-alike

SmallMontana.jpg

Dado MarinoDado himself

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Frankie Fernandez

Image result for images frankie fernandez boxerHonolulu Advertiser

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Stan Harrington

Image result for images stan harrington boxerBoxRec.com

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Richard “Pablo” Chinen look-alike

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Bobby Hayashida look-alike

See the source image

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Wainaku legend Paul Matsumoto look-alike (not Waiakea-Uka camp 6 blowhard Paul Matsumoto)

See the source image

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Choken Maekawa look-alike

See related image detail

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Richard “Pablo” Chinen’s stablemate & best friend Henry Oshiro look-alike

Image result for images koichi ose

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Joho Shiroma look-alike

Hiroyuki Sanada 2013 (cropped).jpg

 

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My best-ever in world boxing history pound for pound in order of priority: Sugar Ray Robinson, Robinson’s protege Ali, Boston’s “tar baby” Sam Langford 155 lbs., Langford’s hero Joe Gans 133 lbs., Gans’ hero Ruby Rob Fitzsimmons 155 lbs. 135 yrs. ago, Langford/Gans from the turn of the last century, Henry Armstrong, Harry Greb, George Dixon from 130 yrs. ago, Jimmy Wilde, Jack Johnson, Willie Pep, Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Benny Leonard, Manassa Mauler Jack Dempsey (not original 150 lb. Dempsey of 1880s), Barbados Walcott (not Jersey Joe), Mickey Walker, Joe Louis, Tony Canzoneri, Carlos Zarate, Wilfredo Gomez, Peter Jackson, Manny Pacquiao, Roy Jones, Jr.  I was Hank Kaplan’s understudy and protégé, Hank being selection chairman of the International Boxing Hall of Fame in New York.  Thanks to Hank’s love for Hawai’i (briefly stationed here WWII), before Hank died in 2007 at age 88, Hank got Bobo Olson & promoter Sam Ichinose enshrined to the most prestigious IBHoF.  David Kui Kong & guardian angel Bobby Lee were next up, but Hank died before he could get Kui Kong & Bobby inducted.

Nonpareil Sugar Ray Robinson

Image result for images sugar ray robinson

Image result for images sugar ray robinson

an older Sugar Ray Robinson with wife Edna Mae Holly

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indomitable Sam Langford

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Langford’s idol, “The Master” Joe Gans

JoeGans.jpg

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Gans’ idol, pound for pound heaviest puncher in boxing history, Ruby Rob Fitzsimmons

Robert Fitzsimmons.jpg

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Hawai’i boxing official/angel on our shoulders Bobby Lee (photo below of Lee as a boxer  in the greatest amateur tiffs in Hawai’i boxing history, vs. dear friend Frankie Fernandez)

Image result for images bobby lee boxing
Honolulu Advertiser

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-delights-in-executive-swagger-his-tariffs-show-it/2018/03/07/d01b7c18-2179-11e8-94da-ebf9d112159c_story.html?utm_term=.6b0387baeb02

Trump delights in executive swagger. His tariffs show it.

Is it too much to ask that the government not insult our intelligence while it is lightening our wallets? As an overture to his predictable announcement of steel and aluminum tariffs, the president, that human sponge ever eager to soak up information, held a “listening session,” at which he listened to executives of steel and aluminum companies urge him to do what he intended to do. He ended this charade of deliberation by announcing the tax increases.

The tariffs — taxes collected at the border, paid by American consumers — on steel and aluminum imports will be 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, the most severe of the options proposed by his Commerce Department, which impedes the activity denoted by its name. But the 6.5 million employees in steel-using industries (46 times the number of steel-making jobs) and the hundreds of millions of consumers of steel- and aluminum-content products should not complain, they should salute: The president says the tariffs are national security necess­ities.

Never mind that the Cato Institute’s Colin Grabow notes defense-related products require only 3 percent and 10 percent of domestic steel and aluminum production, respectively. Or that six of the top 10 nations that export steel to the United States have mutual defense agreements with the United States. Or that China, an actual military competitor and potential adversary, is not among the top 10. Or that Canada, a NATO ally, supplies more U.S. aluminum imports than the next 11 countries combined. Or that, as The Post reports, “For nearly a quarter-century under U.S. law, Canada has been considered part of the U.S. defense industrial base, as if its factories were American.” Or that the aluminum for military aircraft and the steel for military vehicles will be more expensive, so, effectively, the administration is cutting the defense budget. Cato’s Dan Ikenson says the administration’s argument seems to be “that an abundance of low-priced raw materials from a diversity of sources somehow threatens national security.”

But, then, invocations of “national security” can rationalize a multitude of sins. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says the sugar import quotas that enrich a few already rich Floridians are required for the United States’ “food security.” It will be desirable (because educational) if some nations retaliate for the steel and aluminum tariffs by imposing 25 percent tariffs on Florida citrus in the interest of “food security.”

Electrolux, Europe’s largest manufacturer of household appliances, responded to the U.S. tariffs by suspending plans to invest $250 million in a Tennessee factory. Before the announcement of the tariffs, which are intended to raise steel prices, Whirlpool’s chief executive lamented to analysts that rising prices of steel and other materials might knock $250 million off Whirlpool’s profits. Whirlpool had just made a rent-seeking raid on Washington, where it successfully sought protection against foreign washing machines — tariffs and import quotas that will punish American purchasers of appliances. As Lily Tomlin says, “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.”

Regarding trade, Congress has given presidents vast discretion to trifle with Americans’ freedom, the nation’s prosperity and the world’s hard-won architecture of efficient commerce. Now this capacity for mischief is in the hands of someone who knows next to nothing about the one thing — business — he is supposed to know something about.

Protectionism is a scythe that slices through core conservative principles, including opposition to government industrial policy, and to government picking winners and losers, and to crony capitalism elevated to an ethic (“A few Americans first”). Big, bossy government does not get bigger or bossier than when it embraces protectionism — government dictating what goods Americans can choose, and in what quantities, and at what prices. Down the decades, Donald Trump has shown an impressive versatility of conviction, but the one constant in the jumble of quarter-baked and discordant prejudices that pass for his ideas has been hostility to free trade. It perfectly expresses his adolescent delight in executive swagger, the objectives of which are of negligible importance to him; all that is important is that the spotlight follows where his impulses propel him.

For more than a century, enlarged executive power wielded by agenda-setting presidents has been the sun at the center of progressives’ solar system of aspirations. Hence protectionism — economic life drenched by politics and directed by unconstrained presidential ukases. So, if on Nov. 6 the Democrats capture either house of Congress, on Nov. 7 there will be, effectively, an accommodating Democrat in the presidency.

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https://peteenns.com/that-rock-was-christ/

My First Big, Can’t-Get-Out-Of-It, “Aha” Moment with the Bible

Following on an earlier post, here is the issue that made it impossible for me to shake the feeling that something was wrong with how I was taught to think about the Bible. The Bible just wasn’t behaving as I had always been told it most certainly does—needs to—behave.

This happened while in graduate school and centered on just one verse:

“for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4)

You can get a more detailed version in The Bible Tells Me So, but here is the gist.

Paul is referring to the incident in the Pentateuch where the Israelites got water from a rock while wandering in the desert for 40 years. To equate Christ with the rock is a typical example of Paul’s Christ-centered reading of his scripture (our Old Testament): the savior was present with God’s people then as he is now.

All fine and good, but what threw me was that word “accompanied.”

One day in class, my professor James Kugel was lecturing on the creative ways that Second Temple Jewish interpreters handled episodes like “water from a rock.” The curious detail in the Old Testament is that the incident happened twice: once at the beginning of the wilderness period (Exodus 17) and again toward the end of the 40-year period (Numbers 20).

This curious fact led some Jewish interpreters to conclude that the “two” rocks were actually one and the same, hence, one rock accompanied the Israelites on their 40-year journey. We see this idea quite clearly in a Jewish text from the late 2nd century CE called the Tosefta.

And so the well which was with the Israelites in the wilderness was a rock, the size of a large round vessel, surging and gurgling upward, as from the mouth of its little flask, rising with them up onto the mountains, and going down with them into the valleys.  Wherever the Israelites would encamp, it made camp with them, on a high place, opposite the entry of the Tent of Meeting.

There is a certain “ancient logic” at work here. After all, the Israelites had manna given to them miraculously every morning along with a nice helping of quail meat. But what about water? Are we to think that the corresponding miraculous supply of water was only given twice, 40 years apart!? Of course not. So to “solve” this problem, the water supply became mobile—a portable drinking fountain.

Evangelicals could write off this bit of biblical “interpretation” as entertaining or just plain silly, but 1 Corinthians 10:4 complicates things—Paul refers to Jesus not just as “the rock” but “the accompanying rock.”

Paul, a Jewish interpreter, is showing his familiarity with and acceptance of this creative Jewish handling of the “water from a rock” incident.

Let me put a finer point on that: the Old Testament says nothing about a portable supply of water from a rock, but Paul does. Paul says something about the Old Testament that the Old Testament doesn’t say. He wasn’t following the evangelical rule of  “grammatical-historical” contextual interpretation. He was doing something else—something odd (for us), something ancient and Jewish.

Once I saw this, I knew the Bible was no longer protected under glass. It was out there, part of an ancient world I really didn’t understand—and was never really prepared to handle.

For Paul—an inspired apostle—to accept such a strange legend and treat it as fact is not something that can be easily brought into an evangelical framework. “But Paul is inspired by God! He would never say something like this!!”

But he did.

And it struck me that Paul probably couldn’t get a job teaching at the seminary that taught me about Paul.

This aha moment didn’t happen in isolation. It came in the context of years of pretty intense and in-depth doctoral work where my main area of focus was Second Temple biblical interpretation. But here, at this moment, the light turned on, some tumblers clunked heavily into place, and I was seeing a bigger picture, not just about this one verse but about the Bible as a whole.

I was seeing right before my eyes that Paul and the other New Testament writers were part of this ancient world of Jewish traditions of biblical interpretation. And what seems so odd to us was right at home in Paul’s 1st century world.

Evangelical attempts to make Paul sound more evangelical and less Jewish—to make him into a “sound” interpreter of scripture—immediately rang hollow, and continue to.

And I knew back then, as I do now, that the model of biblical interpretation I had been taught was not going to cut it if I was going to try to explain how my Bible works rather than defend a Bible that doesn’t exist. I couldn’t deny what I was seeing. I knew I had some thinking to do.

That happened nearly 30 years ago, and the memory is still vivid.

And it’s fair to say this aha moment, along with others before and since, have shaped my life’s work of trying to understand the Bible rather than defend it. And that is, to me, much more interesting, meaningful, and spiritually enriching.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Music: A bridge from abandonment and brokenness to freedom and wholeness

Yes, do it right, rocker!       In praise of Taz Vegas    —

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TKvYioCo5g

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Thanks, Native FM, among media resources, f0r featuring our local vocalists

  http://nativefm.com/page.php?page_id=67

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And have a good day!

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIee2iChvaY

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Thank you, Danielle Whitney, for —  Hey!    Oculesics:   The study of eye-related, nonverbal behavior that evokes instincts and social cues in primates.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDriMYb5-ww

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Danielle look-alike

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuG-H1noCCY

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Who’s loving you, baby?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s4-uQ-0KX0

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94IqNhyrzKM

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BtHOB3Ldko

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“Because the guy can’t help himself!!”                 🙂  

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Because Danielle just can’t help herself  (like my detestable idol Cliff Livermore below)

Cliff Livermore look-alike

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas

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The original foursome dissolves. And Frankie Valli spends the next years recording and performing to pay off Tommy’s debt.

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And that’s when the jolt happens. Frankie’s girlfriend barks, “Why would you be a friend to a guy like that?”

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And Frankie barks back, “Because he can’t help himself!”

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And I think about that verbal exchange for days on end.

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See, my industry (behavioral health) coined ideas like “codependency” and “enabling” and “boundaries” to admonish us never (or virtually never) to rescue someone from destructive or irresponsible behavior.

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But this moment makes me think there is more to love than pop psychological reductionism.

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What if real love knows us?

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Even our gripping, pernicious character flaws?

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 And what if real love doesn’t so much “give a pass” to those flaws

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as it does — accept those flaws as part of what and who we love?

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What if real love is obliged to the bond of friendship despite the flaws?

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In some cases, because of the flaws?

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There remains a sense of something owed.

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This is not codependence or enabling or poor boundaries.

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This is love.

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Makes me think of a friend of mine who thinks another friend of mine is a not-very-nice person. I understand the first friend’s point of view, and even in some ways agree. But once, long ago, this not-so-nice person extended to me an act of such unmerited kindness and encouragement, forging a bond between us.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3IBX9vxP1M

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3WwzzBh_z4

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReSOKy7oRf4

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The matter is about trust    —

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God and the devil will often tell us the exact same truth. And it is true. But their respective motives for telling you this truth will be radically different.    You can trust God (redemption via Grace) or you can trust Satan (you are the Parasite’s host).

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from Cliff Livermore’s editor/clarifier    —

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This is a very good point. I have thought about this many times. I’ve been in the bondage of co-dependency but on the other hand, sometimes you join people not to change them

but because you just love them (like God loves us all).

Sometimes this can well be redemptive.

 

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from Cliff Livermore’s cogent editor/clarifier    —

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I actually feel very bad about something I did. My query to you about Cliff was not intended to go to him…and I hope it didn’t make him angry/hurt. I really just wanted an opinion about how a a narrative might be received if it’s framed one way or another way. My (copy reader)  feels that I shouldn’t have sent anything at all on the matter… so my apologies if I have started something that shouldn’t have gone around. I probably dug myself in deeper by including Cliff in the response to you, as I didn’t want to leave him out once he’d been included.

Sorry for any trouble,
(Cliff’s editor/clarifier)

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My main concern about sending  out drafts willy-nilly before due time is that the miraculous/mystical parts of it might be reworked for someone else’s agenda and thus derailed.  (my reaction: Scripture annotation is our indestructible capstone  — no one can rework Scripture  — no one)

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On the other hand, I hate to only preach to the choir, which will happen if we assume too much scriptural detail throughout.  (my reaction:  First, you demonstrate belief — in signs of legalism/being superhuman;  then you exhibit A/B/C — as in outcomes of angst/betrayal/critical mass –tipping point toward annihilation;  finally, you offer the Holy  — as in spirit  — for restoration of immortality and revocation of death;  pagan fairy tales do not heal us for being human  — our honest frailty is of God, not the sign of annihilation/extinction).

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I am glad you are Cliff’s good friend!

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Also that you question assumptions and ask us to see things through another lens.

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To (Cliff’s editor/clarifier) on your matter about Cliff Livermore’s frail countenance:

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being human   — honest frailty is inherent in our DNA

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Cliff emboldens on being everyone’s Exhibit A of redemption.    Cliff does not want to be everyone’s pagan fairy tale  — where miracles manifest, then belief in the superhuman takes hold.   Drama’s correct endpoint is love forevermore springwelled by faith (Jesus’ blood of our new creation/Jesus’ living water of God’s holy spirit e.g. 1 Cor. 15:10).   Faith, then signs.   Not the other way around — not signs, then faith (idolatry).

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Cliff had what I secularly describe as an orgasmic experience of being honestly human when I told Cliff last week that

Cliff belongs to Jesus in spite of Cliff, not because of Cliff.

Of course, I took a spin from an erudite gifted wordsmith (another autobio author Pali’s copy reader)  — who used the word God instead of Jesus in my anecdote here.   Cliff’s climactic endpoint — beet-red face band-aided by the widest grin this side of the Pacific Ocean!   Aha!! Gotcha, Cliff!!

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I never forget the Book of Esther (4:14).     Mordecai reminds Esther:   If you’re not willing or able to be used for good by God, God will pick someone else who shall do God’s work.   I thank nurturant Lester Chun for summoning Esther.

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Cliff Livermore asks Jesus to heal people.  Cliff does not have any power to heal.    Still,  I’m not going to ease into a chair & be useless to all around me.   I try to make a difference for the better, instead of my not lifting a finger to comfort another.  I help Cliff.  I’m available.

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Help includes standing in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30), so to speak, however absurd & tragic it appears (risk of false hope/expectation).

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But there’s a big difference between carrying a cross (Luke 9:23) and being crucified on one  — namely,  nails.

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Being crucified with Christ means to nail thru one’s soul to the point of death (of sinful self).    Thank you, Christian mystic and pastor Robert Gomes.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-c-crosby-dmin/the-three-nails-in-christs-cross_b_2980159.html

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Passionate Taryn Scali   —

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXjxn-qThOk

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More than words   

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D6N4ot8nVw

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Listen to Justin Young’s beautiful tenor at timeclock 3:58-4:03  (tenor lilt starts at 3:30)  (lower pitch lines sung by less talented vocalist) —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBDg_psb7xM

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/we-cant-help-judge-book-covers

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We look. We see. We make eye contact but immediately move our eyes away. This is Tinder’s “swipe left.” Nope.

But, sometimes, two people make eye contact and … hold it steady for about one or two seconds. We might or might not shift the angle of our head. Reveal a slight smile. If we’re really forward, raise our eyebrows.

Something has clicked. Something has connected. It’s an intangible bzzz. And a complete mystery. You can’t decide to make it happen. It’s a happening.

This is Tinder’s “swipe right.” Hmm. Maybe.

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In most cases, absent this more or less immediate first bzzz, the love dirigible has very little chance of ever leaving the ground.

We don’t like admitting this truth, because we’ve been told it makes us “shallow.” It doesn’t. It merely makes us human.

This experience doesn’t stop when you make an emotional commitment to one person. You can still sometimes experience the bzzz … with someone who is not your partner. It’s not a big deal. Assuming you are indeed committed, you simply notice it, enjoy it for five seconds or so, and then let it float away. It doesn’t mean you’re unhappy or on the prowl. It just means you’re alive.

Now, is the bzzz enough? Don’t be ridiculous.

Does the bzzz tell you everything? Of course not. In fact, it doesn’t tell you much at all. But it is the overriding factor in most courtship beginnings. It’s why you decided to engage the person at all. Without it, you probably wouldn’t have his or her phone number in your pocket.

By the way, this is neither a commercial nor an endorsement for Tinder. It’s just my endless fascination in watching courtship models morph, shift and change.

What will never change, of course, is the longing in the human heart for meaningful and lasting connection.

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Great melody and lyrics, though the message is of lamentation  (Josh Tatofi’s masterful tune — Taken) 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX0Cg5eu7G8

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also,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Xp2QddihCA

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Josh’s role model, the great composer George Veikoso aka Fiji

http://fijitheartist.com/about-us/  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6a0AuCO8Tw

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Fiji’s rap at timeclock 2:20

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXh16emaupc

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forerunner of rap    —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzq8BqVnQJY

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Imua Garza’s fresh and youthful vocal   —

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGFVlKdSiaE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXewtL_kX4k

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imua_Garza

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great blue-Z fare by Ho’onu’a  —

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfsmdXdN2lg

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Wanna’ sky (verb), baby??      Rise in the lift of Magdalena, then the tenor in Only You,  followed by Graham Bonnet,  closing with  Muster’s Astaire & Rogers  & Fogerty’s climax  —

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmqEnEhjFp0

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t6k02Q5lco

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyERjzpByxI

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk8IhUqTmq0

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrh8FGaBiyE

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stronger bass via Fogerty’s cover    —    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY9g92K5R64&spfreload=1

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And check out the opening riff to band London‘s blue  —   (time clock 0-:10 seconds)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oZRj1NXEgs

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a resonant bass backdrop     —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmHWE5TwQLU

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Powerful lyrics (artist Baba B)    —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjxg-xiRQlg

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIq4CPjJBUo

 

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/you-have-got-laugh-or-cry#
http://www.reviewjournal.com/opinion/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/stitching-together-should-be-our-goal
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You can lament (cry), or you can fight and argue and “be right,” … or you can laugh. That is, choose a default position of bemusement, delight, irony and satire. You can learn to have a lot of fun “playing” with your mate’s absurdities of type and temperament. And he or she with yours.

(I’m thinking that’s how you get to be that elderly couple on the airplane.)

Like, in child rearing. Maybe especially with adolescents. Of course those youngins are going to push and pull with you, square off and defy you, toxify the air around you with moods, intrude upon you with drama, posture with narcissism and entitlement, experiment with hiding, deceiving and even sometimes lying, chafe hard against the bit of the necessary bridle and regularly withdraw their affection. Stop reacting and start having some fun getting smarter! More strategic. Stronger.

Of course you love them. And they love you. And, heavens, do they need you.

Like, in life. Of course you’re mortal. Of course you are “in bondage to decay” (The Epistle to the Hebrews). It’s not just our bodies that must eventually decline and die, but also our illusions, our ego, and our well-laid plans. Everyone dies with things unfinished. Some hopes and dreams unrealized.

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There is a powerful liberation in embracing life as life is. We stop hammering against it and simply live it.

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I’m reminded of something I often think and sometimes say out loud: When you are lying in hospice, “being right” will not be much company.

It is love that will keep you company.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krxnmbRLB7c

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/in-praise-of-the-46th-anniversary-of-mccartneys-tune-i-will/

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/verse-chorus-verse-lifetime-feelings-traversed
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But, is there one tune that has reached out to your soul in some definitive imprint? A song that grabbed a time and place and etched itself into the fabric of your psyche? Or, if not a time and place, perhaps a song that spoke melodically, rhythmically or lyrically to your hopes, your worldview, your values or your personality in a way that will never let you go?

Is there a song about which you could say, “If you want to know something very special and intimate about my history, my passions, my ideals and dreams, then put on these headphones, push the ‘play’ button, close your eyes and listen carefully. Then we’ll talk.”

Often favorite songs are attached to memories of time, place, people and experience. We hear the intro guitar riff, perhaps the drums, the strings, the horns or the a cappella vocals, and it’s like walking through the portal of a time machine. In the blink of an eye we are transported back … back … and we are somehow standing in a memory that is alive and vibrant.

Great love affairs almost always come with a portfolio of music. Ask any thriving, happy, healthy couple and they will remember that song that is their song. The tune that takes them back to the time of falling in love when everything sparkled with acute emotional clarity. When the bond was being forged in a white hot crucible of mystery, wonder and joy.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/depressive-symptoms-crisis-of-meaning-and-self-absorption/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/love-what-it-requires-how-to-value-it-how-it-calls-us-to-pay-attention-to-celebrate-and-be-grateful-because-we-simply-never-know-human-beings-have-no-rights-or-claims-on-the-ever-so-brief/

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http://www.peteenns.com/worshiping-god-because-he-is-god-some-thoughts-on-job-by-choon-leong-seow/
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What are one or two common misunderstandings of the book of Job and how do you handle them differently?

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The book is commonly thought to be about why people suffer, and that it is a theodicy (evil/suffering in the presence of an omnipotent God). If it is either of these, it is not very successful.

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In the end there is no answer to the question of why there is innocent suffering.

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And the book is as much antitheodic (decrying the lack of divine justice) as it is theodicy (defending divine justice).

The liberation theologian Gustavo Gutierrez is right that it is not about these issues. Rather, to Gutierrez, it is about “God talk”—how we talk about God in the face of inexplicable human suffering. Yet the book is more than “God talk.” It is “God thought”—human interiority, what is in the human heart and unexpressed when we face a God who contradicts all our expectations.

The book asks, in effect, if human beings worship God because God is good (what we expect and demand God to be), or if we worship God because God is God—utterly sovereign, utterly free.

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The suffering Job in drawing to the left here

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“Natural” (vs. spiritual)  life   —  ends do not justify the means  —  go to timeclock 9:00 to end 10:45   —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugCUhKj0jNg

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pop/rock musical history –

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/musica-amore-so-whos-lovin-you-baby-in-praise-of-smokey-robinsons-53-yr-old-classic-as-sung-by-none-other-than-our-salt-of-the-earth-lifes-most-enthralling-vocalists-ahsan/

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music history highlights –

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/tribute-to-my-musical-dad-toshi-1913-1998-george-trices-passion-personality-analog-my-dad/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/in-praise-of-the-60th-anniversary-of-sweet-song-teardrops-are-falling/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/in-praise-of-boogie-diva-dona-oxford-her-coverredux-of-charles-albertines-62-yr-old-tune-bandstand-boogie/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/redux-the-83rd-anniversary-of-beautiful-melody-love-letters-in-the-sand/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/in-tribute-to-my-leader-ri-in-honesty-speaks-to-the-heart-where-true-love-resides/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/in-praise-of-hidden-fine-baritonedancer-bo-diddley-1928-2008-his-5-accent-clave-rhythm-road-runner-55-yrs-ago/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/but-now-theres-nowhere-to-hide-since-you-pushed-my-love-aside-my-head-is-saying-fool-forget-her-my-heart-is-saying-dont-let-go-hold-on-to-the-end-thats-what-i-intend-to-do/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/ouvre-nearly-half-a-century-of-deepest-passion-i-can-see-it-in-your-eyes-that-you-despise-the-same-old-lines-you-heard-the-night-before-and-though-its-just-a-line-to-you-for-me-its-true-a/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/in-memoriam-great-rock-vocalist-steve-lee-of-switzerland-1963-2010-died-as-victim-of-highway-mishap-mooalii-succession-of-great-exemplars-with-steve-lee-following-in-footsteps-of-genes/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/musica-amore-celebrate-77-years-of-great-vocalistpianist-mickey-gilley/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/in-memoriam-mary-la-roche-1920-1999-15-years-gone-but-not-forgotten-actress-who-evoked-great-sensuality-compassion/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/midnight-special/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/linda-ronstadt-rock-hall-of-fame-2014/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/great-pianist-matthew-lee-born-1982-will-be-34-a-month-from-now-i-can-help-baby-redux-billy-swans-tune-40-yrs-ago/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/beyonce-the-game-changer-randall-roberts/

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/20/nun-italy-the-voice_n_5002937.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/lessons-could-be-learned-Philomena

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It is wrong to think that forbidding consensual human sexuality is more important than Christ’s message of compassion and forgiveness.

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I see the film “Philomena” and I am deeply moved. So much so that I go home and spend several hours researching the true story of Philomena Lee. I’m able to sort history from the inevitable artistic license modern filmmakers cannot not indulge.

In 1952, the real Philomena Lee is sent by her parents to Sean Ross Abbey in Ireland both to conceal and to manage her teen pregnancy. Philomena says her father told friends and neighbors that she had died. Died! My own mother tells me not to be shocked. She remembers, in the early ’80s, a colleague whose father said he’d rather his daughter contract cancer than conceive and deliver a child out of wedlock.

As a high school freshman in 1971, I remember once or twice female students “disappearing,” then reappearing six to 12 months later with vague stories about travel, illness or their father’s career. But it was years later before I put the puzzle together.

Philomena’s son, Anthony, is adopted by an American couple and raised as Michael Hess. Three times did Michael, as an adult, go to Ireland to inquire about his birth mother. And many times did Philomena inquire to the nuns about her son. Both were told the same deliberate lie: “We have no information about your mother … your son.”

Mean? Evil? Malicious? I might surprise you here. My answer is “no.” I would describe the behavior of the powers-that-were at Sean Ross Abbey as predictable, completely in concert with the cultural mores of the day, albeit ignorant, unconsciously terrified, psychologically immature and utterly wrong. Which is, of course, the ideal breeding ground for mean, evil and malicious, but I’m not willing to paint every Christian leader, every monastic, every cleric (Roman Catholic or otherwise) with my presumption of their motive. I’ve been ignorant, unconsciously terrified, psychologically immature and utterly wrong before, too.

Ann Medlock writes for the Huffington Post. Her story virtually mirrors Philomena’s story. She writes:

Illegitimacy is a bizarre concept to me, a stunning manifestation of human hubris. An infant, wonder of wonders, arrives in the world and some construct of our prideful, rule-making culture declares this particular child less-than, extra-legal, flawed because his parents were not united by the civic and religious constructs we’ve invented.

Somewhere in even the most rule-bound heart, it must be clear that this is demented. Life given should be life welcomed. But that thinking was not the prevailing wisdom in 1954.

My mother knew instinctively that the man-made rules made no sense, telling me after her first grandchild was on his way to placement in another household, “We should have kept the little guy, and the hell with the neighbors.”

Then, speaking specifically to Roman Catholic history, Medlock says:

The obsession with sexual restrictions is and always has been wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong to be contemptuous of naive young women like Philomena and me. Wrong to ignore the men involved in creating “illegitimate” children. Wrong to demonize gays while knowing full well how many men and women of the church are gay. Wrong to excuse and hide criminal priests, transferring them to new, unsuspecting parishes. Wrong to think that forbidding consensual human sexuality is more important than Christ’s message of compassion and forgiveness.

Not surprisingly, I find a news story quoting the monastics at Sean Ross Abbey as complaining how unfair the movie is. How it “made us look like monsters.”

Really? Still? After all this suffering you still think the most important part of this discussion is your reputation?

Sisters, imagine how powerful it would be if you simply released the following to the press:

“The church is at once a beacon of light to the world, and a product of that world. As regards the latter, the courageous story of Philomena Lee brings to light a great darkness in which the church often participated, nurtured and furthered. As regards human sexuality and gender, the church has too often been ignorant, afraid and egregiously unjust. We are complicit in untold, undeserved human misery. It is our fervent hope that the story of Philomena Lee will open doors of forgiveness, healing, and a clearer embrace of Christ’s message of mercy and love to the world.”

How hard is that?

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/history-deserves-honest-retelling

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I’ve just returned from my youngest son’s Rite of Passage, something his brothers also went through at his age. It’s a curriculum I’ve developed — teachings, rituals and ceremonies.

During the Rite, my boy inquired more deeply about his family. And this time my answers were complete. I told him the truth. Including the truth about his father. Because you can’t know who you are unless you know who your people are.

I spoke to him of lasting bonds of love. Of family fidelity, celebrations and joy. Of endurance through hardships and loss. Of values and character. Of forgiveness and reconciliation.

But … I also told him stories of moral failure. Stories of injustice, sin, estrangements, alcoholism, suicide, divorce and mistreatment of children.

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Because, in every individual, every marriage, every family and every nation, the story contains both good and bad. Light and dark. Wholeness and brokenness.

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He said he felt good about knowing a more complete story. Like all initiates, he had passed through the veil of the unspoken. Now, it was spoken.

A New York Times story by Katharine Q. Seelye catches my eye. Probably because it’s about the Episcopal Church. And I’m an Episcopalian. This is my family, too.

The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island is opening a museum and “reconciliation center” to tell its story of … grievous sin.

Yes, you read that right. Most museums are a people’s pageantry of art, skills, inventions, values, nobility and honor. But this museum dares to present its people’s admitted darkness and dereliction. Wow.

Seelye writes:

“One of the darkest chapters of Rhode Island history involved the state’s pre-eminence in the slave trade, beginning in the 1700s. More than half of the slaving voyages from the United States left from ports in Providence, Newport and Bristol — so many, and so contrary to the popular image of slavery as primarily a scourge of the South, that Rhode Island has been called ‘the Deep North.’ …

“Many of the shipbuilders, captains and financiers of those slaving voyages were Episcopalians. The church, like many others in its day, supported slavery and profited from it even after the trans-Atlantic slave trade was outlawed and slavery had been banned in the state. Among the most notable Episcopalian slaveholders were Thomas Jefferson, who was active for some time in the church, and George Washington.”

A history buff and an Episcopalian, I had never heard this story. And, like my boy, I felt good about the knowing. And filled with a deep admiration for belonging to a family that can and will tell the whole of truth.

When I was growing up in the church, my favorite Bible passage to hate and ridicule was Matthew 1. There are four Gospels, but only in Matthew do you read a long, patriarchal genealogy beginning with Abraham and ending with Jesus. I thought the word “begat” was funny. Almost euphemistic. But mostly I thought it was boring.

But you can’t know who you are unless you know who your people are. On that list are the heroes, the icons of Judeo-Christian faith and virtue. But also on that list are several metric tons of ego, folly and sordid sin. Light and dark. Dance partners, forever.

A leader in the Rhode Island museum is James DeWolf Perry VI. He is the co-editor of the book “Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites.” Seelye reports he is “a direct descendant of the most prolific slave-trading family in the United States.”

“I want my child to remember our family history, both good and bad,” he says. “I think this is how we need to approach our shared history as a nation, too.”

I’m right there with you, James. We don’t whine about the past. We don’t wallow in it. But we own it! We acknowledge it and account for it. Only then can we weave it into the tapestry of a whole and authentic life.

As a child, I think I lost count of the number of times my father rolled his eyes and said, sarcastically, “I’ve never owned a slave.” Though I could not have put it into words, I think I knew by the time I was 8 this utterance, while technically accurate, was a dodge from the deeper, more rigorous and more rewarding work of being human.

You can’t know who you are until you know who your people are. What we don’t talk out we are doomed to act out.

The sins of the fathers are visited unto the third and fourth generation (Exodus 34). The virtues are, too.

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http://www.peteenns.com/how-the-bible-forces-us-to-be-unbiblical/
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The findings of science and biblical scholarship are not the enemies of Christian faith. They are opportunities to be truly “biblical” because they are invitations to reconsider what it means to read the creation stories well—and that means turning down a different path than most Christians before us have taken.

Of course, this would not be the first time Christians have had to divert their path from the familiar to the unfamiliar.

We need only think of the raucous caused by Copernicus and Galileo, telling us the earth whizzes around the sun, as do the other plants, when the Bible “clearly” says that the earth is fixed and stable (Ps 104:5) and the heavenly bodies do all the moving. Sometimes older views do give way to newer ones if the circumstances warrant.

In fact, shifts in thinking like this are a perfectly biblical notion. We find throughout the Bible older perspectives giving way to new ones.

The prophet Nahum rejoices at the destruction of the dreaded Assyrians and their capital Nineveh in 612 BCE, but the prophet Jonah, writing generations later after the return from exile, speaks of God’s desire that the Ninevites repent and be saved.

What happened? Travel broadens, and Israel’s experience of exile led them to think differently about who their God is and what this God is up to on the world stage.

In fact, Israel’s entire history is given a fresh coat of paint in the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles, which differs remarkably, and often flatly contradicts, the earlier history of Israel in the books of Samuel and Kings.

Why? Because Israel’s journey to exile and back home again led the Judahites to see God differently.

I could go on and talk about how the theology of the New Testament positively depends on fresh twists and turns to Israel’s story, such as a crucified messiah and rendering null and void the “eternal covenant” of circumcision as well as the presumably timeless dietary restrictions given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

What happened? Jesus forced a new path for Israel’s story that went well beyond what the Bible “says.”

Simply put, seeing the need to move beyond biblical categories is biblical—and as such poses a wonderful model, even divine permission—shall I say “mandate”—to move beyond the Bible when the need arises and reason dictates.

Being a “biblical” Christian today means accepting that challenge: a theology that genuinely grows out of the Bible but that is not confined to the Bible.

And so I see the matter of Christian faith and evolution not as a “debate” but as a discussion, not defending familiar orthodoxies as if in a fortress but accepting the challenge of a journey of theological exploration and discovery.

For me, that approach is much more than an intellectual exercise—though it is that—but a spiritual responsibility.

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http://www.peteenns.com/remember-to-hold-your-beliefs-lightly-the-bible-says-so/

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Here’s the point I want to make today: Being deeply challenged in our faith is not a “threat” or “attack” that should be fought against. Rather, these moments play an important and necessary role in our spiritual growth.

Nothing has helped me see more clearly the positive spiritual value of having one’s faith tradition challenged than reading the Bible.

Over the last 30 years or so, I have come to see that the Old Testament writers and editors are not conduits of timelessly inerrant information, but as ancient theologians who deliberately, consciously, recontextualized their past to suit the needs of present communities of faith.

The reason we see such flexibility and movement in the Old Testament is this: The final editors of the Old Testament, not to mention many of the writers, experienced and had to account for the crisis of exile, a failed monarchy, and, the survival of one tribe out of 12, Judah, among all the countless children of Abraham that were to have filled the earth.

“So what?” you might ask. Here’s the “so what”: It’s looked like God was changing course. What they were sure that God was doing needed to be adjusted in the face of their changing circumstances.

Think of this, for example. Is it not curious that the Old Testament narrative explicitly focuses on and exalts the tribe of Judah, beginning at least as early as way back in Genesis 49:8-12 (Jacob’s farewell speech)? The Judahite winners/survivors who wrote/edited the story wove their own experience into the ancient Patriarchal tradition. It is hard to escape that conclusion.

Indeed, the traditions of Abraham and the other ancestors in Genesis are shaped to “anticipate” scenes in 41laJ6C-ITL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_the united and divided monarchies.

  • For example, God makes with both Abraham and the Judahite King David an “eternal covenant.” The Abrahamic tradition is recast to support the Davidic line.
  • Or Isaac gives his leftover blessing to Esau, telling him he will first serve his brother but then break loose and break the yoke from his neck (Genesis 27:39-40). That scene is played out the national level when Edom rebels against Judahite rule in the days of King Jehoram in 2 Kings 8:20-22. Personally I don’t believe the Patriarchal narratives were created during the divided monarchy, but rather these old Patriarchal traditions were reworked to speak into a later time.

Perhaps more clearly, the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles are nothing if not a significant, deliberate, conscious theological reshaping of Israel’s earlier history (the Deuteronomistic History) by late postexilic theologians for a late postexilic audience.

  • Manasseh, for example, the utterly corrupt and idolatrous king of Judah and the cause of the exile according to 2 Kings 21—so wicked that even Josiah’s thorough sweeping reforms could not stay God’s wrath (2 Kings 23:26-27)—this Manasseh becomes in 2 Chronicles humble and contrite, a repentant sinner who is then blessed by God (33:10-17) The Chronicler recasts tradition and reshapes Manasseh as a model of repentance to motivate his Persian era Judahite readers.

Or consider Nahum’s late 7th century gloating over the destruction of Nineveh, the capital of the wicked Assyrians, in 612 BC, which gives way to Jonah’s postexilic claim that even the Ninevites have a place in God’s future—indeed, they convert en masse. This reshaping of the past reflects the sobering cosmopolitan experience of the exile.

And of course we have the lament psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Job, which famously take to task the conventional theology of divine retribution championed in Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic History (for example, Deuteronomy 28:15-68).

The Old Testament does not work well as a historically accurate record of the ancient past, a foundation of historical certainty upon which to build an unchanging, firm, and true tradition. But it does work very well as something entirely different, the value of which no contemporary person of faith should underestimate:

The Old Testament models an intentionally innovative, adaptive, and contemporizing theological dynamic—a recasting of the past to speak to the changing present and for a vision for the future.

The authoritative texts and traditions of the past were not simply received by the faithful but were necessarily adapted and built upon.

And I say “necessarily” because as circumstances change (like the exile), rethinking tradition is never far behind. In fact, adaptation of tradition is necessary in order to stay connected to the tradition—which is to say, in order to keep it alive.

We also see this pattern in the New Testament.

The Synoptic Gospel writers were in some way dependent on each other, but rather than an “accurate use of sources,” they willingly—and with apparently little reservation—“rewrote” earlier versions of the life of Jesus to suit the theological needs of their communities.

Paul profoundly and of theological necessity recontextualized, reshaped, and thus reinterpreted Israel’s story around the unexpected circumstance of Jesus of Nazareth.

The tectonic shift of a crucified and risen messiah, not to mention a major shift in how one conceived of Gentile inclusion in the family of Abraham (Acts 10 and 15), required a profoundly creative re-engagement of Israel’s story, to which the NT bears clear and consistent witness.

sin-of-certainty-peter-ennsThis pattern of adaptation also plays out, perhaps unwittingly but also unavoidably and necessarily so, throughout the history of Christianity, beginning with the reshaping of the ancient Semitic story of the Old and New Testaments in Greco-Roman philosophical categories, giving us ancient church creeds (Nicean, Chalcedonian).

This dynamic of adaptation of the past seems never to have not happened.

Through the entire history of the church, then and now, the faithful cannot help but ask the very same question asked by biblical authors like the Chronicler and Paul: how does that back there and then speak to us here and now?

Answering that question is a transaction between the believer’s present and the scriptural past, which always involves some creative adaptation.

Here’s an irony. Those who claim to be the most scrupulous of “Bible believers,” who say they will “follow Scripture” wherever it leads, should be the most open to theological change.

What I find curious is that, more often than not, the very opposite is the norm. Those most “biblical” are most resistant to having their belief systems challenged.

Take Scripture “seriously” by embracing what Scripture itself models—a moving rather than static theological process.

After all, the question has never simply been, “What did God do then?” but “What is God doing now—surprisingly, unexpectedly, counterintuitively, and in complete freedom from our traditions?”

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soulful Alan Wilson and the era I grew up in   —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hf0Dm-OaTNk

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Wilson_(musician)#See_also

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Ryan Hiraoka’s ethereal/exquisite melody

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vbyigd_Fw8A

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Ryan Hiraoka’s forerunner, Abba‘s chamber wall of sound   —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL0EoXdpOqg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DIX8226rWQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ21CLUQf0E

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Katchafire’s heartful lyrics

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XnNGY7JWxA

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surreal tenderest raspy texture/timbre vocal (Christmas salutation)    —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al5XFjwpARw

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Love conquers all (fear)    —

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w98xc5irm4o

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spghlbQaF-g

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPtNilIMtfA

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1Hd9wT08tg

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M06L586uSgk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBfSu4nGDfk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OpzlCrBfOw

Hilo’s Bruddah Waltah Aipolani       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCcd9sBzPwY

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcBvpEvYiog

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tr3BgSqzW_Q

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go to timeclock 1:40 (how sad that the Chantels are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame  — Ami Ortiz succeeded original virtuoso Arlene Smith)   —

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-ea1ayIEWQ

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orzcN1c28Y4

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAILJXyIctI

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wonderful sensual artists Kimie  & Anuhea  —

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpAUtJ9ZEfA

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5XGvDAjOps

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My brown-eyed girl     —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1tEm-iOVy0

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a30sYsqALPI

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Be real (humble spirit) —  check out Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts at time clock  4:00 to 10:00  —

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Erqj_mCk9r8

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Honesty in show business  —  Miley Cyrus “tells it like it is” despite her profanity   —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CzGeAAEggA

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Mr. Excitement, the incomparable Jackie Wilson    —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WXZmjUtlJw

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhDU1jblfM0

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdIZSBJA4sM

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOvlr7YUHHY

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listen to this special feathery tenderest raspy texture/timbre  voice at timeclock 10 – 22 seconds   —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnmPvLflEQQ

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the great Orbison backdropped by KD Lang   —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWFRlgLX98k

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Volare  (fly/sky)!!!     —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLwO3u0eww0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DBcqH09RwQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiDiiVloe2M

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scintillating percussion of Buddy Rich    — go to timeclock 3:51 to 4:09    —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2a712M5SJE

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and Steve Vai’s neoclassical alternate guitar pick mastery    —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgUcG0aw72U

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Ahh, to be young, baby!!      —

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrClxXac3Nw

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HGEmDMXwsg

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Yt4R8KGE5I

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeSvkbV7JPE

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuuI_vEs4Qg

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tFr616F83E

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xweMWhLS82Q

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz6Gqdf6JSU

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT8zucqMd2I

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuG-ZKJv0qg

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFd6eELnsRU

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O8a6ueFY9A

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPywHBE1AWI

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/modern-societys-devolution-and-self-absorption-we-need-symbols-which-participate-in-the-things-they-represent/

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I stand incredulous before the sheer number of people reporting/experiencing symptoms of depression. I say again, I don’t believe our ancestors experienced the same proportion of depressive symptoms. Possible explanations for this phenomenon: Crisis of meaning, for example. An increasingly vacuous culture, with significant evidence of devolution. Or, perhaps depression/depressive episodes is in part provoked by the emotional self-absorption of moderns – the observable, inexplicable delay of real emotional conversance and maturity in modern people. — Steven Kalas

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“For me, there’s hardly a gnat’s whisker of difference between the psychological idea of healthy individuation and the Christian idea of salvation. Both include the lifetime journey of authentic living.”

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All the worth we could ever need are found as we love and are loved.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/self-worth-comes-loving-being-loved

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Did people in the Middle Ages fret about their self-esteem (worth in the eyes of others)??

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(self-respect is the reality of worth, not self-esteem)

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Did they sit in taverns and wonder aloud to their friends why others didn’t  love them more? Did they work their farms while daydreaming about the hope of someday having more self-esteem?

See, I rather doubt it. I think obsessing about self-esteem is the calling card of this time, this place and this culture. I think our incessant pondering about self-esteem is the undesirable outcome of affluence and leisure. It’s the thing we’re left to do

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when we lack

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sufficient access to meaning.

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Self-respect, self-worth. How do human beings come to feel worthwhile?

Some people undertake the quest literally: material worth. He who dies with the most toys wins. They make money. Lots and lots of money. They are good at making money. They tell themselves they will feel worthy when they have a literal, measurable worth.

The chief problem with this worldview, of course, is that it is quite savagely exclusive. By this measure of worth, the poor would not be allowed to be worthy.

(By the way, I didn’t say it was wrong to be good at making lots and lots of money. I just said it was a dubious place to invest the idea of self-worth.)

The other great American notion of human worth is usefulness. I have self-worth if I am useful. For example, if I’m a passenger flying at 38,000 feet on a plane that suddenly loses an engine, it is very useful to have a competent pilot on board. Similarly, if you are suffering an acute bereavement, you will find that I’M very useful to have around.

Usefulness is closely related to competence. And these are common measures for a person’s felt sense of self-worth. Just listen to the chronically unemployed. The frustrations of the disabled. The vague air of depression that sometimes surrounds the newly retired. The alienation of the aging and elderly who can contribute less and less to a community, a neighborhood or a household. Ultimately not able to care for themselves.

So, in the end, usefulness is an important measure of self-worth, but still an incomplete measure. What’s more useless than a newborn? Yet, would we say the baby is worthless? Of course not.

We reach for merit. We hope to become meritorious of worth through the realization of virtue and character. We are generous. Philanthropic. Faithful. Hard-working. We endure. We are kind. We sacrifice. We are humble. We are honest. Etc.

Virtue is a good thing. And I, for one, hope to have more character rather than less. Yes, merit can be an important measure of self-worth, but still this path contains a built-in, obvious problem: Human beings have an irregular, variable grasp on merit. Human beings make mistakes. They screw up. Sometimes character fails.

I’m saying that, being a card-carrying sinner myself, I hope there is a human worth available in the absence of merit.

And so the philosophers speak of intrinsic worth. That there is something about merely being human that should rightly oblige me to respect myself and others. If I breathe, then I have worth. Even if I’m poor. Even if I’m unable to be useful. Even if I lack merit.

Can you consider your intrinsic worth? The idea that some people who love you actually do love you? Not for your money. Not because of your achievements. Not because you can fix the garbage disposal or iron a shirt. Not because you’re morally perfect. But because they love you.

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But even intrinsic worth is nigh impossible to realize and enjoy on our own. Do newborns have intrinsic worth? Absolutely. Do newborns know that? Absolutely not. Then how do newborns discover their own intrinsic worth?

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Someone has to love them. Touch them. Care for them. Or they will go crazy. Or die.

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“We love because we are first loved,” says the Christian Epistle of 1 John. Here a religious “truth” is identical to a psychological observation: Self-worth does not first belong to self. Worth is bestowed upon us by love. Our worth is conveyed.

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All the worth we could ever need are found as we love and are loved.

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Hope soars heavenward     —

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1IzUbFMDGc

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To love and to be loved are our deepest desires a la Carl Jung’s archetypes (Jung’s forebearers are mystics Plato, Apostle Paul, & Augustine)(Jung is pronounced like “young”)

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Archetypal star-crossed lovers

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However, Jewish theologian Martin Buber says that Jung went outside Jung’s  psychoanalytic expertise into theology by Jung’s point that God does not exist independent of the psyches of human beings.

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Buber chastens that Jung was “mystically deifying the instincts instead of hallowing them in faith,”  which he called a “modern manifestation of Gnosis.” (the improper ascription to self-knowledge as the end-all, instead of God).   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jungian_interpretation_of_religion#Extensions_and_criticisms

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+to+love+and+be+loved&id=EACBCF9FA17727184C6B7DC4961D1E0CD101EC1F&FORM=IQFRBA#view=detail&id=EACBCF9FA17727184C6B7DC4961D1E0CD101EC1F&selectedIndex=0

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgLzsGmnogo

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Modern people are tragically separated from their symbols

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/symbol-participates-thing-it-represents

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A symbol “participates” in the thing it represents

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The difference between a sign and a symbol is something first felt, and only later comprehended.

This meaning of a symbol is the difference between a sign and a symbol.

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All kinds of symbols. Marriage is a symbol. Wedding rings are symbols. That collar around the neck of the priest is a symbol. Old Glory is a symbol. Hair can be a symbol (see Samson). Fire (see sweat lodges). The Alamo is a symbol. (I was in San Antonio on the day Ozzy Osbourne urinated on it. Texans reacted, well, badly. Dramatically, even.)

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Only in a culture as overly rationalized and material as this one could we …

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* wear the American flag as jockey shorts;

* refer to a wedding license as “just a piece of paper”;

* be absent collective rituals for grief;

* be absent collective rituals for rites of passage to adulthood;

* think it’s funny to try to make the guard at Buckingham Palace laugh;

* think potato chips and Pepsi could stand in for bread and wine;

* refer to a girl’s first menses as the arrival of “The Curse”;

* think a glowing light bulb is the same as a perpetual flame;

* ask them to mail your doctoral diploma to your house;

* dare to be impatient when stuck behind a funeral procession in traffic.

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Here’s my first question in premarital counseling: “What do you want to change in your relationship on (date)?” Wanna know the most common answer? The couple exchanges a befuddled glance. One of them sits taller. Proud of this answer, mind you. “Nothing,” he/she says quizzically, as if I’ve asked a very strange question.

If your goal was to change nothing, wouldn’t it make sense that you would do nothing?

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Modern people are tragically separated from their symbols.

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http://www.viewnews.com/2009/VIEW-Jan-06-Tue-2009/downtown/26019332.html

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What do you see in human experience?

C.G. Jung said that in Western civilization, the ancient office of tribal “ritual elder” was less and less occupied by clergy. Changes in modern institutional religion have turned parish clergy into administrators, teachers and fundraisers, and less and less available for the ancient symbolic functions of meaningful ritual and “testing the spirits” (discernment).

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Jung believed that modern therapists were largely the default recipient of the shamanic role. This has always intrigued me and made me nervous.

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Nonetheless …

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I want to extend an invitation to veteran therapist/counselor types — you modern elders — who might be in earshot of this column: What do you notice? Wrap your arms around the years of individuals, couples, kids, teens and families that moved through your practice. What themes do you see in the modern human experience, either positive or negative? Put all that into a two- to six-sentence paragraph, and send it to me.

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Here are a few things I notice:

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* People seek redemption. Yep, regardless of religion or no-religion, people long to convert banal human experience into redemptive meaning: birth, belonging, hope, vocation, sex, pride, humility, fear, joy, forgiveness, justice, evil, anger, values, moral failure, guilt, grief, love, meaning, child-rearing, aging, death. You can see how Jung arrived at his conclusion; the list of presenting issues in therapy is virtually synonymous with the needs and hungers of any pilgrim on a religious journey.

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* There is no escaping the paradox of The Individual and The Collective. Meaning, we cannot participate creatively in the wider human experience without possession of a healthy, separate self. Yet, the only way to grow a healthy, separate self is to participate in the collective.

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* People are designed for relationships. Seems funny how often I remind folks of this. I think “individualism” is a near cult in America. People are surprised, made anxious, threatened, even embarrassed by their yearning for deep friendships, kinship and a great love affair. We embrace insipid mantras — or sometimes hear them from therapists who mean to encourage — such as, “You’re fine alone.” You’ll never hear that from me. Instead you’ll hear, “You’re fine enough alone.”

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* Western civilization is a neurosis factory. Anxiety, self-consciousness, self-doubt. An overwhelming tendency to attach undue and largely negative meaning to self. So common is this outcome in human formation that consulting therapists will describe patients with a shrug, saying, “He’s a normal neurotic.” Meaning, he’s just like everybody else. Just like me, for that matter.

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* People have answers for most of their questions. In fact, it’s uncommon for patients to ask me an honest question; meaning, a question seeking actual information about which they are ignorant. Nope, the majority of questions are rhetorical. The patient poses the “great mystery/crisis/dilemma” inquiry as a segue, a stage. Give them some room, and they will usually answer their own questions.

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* Children need to be admired. They need to hear the “wow” in the voice of the mother, the father. They need to see the wonder in our eyes.

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* Children are absurdly forgiving and breathtakingly resilient.

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* We marginalize adolescents, yet reserve the right to complain about their despair.

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* The best thing I have to say about hitting children is that it is unnecessary.

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* The “nuclear family” is a ridiculous and historically unprecedented way to raise children.

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* Narcissistic parenting patterns dominate the current culture of child rearing.

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* As a group, we have sold ourselves a shameless bill of goods regarding marriage, divorce and remarriage. We’re personally affronted when we discover that our marriage has failed to sustain “in-lovedness” and happiness. We tell ourselves that divorce and remarriage is a terrific strategy for growth and personal development. No data supports this idea.

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* Modern people are tragically separated from their symbols. Said another way, materialism and rationalism rule the day, both at the cost of meaning.

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* It’s not abuse that makes children — and later, adults — feel or act crazy and destructively, it’s not being allowed to have any feelings about our abuse. To be separated from the reality of our emotional reality — that is crazy-making!

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We’ve come a long ways, but it remains today axiomatic: Men can’t cry, and women can’t get angry. I’m serious. Can’t tell you how many times individual therapy with a man includes helping him take grief and loss seriously. Can’t tell you how many times individual therapy with a woman includes helping her take anger and outrage seriously.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kerry-walters/zombies_1_b_7770466.html

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The truth of the matter is that no society ever becomes fully secularized. The hunger for a transcendent dimension to reality–for an enchanted world–remains a basic human drive, and if it can’t express itself in overtly religious imagery, it’ll search out symbolic substitutes. So, for example, psychologists become modernity’s priests, invested with awesome authority to hear confessions, bless, and heal. Political allegiances substitute for religious communities, and partisan feuds take on the rhetoric of cosmic struggles. Self-improvement replaces spiritual discernment. Patriotic holidays and rituals stand in for religious holy days. Our chthonic yearning for something greater than ourselves plays out again and again, even in a supposedly disenchanted world.

One important archetype that gets renamed and redistributed in modern society is metaphysical evil, or the Devil. Its psychological importance can’t be underestimated; it helps us cope with those acts of wickedness–torture, genocide, child abuse–so numbingly sinister that chalking them up to mere human agency is unsatisfyingly inadequate. Our ancestors personified metaphysical evil in the form of a demonic enemy, Satan, who roams the world like a roaring lion seeking human prey. Their “enchanted” belief in the Devil’s machinations provided them with an explanation for evil that protected them from the far worse alternative that wickedness is gratuitous and spontaneous. Moreover, it gave purposeful direction to their lives by offering them the opportunity to enlist in God’s grim but ultimately triumphant crusade against evil.

Most people today, even religious ones, no longer believe in the reality of a metaphysical source of evil, much less its personification as Satan. Nor have they an explicit sense of soldiering in a cosmic battle between divine good and hellish evil. But both archetypes are so hardwired in our psyches that they recur again and again, finding a home in any symbol that can express them.

And here’s where we cue the zombies. They’re today’s Devils, modernity’s version of the Great Enemy. We re-enchant the world by attributing to zombies qualities that our ancestors believed belonged to Satan. Zombies allow us to scratch our itch for archetypal symbols that hold deep meaning for us while allowing us to jettison pre-modern religious language that no longer speaks to us.

So for us, Zombies become roaring satanic lions hungrily searching out prey. They’re concrete personifications of our deep and ancient sense that evil is somehow mysteriously nonhuman in origin, even though it uses humans as its agents. Zombies reek of death and the grave–the underground, where Satan and the damned traditionally dwell. Their bite mutates human victims into zombies, just as Satan’s embrace mutates humans into slaves. And the cosmic battle theme between good and evil is also present: in all zombie stories, a valiant band of humans, typically led by a Savior-like figure, risk their own lives to rescue humankind from damnation.

No one believes that zombies actually exist. But our fascination with them points to the latest recurrence of the very same archetype that for earlier generations was communicated in explicitly religious language. We’re more deeply rooted in the enchanted world of our ancestors than we suspect.

So the next time you watch a zombie movie, be aware that your forebears are seated alongside you.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dreams-and-visions-of-the-dying_us_56b24a88e4b04f9b57d81b9d?utm_hp_ref=religion

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As Kerr’s patients approach death, many of them report having vivid and comforting dreams.

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The dreams frequently involve deceased loved ones, reaching out to them in some way to let them know everything is okay.

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Time and again, Kerr and his fellow researchers found that these dreams help give patients a sense of meaning and spiritual comfort as their death approaches.

“End of life experiences represent a rich interconnectivity between body and soul, between the realities we know, those we don’t, between our past and our present,” Kerr said in his TEDx talk. “Most importantly, end of life experiences represent continuity between and across lives, both living and dead.”

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Sage Paul Lutus: Most “educated” people cannot tell the difference between a fact and an idea, the most common confusion of symbol and thing. Most believe if they collect enough facts, this will compensate for their inability to grasp the ideas behind those facts. And, because of this “poverty of ideas,” most cannot work out the simplest conceptual questions, such as “why is the sky dark at night?”

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/euclid-reasoned-something-or-it-isn-t

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The reflexive property is hugely important. And, in modern times, this property is apparently not so apparent and obvious. If you turn your ear to listen, you will hear myriad observations, worldviews, and specious conclusions that come down to this: a = … (something that is not) a.

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And this bothers me. Because, deny, ignore or obfuscate whether a = a, and suddenly you can explain and justify just about anything. It might or might not be entirely a conscious process, but it is nonetheless deliberate. And lazy. And convenient. And creepy.

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I think about this when, several times each year, a patient will speak of a new courtship with … someone who is married. And the new interest gives my patient The Speech: “We’re not really married. We’ve been separated for (period of time), and the reason the divorce isn’t yet filed/final is (blah blah blah).”

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And my patient thinks this clears things right up.

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And I affect my very best neutral nod. But, inside, I always think the same thing: a = a. Only divorced people are divorced. Only married people are married people. Which means that married people aren’t divorced people.

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A = a. Only friends are friends. And only nouns are nouns. So, write this down: I will never “friend” you. Ever. Or “unfriend” you.

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I could go on and on. The reflexive property has never mattered more. Because we live in a time of confusing facsimile with reality. And that has consequences.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-twitter-really-americas-conscience/2015/02/24/8b9e04d6-bc67-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

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Mindless social media (e.g. Twitter)

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Social media, especially Twitter, have appropriated the role of national conscience. When Tweety Bird is upset, the whole world is upset — or at least that portion of the world that pays attention to such things. As of 2014, only 23 percent of online adults (18 and older) use Twitter, according to the Pew Research Center.

The broader media, however, pay attention to and report on buzz as though these online snippets were the last word on public opinion. But buzz, like all gossip through time, is meaningless without contextual analysis. Buzz, in other words, doesn’t necessarily suggest a conclusion, such as Americans have lost their sense of humor, and we have become mind-numbingly politically correct .

This may be our future, heaven forbid. But meanwhile, we can find some comfort in the following: Many Americans couldn’t care less about the Oscars, what Penn said, or what Twitter buzzed about it. Only 36.6 million watched the Academy Awards this year, down 16 percent from last year, according to Nielsen ratings.

Context is, as always, everything. But we’ll see what Twitter has to say about that.

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I’ll concede that Sean Penn’s delivery at the Oscars had all the warmth of a basilisk’s gaze. Then again, what would one expect from Penn? He has mastered the expression of one who would rather be anywhere else. His default countenance is of a man trapped between existential angst and disgust — or rather like someone who knows what’s really going on.

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It’s all in the delivery.

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Human beings are created for relationship. Without you, there is no meaningful me. How I experience my life is, in the end, inseparable from how I experience you. Said yet another way, we’re here to love and be loved. — sage Steven Kalas

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/luck-of-the-draw-bad-or-good-forgive-yourself-for-what-is-not-in-your-power-to-do-steven-kalas/

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Sometimes the worst pain comes from feeling abandoned (estrangement) and unloved (alienation). That happened to me when my marriage of more than three decades ended. When my wife walked out on me, she took my sense of self-worth with her.

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Without her to validate me as a human being,

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I began to think I wasn’t worth anything at all.

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It is very hard to let go of your past. For years I held on to my old life, refusing to let go. I just couldn’t see any other life worth living. Letting go of your past is a long, hard process, and for me that process isn’t over yet. In some ways, it’s just beginning.

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But here is why it’s important that we put in that time and effort — because if we live in the past, we will never discover our destiny. Destiny, promise, potential, purpose — all of these are things that have to do with the future, not the past.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/antoinette-tuff/three-steps-to-turning-pain-purpose_b_4979660.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS%20for%20the%20Soul
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Yes, one who lives authentically and in the moment suffers persecution, taking a line from exemplar Christ.

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 http://biblehub.com/2_timothy/3-12.htm
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-davis-phd/saint-francis-and-pope-francis_b_4967289.html?utm_hp_ref=religion
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/life-advice_n_4979765.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS+for+the+Soul
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Life  celebration often is born of immense suffering.

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The willingness to stretch oneself into compelling vulnerability by loving and desiring to be loved draws from a psychic well so deep that is not without cost.

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Sometimes great cost.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/after-laughs-comedian-leaves-us-lesson
http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/trust-risk-taken-not-acquired-skill
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Once you have a meditative life you start to see that the world is really far different than what it appears to be,   e.g.

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob%27s_Ladder_(film)#Production

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/this-ancient-blueprint-fo_n_5312209.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS+for+the+Soul

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A person must have an “inner citadel” to which one can retreat.

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Living from this inner place of peace and equanimity —

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a place which no person or external event can penetrate —

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gives one the freedom to shape one’s life by responding to events from a rational, calm headspace.

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Find your inner citadel.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/one-man-s-definition-spirituality

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I once tried to craft a definition of spirituality that could be universalized. That is, the definition would not and could not be “owned” or dominated by any particular religion.

Purely objective. And utterly human.

For better or worse, I finally came up with this:  “Spirituality is the intentional disciplines we undertake to realize, respond and bring witness to essential relatedness.”

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Intentional disciplines

Significant spirituality presupposes some effort and intention on our part. We habituate ourselves to certain prescribed disciplines. Meditation, prayer, worship, sacrifice, piety, chanting, alms, fasting, study, mission, pilgrimage, ritual, marriage, music, art, dance, exercise — there are myriad forms of spiritual discipline. Only some are formal, “religious” activities.

But all spiritual disciplines attempt to express, strengthen and realize our fundamental relationships: self, others, cosmos, mystery. An authentic spiritual path is more than mere spontaneous enthusiasm or casual, intellectual observation.

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Let’s unpack the definition:

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To realize

A lot of things that are real are never realized. To realize is to bring to full expression. In authentic spirituality, we reach for what we believe to be real (our worldview) and we make it real in ourselves.

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To respond

Authentic spirituality compels us to respond. When we realize we are related, we find that we must respond to our relationships. We serve, we seek, we redeem, we account, we repair, we reconcile, we protect, we do battle, we make peace — action verbs.  We must answer the “voice” we have heard. We are obliged (from the Latin obligare = “tied to”).

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Bring witness

In word and deed we evidence our essential relatedness. We tell our story, yes, sometimes with words, but more often with deeds. The fast track of getting to know any human being is observing how that human being responds to his/her committed bonds of relationship.

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Essential relatedness

I was unable to coin a meaningful definition of spirituality without presupposing an article of faith. In the case of my definition, I’m presupposing that people and cosmos are essentially related. I can’t prove that. It’s part of my spiritual worldview (my cosmology) leaking into my definition.

I can’t apologize, though, because I do think we are essentially related. We do not choose to be related to the mystery, the cosmos, to ourselves and each other. We are related.

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All significant world religions and spiritual paths share common elements:

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A narrative

“In the beginning” … “Once upon a time” … “a child was born” …

Spirituality is contained in story. The story often includes a particular human life perceived to be unique and definitive of how life is and how life should be lived. For example, there is a life lived in history (Siddhartha) and then there is the collective response to that life lived (Buddhism).

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Sacred writings

The Bible, the Quran, the Deer Park Sermon, the Torah, Bhagavad Gita, petroglyphs — in sacred writings the stories and collective wisdom of spiritual paths are preserved and passed on.

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Moral code

The great world religions share basic concerns about violence, exploitation, dishonesty, theft and the breakdown of sexual boundaries. Religions postulate an “ideal” expression of our humanity and generally agree that we are incapable of realizing this ideal by the mere force of will. We sense what is good, but we cannot simply decide to be good.

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Festival, ritual and tradition

The great world religions contain potent rites of passage, rituals that realize and celebrate relatedness, and traditions that mark a rhythm for the ebb and flow of life.

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Sacrifice (alms)

The great world religions express a primary concern for the especially vulnerable members of society — the poor, the sick, the disabled, the very old and very young, etc. And so, authentic spirituality includes the regular, sometimes ritual sacrifice of time, talents, energy, goods, service and money for the aid and protection of the “especially vulnerable.”

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The thing I rather enjoy about my definition is that, even for people who swear they don’t have a religious bone in their body, well, there is still a very sense in which they can enjoy, nurture and grow an authentic inmost dimension to their lives.

If your spirituality/inmost-edness and/or your religion is not, at the end of the day, about tying you to fidelity in relationships, then I would wonder about its purpose and relevance.

Right relationships yield human wholeness.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-a-georgescu/the-last-shall-be-first_b_4683340.html
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The Last Shall be First — Jesus

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Devoting oneself to others is at the heart of all the world’s major faiths.

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If we are devoted to a higher purpose (e.g. hope in salvation), love and compassion become the whole point and our goals become more important than what we get in return for them.

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Who am I? A person who loves and desires to be loved in turn.

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Jodi Picoult: “People always say that, when you love someone, nothing in the world matters. But that’s not true, is it? You know, and I know, that when you love someone, everything in the world matters a little bit more.”

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http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3764682-handle-with-care

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/not-who-am-i-but-whose-am-i-and-this-radicalgestalt-changes-everything-from-sage-steven-kalas-born-1957/

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It’s not “Who am I?” but “Whose am I?” And this radical/gestalt changes everything!! (e.g. I am a father/grandfather/elder role model to my progeny/etc.)

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOW4QiOD-oc

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner#Interpretation

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These thematic elements provide an atmosphere of uncertainty for Blade Runner‘s central theme of examining humanity.

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In order to discover replicants, an empathy test is used, with a number of its questions focused on the treatment of animals—seemingly an essential indicator of someone’s “humanity.”

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The replicants appear to show compassion and concern for one another and are juxtaposed against human characters who lack empathy while the mass of humanity on the streets is cold and impersonal.

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The film goes so far as to put in doubt whether Deckard is human, and forces the audience to re-evaluate what it means to be human.

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Yes, the bad guy/unwanted huli’au actually might be the good guy.

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luck of the draw (bad or good) — forgive yourself for what is not in your power to do — Steven Kalas

 

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The blind will see and those who see will become blind. John 9:39-41 Those who become blind also will blind themselves as experts (ability to see). Thence those who become blind shall continue to remain ignorant. — Chiasmus

http://www.biblelimericks.com/?limerick=john-941-blind-seeing-seeing-blind

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/family/best-approach-help-some-addicts-step-away

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/steven-kalas/relationship-important-part-effective-therapy

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She tells her story, and it’s my job to listen to the telling. It’s an awful story. Betrayal, injustice, abuse of power, exploitation — it’s not easy to listen.

Listening trips alarm systems in my body. My brain begins dumping chemicals into my bloodstream, changing the way I breathe. There’s a pre-emptive readiness in my musculature that I experience as tension. I feel anger and sadness, both vying for center stage of my attention. Competing fantasies include weeping, stepping outside to scream, sending her perpetrator a letter bomb and pouring us both shots of expensive bourbon. Right here in the office. Right here in session.

The latter fantasy explains why I don’t keep expensive hooch in my office.

She finishes the ugly tale. I lean forward with my most sincere Father Flannigan face and say in soothing intonations, “Take the deepest breath you can.” She looks up, smiles a tender, peaceful, beautiful smile and says, “I’m really OK.” To which I — Steven Kalas, Caped Crusader, Action Counselor, Man of the Hour — respond spontaneously and without a moment’s thought, “You’re right, it’s me who needs to take a deep breath.”

In the next moment, we both erupt in gales of laughter, both buffeted by the physical force of the irony ricocheting off the walls. It’s a cleansing irony. She ceremoniously hands me the Kleenex box and says, in caricature, “Would you like to talk about it?” I shrug and say: “I don’t know. How much do you charge?” And we laugh some more.

It doesn’t get any more real and honest than that. When I’m old and long-retired, I will remember that moment in my career. I will never stop sharing that story with interns and practicum students whose desire it is to learn this craft called Talk Therapy.

News flash for aspiring therapists: The idea that quality therapy is delivered to people in sheer objectivity and muted detachment is … well … absolute crap. Blank slate? Yeah, right. Run away screaming from any therapist who tells you they have no opinions, no prejudices and who seems deliberately wooden and removed from the interaction. It is not my job to be free of bias (as if that were possible), rather, to know my biases to the end that my bias does not intrude, interfere, countermand or impede.

Quality therapy is delivered in the context of a therapeutic relationship! Key word: relationship! Therapeutic benefit emerges — literally — in and proceeding out of the relationship. It is not a relationship of unilateral trust, rather, of mutual trust. It is a deep-seated sense of partnership. Even very sick people bring strengths to the table that have seen them through rough times. I notice these things, admire them and even learn from them.

A veteran therapist friend tells a simple yet powerful story about working with a patient who’d been sexually abused by several males in her family:

“She wailed, ‘Why Me?!’ It was voiced as a demand. She wanted an answer. And, of course, she feared she did something to deserve it. I simply answered, ‘The luck of the draw.’ She stared at me a moment, then shrieked: ‘The luck of the draw? That’s your answer?’ I nodded and said: ‘Yup. You did nothing to deserve it and, as far as I know, God doesn’t get pissed off at little kids and decide to punish them by giving them evil relatives who abuse them. To me that means it’s just the luck of the draw.’

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After staring at me several seconds, she burst out laughing and I joined her. She left that session, smiling, shaking her head and marveling, ‘The luck of the draw.’ I might say that I’d come to this conclusion some time before about my own experiences.”

See, a therapist focused on textbooks and technique might have answered, all sincere and philosophical: “I don’t know. Why do you think this happened to you?” But patients deserve more than a Human Echo Chamber. They deserve more than nodding, staring and “Mmm.” They need human reparative interaction.

Another veteran therapist tells this story:

“I once treated a developmentally disabled teen, hospitalized for childhood schizophrenia. He did very, very well, and at the time we terminated therapy asked me, ‘You know why this worked so well, doctor?’ I said, ‘No, why?’ He smiled and said, ‘Because you respected me and I respected you.’ “

Well, yeah. Of course.

With all respect to the practitioner’s training and expertise, maybe the heartbeat of effective therapy is 50 minutes of acutely focused, directed, authentically present and respectful human relationship.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/1-peter-48-love-covers-a-multitude-of-sins-center-of-grace-or-in-the-secular-sense-forgive-yourself-for-what-is-not-in-your-power-to-do/

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The points are to establish love and emotional support as our idyllic commands, in a tragic and indifferent world.

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Needless suffering is of this world, stuck in this tragic and indifferent life.

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Indeed, true love endures.

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It’s just that you need to close the gestalt of being in love with the person who no longer loves you

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and get past one’s own hurt, bitterness, disappointment and anger

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before what endures can be apprehended

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as the honored friend it is (self-respect)

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and not the cruel enemy

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it appears to be

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right after we’ve been dumped

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by the love of our life.

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True love endures. That’s a good thing.

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But true love is different from needless suffering for the rest of your life.

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At the end of the day, we have to grow a self-respect sufficient not to want someone who doesn’t want us.

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You need to forgive yourself

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for what was

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not

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in your power to do.

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http://www.lvrj.com/view/love-can-endure-if-people-work-through-lost-relationships-144330465.html

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Søren Kierkegaard says that life is full of absurdity, and one must make his and her own values in an indifferent world. One can live meaningfully (free of despair and anxiety) in an unconditional commitment to something finite, and devotes that meaningful life to the commitment, despite the vulnerability inherent to doing so. As sage Steven Kalas says, we’re here to love and be loved. That’s it. Dying people revel in who they became in meaningful relationships (soulmates)! Every other dimension of life — job, money, golf game, emptying the kitchen trash — is only important as it serves the end of how and why you are related to another soul.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/what-is-not-in-our-power-to-do/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/forgive-yourself-for-what-is-not-in-your-power-to-do-love-yourself-no-matter-the-external-rejection-from-others/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/limerence-falling-in-love-is-a-powerful-spontaneous-projection-of-self-the-experience-is-cosmic-and-powerfully-bonding-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/im-here-to-love-and-be-loved/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/but-now-theres-nowhere-to-hide-since-you-pushed-my-love-aside-my-head-is-saying-fool-forget-her-my-heart-is-saying-dont-let-go-hold-on-to-the-end-thats-what-i-intend-to-do/

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/7128.Jodi_Picoult

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“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.” ― Jodi Picoult

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“I’m lonely. Why do you think I had to learn to act so independent?” – ― Jodi Picoult

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“Love is not an equation, it is not a contract, and it is not a happy ending. Love is the slate under the chalk, the ground that buildings rise, and the oxygen in the air. It is the place you come back to, no matter where you’re headed.” ― Jodi Picoult

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“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?” ― Jodi Picoult

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“A real friend isn’t capable of feeling sorry for you, [but instead feeling sorry for/loss of you by the other person.]” ― Jodi Picoult

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“I didn’t want to see her because it would make me feel better. I came because without her, it’s hard to remember who I am.” ― Jodi Picoult

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Preface to Susan Sarandon’s undying line below — the gumshoe/private eye says to Susan Sarandon’s character Beverly Clark (on tailing Bev’s hubby played by Richard Gere) that couples get married for passion, not protocol. Susan’s character Bev in turn responds via her eternal line below.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358135/quotes

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We need a witness to our lives. There are billions of people on this planet…

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I mean, what does any one life really mean?

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But in a relationship,

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you’re promising to care about everything.

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The good things, the bad things, the mundane things…

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all of them, all the time.

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You’re saying

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‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it.

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Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdBATA_Ag5s

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(Sigh) … it could not have been said any deeper than this … with love timelessly, :-)–Curt

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Rose teasingly tells Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack in the 1997 blockbuster movie Titanic –

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Immortalize me, Jack!” (via Jack’s portrait sketching talent) Done, baby!!

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As sage Steven Kalas intones (Love’s Purple Heart is won) –

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/steven-kalas/what-hurts-most-may-bring-people-closest-together

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Once upon a time you stood before an altar

And you promised not to leave

You held each other’s hand and dreamed a sweet forever

Love brought angels to your knees

Oh, the days they do fly by

Count the tears that you have cried

Count the laughter and the lies

Count your love and times love died

And here you stand together, battle-scarred and torn

The locks of fairy tales have fallen, long since shorn

Love has chosen you, blessed you, crucified you

See what you’ve become

Love’s Purple Heart is won

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Once upon a time

You promised to believe

That wounded hearts though painful so

Are the only hearts that grow

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Infinity’s Loving Purple Heart has been won.

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http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/2010/02/15/dispatches-from-curt-%e2%80%94-john-hustons-the-battle-of-san-pietro-semper-fi-wounded-in-action-and-other-musings/#comment-25773

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For Greek philosophers Plato/Aristotle, glorious virtues start w/courage & end w/wisdom, a la Santini/Zulu/the British square/other renowned warriors.

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The 1st historian in the Western World, Herodotus, crusaded to “preserve the memory of great and marvelous deeds,”

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just as successor Thucydides’ mission was to record “important and instructive actions of human beings.”

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I tip my hat to my dearest daughter Staycie age 43 for finding the hero/heroine in us all, our very own Herodotus/Thucydides who exemplify Plato/Aristotle’s creeds that glorious virtues start with courage and end with wisdom, and for making us all the happier/wiser/deeper for these values.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/when-the-unconscious-is-ready-to-deliver-its-great-treasures-forged-timeless-in-the-depths-of-the-human-soul-well-who-would-want-to-interrupt-that-with-a-mere-mortal-agenda-steven-kal/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/its-a-virtual-cliche-for-modern-patients-in-therapy-to-self-diagnose-with-i-need-to-work-on-my-self-esteem-it-rarely-turns-out-to-be-a-correct-diagnosis-i-much-prefer-to-focus-on-self-respec/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/interesting-that-jesus-not-only-doesnt-feel-the-need-to-scour-the-countryside-in-search-of-people-to-condemn-for-fear-that-surely-someones-ruining-the-fabric-of-tradition/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/life-is-full-of-reversals-of-expectations-baby-dedicated-to-my-little-girl-staycie-age-40-my-separation-anxiety-from-my-baby-girl-when-she-turned-18-left-home-to-live-on-her-own-turned/

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my little baby girl Staycie’s look-alike

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gps-for-the-soul/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/mind-blowing-jesus-stands-inexplicably-before-us-and-jesus-turns-common-sense-ideas-upside-down-confounding-us-all-dedicated-to-authentic-ri-in/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/in-tribute-to-my-leader-ri-in-honesty-speaks-to-the-heart-where-true-love-resides/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/love-what-it-requires-how-to-value-it-how-it-calls-us-to-pay-attention-to-celebrate-and-be-grateful-because-we-simply-never-know-human-beings-have-no-rights-or-claims-on-the-ever-so-brief/

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/love-the-simple-measure-life

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“When someone you love walks through the door, even if it happens five times a day, you should go totally insane with joy.”

— Denali

Denali isn’t famous enough to need a last name. He has no formal education. Not even a high school diploma. What he does have is a keen, super-human sense of what love means. What it requires. How to value it. How it calls us to pay attention. To celebrate and be grateful.

Because we simply never know.

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Human beings have no rights or claims on the ever-so brief moments they are given to be together.

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Denali doesn’t understand why people complain about the fact that salads cost $12 or why their shoes got wet. Denali has love in keen relief, proper perspective. He talks of loving his dog, Ben, through cancer.

In journeys like that, you don’t notice your shoes. And maybe you forget to eat lunch entirely, at any price.

I’ve never met Denali in real time. I heard him quote the above words in an eight-minute short film called “Denali.” You can watch it on Vimeo.com. (https://vimeo.com/122375452)

Films like “Denali”

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remind me how simple is the measure of my own life:

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When I notice myself in narratives of chronic complaint, I’m a loser. It’s that simple.

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Then, when I get the idea that others should be obliged to grant an audience for my complaining, I’m a loser and a boor.

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The tortured trifecta is when I take the point of privilege to feel slighted, to mobilize resentment if others are unavailable for my complaining.

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Loser, boor and Crown Prince of Entitlement.

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When, instead, I work the discipline of gratitude, I’m a man of peace and humility. My soul is in a posture to receive rather than grasp or take. I revel in an inventory of unspeakable grace and gifts,

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not an inventory of ownership, achievement and deservedness.

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Ownership? Every day I grow older, the whole idea of ownership seems more a waste of time.

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For what is truly my own

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except for the moments I dared to love and be loved?

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Answer:    nothing.

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“We are in bondage to decay.” — Romans 8:20-21

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Only love survives.

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Nobody lies in hospice and makes an inventory of ownership. Nope. Dying requires us to take inventory of love.

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“Love is paying attention.” — M. Scott Peck (1936-2005)

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A friend tells me about a family tradition, started by her father, now gone to be with God. Home from work each night, he would pull his car up to the house and tap a friendly “beep beep” on the horn. He would announce his arrival, and a wife and children would rise and mingle toward the door to greet him.

Today, my friend continues the tradition. Her family knows to expect the “beep beep” as she pulls her car around to home.

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Thus do healthy families and healthy marriages make customs and rituals out of comings and goings, hellos and goodbyes.

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They see each other. They behold each other. They respect each other. (Look it up. In Latin, respectus means “to see again.”)

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I remember, as I do at least annually in this column, the Thorton Wilder play “Our Town.” At the end, the protagonist pleads to her mother, “Mother! Won’t you just look at me!”

Then she says to the stage manager: “Does anyone really live life while they live it?”

“Oh, a few,” says the stage manager, puffing his pipe. “Poets and saints, maybe. Nobody else.”

By the way, if you decide to click that link and watch “Denali,” bring a box of tissues. It’s going to wreck you. Wring you out like a dishrag. Pour your heart into your shoes. If you can watch this piece and not be moved, something is wrong with you. You’re embalmed. Sleepwalking. Frozen in ice.

Watch it. Ponder what really matters.

Then put this column down. Go call someone you love, and tell them so. Just because.

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Irony is a way of transcending and ultimately extending the limited resources of everyday language — irony uses words to point beyond language.

http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Lite/LiteBred.htm
https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/irony-can-include-paradox-and-paradox-can-include-irony/

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Irony entails endless reflection and violent reversals, and ensures incomprehensibility at the moment it compels speech.     Essentially, irony swallows its own stomach.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony#Irony_as_infinite.2C_absolute_negativity

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Jonah in the belly of the whale as irony swallows the multiple hypocrisy of the Pharisees and teachers of the law when they confront Jesus.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonah#Jonah_in_Christianity

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Irony, reversal, and frustration of expectations are characteristic of Jesus. Does a periscope (short saying — “turn the other cheek”) present opposites or impossibilities? If it does, it’s more likely to be authentic. For example, “love your enemies.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Seminar#Criteria_for_authenticity

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“Hi everyone! The one we worship was crucified by the Romans. Come follow us.” This opening line did not fit among Greco-Roman religions. Claiming that a divine figure was helplessly beaten, tortured, and gruesomely–shamefully executed, would have been proof positive that such a religion was a joke worthy only of late night monologs. The ridiculousness of the crucifixion of the Son of God is easily lost on modern Christians. We miss an important reversal that so typifies the gospel. Because the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation of being wise, to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:18-21) — Peter Enns

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We are here for a while, we busy ourselves, we accomplish things, and then we move on — and others continue the cycle. “We can’t all, and some of us don’t.”

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What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?”       ― Jodi Picoult,Nineteen Minutes    

http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3375915-nineteen-minutes
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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/04/discovering-the-futility-of-human-existence-at-my-high-school-reunion/#ixzz3YGIJHHDx
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http://theutopianlife.com/2014/11/22/eeyore-pessimists-guide-beautiful-life/
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Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before.

Ecclesiastes 3:15

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http://biblehub.com/ecclesiastes/3-15.htm
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Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
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3:11-15 Every thing is as God made it; not as it appears to us. We have the world so much in our hearts,

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we are so taken up with thoughts and cares of worldly things, that we have neither time nor spirit to see God’s hand in them.

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Our purpose is to love others (as God first loves us).

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Ecclesiastes 3:15

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Is there anything of which one can say,
  

            “Look! This is something new”?


It was here already, long ago;

 

             it was here before our time.

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This realization often comes much later, in mid-life, when the frantic pace of our youth has become tiresome, when we finally slow down a bit and take stock.

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I’m just another in a long line. I’m not at the front or back. Just in the massive middle. So are you.

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So is everyone.

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We are here for a while, we busy ourselves, we accomplish things, and then we move on — and others continue the cycle.

I also, strangely, felt peace at this thought. I wasn’t exactly sure at the time why, but perhaps knowing that things are as they are and that I will not break this cycle  —-

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leads to a healthy resignation, a release of the fantasy that we control our universe, our lives.

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This is how I put it: my epiphany was a tender “letting go” moment.

I have found that letting go is a key component of the Christian life—of any spiritual life—but I was never taught “letting go” in my Christian education, in church, college, or seminary. The sub-current always seemed to be how “special” and privileged we were

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to be part of this endless cycle of life.

I was taught to think of myself as outside of the circle.

But we live our lives within this circle, and our lives

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 have meaning. Not a meaning handed to us, but a meaning we forge—right here, right now — by choice. Not by denying our humanity but by looking it square in the eye, shedding any notion of being above it all  — and choosing to walk or not — in spiritual salvation with our Lord Jesus.

After all, as Christians believe, God himself entered the human drama, the cycle of life, as yet another man in the long line of men before and since, born of a woman, in ancient Judea, in Galilee, who grew and learned like everyone else.

God valued the cycle enough to be a part of it.   So will I.   I so choose to walk in spiritual salvation with my Lord Jesus.

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/06/a-faith-crisis-in-the-bible-and-dont-let-some-60s-hippies-tell-you-otherwise/
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Confession of resignation in Ecclesiastes:   The best we can do is to find joy (in God) in everyday life.

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In Ecclesiastes we find we hear our voices of sadness, depression anxiety, strife, and doubt echoing back from 2,500 years ago.   Life is not so grand, but we are not alone in feeling such.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/it-ll-take-more-bubble-bath-cure-your-stress

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Four fundamental sources of stress    —

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1.   MEANINGLESSNESS

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung said that the crisis of Western civilization was a crisis of meaning. As the great “symbol systems” of our past erode (e.g., the American flag, wedding rings, clear gender symbols, Judeo-Christian symbols), we are left more and more with a culture void of symbolic identity. Our understanding of relationship and intimacy is no longer grounded in depth communion expressed by shared symbols but in the facade of “connectedness” (see Facebook, etc.). Our work is less and less grounded in the symbol of vocation and more and more grounded in “occupation.” That is, something that occupies our time and makes money.

More and more patients enter therapy not to resolve unhappy childhood memories, not to change some unhealthy habit, but to try to express that vague, nagging, painful emptiness of a soul looking for meaning.

Meaninglessness is very stressful.

2.    DENIED EMOTIONS

Imagine standing waste deep in a swimming pool, holding a volleyball. Now, push the ball underwater with one hand. Hold it there, underwater. Give it a minute. As your arm tires, you will notice the ball’s desire to surface. It wants to surface. Demands to surface! Your arm will start to tremble. You have to concentrate. Perhaps a grunt will escape your lips as you bring to bear the effort to keep that ball underwater.

This is what it’s like to deny your emotions. To do anything but feel. Anger, fear, vulnerability, shame, guilt, grief, loss, despair — our culture raises you to deny suffering at all cost.

Undigested, unrecognized, denied emotions are very stressful.

3.     DISRESPECT/CONTEMPT

If a tree is planted in a poison forest, it will fail to thrive. If you rescue the tree by digging it up, repotting it in healthy soil, feed and water it, then the tree will begin to recover and grow. But, once restored to health, if you return it to the poison forest … well, there aren’t enough bubble baths in the world to make living in that forest OK.

This is what it’s like for so many patients. I help them. They begin to thrive and heal in therapy. But, if they must then return to a poison marriage … or return to poison parents … or return to a poison workplace and a poison supervisor … well, relaxation techniques will not ultimately be enough to save them.

Participating in relationships marked by chronic disrespect/contempt is very stressful.

4.     THE DOUBLE BIND

In the 1950s, Gregory Bateson struck upon the idea of the double bind: “A psychological impasse created when a person perceives that someone in a position of power is making contradictory demands, so that no response is appropriate.”

Bateson says the victim of double bind receives contradictory injunctions or emotional messages on different levels of communication (for example, love is expressed by words, and hate or detachment by nonverbal behavior; or a child is encouraged to speak freely, but criticized or silenced whenever he or she actually does so).

No meta-communication is possible — for example, asking which of the two messages is valid or describing the communication as making no sense.

The victim cannot leave the communication field.

Failing to fulfill the contradictory injunctions is punished (for example, by withdrawal of love).

The double bind is often one of the poisons in the poison forest. It is a common strategy (albeit, often unconscious) of folks treating us with chronic disrespect/contempt. It can make you feel like you are losing your mind.

Sure, take time for yourself. That’s a good thing. But, if any of these four stressful dynamics haunt your life, you will have to do something about it.

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The issue is whether we are able to accept that our cognitive power–which can be limiting and deceiving as well as liberating and enlightening–is truly up for the task of grasping the divine.

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http://www.peteenns.com/when-god-stops-making-sense-or-my-favorite-part-of-the-old-testament/
http://www.peteenns.com/a-blog-post-in-which-i-ask-myself-4-questions-about-christianity-and-evolution/

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Job’s experience threatens the foundation of his moral world. God punishes the wicked, yet Job isn’t wicked. So why is God doing this (theodicy — the issue of suffering)?

Job never gets a straight answer to the question–other than God telling Job “I’m God, the Creator. You’re not.”

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“You are human, Job, present here on earth for a few moments. You can’t possibly comprehend how the universe works, or my part in it. The script of the sacred story is fine as far as it goes, but this world and my place in it aren’t constricted by it. You will not figure this out, Job.”

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The universe we inhabit is largely deaf to our moral preoccupations. It is distant, cold, empty space, beholden to an apparently endless cycle of destruction and rebirth.

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God’s answer to Job, if I may translate into the contemporary idiom, is that the divine is “trans-rational.”

At the end of the day the human thought process can only get you so far when it comes to God.

At some point, for most of us, as it was for some biblical writers, God stops making sense.

The question then is whether the non-sense leads to disbelief in God or becomes an invitation to seek God differently–even through confrontation and debate, as these biblical books model for us.

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I’m just saying that over time I’ve come to answer that question in the second way–as I think Job, some psalmists, and the author of Ecclesiastes did.

Some might call that kind of faith “fideism”–an irrational belief in God rather than based on “sound reason.” But I think the charge of fideism misses the halting lesson life insists on giving us, and also persists in presuming what Job’s friends also insisted on–that where God is concerned, things make sense.

The issue as I see it isn’t simply whether your faith is or isn’t “reasonable.” “Reasonable” is a moving target.

The issue is whether we are able to accept that our cognitive power–which can be limiting and deceiving as well as liberating and enlightening–is truly up for the task of grasping the divine.

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That, I think, is what these books of the Old Testament are after in their own way and in their own time and place. And that’s why I like them.

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Was Jesus more than a 1st century Jew? Yes, I believe he was—and working that out is the stuff of 2000 years of Christian theology. But however “more than human” Jesus may be, and whatever we might mean by that, he was certainly not one micro-millimeter less than fully human—and that has all sorts of implications.

But that’s the deal with the incarnation, and that’s why appealing to a reference or two in the Gospels doesn’t trump the profound observations of science.

And to think that it does, ironically, is not respectful of Jesus or a declaration of a “high” or “orthodox” Christology. It is actually a quasi-biblical sub-Christian Christology that betrays a deep discomfort with the theological implications of the core element of the Christian faith–the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

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http://biblehub.com/john/1-14.htm

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John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

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God manifested in the flesh. But observe the beams of his Divine glory, which darted through this veil of flesh. Men discover their weaknesses to those most familiar with them, but it was not so with Christ; those most intimate with him saw most of his glory. Although he was in the form of a servant, as to outward circumstances, yet, in respect of graces, his form was like the Son of God His Divine glory appeared in the holiness of his doctrine, and in his miracles. He was full of grace, fully acceptable to his Father.

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My life has been a Griffin Dunne character in After Hours    

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Paul Hackett (Dunne) experiences a series of misadventures as he tries to make his way home  (mishaps produce laughter via cynicism, skepticism, & the irony of incurring wrath thru one’s desire of pleasure).

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This film is on the list of “Great Movies,” and it combines comedy, satire, and irony (irreducible truth) with unrelenting pressure and a sense of all-pervading paranoia/destruction.

Hopscotch to oblivion’, Barcelona, Spain

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtPI9jIx1kU

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_Hours_(film)

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Nelle Harper Lee’s epiphany To Kill a Mockingbird    —

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In real life, Nelle’s father defended two black men accused of murdering a white storekeeper. Both clients, a father and son, were hanged.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harper_Lee#Early_life

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Loss of innocence

A color photograph of a northern mockingbird

Lee used the mockingbird to symbolize innocence in the novel.

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Songbirds and their associated symbolism appear throughout the novel. The family’s last name of Finch also shares Lee’s mother’s maiden name. The titular mockingbird is a key motif of this theme, which first appears when Atticus, having given his children air-rifles for Christmas, allows their Uncle Jack to teach them to shoot. Atticus warns them that “it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Confused, Scout approaches her neighbor Miss Maudie, who explains that mockingbirds never harm other living creatures. She points out that mockingbirds simply provide pleasure with their songs, saying, “They don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.” Writer Edwin Bruell summarized the symbolism when he wrote in 1964, “‘To kill a mockingbird’ is to kill that which is innocent and harmless—like Tom Robinson.” Scholars have noted that Lee often returns to the mockingbird theme when trying to make a moral point.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Kill_a_Mockingbird#Loss_of_innocence

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-kornbluth/maybe-you-should-re-read_b_7779356.html

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lowering-the-flag-of-divisiveness/2015/07/10/e519f21a-2740-11e5-aae2-6c4f59b050aa_story.html

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Friday’s ceremony in Columbia was brief, dignified and profoundly moving for the many gathered, as well as those watching from afar. Gov. Nikki Haley (R), surrounded by fellow officials and lawmakers, looked resplendent in a white suit that was reminiscent of a white flag offered in surrender and in peace. I don’t mean the South’s surrender to the North, or of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to the NAACP, which has fought for the lowering of the flag in South Carolina for more than 20 years.

It was the surrender of injured pride to the cause of the greater good. It was the sublimation of “I” for the liberation of “we.”

South Carolina’s better angels were tapped by the departing souls of nine people gunned down while praying in the historic Mother Emanuel church not far from where the first shot of the Civil War was fired. Only silence can capture the totality of so much suffering, forgiveness, surrender, reconciliation and grace.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/flag-debate-rages-readers-responses

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I resolved the struggle when I realized that innocence of motive (mine) combined with understandable naivete (again, mine) is and was and insufficient argument for doing nothing. Let alone the folks protesting their own innocence (“€œBut: it’€™s about heritage!”) or still insisting The Civil War was wholly the North’s fault and had nothing to do with slavery or it’€™s tantrum progeny, racism.

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I had struggled through a contradiction within myself.

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The disease that spawned The Holocaust is not a German disease. It’s a human disease. The only citation Hitler’€™s Germany deserves is one of scale. But the “DNA” of the problem courses through the blood stream of every human being, including this columnist. Its name is human evil. And it’s always here, always waiting for the conditions allowing it to incubate. Individually or collectively. On scales small and large.

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One reader sobered me. Broke my heart. Because I think he represents a critical mass of America today.

“€œDialogue is useless. Waste of time. No one is gonna change anyone’s mind. We are in a culture war. In a war one side will win. You have no clue.”

About that, Good Reader, we disagree. Dialogue is a beautiful thing. Powerful. Even profound. By definition, its participants come to the table open to the possibility of change. Even excited about the possibility. Learning, changing and growing is the only reason to be in a dialogue.

It is not dialogue that is useless. Rather, it’€™s a culture no longer courageous enough to enter in to dialogue. It’€™s easier to dichotomize and vilify.

To decide that I have no clue (when the option is imperative — to uplift the forsaken).

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http://www.vulture.com/2015/07/jon-stewart-told-wyatt-cenac-to-fck-off.html

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This happened back in the summer of 2011, when Stewart was roundly pillorying the 2012 presidential hopefuls, including one Herman Cain. He made fun of Cain by doing a “voice.” At the time Cenac was on a field assignment, and watched the bit from home. “I don’t think this is from a malicious place, but I think this is from a naïve, ignorant place,” he remembered thinking. “Oh no, you just did this and you didn’t think about it. It was just the voice that came into your head. And so it bugged me.” Stewart had been getting flak from Fox News for the voice, and he wanted to do something to respond — an Avenue Q–style “Everything I do is racist” segment. (They did change the frame to one making fun of Stewart.)

Cenac, who was the only black writer there at the time, voiced his concerns during the writer’s meeting. “I’ve got to be honest, and I just spoke from my place,” said Cenac. “I wasn’t here when it all happened. I was in a hotel. And I cringed a little bit. It bothered me.” He wanted them to drop the bit and said that it reminded him of Kingfish, a character Tim Moore played on Amos ‘n’ Andy. He remembers:

[Stewart] got incredibly defensive. I remember he was like, What are you trying to say? There’s a tone in your voice. I was like, “There’s no tone. It bothered me. It sounded like Kingfish.” And then he got upset. And he stood up and he was just like, “Fuck off. I’m done with you.” And he just started screaming that to me. And he screamed it a few times. “Fuck off! I’m done with you.” And he stormed out. And I didn’t know if I had been fired.

The fight carried on at Stewart’s office and was only stopped when one of the office dogs began pawing at them. (Aww.) Eventually, the show had to go on, and Cenac remembers going outside to a baseball field and having a breakdown. “I was shaking, and I just sat there by myself on the bleachers and fucking cried. And it’s a sad thing. That’s how I feel. That’s how I feel in this job. I feel alone,” he said.

The entire conversation is well worth listening to. Cenac is characteristically thoughtful about how racial dynamics manifest themselves in creative spaces like The Daily Show, and how it places people of color in a bind where they have to “represent”:

Something like this, I represent my community, I represent my people, and I try to represent them the best that I can. I gotta be honest if something seems questionable, because if not, then I don’t want to be in a position where I am being untrue not just to myself but to my culture, because that’s exploitative. I’m just allowing something to continue if I’m just going to go along with it. And sadly, I think that’s the burden a lot of people have to have when you are “the one.” You represent something bigger than yourself whether you want to or not.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/time-the-naive-wake-symbolism-confederate-flag

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When I began to digest the news of nine murders at a historic black church in South Carolina, I confess it was at first hard for me to take Dylann Roof seriously as a white supremacist, any more than I took Mark David Chapman seriously as a Christian when he murdered John Lennon for saying “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus.”€ That is, Chapman could have just as easily murdered James Taylor, whom he’€™d accosted the day before Lennon‘€™s murder at a subway station.

Roof, for me, was just another mortally damaged, soulless, sociopathic punk whose sickness is wont to fixate and react to anything and nothing. A church. A school. A mall. An ethnic group. A leaf blowing across the yard.

I‘€™m saying that crazy is disturbingly random stuff. I‘€™m reluctant to give it too much credit for ideological calculation.

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Then, when we as a nation turned our heart-wrenching horror and grief toward the Confederate flag, I shifted into my clinical training in bereavement. “Here we go,” I thought. Because desperately sad, frightened people often turn their collective grief, fear and guilt to some symbolic action they see as redemptive. Sometimes this action is well-reasoned and meaningful. Sometimes it‘s just reactive and a bit willy-nilly.

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The controversy challenged me. It made me examine and re-examine. It made me wonder –€” again –€” what part of my worldview reflects wisdom, truth and goodness — and what part is naivete and/or historical ignorance.

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The more I read, the harder it became to distinguish between the Confederate flag as standing for regional pride or injured pride, the latter being a real problem.

Yeah. Let‘€™s take it down. While surely some Southerners have flown that flag as innocently as a 10-year-old drawing swastikas, the time for stubborn innocence and willful naivete is just as surely over.

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Right hearts, minds, and actions in sequential order

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New Testament external prompts correlate with the convergence of the human and holy spirit and the sacred items in the Ark of the Covenant

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christian-piatt/following-jesus-isnt-prim_b_6740148.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Right thought or belief is generally called “orthodoxy,” [New Testament prompt of sipping wine-conscience/Old Testament Aaron’s Rod]

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while right action is called “orthopraxy.”  [New Testament prompt of breaking bread-fellowship/Old Testament manna]

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And sometimes we seem to assume that these are the only things to focus on, or even that one is somehow superior to the other.

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In studying the teachings and words of Jesus, however, I’m coming to embrace the sense that “orthopathy,” or right-heartedness [New Testament prompt of Lord’s table-intuition/Old Testament Torah Scroll], is a critical third leg [actually the first leg] of the proverbial stool.   This right-heartedness actually helps lead us to the path we’re seeking for the other two.

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Consider the Greatest Commandment, which Jesus claims is foundational to all other laws and commandments. He’s not saying that the Ten Commandments are irrelevant or that the 600-plus Jewish laws should be cast aside. Far from it, in fact. By focusing on loving God with all we are, loving all our neighbors (“all” really does mean all) and even loving ourselves in kind, everything else falls into its proper place.

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He doesn’t say that the Greatest Commandment is to claim a certain set of beliefs, get baptized or go to a certain church.

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He doesn’t say that the virtues of action to which we are called in the Beatitudes are paramount.

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But at the same time, he’s not diminishing or undermining these.

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Rather, he’s helping bring them into greater fullness (perfection) by focusing first and foremost on loving. Not just love as a claim or feeling but as a verb, a worldview, a lens through which we understand all of creation. When we are driven by such all-encompassing, consuming, perfect and sacrificial love [New Testament prompt of living water-convergence of the human & holy spirit/Old Testament Tablets of Stone], the beliefs and actions fall into place.

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In this way, the teachings of Jesus dovetail elegantly with the teachings of the Buddha:

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Right hearts lead to right minds, and right minds lead to right actions.

 

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Perhaps we focus on orthodoxy and orthopraxy more because, in many ways, they’re easier to measure. Also important is that they are easier to wield over others, in assessing whether or not they are worthy of salvation, inclusion, or (fill in the blank). But the act of living into perfect love is terrifying, partly because it is perpetually unfinished business.

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Also, it is radically subversive, because the rule of love (rather than the rule of law) cannot be used to consolidate and exert power over one another. 

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Whereas our application of the old laws — or orthodoxy or orthopraxy — can be used to control or conform,

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love inherently releases and liberates.

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And in the best ways possible, it subverts the very systems of power we have built to contain, control and even marginalize those without power and privilege.

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I know that for some this is a significant shift in understanding what is at the heart of following Jesus. It is shockingly simple but never, ever easy. It is accessible by all yet controlled by none.

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It is the way, the truth, the life. And it is so much bigger than any church, denomination or religion. To me, that is good news; that is gospel.

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Hope (as in salvation/inner joy-peace) beyond suffering is what moves us to suffer for the good of others.

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The spirit of fear (self-conscripted insecurity/ego defensiveness)(smallness ergo self-inflated importance to mask our insecurity) is selfishness, whereas as examples the fear (respect) of God & the Wrath of God have selfless-altruist outcomes.

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Which is why deepest thinker/soulful pilgrim Steven Kalas intones that authentic Christianity/Christian mysticism are incompatible with today’s “hip” New Age outcomes of narcissism/me-me-me mentality.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/new-age-spirituality-aka-integralevolutionarytransformational-not-to-be-confused-with-christianitys-i-am-exodus-314/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mysticism#Biblical_influences

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mysticism#Modern_era

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Age#Late_20th_century

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Do you know that theologian Martin Luther’s tabletalk (intimate heartfelt dialogues with others) helped inspire Luther’s deep comprehension of Scripture (selfless sacrifice for the good of others)?

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/luther/tabletalk.html

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And that mysterious and mystical exemplar Christ’s tabletalk with diverse/divergent ones from atheists to believers — inspire our deepest connection with compassion for others??

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Platonism (the mystical) was considered authoritative in the Middle Ages, and many Platonic notions are now permanent elements of Christianity. Platonism also influenced both Eastern and Western mysticism.

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While Aristotle became more influential than Plato in the 13th century via Aquinas, St. Thomas Aquinas‘ philosophy was still in certain respects fundamentally Platonic (mystical).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonism#Christianity_and_Platonism

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Aquinas placed more emphasis on reason and argumentation, and was one of the first to use the new translation of Aristotle’s metaphysical and epistemological writing.

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This was a significant departure from the Neoplatonic and Augustinian thinking (the mystical) that had dominated much of early scholasticism (early church fathers).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholasticism#High_Scholasticism

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/augustinian-mystic-martin-luther-aquinas-cognition-john-calvin-and-yet-bertrand-russell-apostle-john-are-augustinian-plato-logos-analytical-acolytes-huli-au-upside-down/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/augustine-acolyte-original-sin-john-wycliffe-1320-1384-was-the-impetus-to-luthers-protestant-reformation-a-century-later-for-this-reason-wycliffe-is-called-the-morning-star-of-the-reformatio/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/in-praise-of-pastors-calisto-violet-mateo-of-our-god-reigns-ministry-at-1289-kilauea-ave-hilo-suite-h-phone-808-961-6540/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/ouvre-nearly-half-a-century-of-deepest-passion-i-can-see-it-in-your-eyes-that-you-despise-the-same-old-lines-you-heard-the-night-before-and-though-its-just-a-line-to-you-for-me-its-true-a/

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlgregg/2014/03/the-life-tradition-versus-the-death-tradition-in-christianity/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/it-hurts-to-be-treated-as-a-means-to-an-end-the-hurt-is-a-sign-of-our-health-our-self-respect-not-a-sign-that-anything-about-us-needs-to-be-fixed-from-sage-steven-kalas/

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An overprideful person “swallows one’s own stomach.” Such nature entails endless self-aggrandizement and vanity, and ensures incomprehensibility at the moment it compels authenticity/truth.

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It is true, the strength behind the leader is the person who mystifies me, the so-called unspoken one, like baby brother Andrew was to Peter [Bible].

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God has no use for pride, such that the meekest of the meek went on to lead, like Moses/Gideon.

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Look at King David. Lowly Nathan chastened shell-shocked David. Look at Joshua/etc. All unheralded/unsung heroes. Tremendous symbolism of “never judge a book by its cover.”

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/grace-jisun-kim/jesus-and-the-cross-rejec_b_5143162.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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No one likes rejection.

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Jesus knew rejection through his life. The people of Nazareth, his own hometown, rejected him (Luke 4:26-30). Still others wondered about him because of that hometown. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked (John 1:46). People rejected much of his teaching. Many questioned the origin of his teachings and do not accept him as he was born poor, the son of Joseph the carpenter. In Matthew 21:42, Jesus talks about the stone the builders rejected. The story is a revelation about Jesus, himself.

The Gospels say that Jesus travelled a lot and suggest he entered villages where he found no place to rest. Luke’s Gospel tells of one time Jesus was not welcomed in a Samaritan village (Luke 9:51-53). Jesus’ comment on the experience could imply this happened frequently (Luke 9:58).

Remember the last few hours of Jesus’ life before his crucifixion. Many people and groups rejected Jesus, including those closest to him. Judas betrayed Jesus and identified him in the Garden of Gethsemane for those who came to arrest him. The disciples all ran away in fear when Jesus was arrested. Peter, who said that he would never desert Jesus, ended up denying Jesus three times (John 18:15-27). The high priest, the chief priests, the elders and scribes rejected Jesus and wanted him put to death.

The religious leaders took Jesus to Pilate for a trial. Pilate did not want any trouble and since it was the governor’s custom to release one prisoner during Passover, he asked the crowd, “Which do you want me to release, Barabbas or Jesus?” (Matthew 27:17). The crowds chose Barabbas and rejected Jesus, leaving him to be crucified.

At the final moment of his life, Jesus felt the ultimate rejection. On the cross at the ninth hour Jesus cries out “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45). Jesus knows and understands rejection. Jesus exemplified rejection.

Tremendous pain comes with rejection. The experience can feel like one has been thrown into a spiraling emotional and spiritual black hole and lead one to wonder if there is hope of return to a normal life.

Rejection fills life.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/knowing-when-dream-when-let-dreams-go

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Not every dream comes true.

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Sometimes because our dreams overreach the miserable human condition (ideals of great love).

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Sometimes our dreams overreach immutable realities (my body simply wasn’t designed to fly like a bird).

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The good life, then, requires us to tightrope this paradox: We must never stop dreaming … yet also we must learn to say goodbye to some dreams.

If we stop dreaming, our lives become one-dimensional, static, not fully alive. If we don’t know how and when to say goodbye to a dream, we get stuck in embittered, nostalgic quicksand.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/limits-vs-limitless-freedom-choice-life

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James Kavanaugh publishes “Celebrate the Sun: A Love Story.” In it we meet protagonist Harry Langendorf Pelican. Like his seagull compatriot, Harry rejects the ordinary life of a pelican and reaches outward for his own potential. Like Jonathan, Harry falls into disfavor from family and friends. He considers his willingness to suffer the disfavor as a measure of his depth, commitment and bravery.

Then Harry’s mother dies. And Harry is confronted with limits. No amount of affirming our life’s potential or hurling ourselves boldly in that potential changes the fact that there is, in the end, no such thing as limitless freedom.

The most joyous human freedoms emerge, paradoxically, from surrender to limits.

Kavanaugh’s book critiques Bach’s book. And I knew I must choose. And I did, finally, choose. I decided. I know it sounds like a riddle, but I decided there is ever-so-much more potential for freedom in limits. I began to see the idea of limitlessness as … limiting.

Bach says, “You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self — here and now. And nothing can stand in your way.”

I concluded, “Oh, actually tons of things can stand in your way. That’s the wonder and joy of it: the journey of finding authentic selfhood when so many things are standing in the way.”

Bach says, “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours. If they don’t, they never were.”

I concluded, “If you love someone, choose them with your whole heart! Never stop having high expectations of him/her, or of yourself!”

Bach says, “If you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them.”

I concluded, “Yes, many limitations are in fact self-imposed. Rethink those, for sure. But other limitations are immutable. We’re mortal. We age, weaken and die. We suffer. We grieve. We cannot will our own goodness. We cannot, no matter what we achieve, ever be wiser or stronger than The Mystery. Life will continue to happen, independent of our striving to be the sole author of our fate.”

Humility is the doorway to all the greatest treasures of the human experience.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-write-to-live-authentically-having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-per-great-sage-viktor-frankl/

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I write to live authentically — “having been” is the surest kind of being, per great sage Viktor Frankl

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Usually, to be sure, man considers only the stubble field of transitoriness [the “now”]

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and

overlooks

the full granaries of the past [reflective lookback] –

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wherein he had salvaged once and for all his deeds, his joys

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and also his sufferings.

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Nothing can be undone, and nothing can be done away with.

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[for example, I dream of being loved & wanted in the most beautiful way, & even if this dream is not reality, such thought/”unction” comprises my strength & “positive/right” attitude, even in the starkest moment of despair/seemingly hopeless predicament/state of nonexistence-nonbeing closest to death itself, having been forsaken all the way around –

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which is why Jewish Viktor Frankl’s dream amid the Holocaust even when facing down the death chamber/firing squad was “the angels are in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.” Ohh, so true!!]

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I should say ”having been” is the surest kind of being.

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2782.Viktor_E_Frankl?page=2

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‘Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved –

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but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.’ “

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From “Logotherapy in a Nutshell”, an essay” Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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The reality of life is the luck or unluck of the draw [a crapshoot] —

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“fair” & “unfair” are nonexistent in life’s vocabulary —

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life “just is.”

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Thence, how I deal with setbacks is the key to existence, not the external factual triggers [to despair/hopelessness of predicament].

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/this-ancient-blueprint-fo_n_5312209.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS+for+the+Soul

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Find your ‘inner citadel.’

Marcus Aurelius, who faced a fair share of hardship and warfare in his life, and is thought to have written the Meditations from a tent in a Roman battle camp.

The Roman statesman wrote that in dire situations, man must have an “inner citadel” to which he can retreat. Living from this inner place of peace and equanimity — a place which no person or external event can penetrate — gives a man the freedom to shape his life by responding to events from a rational, calm headspace.

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We can choose to exercise power over our thoughts and attitudes in even the most dire of situations — Roman philosopher Cicero uses the example of torture to illustrate a man’s power to choose our own thoughts, which he says can never be taken away from him. In his Discussions at Tusculum, Cicero explains that when a man has been stripped of his dignity, he has not also been stripped of his potential for happiness.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/54285947.html

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In this gaping hole of despair & hopelessness of one’s predicament is a crushing emptiness and an aloneness that can make you lose your mind and a sadness that can make your heart question the wisdom and the relevance of continuing to beat — a sadness no person thinks one can bear alone.

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On some days, very much to wish it would stop beating.

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To die of unrequited love. Van Gogh didn’t shoot himself in the head. He shot himself in the heart. He saw reality so deeply and clearly, yet could not ultimately disconnect his heart [“be not of this world” — self-respect despite this indifferent and tragic sentient life] from this reality or the other people in it.

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Van Gogh died because, in the end, he could not differentiate himself [self-respect] from the Collective Unconscious [our indifferent & tragic lack of empathy/compassion in our broken/flawed sentient nature] into which he was compelled to wander.

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My own epiphany, but I always was a wanderlust, dreaming of beautiful landscapes and never-seen places. Last night I dreamed that my long ago deceased uncle from Kona [symbolizes the love which my ohana/kazuko progeny Minnie/Donna still have for me] showed me a breathtaking vista of a mountainscape ahead of us as we gazed from the seashore toward the distant horizon. This “awesome dream come true” despite my 3 other Hilo family members having ignored me yesterday at McDonald’s in Hilo. I could’ve unconsciously nightmared over forsaken-ness, but such did not manifest. Wow!

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/sharing-grief-puts-a-healing-distance-between-us-and-the-pain-this-is-why-storytelling-matters/

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sharing grief puts a healing distance between us and the pain — this is why storytelling matters

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Share the suffering. The opportunity to tell the story of our suffering to a compassionate and skillful listener is helpful beyond measure. Simply in the telling and retelling, we begin to shift perspective, to put a healing distance between us and the pain.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/because-in-the-end-great-journeys-of-integrity-are-walked-alone-sage-steven-kalas/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/10174701.html

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Great journeys in emotional maturity are walked alone

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When another man’s life forces you to behold your own smallness, all you have to do is retro-narrate pathologized stories about him. Just like that, your world is a safer, happier place.

Your friends who are simply gone? You force me to behold, J.K., something I hate to think about:

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All great journeys in emotional maturity are ultimately walked alone.

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The archetypal picture here is probably Jesus, whose friends agreed to accompany him into the garden of Gethsemane that night to pray. Jesus is scared. Anxious. Asking God if there isn’t some other way. He looks to his friends for support and encouragement.

And they are sound asleep. And Jesus asks a rhetorical question into the silent night air: “Will no one stay awake with me?”

As a matter of fact, no. Tonight Jesus will suffer, and he will suffer alone.

How to maintain some sense of respect and optimism for humanity? I can only tell you what I do.

When I’m feeling low, when I’ve lost track of why I keep putting one foot in front of the other, when I am sick and tired of paying the price for living out values about which no one else appears to have much if any investment, when I can no longer argue with Protestant theologian John Calvin who used the word “depraved” to describe the essential nature of human beings …

… well, J.K., that’s when I think of people like you [who suffers alone in ennobled integrated fashion to care for his incapacitated wife].

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/9380491.html

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Mystery surrounds deep connections we make with others [making friends with “Alone”]

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An old friend writes from far away. Oh, not that old. She’s 48. I mean we’ve been friends a long, long time.

There’s this bond between us. A connection. I felt it the first time we spoke, which is funny because the first thing she ever communicated to me was disdain. I was 23, so I reached into my repertoire for managing repartee with beautiful women and selected “boyish cockiness” for my retort.

When you’re 23 and male, boyish cockiness is pretty much the extent of your repertoire.

But that was it for us — bonded. A connection that has survived time together, protracted times apart, even years of no communication whatsoever. The friendship has survived love affairs — not with each other — marriages and becoming parents. We’ve been drunk together. And sober. It occurs to me that I’ve never seen her cry.

She was 20 when I met her. Once, on a whim, she sent me a picture of herself at age 5. I smiled. Somewhere inside myself I knew her then, too. Recognized her. In some alternative past, she and I played together in a sandbox (until she made me cry because she was so bossy). Like the bond between us contains secret passages that defy time and space.

She writes to me: “I get you, Steven Kalas.”

Her words strike me like thunder. Truly awestruck, like the way you fall into a spectacular sunset, or the way you stop breathing when you’re standing in a barn at 2 a.m. watching the birth of a calf. I’m focused in a point of time, staring at my monitor. It’s like she’s right here. Right now. I have a friend who gets me. She sees me. I jumble a few words and she says, “Oh yeah.” She not only understands, but understands why and how things matter to me.

Amen.

Then I have this other friend. Or did. Or thought I did. Could’ve sworn we were friends. Soul mates. Years we were friends. Across passion and victory and folly and failure. Across celebration and loss. This friend knows me. And doesn’t know me at all.

We’re not connected anymore.

And I know as much about why we’re no longer connected as I do why I’m still connected to the other friend. Which is to say I don’t know anything at all. And I’ve been railing against the disconnection, like, if I protest loudly and long enough, my erstwhile friend will snap out of it and be connected to me again.

I’ve decided to stop railing. Sad, yes. Probably sad forever. But pounding on it serves all the purpose of pounding on a grave. Why would I look for the living among the dead?

See, both connections and disconnections deserve the same responses. Awe. Respect for the mystery. Even I, a man who believes his gifts and his calling to be teaching people how to be in relationship — well, I can’t tell you much of anything about why some connections happen and some connections don’t happen and still others disintegrate.

The most terrible thing my therapist ever said to me was also the most important: “Steven, we’re alone. No one has anyone.”

Yikes-oi. (Sorry. This sort of thing happens when a GoyBoy tries to express himself forcefully in Yiddish.)

I hated what she said. Railed against it. Argued with it. She had thrown existential sand into the gas tank of my fine-tuned DeLorean of delusion. And my pricey car would go not one mile farther.

My therapist was right. And, as with every other time when she is right, it’s time for me to grow up. We’re alone. No one has anyone.

Strangely, this new truth, while initially a scalpel slashed across my chest without anesthetic, did not burden and depress me for long. Surrender to separateness and aloneness quickly began to create a new space in me. A space for … for …

… relief. A kind of peace. And, most precious, gratitude and humility. Relationship is a grace. A kind of miracle. Human communion emerges as a gift. An unmerited joy. Yes, there are ways of living more conducive to forging and maintaining lasting relationships than other ways of living. I’m not saying there’s nothing we can do. Just that, in the end, I no longer think I have earned or deserved the people who stand in the inner circle of my life.

I just give thanks.

We’re alone. No one has anyone.

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Human beings cannot be possessed. They cannot be apprehended. They can only be respected and enjoyed. Or respected and bid farewell. Relationship is mystery.

Who really sees you? Who gets you? If you need more than one hand to count those people, you are rich beyond your dreams.

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Individualism as ego overpride is not the solitary reflection of an authentic life –

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http://www.lvrj.com/view/steven-kalas-we-are-individuals-in-consequential-relationships-162688016.html
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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/idyllic-imperatives-in-this-tragic-and-indifferent-life/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/appropriate-self-respect-can-lift-all-areas-of-life-118320899.html

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A warning: there’s a downside, a real tricky balance in the work of self-respect. I have learned to nurture a healthy suspicion when I become too strident, too righteous about that value.

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There’s a line between self-respect and self-important/arrogant pride.

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It’s a fine line. Easy to cross. Way too easy for me, anyway. And I cross it at my own peril.

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When the human ego conscripts the language, the work and the mantle of self-respect, you start to feel really good and right about discarding people from your life.

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And then you can know that you were right, because you don’t have any friends at all.

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Self-respect and self-importance — not the same at all. But they can feel the same.

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Why can’t I be like you or in sync with you? Because then there would be no need for a me, just you and you alone.

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You can become your  own refutation. When overpride/vanity/jealousy are your Stygian Triplets, you know you’ve passed into some parallel universe.

This is what fear masked as supreme confidence with emotional manipulation looks like in print.

Methinks thou doth protest too much.

Missing is the “Grace to You” part.

There is no crisis, folks. Really. There isn’t. Only the one you continue to fuel.

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/02/heres-something-new-genesis-is-in-crisis-and-if-you-dont-see-that-youre-syncretistic/#ixzz3SzNTPDXE

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/culture-s-approach-to-suffering-only-prolongs-pain-129608658.html

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And, for those kinds of sufferings/losses that can never be entirely healed, to bear it. To find meaning in it. To turn that suffering into some transformative work in the world.

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And the truth is this: The human journey includes suffering. No one comes to ask for help who isn’t suffering.

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But, here’s another truth: In any given time in your life, the number of people who actually, really, honestly want and

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are willing to grant you an engaged and healing audience for your suffering/loss is …

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small!! Or nonexistent!!

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Even people who sincerely love and adore you might find themselves ambivalent about really engaging and listening to the part of you that suffers. See, the people around us have egos, too. Their egos mobilize to protect them just like your ego does. “Cheer up … get over it … God has a plan … everybody is doing the best he or she can … don’t cry” — the felt motive for these messages is to help you.

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But each of these messages also contains the anxiety of the messenger:

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Please stop bothering and disturbing me by suffering.

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And that’s what most modern people do. They try to stop suffering. They “get over it.” They build layer upon layer of pretense and persona over their wounds, because it’s, well, the sociable thing to do. Most of us, then, suffer unconsciously. Because that’s the way we’ve been taught to suffer.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/9146411.html

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Lots of people don’t want to be present to sadness — their own or anyone else’s.

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Other people would like to be present to their bereaved friends and family, but don’t know how.

We live in a culture where grief is treated as a disease to be “cured,” or a weakness cursed of shame or self-loathing.

Contrarily, grief is the holiest of human journeys.

One of my favorite Friedrich Nietzsche quotes is, “Everything holy requires a veil.” Now, modern Americans might think he means that we should keep things covered up because those things are shameful. Nope. He means that some things are so beautiful, so huge, so powerful, so naked, so intimate, that to gaze casually upon them would be injurious to their meaning and value. Injurious ultimately to us.

Grief is such a thing.

I concur with your observation that people around us are largely inept at befriending us in grief. Yet I also encourage people like you to remember to veil (protect and value) their grief. Keep the circle of confidants small. Pick two and no more than five people who will hear the depths of your pain.

There are two ways to read your question at the end. Literally you ask how you might numb the heartache. But I’m guessing you aren’t being literal. In fact, it’s not a question at all, is it? It reads more like an indignation. Like, how dare anyone ask you to numb the heartache! How dare the medical community suggest drugging your bereavement!

See, J.R., you know how precious your sadness is. A breathless, crushing burden, yes. But precious.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/alienation-i-dont-belong-and-estrangement-getting-dumped-because-i-dont-belong/

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alienation [I don’t belong] and estrangement [getting dumped because I don’t belong]

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Alienation & estrangement – the results of Loss [e.g. getting dumped] by your beloved [lifemate/soulmate]

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/_Retirement_leaves_time_for_pondering_self_relationships.html

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Question: What do all people seeking release from personal despair have in common?

Answer: They are suffering some combination of alienation and estrangement.

Alienation means a crisis of belonging. We are alien. We don’t belong.

Estrangement means the painful disruption of the bonds of relationship. Interpersonal injuries and injustices. To become estranged is to become a stranger to the one we love and by whom we are loved.

I’m saying your use of the word “misfit” sounds like a crisis of alienation and estrangement.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/western-religion-breeding-ground-neurosis

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When it comes to the question of the usefulness of guilt in shaping and inspiring a thriving human identity, I would say Western religion is, at once, beautiful, nutty and (potentially) pathological. Healthy religion knows these dangers. And psychologically healthy pilgrims embrace what is beautiful while keeping a keen watch on what is nutty or pathological.

Guilt is beautiful, holy, vital and important when it is healthy guilt. And healthy guilt is nothing more or less than the name of the grief we feel when we abandon our own values.

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The grief of alienation and estrangement.

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Healthy guilt, however miserable it feels, contains within itself a holy longing for reconciliation. (One prayer during the rosary, for example, is asking God to “give me a contrite heart.” Meaning, “Please give me the courage to let my heart break over the ways I have hurt others, etc.”) Catholicism — its rites, rituals and symbols — bears much beauty into the world to facilitate the blessings of healthy guilt, healthy shame.

The nutty or potentially pathological side of guilt happens when people, families or institutions (especially the church) peddle guilt to us with darker, perhaps unconscious motives. If you, for example, are threatened by another’s genius, gifts and “light” (envy!), then one way to dodge the threat is to instill in that person a grave, crippling self-doubt. An anxious, paralyzing self-consciousness forcing a default posture of apology to the world for daring to be him/herself.

Or, people/institutions instill guilt because they are projecting sadism. That is, they are reveling in the humiliation of sinners. Yes, some of our accusers are having a grand time!

Control, humiliation, hierarchy, authority, power — when discussions of guilt bear these darker motives, run away quick!

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Brené Brown studies fear, shame, and vulnerability

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In Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, she writes about collecting huge amounts of data about how human lives are shaped by the “struggle with shame and the fear of not being enough” as well as “the power of embracing imperfection and vulnerability.” She then began analyzing the data for common characteristics of people who were resilient in the face of adversity and who were living wholehearted life: “living and loving with their whole hearts.” Emerging out of that huge data set were some clear patterns:

The Do column was brimming with words like worthiness, rest, play, trust, faith, intuition, hope, authenticity, love, belonging, joy, gratitude, and creativity. The Don’t column was dripping with words like perfection, numbing, certainty, exhaustion, self-sufficiency, being cool, fitting in, judgment, and scarcity. (x)

Now, I don’t know what your reaction is to that “Do” and “Don’t” list. But Brown confesses that her initial reaction was horror. She says, “I thought I’d find that Wholehearted people were just like me…: working hard, following the rules, doing it until I got it right, always trying to know myself better, raising my kids exactly by the books…” (xi). But Brown was horrified by the revelation that as a successful professional, she had been formed and rewarded for living almost exclusively by the list of how not to live a wholehearted life, by the list of how to increase the likelihood of reaching the end of your life with many regrets: “perfection, numbing, certainty, exhaustion, self-sufficiency, being cool, fitting in, judgment, and scarcity.” So, she packed up her research and hid it under her bed for a year-and-a-half (xii)!

When you pause and take a step back, you can often see that daily life is a constant reminder of our imperfections and limitations. We are constantly being invited to “let go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embrace who we are,” but often we’re like Brown and shove those invitations under the rug as quickly as possible. In Brown’s words, “The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button” (xiii).

The UU First Principle affirms, “The inherent worth and dignity of every person.” But often it can be easier for many of us to fight for the rights and recognition of a marginalized group than to fully embrace the inherent worth and dignity of all those hidden parts of our own self: all those imperfect parts that we hope we are hiding from others. As the old saying goes, “Too often we compare our insides to others’ outsides, and we feel inadequate.”

Brown writes, “The greatest challenge for most of us is believing that we are worthy now, right this minute.”

Not I’ll be worthy when I lose twenty pounds, if I can get pregnant, or stay sober. Not I’ll be worthy if everyone thinks I’m a good parent, when I can make a living selling my art, if I can hold my marriage together, when I make partner, when my parents finally approve, if he [or she] calls back…, or when I can do it all and look like I’m not even trying. (24)

On the other side of a lot a research and some important work in therapy during that year-and-a-half in which she had hidden her research under the bed, Brown says that she’s come to be “a recovering perfectionist and an aspiring good-enoughist.” That doesn’t mean that we should stop pursuing excellence. But when you embrace your inherent worth and dignity, then your motivation changes in a vital way. Brown puts it this way, “Healthy striving is self-focused — How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused — What will they think? (56). The middle way is perhaps neither the narcissism of exclusive self-interest nor the self-deprecation of acting only for others, but instead knowing your limits and seeking the next best step for both yourself and others.

Leonard Cohen, in the chorus of his song “Anthem,” says that all any of us can ultimately do is “Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in.”

Where are the cracks and imperfections in your life?

How might those places of seeming weakness paradoxically be the most powerful invitations you will ever have in this life to “let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are,” to let go of our culture’s addiction to certainty and the myth of permanent satisfaction — and instead to savor and celebrate the gifts of the life that already have: right here and now.

I will conclude by offering you this blessing from one of my favorite liturgists Jan Richardson. In this life, we all have our different struggles, gifts, and graces:

May you have the vision to recognize the door that is yours,

the Courage to open it,

and the wisdom to walk through. (47)

May it be so, and blessed be.

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

 

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/jesus-death-becomes-even-more-powerful-when-this-particular-messiah-also-carries-your-personal-projections-that-is-the-celebritys-life-mirrors-important-pieces-of-your-own-psychic-journey-your/

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Jesus’ death becomes even more powerful when this particular messiah also carries your personal projections. That is, the celebrity’s life mirrors important pieces of your own psychic journey. Your own life dramas. Jesus did this for me with his transparency. His naive nakedness. He was the first “icon” to recognize egotistic “discernment” as insanity, to rightly despise it, and to distance himself from it. Unlike Jesus, celebrities of the flesh like John Lennon, Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, & Judy Garland couldn’t stop seeking it. If one says that a weeping fan’s grief is “unrealistic (and therefore annoying) at a time when so many are struggling with foreclosures, debt, disappearing jobs and other miseries,” I would say quite the opposite — that the sting of this grief is made more acute during these hard times, because we will miss the beauty, the passion, the inspiration and hope that pour through these artists and into our lives especially during times of social misery. Celebrities, and especially artists, provide us a deep mirror into the celebration of being human. Some celebrities become iconic. That is, the mirror they wield reaches into the collective human experience of a culture and sometimes across cultures (such as Waikiki’s Bruno Mars). And the death of an icon is felt painfully and powerfully in a human psyche. The loss is real and meaningful. And so is the grief. John Lennon was a celebrity. In Latin literally “the one who helps us celebrate.” And did he ever help us celebrate. And the price he paid was the burden of fame, fame in Latin meaning “rumor/gossip.” Celebrity is a calling. Fame is simply nuts. In the end fame killed him. If anybody needs forgiveness here, it’s us. Just as fame killed Lennon, we killed Jesus (mob hysteria after Jesus cleansed the temple of the mammon money changers). For then are when we need our leaders most.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/celebrities-can-lift-us-and-let-us-down

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Celebrity  lifts us  into the collective inspiration of the human race. The gift is ultimately found in the collective — not the individual.

While celebrities gather us to remember how utterly cool it is to be a human being, fame gathers us to affirm how utterly and uniquely cool is one particular human being. And, invariably, no mortal is utterly and uniquely cool.

In psychology, we would say that celebrity invites projection. That is, we tend to be attached to celebrities in ways that can be fun, useful, very emotional, even meaningful, but are nonetheless irrational, because our attachment says everything about us and virtually nothing about the actual mortal we’re adoring.

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Fame is a lonely and isolated business. And deadly. Fame killed Kurt Cobain. It killed Jimi Hendrix. Judy Garland. Speaking of Marilyn Monroe, Robert Bly wrote, “No one can survive the weight of 100 million projections. Marilyn did not survive.”

But, if not deadly, then fame is one seductive, bewitching place to be, inviting illusion and delusions of power and entitlement. Fame virtually begs its owner to forge two identities — one public, and one hidden.

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But never have I been confronted so powerfully about the naivete and power of my hero-projections until this week. Until a judge decided to unseal a 2005 court record revealing Bill Cosby’s confession that, yes, he acquired prescription Quaaludes with the intention of giving them to women with whom he wanted to have sex.

See, I was desperately holding out.

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And now, this. My mind rages against truth.

Losing a battle with temptation in a moment of human weakness is one thing. Being a lousy husband is another. Shameless promiscuity is many things unflattering — a dead end, an emptiness, a recklessness, a compulsion — but it is not evil.

I’m not a guy who bandies about the word “evil.” I save it for very special occasions.

But somnaphilia? This would mean that Bill is (or has been during his lifetime) a seriously unwell human being.

And drugging an unwitting woman so as to sexually exploit her unconscious form is not “a moment of human weakness.” It’s not being a lousy husband. It is not shameless promiscuity.

It’s rape. And rape is evil.

And I’m reeling.

 

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/but-these-reactions-are-not-really-about-batman-theyre-about-us-and-our-relationship-with-narratives-stories-and-mythology-the-primary-way-we-encounter-and-make-sense-of-the-world-is-through-sto/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/shakespeares-great-prodigyera-peer-john-miltons-poem-paradise-lost-is-about-the-fall-of-man-the-temptation-of-adam-and-eve-by-the-fallen-angel-satan-and-their-expulsion-from-the-garden-of-eden/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/to-be-or-not-to-be-real-dear-hamlet-tis-the-question-in-praise-of-grace-mercy-full-of-redemptions-greatest-emotional-therapist-shakespeare-who-incredulously-not-to-christians-whence/

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French-Swiss John Calvin reacted against Martin Luther in more conservative terrains far south of Frankfurt’s latitude. John Calvin was 26 years younger than Martin Luther, and for the most part Calvin was the “yang” to Luther’s “yin,” so to speak.

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Shakespeare actually is a product of Martin Luther’s Reformation, with Grace & Mercy “full of redemption” replete thruout Shakespeare’s Morality Plays.

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Word out, so to speak, Shakespeare plagiarized Scripture thru and thru, Daddy-O! No Scripture, No Shakespeare!

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Remember that just 30 yrs. before Shakespeare was born, Latin to English Bible translator William Tyndale was

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burned at the stake by the Papacy for making the Bible readable

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by the English commoners.

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

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No matter the rather undeserved propping up of Shakespeare on the backs of our Gospel Authors. Kudos to Shakespeare for Shakespeare’s own search for the mystery and the Truth of Jesus!

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Which, by the way, says a lot about shunned predestination pariah John Calvin, who is Shakespeare’s total opposite on salvation.

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Looking at the frayed Calvin proselyting about Man’s venality & depravity amid predecessor reformer Martin Luther’s Reformation in the north latitudes, one easily accepts Calvin’s admonition about the evil of Ego/overpride as our worst affliction/contagion.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/the-take-away-which-is-a-huge-lesson-to-learn-from-some-contemporary-evangelicals-is-that-calvin-did-not-impose-onto-the-gospels-a-view-of-how-the-bible-ought-to-work-as-gods-word-rather/

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Calvin correctly says that the best Man can hope for is a release from Hell’s Iniquity by choosing Jesus as our Lord & Savior.

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Has anything changed from early Church father Augustine to intellectual Aquinas (Summa Theologica) 800 years after Augustine, to us today 800 years after Aquinas??? 1200 AD Aquinas is equidistant by 800 yrs. after Augustine & 800 yrs. before us today — yet nothing has changed in our depraved nature from 400 AD Augustine to us today, not to mention from Jesus’ crucifixion to Augustine 400 yrs. later.

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No, not in our own mental/intellectual gymnastics/tortuous rationalizations on predestination vs. free will.

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And certainly not in our innate venal toxic nature.

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We are as detestable today as we were when we crucified Jesus in the mob hysteria of those 6 days 2000 years ago.

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Imagine, we sing Hosanna, even the stones shout Hosanna, as Jesus marches into Jerusalem sideway on a donkey’s colt.

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And no later than you can bat an eyelash, we crucify Jesus because

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Jesus cleans out the temple of everything evil about us.

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No, we are no better today than that week when Jesus died for our sins. Like I say, John Calvin has something here, baby!! ;-)

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Augustine and Luther came to Christ thru Romans and Galatians.

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

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Epistle to the Romans is the 6th Book in the new Testament, and is the longest of the Pauline epistles. It is considered Paul’s most important theological legacy.

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

Salvation is offered thru the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Especially where there are multitudes of sin, there is more Grace — so that the former baleful sinner/wretched man/filthy rag such as Saul nka Paul now missions supernaturally for Jesus’ Word.

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Justification has 2 meanings in Greek: 1) Propitiation which is subjective forgiveness for each sin as if one had never sinned; 2) transformative righteousness which is objective deliverance from continuous sin. Or, as great disciple Watchman Nee suffused, Jesus’ blood on the cross is the subjective mercy of God for our numerous sins (plural), whereas the body of Christ is the overall objective deliverance from continuous sin (singular).

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/in-praise-of-china-christian-capstones-yu-cidu-dora-yu-1873-1931-margaret-emma-barber-1966-1930-their-acolyte-ni-to-sheng-watchman-nee-1903-1972/

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http://orthodoxwiki.org/Justification#Western_v._Eastern_concepts_-_Implications

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Legal/juridical concepts of mercy/propitiation & acquittal/substitutionary atonement

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substitutionary_atonement#Ransom_and_Christus_Victor_theory

were clarified by Augustine.

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Anselm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anselm_of_Canterbury#Influence

developed these ideas 600 years later,

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and Luther built on the work of Anselm 500 years after Anselm.

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To the early correctly rooted Christian, theology is not something that improves with age—it is something to be internalized, and it can best be understood by journeying as close to the roots of our faith as possible. Reason and logic ergo the Enlightenment cannot guarantee a better understanding of God, his Son or our faith.

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Justification is seen by Protestants as being the theological fault line that divided Catholic from Protestant during the Protestant Reformation – Catholics emphasize works/rituals of righteous deliverance, whereas Protestants emphasize transformative faith, that faith is entirely distinct from works.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justification_(theology)

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Protestants emphasize that law/ritualized righteousness is not to make us righteous, but to let us know we’re sinners/to convict us.

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Unlike Catholics, Protestants emphasize that our of-the-flesh sinful nature distorts righteousness by ritualizing works.

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In this sense, Christ has no value to me if I’m delusionally self-righteous (such as by Catholic ritualized works).

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On the other hand, if I’m open and honest about myself, I will fail, which is what Christ’s atoning sacrifice/faith-obedience are all about.

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After all, Romans 8:7 speaks of mankind’s natural/flesh enmity vs. God.

http://biblehub.com/romans/8-7.htm

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Revelation via deliverance from continuous sin gives us a new heart, and we become a new creation.

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Like Paul, both Augustine and Luther made great efforts to refute the notion that our works could serve as the proper basis for justification & eventual sanctification.

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Remarkable that one’s experiences span a century or more, if one is lucky enough to live into old age. My uncle Masaaki 1903-1970 was 50 years older than me. My grandsons Silas & Ashley are 50 years younger than me. Uncle Masaaki is a century older than Silas & Ashley. My life experiences span a century between Uncle Masaaki and my grandsons Silas & Ashley. Gatz! Defy Father Time??

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Of course, one can stretch even longer life’s time span – my grandma [Uncle Masaaki’s & my dad’s mama] Tome was 70 years older than me. I just turned age 62, so my lifeblood youngest progeny is my youngest grandchild, my granddaughter Maya, who is 60 years younger than me. Not equidistant, but 130 years separate my grandma Tome from my granddaughter Maya.

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Actor William Demarest 1892-1983 was 60 years older than me, thus meeting the equidistance measure, with my granddaughter Maya being 60 years younger than me — the total span being 120 years from William Demarest [or my uncle Bill Cappy Chun, also born in Demarest’s time] to my granddaughter Maya. Here is prolific vaudeville/longtime character actor Demarest –

William Demarest Picture

William Demarest(1892–1983)


Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, William Demarest was a prolific actor in movies and TV, making more than 140 films. Demarest started his acting career in vaudeville and made his way to Broadway. His most famous role was in My Three Sons, replacing a very sick William Frawley. Demarest was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting role in the real-life biography…See full bio »

Still of Humphrey Bogart and William Demarest in All Through the NightStill of Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre and William Demarest in All Through the Night
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Of course, last year’s 60th year Diamond Jubilee with majestic Queen Elizabeth had the most amazing aerial displays –
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but let’s also remember lusty [yes, con todo mi alma y corazon] Victoria‘s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 [my grandparents were hormonal teens bent on pioneering East to the Hawaiian islands of silk & honey][Victoria is current Queen Elizabeth’s great great grandmother][our greatest modern Hawaiian statesperson Pi’ehu Iaukea 1855-1940 pilgrimaged to England for this tremendous occasion — Pi’ehu was preceded in great diplomacy & leadership by Kamehameha III Kauikeaouli 1813-1854]

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Thence, my immigrant grandparents’ odyssey East transcended both Victoria’s & current Queen Elizabeth’s reigns – my ojisans/obasans [tutus] experienced both divine queens in all their soulful reigns – 115 years [Victoria in 1897 & Elizabeth’s 2012 jubilee] spanning 3 centuries [1800s to 2000s]!!! Wow!!

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I was 20 when my daughter was born, 40 when my oldest grandchild/mo’opuna kane was born, 50 when my middle grandsons were born [among 5 grandchildren, 3 boys, 2 girls], and nearly 60 when my youngest grandchild/mo’opuna wahine was born.

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My parents whom I worship and miss dearly were 40 years older than me. My mature parents were tutus/grandparents to me in age chronology, & I am blessed by their mature wisdom/magnanimity & composure/equanimity.

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My parents died 18 years ago 4 months apart [coincidence — Mom died of a stroke/Dad died 4 months later from cancer].

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I felt like a grandchild blessed with the most loving & supportive tutus/grandparents in the world, though when I was a barefoot plantation toddler here in Wainaku [Ha’aheo Elem. School atop Kamehameha the Great’s most beautiful pu’u/hilltop] — I felt terribly embarassed that my parents were fuddy-duddy oldsters vs. my village kid peers’ parents, and that my mom worked, so that I never came home to a homemaker mom who had cookies laid out for me on the kitchen table in our old plantation mill camp.

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When my parents died 18 years ago, I suddenly crossed over to be a tutu/grandparent to my burgeoning mo’opuna/grandkids. My grandparents 70 years older than me had died by the time I was old enough to know them.

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I don’t remember being a child [in a most blessed sense], but undeniably I was blessed/gifted [of the spirits? Cor./Romans/Ephesians/Peter/etc.] as a grandchild would be, with my dearest parents who were like grandparents to me in wisdom/countenance.

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Nor do I remember being a parent [my daughter Staycie who is at middle age at 43 — laughingly tells me that I was a lousy party animal parent but above all else — I loved my daughter more than anything/anyone in the whole wide world — and this is the only thing which counted for my daughter, which is/means everything to her & to me!!].

Always my little baby Staycie girl

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But now here I am as a grandparent [by default — ha ha ha — still a party animal], and wow, time flies, baby! !!

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And now I am by default/pied piper via hedonism/elan tutu again to 2 dearest “hanai”/emotional attachment — mo’opuna — Colton age 27 & Jill age 22, grandkids to me in age chronology! I ask Colton how may I be of service to him/Jill, & Colton shoots back, “Don’t! Just be you!” Gatz! Who am I???? [ha ha ;-) ]

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Foggy bottom, baby — is my head — spinning like a top???!! Ha ha! Dig my hero George Harrison’s video – [40 years from age 20 to 60 for me — go by in the blink of an eye!!][Maui resident Harrison died of cancer at age 58 after 9/11 & a year after this You Tube video was produced]

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Yes, I hope to make it to age 80 & still feel like a passionate teenager in love!! Ha ha ha!! Enjoy [the treats below], baby!!!

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Age is a figment of our imagination — our core being is ageless!

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See especially timeclock 4:19 to 5:05 of youtube below about Harrison’s opinion on aging as soulfully deepest youth enjoyed –

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uVnKjv4fK0&feature=related

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/in-praise-of-the-46th-anniversary-of-mccartneys-tune-i-will/

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Music is my whole life, and I dedicate these happy links to my Dad Toshi 1913-1998, who was born to sing & play his ubiquitous Martin ‘ukulele, and who sang & played in the mango tree astride my grandparents’ Wainaku mill camp home as a young boy. Dad’s mom Tome 1881-1954 sang & picked at her samisen Japanese fiddle/string board. Dad got his music from his mom Tome. Dad is a baritone, my baby brother Lloyd & Dad’s youngest sibling Charley & Dad’s 2nd youngest sibling Yukio’s son Don are fine tenors. Dad had gone thru hell as a combat soldier witnessing death all around him — thence Dad appreciated every single day of a new dawn of continued life on this earth. Which is why I’m inspired by Dad’s composure/calm countenance in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds/trials/tribulations. Repugnant manipulation/deceit/overpride/anger/hostility/selfishness — are such ordinary behaviors “of the flesh” – which are why Dad’s serenity and joy of spirit for me are “to behold for alltime sake.” 🙂

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My Mom Teruko “Ruth” (maiden name Hanato of Kona) never sang. I think our musical DNA is from my Dad’s side of the family. My Mom was a good athlete [basketball capt. soph. yr. 1932 Hawai’i Island prep titlist —
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Mom spawned all the Kona Hanato girl hoopsters you see today, incl. female coach Bobbie Hanato Awa & Bobbie’s NCAA1 daughter Dawnyelle, though imperious Bobbie Awa has no clue about Mom’s hoopster genesis behind Awa].  

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Mom’s legacy is Mom’s grandniece Bobbie Hanato Awa’s winningest high school program in the whole State and among the winningest nationally.

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Actually, Mom’s father’s [otosan] & mother’s [okasan] legacy abides in their genesis of what is today’s historically significant Kona’s Honalo Buddhist Jodo Daifukuji church

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Mom’s great-grand niece Dawnyelle –

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http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=dawnyelle+awa+videos&qpvt=dawnyelle+awa+videos&FORM=VDRE#view=detail&mid=8D292407068405377FB58D292407068405377FB5

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http://www.hawaiibookblog.com/articles/japanese-buddhist-temples-in-hawaii-an-illustrated-guide-book-review/

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http://www.daifukuji.org/history.html.

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No, the Hanato legacy is not in Mom’s athletic prowess, nor in the Hanato business acumen [e.g. Mom’s sister 106 yr. old centenarian Shizue “Mary” Hanato Teshima’s world-renowned Teshima Restaurant — Shizue 1907-2013]. Dad was a great athlete [incl. bootleg boxer pre-legalization], as is my baby brother [State prep baseball all-star]. Dad’s legacy is as WWII 442nd combat infantry soldier in the all-Japanese American Unit — Dad as Silver Star awardee for rescuing Dad’s mortally wounded CO & fellow PFC after Dad’s squad was ambushed by German infantry soldiers.

* https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/yushin-charley-narimatsu-1920-2013-died-age-93-my-nisei-2nd-generation-uncle-the-last-of-his-generation-in-my-kazokufamily/

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my Dad Toshi 1913-1998 (Dad was longtime State 442 prexy Willy Okino Thompson’s hanai older brother) stepping up in convoy with left leg raised & left hand on side rail (National Archives have actual film/movie of this convoy)

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Even into Dad’s final years, Dad would sing among our backyard pals, Dad’s Martin ‘ukulele always in his arms. My daughter Staycie age 43 is half Hawaiian, & my dearest little baby girl Staycie has instilled in her children the spirit of the islands — aloha — welcome/accomodation/tenderness/humbleness/kindness/generosity — her children Maya age 4/Emily age 8/Silas & Ashley both age 13/Shay age 24. Beautiful aloha. My mo’opuna keiki all.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/tribute-to-my-musical-dad-toshi-1913-1998-george-trices-passion-personality-analog-my-dad/

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Hana hou (one more time — reprise)!!

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D-SgA_NJwk

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVCwe_Jewl8

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As a child just after Statehood 57 yrs. ago, I was enthralled by the theme song to CBS local affiliate’s Saturday Island matinee playhouse. I still have not pinned down its title, but I remember it sounding a little like Glen Miller’s Moonlight Serenade. Music aficionados “in the know” are long dead & gone [the great George Camarillo/Gloriana Adap/etc.], so I’ll have to sleuth a little more to find out the melodic magic of half a century ago. Nonetheless, I present to you favorites of mine over the years. Enjoy ;-)

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Beautiful Pachelbel’s Canon, lost to history for centuries

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Af372EQLck

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Of course, Mozart is the greatest solace/emotional therapist –

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi8vJ_lMxQI

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from https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/susanne-mentzer-the-mozart-effect-beautiful/

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Brain Memory

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The cost of discipleship

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/family/radical-commitment-and-nothing-less-makes-marriage-thrive

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Hope for credibility with  “I’m not religious!”  readers. Sometimes I like to retell a religious story and then apply it to a broader but still important human matter.

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In the Christian Gospel, there is told a brief exchange that Jesus has with three people. The chapter heading in my Bible titles it, “The cost of discipleship.” Each of these three people begins the conversation with an expressed desire to be one of Jesus’ followers. And to each, Jesus responds with the cost entailed in such a commitment.

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Whenever I read this, I think of people who have dared to consider a lifelong commitment to growing love and fidelity with another human being in the bonds of life partnership.

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The first guy says to Jesus, “I will follow you!” And Jesus fires back, “He who puts his hand on the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”   Luke 9:62

http://biblehub.com/luke/9-62.htm

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Well, of course. Either decide to plow the field or decide not to plow the field. But if you decide to plow the field, then put your hand on the plow and keep your eyes forward. Pay attention. If you say “giddyup” to the mule, and then keep eyeballing over your shoulder, fantasizing and wondering about fields you might or should have plowed instead, the mule is going to get the idea that plowing is not very important. You won’t be plowing straight lines. The mule might even get a mind of its own and wander over to someone else’s field, making the owner of that field very unhappy. You’ll also likely get some very critical questions from the co-owner of your field – the field you made a commitment to plow.

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Lifelong togetherness calls for an unequivocal, radical commitment. It’s normal over the course of 40 to 50 years occasionally to indulge the fantasy of what might have happened had you not made this commitment. What might have happened if you made the commitment to someone else or something else. But the fact is, you made this commitment. Not that one. So, hand on the plow. Eyes forward. You are in charge of the mule, not the mule in charge of you.

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So, decide. Unequivocally. Radically. With your whole heart.

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The second guy says to Jesus, “I will follow you.” And Jesus says, cryptically, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  Matthew 8:20

http://www.realteachingsofjesus.com/2009/06/foxes-have-holes-and-birds-of-air-have.html

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Well, of course. Radical commitments require the regular sacrifice of belonging. If I say I belong “here,” then by definition, I will not belong to other places and people the way I once might have belonged. If I belong “here,” then there will be some places and people to whom I cannot ever belong again. Radical commitment demands that we “rewire” belonging.

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If we make a lifelong commitment, then we cannot belong to our vocation the same way. We cannot belong to our mother and father the same way. Nor to our friends. To make someone or something primary in your life means other relationships will now have different orbits in the constellation of our attention and energy.

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I say this often, especially to blended families. Divorced parents meet and fall in love. But they often underestimate, make naive assumptions about or even try to dodge the work of rewiring children into the new union. But if you want your new union to be the success that your first marriage was not, then there is no alternative to having the rigorous conversations with the new mate and with your children about the new constellation of belongingness.

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The third guy says to Jesus, “I will follow you, but first let me bury my father.” And Jesus says: “Let the dead bury the dead. You follow me now.” Ouch.    Luke 9:60

http://biblehub.com/luke/9-60.htm

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Jesus might sound insensitive, but his point is well-taken. There are and will always be reasons to put off radical commitment. Commitment requires us to recognize the illusion of our hesitation. We keep telling ourselves, “When circumstances X, Y and Z are resolved, then I will make a commitment.” But all great unions sojourn in a land of constantly changing circumstances and problems to solve. Make the commitment. Decide. Then turn together – as We – to face and do battle with those swirling, ever-changing circumstances.

We don’t say, “If/when (the problems/circumstances), then my union  …” We say, “What shall We do about the problems and the circumstances?”

Only a radical commitment is a radical commitment.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/writing-and-eventually-dying-a-good-death-expressing-sharing-love-to-the-end/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-write-to-live-authentically-having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-per-great-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/sharing-grief-puts-a-healing-distance-between-us-and-the-pain-this-is-why-storytelling-matters/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/ambivalence-killed-jesus-the-people-waved-palm-branches-on-sunday-singing-hosanna-hey-come-friday-they-shouted-to-free-barabbas-same-crowd-when-you-stand-too-close-to-beautiful/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/acknowledging-ambivalence-is-best-way-to-cope-sage-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/i-will-die-a-good-death/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/because-in-the-end-great-journeys-of-integrity-are-walked-alone-sage-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/does-your-life-have-purpose/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/randy-pausch-steven-kalas-living-meaningfully/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/harriet-beecher-stowes-prophetic-engine-sage-joan-d-hedrick/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/theodicy-suffering-in-the-world-and-the-problem-of-evil-an-afterlife-is-a-cop-out/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/if-were-going-to-write-it-is-because-we-have-a-desire-to-express-ourselves-even-if-we-dont-quite-understand-what-we-wish-to-say-it-might-just-be-an-inner-yearning-but-by-making-t/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/dont-you-just-love-a-cogent-argument/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/whats-the-lesson-in-your-narrative-kare-anderson/

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inspired by wordsmith Steven Kalas’ reasons for writing –

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Art_is_expression_of_self_shared_with_the_world.html

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Art is expression of self shared with the world

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How did I learn to write? Great teachers along the way, including but not limited to the Hayakawas & Nishiharas of my formative teen years.

Why do I write? Some people keep a diary. Some people write in a journal. Some people keep meticulous photo albums, chronicling important moments, times, places and people.

I write about my observations and experiences.

If it moves me deeply, it will show up in my written words. If it opens my heart, it will show up in a written format. If it compels me in paradox, if it makes me tremble with humility and gratitude, if it mobilizes outrage or contempt, it will become a written composition. If I fall in love with you, if I despise you, if you bless me, if you hurt me badly enough, don’t be surprised if you end up in a written verse.

If it makes me hope, makes me ache, makes me cry, then I hand it to heaven, where it ricochets off eternity and pours itself into my Jung archetype named Shadow. Then it pours back out into the world.

Shadow has more than once saved my sanity. Maybe even my life.

I write to know myself better.

Here’s a paradox: Real art is, for the true artist, an act of the purest selfishness, which, because it is pure selfishness, moves out into the world as extravagant generosity.

Selfishness? Yes. A true artist is never first a performer. He/she doesn’t do it for us. The artist is lost in self. For self. Obedient to a voice that cannot be ignored or denied. Art is near hedonism. A naked reveling. It includes suffering, yes, but even the agony is more a masochistic pleasure.

Generosity? Yes. The artist’s brazen and shameless desire to dig so deeply into self produces art that forces us to dig more deeply. To see ourselves more transparently. Art is a cosmic mirror.

Deciding to listen to my Shadow is deciding to see me naked. Though you won’t know that while you’re listening. If my art moves you, then you will see yourself naked. And that’s always a good thing. People come to an artist’s art as a voyeur. But what they spy on, in the end, is themselves.

Does that make me an exhibitionist? I can live with that. It’s a fair cop.

I’ve written much before which never made the trek into our current internet era. The first one was about nostalgia of love lost. The last one is this composition here. But, as sage Steven Kalas says about his songwriting, it’s Steven’s song No. 92 that probably would tell you the most about why I write for myself to share with you, the world.

My heroes have always been naked/ Warm in the clothes of their transparent identity/ Maybe we all should be naked/ With nothing to hide there’s no need to pretend not to see

But shame is the name of the master who must be obeyed/ And after a while we learn to like being a slave

The naked man/ He takes a stand/ He lets the people see/ We point and laugh/ We’re taken back/ But freedom lives in authenticity.

Like a lot of songs, it works on several levels at once. On the most personal level, it’s about my passion to live authentically. I don’t always get there, but I respect myself when I try.

On another level, it’s about my admiration of people who do live “nakedly.” Was John Lennon a card-carrying narcissist? Well of course. But I get why he posed naked with Yoko on the album cover of “Two Virgins.” He was trying to crawl out from under the deadly weight of Beatlemania, a fame he sought, created and then rightly abhorred.

And later, I was surprised to discover it’s a song about my spirituality. In Steven’s case, it’s a song about Jesus.

My heroes are those who live naked/ The man that you meet still the man who is there when you leave/ But brave are the ones who live naked/ Most people are hiding and naked is their enemy

Naked is a mirror in which there is no choice but to see/ So we break the mirror and then blame it for making us bleed

The naked man/ He takes a stand/ He lets the people see/ His naked fate/ Humiliate/ What people hate is authenticity.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-morley/writing-tips-6-ways_b_1591232.html#s1088091&title=Workshops_work

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We are born writers in the sense that we are born storytellers. Language is who we are to the world. Our ability to tell our story with clarity and panache will make the difference between being heard and being ignored.

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We like to think that artistic genius, at least, feeds on solitude. It is not uncommon for new writers to worry that they will become less distinct, less original, if they spend too much time sharing ideas with their peers. But consider the case of Jorge Luis Borges. When he went to Europe as a young aspiring poet, he found his feet (and an education) in the tertulias of Madrid. Returning to his native city of Buenos Aires, he continued the habit. The almost nightly conversations he had with Adolfo Bioy Casares and other writers fed directly into his writing, and into theirs. If Latin America literature then went off in a direction not yet possible in Europe and North America, it is largely thanks to this unruly group of literary hybrids, who drew as much inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe and G.K. Chesterton as they did from Shakespeare and Verlaine. They gave each other the courage to be break conventions, question received ideas, and imagine the unimaginable. – Maureen Freely
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Write, firmly believing that imagination is the quintessential self/the quintessential way of “knowing” the world. This imaginative knowing has the potential to dispel barriers that isolate individuals and communities. Exercising imaginative “knowing” allows, always, for a potentially transcendent narrative, that is trans-global, trans-cultural and speaks to our common humanity. – Jewell Parker Rhodes
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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/a-writers-life-list-listen-more-than-you-speak-engage-with-the-world-thats-where-ideas-come-from-ohh-so-true-these-are-where-ideas-manifest-beautifully-lori-nelson-spielman/

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A writer’s life list: Listen more than you speak. Engage with the world. That’s where ideas come from. Ohh, so true, these are where ideas manifest beautifully. — Lori Nelson Spielman

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Writing Life List

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-nelson-spielman/a-writers-life-list_b_3676417.html?utm_hp_ref=books

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The inspiration for my novel was found in an old cedar box. Tucked alongside my first bankbook and my grandmother’s rosary, I discovered a yellowed piece of notebook paper folded into a tidy little square. In my flowery, 14-year-old cursive, I’d written Lori’s List across the top, along with 27 goals I thought would make for a good life. I also included a sidebar called, Ways To Be, which included such pearls as, Don’t be stuck-up. Don’t talk about ANYONE.

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Never expect to be taken seriously. People, even friends, can be insensitive. They don’t realize how important your craft is to you. Don’t fault them for it.

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Learn to describe your project du jour in one succinct sentence, and do so if, and only if, someone inquires. And never, ever ask your friends to read your unpublished manuscript. Find a writer’s group for that.

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Don’t complain to non-writers. They don’t want to hear it.

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Write with joy and abandon. Use your creative gift in a way that would please its benefactor.

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http://www.pccs.va/index.php/en/news2/attualita/item/787-suspense-novelist-writes-about-people-finding-hope-redemption

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Koontz acknowledges he has “a very low boredom threshold” and wants to be entertained by what he writes. He says he’s been asked, “I want you to write a book that’s very dark and very noir and everybody dies in the end and there’s no meaning to anything.” To which he replies, “You don’t need me to do that. It’s everywhere.”

“That’s not what I do,” Koontz said. “I write about people trying to find hope and redemption in their lives from suspense.”

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/i-will-die-a-good-death/

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I will die a good death — as my greatest hero Viktor Frankl said, “having been” is the surest kind of being, though it cannot inspire envy [life is full of suffering].

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I love and am loved. I want to love and want to be loved. I am true to my heart and I lead with my heart. I will die a good death. No one but me decides my attitude when I die.

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Like basketball/football, I process my life in 4 quarters of 20 years each. The first quarter was schooling in preparation for the workplace. The second quarter was raising a family. The third quarter was paying down the sundry bills which came with a life full of activity. My final & fourth quarter consists of retirement & emotional preparation of inevitable death. I will die a good death.

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I always have an immutable enduring image of Wainaku Pua Lane’s Albert Pacheco Sr. as he rested his head in his lap while sitting on the shoreline boulder by our Wailuku river “singing bridge” astride our ubiquitous lighthouse — contemplating his own death of terminal cancer while still in his middle ages. Ohhh so sad. For the first 3 quarters of my frenetic “frantic” life — I never “got” [captured] the feel of mortality that coursed thru Albert’s soul as he engaged the end of his life. Now I “get it.” I will die a good death. I am at peace with myself. Albert is my hero. Albert’s example is my example. Die a good death. No one owns my attitude with my death. Life’s journey in deepest selfhood always in the end is walked alone.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/because-in-the-end-great-journeys-of-integrity-are-walked-alone-sage-steven-kalas/

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Albert walked wondrously to his inner peace. Albert was the greatest husband, father, & friend. And the humblest! Albert is my hero.

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Hope Kiko Nakamura of downtown Hilo’s Kino’ole St. also is my hero. A native of Japan, she is Amaterasu, my sun goddess who is kindness personified. Nihonjin are very bigoted because of our racial homogeneity [master race psychomania], so to speak. Not Hope Maki, who is the most loving person around — to people of all colors, social classes, manners, ages. Also, I have never seen an older woman any unthinkably prettier than Hope Maki — yet she is our humblest person, singularly divine like Albert Pacheco. Hope Maki and Albert Pacheco are my immortal heroes — forever inspiring — every generation should observe, study, and learn from these 2 sublime archetypes [greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation][like Jesus & like Scripture’s Pericopes/Parables, my dynamic duo above exemplifies such confounding deepest Truths/frustration-reversal of conventional expectations — huli’au/upside down outcomes but the righteous results, so to speak]. Their interior contemplative humblest nature undyingly are for the ages, and they inspire me to no end.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/in-praise-of-gautam-mukundas-extraordinary-study-indispensable-when-leaders-really-matter/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/sublime/

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An interior contemplative “soul” is valued a la Albert, Hope Kiko [& young Kepola Lee in my article on the greatest of leaders –https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/in-praise-of-gautam-mukundas-extraordinary-study-indispensable-when-leaders-really-matter/], and of course, a la Jesus [or ascetic Buddha or Allah, for that matter] –

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my mythic hero Frankie Starlight [Alan Pentony] dares to reach for the stars

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV1EYBnPMEY

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Alan Pentony [with Anne Parillaud]

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

Plot

Frank Bois writes a successful first novel and finds himself looking back over his life. His mother Bernadette (Parillaud) was a French woman who, after the death of her friends and family in World War II, hid herself aboard an Allied war ship heading to Ireland, where she exchanged sexual favors for silence among the soldiers who found her on board. A nice customs agent, Jack Kelly (Byrne), allowed Bernadette to enter Ireland illegally, and they soon became a couple lovers, even though she was already pregnant from one of the soldiers from the ship.

Bernadette soon gave birth to young Frankie (Pentony), who suffers from dwarfism. As he grew older, Frankie develops romantic feelings for Jack’s daughter Emma (Cates), who does not share his feelings, while Jack teaches astronomy to Frankie. Eventually, Bernadette meets Terry Klout (Dillon), an American soldier she had met on the war ship, who offers to marry her. Bernadette and Frankie go with Terry to his home in Texas, but both mother and son feel like they don’t belong there, so they return to the Irish home they loved. An older Bernadette eventually committed suicide, and Frank used his life as source material for his writing.

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Empathy means literally “to enter the pathos.”

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To enter the pathos is to surrender to all that is tragic, absurd, lost, despairing, meaningless. The word “pathos” is not a derision; it’s an observation.

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Compassion means literally “to suffer with.”

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We bandy these words about too easily. It’s not all that frequently we find people who will really do what are implied in those words. I cherish the people I do find.

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I no longer lift bread and wine. I lift broken, poured out people. Folks like myself. My meaning in life is to help others find their meaning.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/culture-s-approach-to-suffering-only-prolongs-pain-129608658.html

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-watt/why-we-write_b_2411000.html

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Why We Write

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By approaching our writing from this perspective we take our thumb off the scale, and in doing so make conscious what was previously unconscious.

And that is the goal of story: to make meaning out of a set of events.

Growth is painful. To make a choice involves discomfort, because it demands that we take responsibility. But it also means that we get to live in reality. To create from a place of fantasy, of groundlessness, is an escape — which is different than losing ourselves in our work by shedding our ego for a deeper connection to our humanity.

Why we write is more important than what we write because our reason for writing influences the content of our work. It is important to remember that we don’t have to do this. The world is not in a rush for more books. There are more great works of fiction, poetry, memoir, history and pumpkin soup recipes than we will ever have time to consume.

If we’re going to write, it is because we have a desire to express ourselves, even if we don’t quite understand what we wish to say. It might just be an inner yearning, but by making the choice to engage in the process rather than the result, our work has a chance to live. In expressing ourselves, we make what we write essential, if only to ourselves, and by beginning from this place, it has a chance to affect the world.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-goeman/faitheist-social-change-through-storytelling_b_2382772.html

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‘Faitheist’: Social Change Through Storytelling

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America is diverse. However, this diversity occurs in safe, isolated pockets that are stagnant and unengaged with one another. Diana Eck, religious scholar and founder of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University, notes that diversity is nothing to be proud of. Diversity is the description of a community, like Tufts or America, where people of different beliefs or backgrounds happen to be in the same location. Pluralism, rather, is the “active seeking of understanding across lines of difference.” It is this engagement that breaks down barriers and guards against prejudice. If we want to make pluralism, rather than diversity, a descriptive fact of our community, we need emissaries to navigate cultural boundaries.

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We need to invite others inside our communities and show them what we value. And we need storytellers.

“Faitheist” works to end this ideological segregation. Chris humanizes atheism by sharing his life and his values –

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Chris aims to end the cycle of isolation and tribalism by encouraging others to contribute their own story to our collective narrative.

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The more we get to know each other, the more our prejudices will dissolve.

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Toward the end of the book, he notes: “The moment I shared my story as a secularist, others felt more comfortable sharing their own.”

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“Faitheist” isn’t just a memoir; it’s a continuation of the biographical heritage established by “Roots”, “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “Hiroshima” —

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the books that informed Chris about the radical depths of human suffering and inspired his dedication to justice —

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but it is also the predecessor to a new generation of compassionate voices articulating their beliefs while serving humanity.

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Chris’ model of interfaith engagement and storytelling will, I believe, make my university and my country better places —

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places where diversity actually means something.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-herbert/who-am-i-the-heroes-of-ou_b_2497839.html

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Who Am I? The Heroes of Our Minds

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One of my guilty pleasures is the TV show Ice Road Truckers, which tells the stories of the heavy haulers who deliver vital supplies to remote Arctic territories of Alaska and Canada. In just two months each year, these truckers make more than 10,000 runs over hundreds of miles of frozen lakes, known as ice roads. We get to share in the treacherous drives — and just as important, the personal travails — of the veteran Hugh “The Polar Bear” Rowland, the brash tattooed Rick Yemm, the cold-hating rookie T.J. Wilcox, and former school bus driver and motocross champ Lisa Kelly, one of the rare women to break into this man’s world.

I’m not alone in this fascination. Millions of viewers have tuned into every episode of Ice Road Truckers since its premiere in 2007. And if hazardous driving is not your cup of Joe, how about Ax Men or Dance Moms, Chef School or Bikini Barbershop, Sister Wives or Biggest Loser? Reality TV dominates small-screen viewing these days. Viewers have literally hundreds of choices in vicarious viewing every day, 24 hours a day. And so what if they’re not exactly real.

What explains this trend? Well, it’s in part simple economics. These shows are cheap to make. But it’s more than that. There is something compelling about people’s stories, something that taps into a deep human need for narrative. The pull of Deadliest Catch and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo can really be traced back to ancient story telling traditions, which exist in every world culture. We see parts of ourselves in these modern-day folk tales, just as we construct stories about our own personal realities.

Psychological scientists have in recent years begun to examine this deep human yearning for story — in particular our need to create a coherent narrative identity. They have been using narrative identity as both an indicator of psychological health and a possible tool for enhancing well-being. Much of this work has been done by Northwestern University’s Dan McAdams and Western Washington University’s Kate McLean, who describe their and others’ research in a forthcoming issue of the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.

We all construct a coherent narrative identity, according to the emerging theory, from the accumulated particulars of our autobiographies as well as our envisioned goals. We internalize this story over time, and use it to convey to ourselves and others who we are, where we came from, and where we think we’re heading. Consider the example of redemption. McAdams and other scientists have been asking people to narrate scenes and extended stories from their past, and then they code the accounts for key ideas like redemption and self-determination and community. They have found that people who include themes of redemption in their stories — a marked transition from bad to good — are less focused on themselves and more focused on community and the future. They’re more mature emotionally.

This is just one example of how people make narrative sense of the suffering in their lives. Others have studied how people narrate life challenges, such as a painful divorce or a child’s illness, and they have found that those who produce detailed accounts of loss are better adapted psychologically. Their narratives often strike themes of growth and learning and transformation. Importantly, the stories of the well-adapted have endings, positive resolutions of bad experiences.

Psychotherapy is largely about personal narratives. Therapists help their clients to “re-story” their lives by finding more positive narratives for unhappy experiences. Indeed, when scientists asked former psychotherapy patients to describe how they remembered their therapeutic experience, the healthier ones told heroic stories, tales in which they bravely battled their symptoms and emerged victorious. This narrative theme of personal control was also and by far the best predictor of therapeutic success: As patients’ stories increasingly emphasized self-determination, these patients’ symptoms abated and their health improved. The stories themselves created an identity that was mature and well-adjusted.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/if-were-going-to-write-it-is-because-we-have-a-desire-to-express-ourselves-even-if-we-dont-quite-understand-what-we-wish-to-say-it-might-just-be-an-inner-yearning-but-by-making-t/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/dont-you-just-love-a-cogent-argument/

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Writing is simplicity and contentment –

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Playing_with_words_is_fun_as_well_as_meaningful.html

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So, I have come up with three questions. First, why do you write? Second, what inspires you? Third, what do you do to overcome “writers’ block”? — B.F., San Francisco

Why do I write? I write for the same reason people ride roller coasters: It’s a rush. A flow. Movement and rhythm. It’s sensory. Aesthetic.

Words, for me, are like being 8 years old and having a huge bag of Legos. Every day my dictionary contains the same English words, just like every day the bag contains the same Legos. But today I have the chance to assemble them differently! And that’s fun for me.

Why do I write? I write because I love words. I hate jargon, but I love words. Yes, there are a lot of different ways to talk, but words matter.

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The right word can help us apprehend our lives in deeper, more intentional and more meaningful ways.

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There’s a reason the Hebrew verb dabar can mean either “to say” or “to do.” The Hebrew worldview speaks to the power of words: “And God said (emphasis mine), ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

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Words have a creative force. Until we say “I love you,” there will be something about love that does not yet exist.

Am I a ‘word snob’? Oh, maybe. OK, probably. Dammit, yes! But I don’t think my demeanor is snobbish. More relentless and passionate.

I admire excellence and precision with language. I’m a harsh critic of the way American pop culture lazily conscripts the English language willy-nilly.

Americans tend to think of this — when they think about it at all — as another entitled “freedom.” A creative evolving of language. Most of the time it’s exactly the opposite. We broaden, distort and thereby cheapen the meaning of important words. This undermines meaningful discourse.

In the end, it’s worse than merely me not understanding what you mean to be saying; you no longer can accurately apprehend your own experience with anything like clarity and meaning.

For me, there is only one dictionary: The English Oxford Dictionary. Why? Because it alone is willing to guard the power and meaning of the English lexicon.

If I step out on my front porch, and shout “Labeedoowitz” loudly enough, the word “labeedoowitz” will show up in the next printing of the Rand McNally Dictionary.

OK, that’s hyperbole. But, I swear, coin the word “labeedoowitz” in a hit Broadway musical, and it will indeed be automatically included in the dictionary your son and daughter take to college.

I want to chase people to the dictionary. Regularly. I don’t apologize for using important words when just the right word matters.

I love it when I hear a new word. I interrupt people, right there on the spot. I say, “Ooh, I don’t know that word!” That’s a rush for me. A delicious feeling in my brain.

Why do I write? I write because I’m a compulsive communicator who loves to think out loud. Critical thinking turns me on. I like building an argument the way little boys like Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets.

I even have fun when the argument collapses. My best friends will tell you that I flat out love being wrong. Yep, when someone puts a finger clearly and accurately on the flaw in my argument, my brain stem hums as if I’d just bitten into a vanilla creme chocolate. If your argument can derail my argument, then I’m like a little kid with a new toy! I’ll race back home with your argument. Take it apart. Put it back together. Play with it. Integrate into my worldview, now changed.

Bring me a good argument, and I’ll ask you to marry me. (Uh, metaphorically speaking. I am so off the market.)

What inspires me? Life. Love. Tragedy. Suffering. Redemption. Evil. Beneficence. Truth. Beauty. Moral dilemmas. Mystery. The human journey inspires me, in virtually any form or circumstance.

What do I do to overcome “writers’ block”? Two things. First, I surround myself with deadlines imposed by others in authority over me. I’m inherently lazy. Not much of a self-starter. Without deadlines, I tend to sit around congratulating myself for thinking about all the brilliant things I could write. The thing that best “jump starts” my most creative self is the high expectations of others, especially if I have contractual obligations with them.

Second, I overcome “writers’ block” by writing. It’s like pumping the pump handle on a reluctant well. At some point I stop saying, “When I get a worthy idea, I’ll start writing.” No, I just sit down and start banging the keys, until a worthy idea shows up.

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http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/01/08/f-scott-fitzgerld-on-writing/

F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Secret of Great Writing

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What is the secret of great writing? For David Foster Wallace, it was about fun. For Henry Miller, about discovery. Susan Sontag saw it as self-exploration. Many literary greats anchored it to their daily routines. And yet, the answer remains elusive and ever-changing.

In the fall of 1938, Radcliffe College sophomore Frances Turnbull sent her latest short story to family friend F. Scott Fitzgerald. His response, found in F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters (UK; public library) — the same volume that gave us Fitzgerald’s heartwarming fatherly advice and his brilliantly acerbic response to hate mail — echoes Anaïs Nin’s insistence upon the importance of emotional investment in writing and offers some uncompromisingly honest advice on essence of great writing:

November 9, 1938

Dear Frances:

I’ve read the story carefully and, Frances, I’m afraid the price for doing professional work is a good deal higher than you are prepared to pay at present. You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner. This is especially true when you begin to write, when you have not yet developed the tricks of interesting people on paper, when you have none of the technique which it takes time to learn. When, in short, you have only your emotions to sell.

This is the experience of all writers. It was necessary for Dickens to put into Oliver Twist the child’s passionate resentment at being abused and starved that had haunted his whole childhood. Ernest Hemingway’s first stories ‘In Our Time’ went right down to the bottom of all that he had ever felt and known. In ‘This Side of Paradise’ I wrote about a love affair that was still bleeding as fresh as the skin wound on a haemophile.

The amateur, seeing how the professional having learned all that he’ll ever learn about writing can take a trivial thing such as the most superficial reactions of three uncharacterized girls and make it witty and charming — the amateur thinks he or she can do the same. But the amateur can only realize his ability to transfer his emotions to another person by some such desperate and radical expedient as tearing your first tragic love story out of your heart and putting it on pages for people to see.

That, anyhow, is the price of admission. Whether you are prepared to pay it or, whether it coincides or conflicts with your attitude on what is ‘nice’ is something for you to decide. But literature, even light literature, will accept nothing less from the neophyte. It is one of those professions that wants the ‘works.’ You wouldn’t be interested in a soldier who was only a little brave.

In the light of this, it doesn’t seem worth while to analyze why this story isn’t saleable but I am too fond of you to kid you along about it, as one tends to do at my age. If you ever decide to tell your stories, no one would be more interested than,

Your old friend,

F. Scott Fitzgerald

P.S. I might say that the writing is smooth and agreeable and some of the pages very apt and charming. You have talent — which is the equivalent of a soldier having the right physical qualifications for entering West Point.

Two years prior, in another letter to his fifteen-year-old daughter Scottie upon her enrollment in high school, Fitzgerald offered more wisdom on the promise and perils of writing:

Grove Park Inn Asheville, N.C. October 20, 1936

Dearest Scottina:

[…]

Don’t be a bit discouraged about your story not being tops. At the same time, I am not going to encourage you about it, because, after all, if you want to get into the big time, you have to have your own fences to jump and learn from experience. Nobody ever became a writer just by wanting to be one. If you have anything to say, anything you feel nobody has ever said before, you have got to feel it so desperately that you will find some way to say it that nobody has ever found before, so that the thing you have to say and the way of saying it blend as one matter—as indissolubly as if they were conceived together.

Let me preach again for one moment: I mean that what you have felt and thought will by itself invent a new style so that when people talk about style they are always a little astonished at the newness of it, because they think that is only style that they are talking about, when what they are talking about is the attempt to express a new idea with such force that it will have the originality of the thought. It is an awfully lonesome business, and as you know, I never wanted you to go into it, but if you are going into it at all I want you to go into it knowing the sort of things that took me years to learn.

[…]

Nothing any good isn’t hard, and you know you have never been brought up soft, or are you quitting on me suddenly? Darling, you know I love you, and I expect you to live up absolutely to what I laid out for you in the beginning.

Scott

For more wisdom on the writing life, see Zadie Smith’s 10 rules of writing, Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 guidelines for a great story, David Ogilvy’s 10 no-bullshit tips, Henry Miller’s 11 commandments, Jack Kerouac’s 30 beliefs and techniques, John Steinbeck’s 6 pointers, Neil Gaiman’s 8 rules, Margaret Atwood’s 10 practical tips, and Susan Sontag’s synthesized learnings.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-write-to-live-authentically-having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-per-great-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/christina-patterson-the-novice-poet-will-try-and-express-feelings-they-already-know-they-have-but-an-experienced-poet-is-one-who-knows-that-a-poem-is-only-a-true-poem-if-it-reveals-what-you-didn/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/no-one-can-take-away-ones-own-attitude-to-live-authentically-passionately-in-praise-of-roberto-benignis-15th-anniversary-movie-life-is-beautiful/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/getting-over-having-been-dumped-by-the-one-you-want-is-a-long-difficult-process-getting-dumped-does-not-dump-your-self-respect-attitude/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/reconciliation-formula-sage-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/an-ennobling-sufferance-living-life-to-the-fullest/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/true-faith-is-a-context-for-suffering-sage-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/the-choice-is-not-whether-to-have-or-not-have-a-worldview-in-which-you-place-faith-the-only-choice-is-whether-we-are-willing-to-choose-with-intention-clarity-commitment-sage-steven-kala/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-extraordinary-sage-viktor-frankl-only-then-through-the-power-of-using-the-past-for-living-and-making-history-out-of-what-has-happened-does-a-pe/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/in-some-ways-suffering-ceases-to-be-suffering-at-the-moment-it-finds-a-meaning-such-as-the-meaning-of-a-sacrifice-life-is-never-made-unbearable-by-circumstances-but-only-by-lack-of-meaning-and-pur/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/surrender-yes-what-is-demanded-of-man-is-not-as-some-existential-philosophers-teach-to-endure-the-meaninglessness-of-life-but-rather-to-bear-rationally-his-incapacity-to-grasp-its/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/society-blurs-the-decisive-difference-between-being-valuable-in-the-sense-of-dignity-and-being-valuable-in-the-sense-of-usefulness-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/dostoevski-said-once-there-is-only-one-thing-i-dread-not-to-be-worthy-of-my-sufferings-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/what-is-to-give-light-must-endure-burning-sage-viktor-frankl-in-tribute-to-connie-francis/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/the-paradox-of-authenticity-a-conscious-commitment-to-your-peace-whether-its-i-or-not-i/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/faith-is-consequential-but-it-is-not-about-immortality-faith-is-about-finding-peace-within-oneself/

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http://www.asianentrepreneur.org/thai-nguyen-founder-of-the-utopian-life/

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-rubinstein/writing-process_b_2707747.html?utm_hp_ref=books

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For me, writing begins with an almost dreamlike process. It’s as though my mind goes through some semi-conscious period where things from the past and present seem to coalesce and begin building upon themselves. Sometimes a thought fragment forms, only to fade the way some dreams dissolve as you’re awakening. At other times, an idea imbeds itself and develops with a clear forward trajectory.

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The novel’s story incorporates other aspects of my own and others’ experiences, coupled with large doses of imagination and fantasy. Like all fiction writers, I draw from the things I know well, and borrow heavily from life around me.

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I draw water from the well of my life’s work, and create stories.

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A writer is someone who always has an eye open and an ear cocked. I am no exception.

Drawing from life is at the heart of my novels, although each one begins in its unique way.

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 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patrick-hess/mentors-we-dont-realize-exist-_b_6726214.html?utm_hp_ref=religion
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A valuable principle I learned in my Christian ministerial studies was a mentoring metaphor that has never left me. It was idly called the Paul Principle.

Paul was the apostle that came after Jesus had already ascended into heaven. Paul was the adopted step-child of the disciples. He was mentored by Barnabas, was in jail with a peer named Silas, and wrote letters of teaching to a student called Timothy.

The principle was this…

Every man in life should always have a Barnabas, Silas and Timothy if he is to be a complete man.

Always identify your Barnabas, the one who is mentoring and teaching you.

Discover your Silas. The peer who is in the trenches with you and learning life at the same time.

And never forget to pass the torch to a Timothy in your life. The wise saying goes “If you can’t teach it, you really don’t understand it.”

We all have many Barnabas’ along our journey. We all have many Silas’ too. But to avoid complete selfishness, we need to take the wisdom we’ve acquired and impart it to ones like our children, their peers, and anyone else God allows us to come to know in our lifetime.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/irony-can-include-paradox-and-paradox-can-include-irony/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/jesus-makes-clear-that-to-forgive-is-to-forget-propitiation-and-their-sins-and-iniquities-i-will-remember-no-more-hebrews-1017/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/topic-irony/

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony#Irony_as_infinite.2C_absolute_negativity

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Irony as paradox [subtitled as negativity]

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Where much of philosophy attempts to reconcile opposites into a larger positive project, Kierkegaard and others insist that irony—whether expressed in complex games of authorship or simple litotes—must, in Kierkegaard’s words, “swallow its own stomach.”

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Irony entails endless reflection and violent reversals, and ensures incomprehensibility at the moment it compels speech.

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Similarly, among other literary critics, writer David Foster Wallace viewed the pervasiveness of ironic and other postmodern tropes as the cause of “great despair and stasis in U.S. culture, and that for aspiring fictionists [ironies] pose terrifically vexing problems.”

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

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In response to the hegemony of metafictional and self-conscious irony in contemporary fiction, writer David Foster Wallace predicted, in his 1993 essay “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction,” a new literary movement which would espouse something like the New Sincerity ethos:

“The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows.”

In his essay “David Foster Wallace and the New Sincerity in American Fiction,” Adam Kelly argues that Wallace’s fiction, and that of his generation, is marked by a revival and theoretical reconception of sincerity, challenging the emphasis on authenticity that dominated twentieth-century literature and conceptions of the self.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/this-is-water-david-foster-wallace-wallace-used-many-forms-of-irony-but-focused-on-individuals-continued-longing-for-earnest-unselfconscious-experience-and-communication-in-a-media-s/

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-irony

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox#Paradox_in_philosophy

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Paradoxes are irresolvable truths, not contradictions, in which only one opposite is true [a contradiction]

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http://www.academia.edu/2541288/Towards_an_Ethics_of_Irony_The_Paradox_of_Love_in_the_Symposium_

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“In Critical Fragment 48 Schlegel remarks that, ‘Irony is the form of paradox. Paradox is everything simultaneously good and great.’ This is the best articulation of the concept of irony in the German Romantic tradition: in contrast to the classical trajectory of irony embodied in the figure of Socrates who rhetorically dissembles his own knowledge, Schlegel’s fragment is emblematic of an irony that is a condition of possibility of objects, literary or otherwise, occurring in time and space.

The form of paradox becomes the horizon of potential that, for instance, allows good works to be read, un-read and re-read in countless interpretations hence becoming the great works of history. Or, in Kierkegaardian terms, which themselves are spectralized reproductions of Aristotelian terminology, irony allows one literary actuality to be superseded by the potentiality located in the literary actuality itself. As thus envisaged, hermeneutic progress itself hinges upon this ironic potential.

But what about ‘progress’ and ‘potential’ thought of in terms of political hope? Can irony, this condition of possibility, inform an ethics?

Ironically, perhaps an answer is to be found not in the German Romantic tradition, but in the very classical tradition that has been consistently distinguished from it. In sticking with the idea of irony as a condition of possibility and without defining it tout court, I shall argue that Socrates’s exploration of the concept of love in the Symposium not only pre-dates the structure of irony normally attributed to the German Romantic movement, but also compliments it as a relevant form of ethics for contemporary times. It would be ironic indeed if irony itself, normally a suspect trope in the field of ethics, allowed all ethical questions to occur in the first place.

To me, Socrates simply called this condition love— this paper seeks to further elaborate this thought.”

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http://books.google.com/books?id=6EAw-H8zvDkC&pg=PA115&lpg=PA115&dq=Critical+Fragment+48+Schlegel+irony+is+paradox&source=bl&ots=0vE_ZSo4_8&sig=S-Wj3HJJlCszh7DtMNhS5rdSxAU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MXuNUe2_FKOtigLE8IAw&sqi=2&ved=0CFIQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=Critical%20Fragment%2048%20Schlegel%20irony%20is%20paradox&f=false

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http://www.bachelorandmaster.com/criticaltheories/friedrich-schlegel.html

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Irony and paradox as distinct and not convergent –

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http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/2010/lesson_plans/reading/nonfiction/9-12/14_11-12_readingnonfiction_recognizing_ambiguity_contraction.pdf

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http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Lite/LiteBred.htm

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Paradox and irony seem quite distinct.

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Paradox relies on the clarity and exactness of language; it shows that truth can be expressed by words alone.

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Irony uses words to point beyond language.

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Irony shows that there are some truths which, though they cannot be articulated in words,

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can none the less be expressed by means of words.

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Irony, like many other figures, is a way of transcending and ultimately extending the limited resources of everyday language,

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of ensuring that it does not disguise thought

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but is both the midwife and the medium of thought.

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Not everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly,

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but everything that can be thought at all can be put into words.

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E.g. – seminaries could teach us how to think and even how to apply the truths of Scriptures to certain situations, but our seminaries did not have the ability nor the capacity to teach their young ministers how to feel. Only the Prompt of the Spirit could provide that.” — James H. Hill, Jr.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/in-praise-of-mystic-christian-jo-anne-silva-i-recognized-that-our-seminaries-could-teach-us-how-to-think-and-even-how-to-apply-the-truths-of-scriptures-to-certain-situations-but-our-seminaries-did/

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E.g. –

Richard Hays’ Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul: Paul’s readings of Scripture are not constrained by a historical scrupulousness about the original meaning of the texts. Eschatological meaning subsumes original sense…. True interpretation depends neither on historical inquiry nor on erudite literary analysis but on attentiveness to the promptings of the Spirit, who reveals the gospel through Scripture in surprising ways. In such interpretations, there is an element of playfulness, but the freedom of intertextual play is grounded in a secure sense of the continuity of God’s grace: Paul trusts the same God who spoke through Moses to speak still in his own transformative reading. Just as my lectionary commentary invites Christians to read the Bible as Jesus read the ‘Bible’ in his day (with a hermeneutic of love), Hays’ work invites us to embrace the same freedom to interpret the Bible that Paul with other ancient commentators claimed. — sage Carl Gregg

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And yet,

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The Epicurean paradox “problem of evil” is a cosmic irony due to the sharp contrast/incongruity between reality and human ideals, or between human intentions and actual results. The resulting situation is poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Paradoxes#Philosophy

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony#Cosmic_irony_.28Irony_of_fate.29

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On Roy Kodani’s outstanding book chock full of peripeteia/turning points    —

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http://www.hawaii247.com/2015/01/28/roy-kodani-the-sound-of-hilo-rain/

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Aloha Curtis:

My father always spoke about Yamauchi sensei and his wife, and how kind they were to him.  My father, his mother, his step-father, and his half brothers and sisters lived far beyond Camp 6 almost close to the forest.  Sometimes, when it rained hard, the river would rise, and he would not be able to return home.  So, he would stay with Yamauchi sense and okusan.  My father always used to say that okusan would put  a huge heap of rice in the bowl, because she knew it would be hard for him to ask for another bowl of rice.  Because of their kindness, I, too, am indebted to the Yamauchi family.

Thank you very much for taking your valuable time to send me your turning points.

I don’t visit Hilo as often as I used to when my parents were still living.  If I do have plans to visit Hilo, I will contact you so that we can meet and talk about Hilo, our families, values, and remembrances.

Thank you for writing to me.  I hope to see you soon.

Roy

Roy M. Kodani

Home Page: www.roykodani.com

From: Curtis Narimatsu

Sent: Friday, July 31, 2015 11:06 AM
To: ROY KODANI
Subject: your outstanding book

Hi Roy:    This is Curtis Narimatsu from Hilo.      I wept uncontrollably in reading The Sound of Hilo Rain.    Such beautiful reminiscences.    You might know the Waiakea-Uka Camp 6 area Yamauchi progeny.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_M._Yamauchi

Your book is full of mind-blowing turning points.     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peripeteia

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Irony is a way of transcending and ultimately extending the limited resources of everyday language — irony uses words to point beyond language.

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http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Lite/LiteBred.htm
https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/irony-can-include-paradox-and-paradox-can-include-irony/

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Irony entails endless reflection and violent reversals, and ensures incomprehensibility at the moment it compels speech.     Essentially, irony swallows its own stomach.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony#Irony_as_infinite.2C_absolute_negativity

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Jonah in the belly of the whale as irony swallows the multiple hypocrisy of the Pharisees and teachers of the law when they confront Jesus.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonah#Jonah_in_Christianity

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Irony, reversal, and frustration of expectations are characteristic of Jesus. Does a periscope (short saying — “turn the other cheek”) present opposites or impossibilities? If it does, it’s more likely to be authentic. For example, “love your enemies.”

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Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Depressive symptoms: Crisis of meaning and self-absorption

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/modern-societys-devolution-and-self-absorption-we-need-symbols-which-participate-in-the-things-they-represent/

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I stand incredulous before the sheer number of people reporting/experiencing symptoms of depression. I say again, I don’t believe our ancestors experienced the same proportion of depressive symptoms. Possible explanations for this phenomenon: Crisis of meaning, for example. An increasingly vacuous culture, with significant evidence of devolution. Or, perhaps depression/depressive episodes is in part provoked by the emotional self-absorption of moderns – the observable, inexplicable delay of real emotional conversance and maturity in modern people. — Steven Kalas

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“For me, there’s hardly a gnat’s whisker of difference between the psychological idea of healthy individuation and the Christian idea of salvation. Both include the lifetime journey of authentic living.”

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All the worth we could ever need are found as we love and are loved.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/self-worth-comes-loving-being-loved

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Did people in the Middle Ages fret about their self-esteem (worth in the eyes of others)??

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(self-respect is the reality of worth, not self-esteem)

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Did they sit in taverns and wonder aloud to their friends why others didn’t  love them more? Did they work their farms while daydreaming about the hope of someday having more self-esteem?

See, I rather doubt it. I think obsessing about self-esteem is the calling card of this time, this place and this culture. I think our incessant pondering about self-esteem is the undesirable outcome of affluence and leisure. It’s the thing we’re left to do

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when we lack

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sufficient access to meaning.

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Self-respect, self-worth. How do human beings come to feel worthwhile?

Some people undertake the quest literally: material worth. He who dies with the most toys wins. They make money. Lots and lots of money. They are good at making money. They tell themselves they will feel worthy when they have a literal, measurable worth.

The chief problem with this worldview, of course, is that it is quite savagely exclusive. By this measure of worth, the poor would not be allowed to be worthy.

(By the way, I didn’t say it was wrong to be good at making lots and lots of money. I just said it was a dubious place to invest the idea of self-worth.)

The other great American notion of human worth is usefulness. I have self-worth if I am useful. For example, if I’m a passenger flying at 38,000 feet on a plane that suddenly loses an engine, it is very useful to have a competent pilot on board. Similarly, if you are suffering an acute bereavement, you will find that I’M very useful to have around.

Usefulness is closely related to competence. And these are common measures for a person’s felt sense of self-worth. Just listen to the chronically unemployed. The frustrations of the disabled. The vague air of depression that sometimes surrounds the newly retired. The alienation of the aging and elderly who can contribute less and less to a community, a neighborhood or a household. Ultimately not able to care for themselves.

So, in the end, usefulness is an important measure of self-worth, but still an incomplete measure. What’s more useless than a newborn? Yet, would we say the baby is worthless? Of course not.

We reach for merit. We hope to become meritorious of worth through the realization of virtue and character. We are generous. Philanthropic. Faithful. Hard-working. We endure. We are kind. We sacrifice. We are humble. We are honest. Etc.

Virtue is a good thing. And I, for one, hope to have more character rather than less. Yes, merit can be an important measure of self-worth, but still this path contains a built-in, obvious problem: Human beings have an irregular, variable grasp on merit. Human beings make mistakes. They screw up. Sometimes character fails.

I’m saying that, being a card-carrying sinner myself, I hope there is a human worth available in the absence of merit.

And so the philosophers speak of intrinsic worth. That there is something about merely being human that should rightly oblige me to respect myself and others. If I breathe, then I have worth. Even if I’m poor. Even if I’m unable to be useful. Even if I lack merit.

Can you consider your intrinsic worth? The idea that some people who love you actually do love you? Not for your money. Not because of your achievements. Not because you can fix the garbage disposal or iron a shirt. Not because you’re morally perfect. But because they love you.

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But even intrinsic worth is nigh impossible to realize and enjoy on our own. Do newborns have intrinsic worth? Absolutely. Do newborns know that? Absolutely not. Then how do newborns discover their own intrinsic worth?

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Someone has to love them. Touch them. Care for them. Or they will go crazy. Or die.

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“We love because we are first loved,” says the Christian Epistle of 1 John. Here a religious “truth” is identical to a psychological observation: Self-worth does not first belong to self. Worth is bestowed upon us by love. Our worth is conveyed.

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All the worth we could ever need are found as we love and are loved.

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To love and to be loved are our deepest desires a la Carl Jung’s archetypes (Jung’s forebearers are mystics Plato, Apostle Paul, & Augustine)(Jung is pronounced like “young”)

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Archetypal star-crossed lovers

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However, Jewish theologian Martin Buber says that Jung went outside Jung’s  psychoanalytic expertise into theology by Jung’s point that God does not exist independent of the psyches of human beings.

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Buber chastens that Jung was “mystically deifying the instincts instead of hallowing them in faith,”  which he called a “modern manifestation of Gnosis.” (the improper ascription to self-knowledge as the end-all, instead of God).   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jungian_interpretation_of_religion#Extensions_and_criticisms

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+to+love+and+be+loved&id=EACBCF9FA17727184C6B7DC4961D1E0CD101EC1F&FORM=IQFRBA#view=detail&id=EACBCF9FA17727184C6B7DC4961D1E0CD101EC1F&selectedIndex=0

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgLzsGmnogo

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Modern people are tragically separated from their symbols

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/symbol-participates-thing-it-represents

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A symbol “participates” in the thing it represents

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The difference between a sign and a symbol is something first felt, and only later comprehended.

This meaning of a symbol is the difference between a sign and a symbol.

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All kinds of symbols. Marriage is a symbol. Wedding rings are symbols. That collar around the neck of the priest is a symbol. Old Glory is a symbol. Hair can be a symbol (see Samson). Fire (see sweat lodges). The Alamo is a symbol. (I was in San Antonio on the day Ozzy Osbourne urinated on it. Texans reacted, well, badly. Dramatically, even.)

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Only in a culture as overly rationalized and material as this one could we …

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* wear the American flag as jockey shorts;

* refer to a wedding license as “just a piece of paper”;

* be absent collective rituals for grief;

* be absent collective rituals for rites of passage to adulthood;

* think it’s funny to try to make the guard at Buckingham Palace laugh;

* think potato chips and Pepsi could stand in for bread and wine;

* refer to a girl’s first menses as the arrival of “The Curse”;

* think a glowing light bulb is the same as a perpetual flame;

* ask them to mail your doctoral diploma to your house;

* dare to be impatient when stuck behind a funeral procession in traffic.

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Here’s my first question in premarital counseling: “What do you want to change in your relationship on (date)?” Wanna know the most common answer? The couple exchanges a befuddled glance. One of them sits taller. Proud of this answer, mind you. “Nothing,” he/she says quizzically, as if I’ve asked a very strange question.

If your goal was to change nothing, wouldn’t it make sense that you would do nothing?

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Modern people are tragically separated from their symbols.

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http://www.viewnews.com/2009/VIEW-Jan-06-Tue-2009/downtown/26019332.html

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What do you see in human experience?

C.G. Jung said that in Western civilization, the ancient office of tribal “ritual elder” was less and less occupied by clergy. Changes in modern institutional religion have turned parish clergy into administrators, teachers and fundraisers, and less and less available for the ancient symbolic functions of meaningful ritual and “testing the spirits” (discernment).

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Jung believed that modern therapists were largely the default recipient of the shamanic role. This has always intrigued me and made me nervous.

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Nonetheless …

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I want to extend an invitation to veteran therapist/counselor types — you modern elders — who might be in earshot of this column: What do you notice? Wrap your arms around the years of individuals, couples, kids, teens and families that moved through your practice. What themes do you see in the modern human experience, either positive or negative? Put all that into a two- to six-sentence paragraph, and send it to me.

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Here are a few things I notice:

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* People seek redemption. Yep, regardless of religion or no-religion, people long to convert banal human experience into redemptive meaning: birth, belonging, hope, vocation, sex, pride, humility, fear, joy, forgiveness, justice, evil, anger, values, moral failure, guilt, grief, love, meaning, child-rearing, aging, death. You can see how Jung arrived at his conclusion; the list of presenting issues in therapy is virtually synonymous with the needs and hungers of any pilgrim on a religious journey.

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* There is no escaping the paradox of The Individual and The Collective. Meaning, we cannot participate creatively in the wider human experience without possession of a healthy, separate self. Yet, the only way to grow a healthy, separate self is to participate in the collective.

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* People are designed for relationships. Seems funny how often I remind folks of this. I think “individualism” is a near cult in America. People are surprised, made anxious, threatened, even embarrassed by their yearning for deep friendships, kinship and a great love affair. We embrace insipid mantras — or sometimes hear them from therapists who mean to encourage — such as, “You’re fine alone.” You’ll never hear that from me. Instead you’ll hear, “You’re fine enough alone.”

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* Western civilization is a neurosis factory. Anxiety, self-consciousness, self-doubt. An overwhelming tendency to attach undue and largely negative meaning to self. So common is this outcome in human formation that consulting therapists will describe patients with a shrug, saying, “He’s a normal neurotic.” Meaning, he’s just like everybody else. Just like me, for that matter.

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* People have answers for most of their questions. In fact, it’s uncommon for patients to ask me an honest question; meaning, a question seeking actual information about which they are ignorant. Nope, the majority of questions are rhetorical. The patient poses the “great mystery/crisis/dilemma” inquiry as a segue, a stage. Give them some room, and they will usually answer their own questions.

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* Children need to be admired. They need to hear the “wow” in the voice of the mother, the father. They need to see the wonder in our eyes.

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* Children are absurdly forgiving and breathtakingly resilient.

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* We marginalize adolescents, yet reserve the right to complain about their despair.

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* The best thing I have to say about hitting children is that it is unnecessary.

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* The “nuclear family” is a ridiculous and historically unprecedented way to raise children.

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* Narcissistic parenting patterns dominate the current culture of child rearing.

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* As a group, we have sold ourselves a shameless bill of goods regarding marriage, divorce and remarriage. We’re personally affronted when we discover that our marriage has failed to sustain “in-lovedness” and happiness. We tell ourselves that divorce and remarriage is a terrific strategy for growth and personal development. No data supports this idea.

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* Modern people are tragically separated from their symbols. Said another way, materialism and rationalism rule the day, both at the cost of meaning.

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* It’s not abuse that makes children — and later, adults — feel or act crazy and destructively, it’s not being allowed to have any feelings about our abuse. To be separated from the reality of our emotional reality — that is crazy-making!

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We’ve come a long ways, but it remains today axiomatic: Men can’t cry, and women can’t get angry. I’m serious. Can’t tell you how many times individual therapy with a man includes helping him take grief and loss seriously. Can’t tell you how many times individual therapy with a woman includes helping her take anger and outrage seriously.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kerry-walters/zombies_1_b_7770466.html

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The truth of the matter is that no society ever becomes fully secularized. The hunger for a transcendent dimension to reality–for an enchanted world–remains a basic human drive, and if it can’t express itself in overtly religious imagery, it’ll search out symbolic substitutes. So, for example, psychologists become modernity’s priests, invested with awesome authority to hear confessions, bless, and heal. Political allegiances substitute for religious communities, and partisan feuds take on the rhetoric of cosmic struggles. Self-improvement replaces spiritual discernment. Patriotic holidays and rituals stand in for religious holy days. Our chthonic yearning for something greater than ourselves plays out again and again, even in a supposedly disenchanted world.

One important archetype that gets renamed and redistributed in modern society is metaphysical evil, or the Devil. Its psychological importance can’t be underestimated; it helps us cope with those acts of wickedness–torture, genocide, child abuse–so numbingly sinister that chalking them up to mere human agency is unsatisfyingly inadequate. Our ancestors personified metaphysical evil in the form of a demonic enemy, Satan, who roams the world like a roaring lion seeking human prey. Their “enchanted” belief in the Devil’s machinations provided them with an explanation for evil that protected them from the far worse alternative that wickedness is gratuitous and spontaneous. Moreover, it gave purposeful direction to their lives by offering them the opportunity to enlist in God’s grim but ultimately triumphant crusade against evil.

Most people today, even religious ones, no longer believe in the reality of a metaphysical source of evil, much less its personification as Satan. Nor have they an explicit sense of soldiering in a cosmic battle between divine good and hellish evil. But both archetypes are so hardwired in our psyches that they recur again and again, finding a home in any symbol that can express them.

And here’s where we cue the zombies. They’re today’s Devils, modernity’s version of the Great Enemy. We re-enchant the world by attributing to zombies qualities that our ancestors believed belonged to Satan. Zombies allow us to scratch our itch for archetypal symbols that hold deep meaning for us while allowing us to jettison pre-modern religious language that no longer speaks to us.

So for us, Zombies become roaring satanic lions hungrily searching out prey. They’re concrete personifications of our deep and ancient sense that evil is somehow mysteriously nonhuman in origin, even though it uses humans as its agents. Zombies reek of death and the grave–the underground, where Satan and the damned traditionally dwell. Their bite mutates human victims into zombies, just as Satan’s embrace mutates humans into slaves. And the cosmic battle theme between good and evil is also present: in all zombie stories, a valiant band of humans, typically led by a Savior-like figure, risk their own lives to rescue humankind from damnation.

No one believes that zombies actually exist. But our fascination with them points to the latest recurrence of the very same archetype that for earlier generations was communicated in explicitly religious language. We’re more deeply rooted in the enchanted world of our ancestors than we suspect.

So the next time you watch a zombie movie, be aware that your forebears are seated alongside you.

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Sage Paul Lutus: Most “educated” people cannot tell the difference between a fact and an idea, the most common confusion of symbol and thing. Most believe if they collect enough facts, this will compensate for their inability to grasp the ideas behind those facts. And, because of this “poverty of ideas,” most cannot work out the simplest conceptual questions, such as “why is the sky dark at night?”

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/euclid-reasoned-something-or-it-isn-t

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The reflexive property is hugely important. And, in modern times, this property is apparently not so apparent and obvious. If you turn your ear to listen, you will hear myriad observations, worldviews, and specious conclusions that come down to this: a = … (something that is not) a.

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And this bothers me. Because, deny, ignore or obfuscate whether a = a, and suddenly you can explain and justify just about anything. It might or might not be entirely a conscious process, but it is nonetheless deliberate. And lazy. And convenient. And creepy.

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I think about this when, several times each year, a patient will speak of a new courtship with … someone who is married. And the new interest gives my patient The Speech: “We’re not really married. We’ve been separated for (period of time), and the reason the divorce isn’t yet filed/final is (blah blah blah).”

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And my patient thinks this clears things right up.

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And I affect my very best neutral nod. But, inside, I always think the same thing: a = a. Only divorced people are divorced. Only married people are married people. Which means that married people aren’t divorced people.

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A = a. Only friends are friends. And only nouns are nouns. So, write this down: I will never “friend” you. Ever. Or “unfriend” you.

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I could go on and on. The reflexive property has never mattered more. Because we live in a time of confusing facsimile with reality. And that has consequences.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-twitter-really-americas-conscience/2015/02/24/8b9e04d6-bc67-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

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Mindless social media (e.g. Twitter)

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Social media, especially Twitter, have appropriated the role of national conscience. When Tweety Bird is upset, the whole world is upset — or at least that portion of the world that pays attention to such things. As of 2014, only 23 percent of online adults (18 and older) use Twitter, according to the Pew Research Center.

The broader media, however, pay attention to and report on buzz as though these online snippets were the last word on public opinion. But buzz, like all gossip through time, is meaningless without contextual analysis. Buzz, in other words, doesn’t necessarily suggest a conclusion, such as Americans have lost their sense of humor, and we have become mind-numbingly politically correct .

This may be our future, heaven forbid. But meanwhile, we can find some comfort in the following: Many Americans couldn’t care less about the Oscars, what Penn said, or what Twitter buzzed about it. Only 36.6 million watched the Academy Awards this year, down 16 percent from last year, according to Nielsen ratings.

Context is, as always, everything. But we’ll see what Twitter has to say about that.

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I’ll concede that Sean Penn’s delivery at the Oscars had all the warmth of a basilisk’s gaze. Then again, what would one expect from Penn? He has mastered the expression of one who would rather be anywhere else. His default countenance is of a man trapped between existential angst and disgust — or rather like someone who knows what’s really going on.

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It’s all in the delivery.

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Human beings are created for relationship. Without you, there is no meaningful me. How I experience my life is, in the end, inseparable from how I experience you. Said yet another way, we’re here to love and be loved. — sage Steven Kalas

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/luck-of-the-draw-bad-or-good-forgive-yourself-for-what-is-not-in-your-power-to-do-steven-kalas/

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Sometimes the worst pain comes from feeling abandoned (estrangement) and unloved (alienation). That happened to me when my marriage of more than three decades ended. When my wife walked out on me, she took my sense of self-worth with her.

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Without her to validate me as a human being,

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I began to think I wasn’t worth anything at all.

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It is very hard to let go of your past. For years I held on to my old life, refusing to let go. I just couldn’t see any other life worth living. Letting go of your past is a long, hard process, and for me that process isn’t over yet. In some ways, it’s just beginning.

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But here is why it’s important that we put in that time and effort — because if we live in the past, we will never discover our destiny. Destiny, promise, potential, purpose — all of these are things that have to do with the future, not the past.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/antoinette-tuff/three-steps-to-turning-pain-purpose_b_4979660.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS%20for%20the%20Soul
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Yes, one who lives authentically and in the moment suffers persecution, taking a line from exemplar Christ.

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 http://biblehub.com/2_timothy/3-12.htm
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-davis-phd/saint-francis-and-pope-francis_b_4967289.html?utm_hp_ref=religion
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/life-advice_n_4979765.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS+for+the+Soul
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Life  celebration often is born of immense suffering.

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The willingness to stretch oneself into compelling vulnerability by loving and desiring to be loved draws from a psychic well so deep that is not without cost.

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Sometimes great cost.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/after-laughs-comedian-leaves-us-lesson
http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/trust-risk-taken-not-acquired-skill
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Once you have a meditative life you start to see that the world is really far different than what it appears to be,   e.g.

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob%27s_Ladder_(film)#Production

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/this-ancient-blueprint-fo_n_5312209.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS+for+the+Soul

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A person must have an “inner citadel” to which one can retreat.

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Living from this inner place of peace and equanimity —

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a place which no person or external event can penetrate —

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gives one the freedom to shape one’s life by responding to events from a rational, calm headspace.

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Find your inner citadel.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/one-man-s-definition-spirituality

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I once tried to craft a definition of spirituality that could be universalized. That is, the definition would not and could not be “owned” or dominated by any particular religion.

Purely objective. And utterly human.

For better or worse, I finally came up with this:  “Spirituality is the intentional disciplines we undertake to realize, respond and bring witness to essential relatedness.”

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Intentional disciplines

Significant spirituality presupposes some effort and intention on our part. We habituate ourselves to certain prescribed disciplines. Meditation, prayer, worship, sacrifice, piety, chanting, alms, fasting, study, mission, pilgrimage, ritual, marriage, music, art, dance, exercise — there are myriad forms of spiritual discipline. Only some are formal, “religious” activities.

But all spiritual disciplines attempt to express, strengthen and realize our fundamental relationships: self, others, cosmos, mystery. An authentic spiritual path is more than mere spontaneous enthusiasm or casual, intellectual observation.

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Let’s unpack the definition:

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To realize

A lot of things that are real are never realized. To realize is to bring to full expression. In authentic spirituality, we reach for what we believe to be real (our worldview) and we make it real in ourselves.

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To respond

Authentic spirituality compels us to respond. When we realize we are related, we find that we must respond to our relationships. We serve, we seek, we redeem, we account, we repair, we reconcile, we protect, we do battle, we make peace — action verbs.  We must answer the “voice” we have heard. We are obliged (from the Latin obligare = “tied to”).

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Bring witness

In word and deed we evidence our essential relatedness. We tell our story, yes, sometimes with words, but more often with deeds. The fast track of getting to know any human being is observing how that human being responds to his/her committed bonds of relationship.

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Essential relatedness

I was unable to coin a meaningful definition of spirituality without presupposing an article of faith. In the case of my definition, I’m presupposing that people and cosmos are essentially related. I can’t prove that. It’s part of my spiritual worldview (my cosmology) leaking into my definition.

I can’t apologize, though, because I do think we are essentially related. We do not choose to be related to the mystery, the cosmos, to ourselves and each other. We are related.

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All significant world religions and spiritual paths share common elements:

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A narrative

“In the beginning” … “Once upon a time” … “a child was born” …

Spirituality is contained in story. The story often includes a particular human life perceived to be unique and definitive of how life is and how life should be lived. For example, there is a life lived in history (Siddhartha) and then there is the collective response to that life lived (Buddhism).

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Sacred writings

The Bible, the Quran, the Deer Park Sermon, the Torah, Bhagavad Gita, petroglyphs — in sacred writings the stories and collective wisdom of spiritual paths are preserved and passed on.

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Moral code

The great world religions share basic concerns about violence, exploitation, dishonesty, theft and the breakdown of sexual boundaries. Religions postulate an “ideal” expression of our humanity and generally agree that we are incapable of realizing this ideal by the mere force of will. We sense what is good, but we cannot simply decide to be good.

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Festival, ritual and tradition

The great world religions contain potent rites of passage, rituals that realize and celebrate relatedness, and traditions that mark a rhythm for the ebb and flow of life.

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Sacrifice (alms)

The great world religions express a primary concern for the especially vulnerable members of society — the poor, the sick, the disabled, the very old and very young, etc. And so, authentic spirituality includes the regular, sometimes ritual sacrifice of time, talents, energy, goods, service and money for the aid and protection of the “especially vulnerable.”

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The thing I rather enjoy about my definition is that, even for people who swear they don’t have a religious bone in their body, well, there is still a very sense in which they can enjoy, nurture and grow an authentic inmost dimension to their lives.

If your spirituality/inmost-edness and/or your religion is not, at the end of the day, about tying you to fidelity in relationships, then I would wonder about its purpose and relevance.

Right relationships yield human wholeness.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-a-georgescu/the-last-shall-be-first_b_4683340.html
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The Last Shall be First — Jesus

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Devoting oneself to others is at the heart of all the world’s major faiths.

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If we are devoted to a higher purpose (e.g. hope in salvation), love and compassion become the whole point and our goals become more important than what we get in return for them.

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Who am I? A person who loves and desires to be loved in turn.

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Jodi Picoult: “People always say that, when you love someone, nothing in the world matters. But that’s not true, is it? You know, and I know, that when you love someone, everything in the world matters a little bit more.”

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http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3764682-handle-with-care

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/not-who-am-i-but-whose-am-i-and-this-radicalgestalt-changes-everything-from-sage-steven-kalas-born-1957/

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It’s not “Who am I?” but “Whose am I?” And this radical/gestalt changes everything!! (e.g. I am a father/grandfather/elder role model to my progeny/etc.)

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOW4QiOD-oc

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner#Interpretation

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These thematic elements provide an atmosphere of uncertainty for Blade Runner‘s central theme of examining humanity.

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In order to discover replicants, an empathy test is used, with a number of its questions focused on the treatment of animals—seemingly an essential indicator of someone’s “humanity.”

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The replicants appear to show compassion and concern for one another and are juxtaposed against human characters who lack empathy while the mass of humanity on the streets is cold and impersonal.

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The film goes so far as to put in doubt whether Deckard is human, and forces the audience to re-evaluate what it means to be human.

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Yes, the bad guy/unwanted huli’au actually might be the good guy.

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luck of the draw (bad or good) — forgive yourself for what is not in your power to do — Steven Kalas

 

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The blind will see and those who see will become blind. John 9:39-41 Those who become blind also will blind themselves as experts (ability to see). Thence those who become blind shall continue to remain ignorant. — Chiasmus

http://www.biblelimericks.com/?limerick=john-941-blind-seeing-seeing-blind

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/family/best-approach-help-some-addicts-step-away

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/steven-kalas/relationship-important-part-effective-therapy

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She tells her story, and it’s my job to listen to the telling. It’s an awful story. Betrayal, injustice, abuse of power, exploitation — it’s not easy to listen.

Listening trips alarm systems in my body. My brain begins dumping chemicals into my bloodstream, changing the way I breathe. There’s a pre-emptive readiness in my musculature that I experience as tension. I feel anger and sadness, both vying for center stage of my attention. Competing fantasies include weeping, stepping outside to scream, sending her perpetrator a letter bomb and pouring us both shots of expensive bourbon. Right here in the office. Right here in session.

The latter fantasy explains why I don’t keep expensive hooch in my office.

She finishes the ugly tale. I lean forward with my most sincere Father Flannigan face and say in soothing intonations, “Take the deepest breath you can.” She looks up, smiles a tender, peaceful, beautiful smile and says, “I’m really OK.” To which I — Steven Kalas, Caped Crusader, Action Counselor, Man of the Hour — respond spontaneously and without a moment’s thought, “You’re right, it’s me who needs to take a deep breath.”

In the next moment, we both erupt in gales of laughter, both buffeted by the physical force of the irony ricocheting off the walls. It’s a cleansing irony. She ceremoniously hands me the Kleenex box and says, in caricature, “Would you like to talk about it?” I shrug and say: “I don’t know. How much do you charge?” And we laugh some more.

It doesn’t get any more real and honest than that. When I’m old and long-retired, I will remember that moment in my career. I will never stop sharing that story with interns and practicum students whose desire it is to learn this craft called Talk Therapy.

News flash for aspiring therapists: The idea that quality therapy is delivered to people in sheer objectivity and muted detachment is … well … absolute crap. Blank slate? Yeah, right. Run away screaming from any therapist who tells you they have no opinions, no prejudices and who seems deliberately wooden and removed from the interaction. It is not my job to be free of bias (as if that were possible), rather, to know my biases to the end that my bias does not intrude, interfere, countermand or impede.

Quality therapy is delivered in the context of a therapeutic relationship! Key word: relationship! Therapeutic benefit emerges — literally — in and proceeding out of the relationship. It is not a relationship of unilateral trust, rather, of mutual trust. It is a deep-seated sense of partnership. Even very sick people bring strengths to the table that have seen them through rough times. I notice these things, admire them and even learn from them.

A veteran therapist friend tells a simple yet powerful story about working with a patient who’d been sexually abused by several males in her family:

“She wailed, ‘Why Me?!’ It was voiced as a demand. She wanted an answer. And, of course, she feared she did something to deserve it. I simply answered, ‘The luck of the draw.’ She stared at me a moment, then shrieked: ‘The luck of the draw? That’s your answer?’ I nodded and said: ‘Yup. You did nothing to deserve it and, as far as I know, God doesn’t get pissed off at little kids and decide to punish them by giving them evil relatives who abuse them. To me that means it’s just the luck of the draw.’

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After staring at me several seconds, she burst out laughing and I joined her. She left that session, smiling, shaking her head and marveling, ‘The luck of the draw.’ I might say that I’d come to this conclusion some time before about my own experiences.”

See, a therapist focused on textbooks and technique might have answered, all sincere and philosophical: “I don’t know. Why do you think this happened to you?” But patients deserve more than a Human Echo Chamber. They deserve more than nodding, staring and “Mmm.” They need human reparative interaction.

Another veteran therapist tells this story:

“I once treated a developmentally disabled teen, hospitalized for childhood schizophrenia. He did very, very well, and at the time we terminated therapy asked me, ‘You know why this worked so well, doctor?’ I said, ‘No, why?’ He smiled and said, ‘Because you respected me and I respected you.’ “

Well, yeah. Of course.

With all respect to the practitioner’s training and expertise, maybe the heartbeat of effective therapy is 50 minutes of acutely focused, directed, authentically present and respectful human relationship.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/1-peter-48-love-covers-a-multitude-of-sins-center-of-grace-or-in-the-secular-sense-forgive-yourself-for-what-is-not-in-your-power-to-do/

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The points are to establish love and emotional support as our idyllic commands, in a tragic and indifferent world.

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Needless suffering is of this world, stuck in this tragic and indifferent life.

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Indeed, true love endures.

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It’s just that you need to close the gestalt of being in love with the person who no longer loves you

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and get past one’s own hurt, bitterness, disappointment and anger

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before what endures can be apprehended

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as the honored friend it is (self-respect)

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and not the cruel enemy

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it appears to be

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right after we’ve been dumped

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by the love of our life.

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True love endures. That’s a good thing.

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But true love is different from needless suffering for the rest of your life.

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At the end of the day, we have to grow a self-respect sufficient not to want someone who doesn’t want us.

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You need to forgive yourself

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for what was

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not

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in your power to do.

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http://www.lvrj.com/view/love-can-endure-if-people-work-through-lost-relationships-144330465.html

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Søren Kierkegaard says that life is full of absurdity, and one must make his and her own values in an indifferent world. One can live meaningfully (free of despair and anxiety) in an unconditional commitment to something finite, and devotes that meaningful life to the commitment, despite the vulnerability inherent to doing so. As sage Steven Kalas says, we’re here to love and be loved. That’s it. Dying people revel in who they became in meaningful relationships (soulmates)! Every other dimension of life — job, money, golf game, emptying the kitchen trash — is only important as it serves the end of how and why you are related to another soul.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/what-is-not-in-our-power-to-do/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/forgive-yourself-for-what-is-not-in-your-power-to-do-love-yourself-no-matter-the-external-rejection-from-others/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/limerence-falling-in-love-is-a-powerful-spontaneous-projection-of-self-the-experience-is-cosmic-and-powerfully-bonding-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/im-here-to-love-and-be-loved/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/but-now-theres-nowhere-to-hide-since-you-pushed-my-love-aside-my-head-is-saying-fool-forget-her-my-heart-is-saying-dont-let-go-hold-on-to-the-end-thats-what-i-intend-to-do/

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/7128.Jodi_Picoult

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“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.” ― Jodi Picoult

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“I’m lonely. Why do you think I had to learn to act so independent?” – ― Jodi Picoult

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“Love is not an equation, it is not a contract, and it is not a happy ending. Love is the slate under the chalk, the ground that buildings rise, and the oxygen in the air. It is the place you come back to, no matter where you’re headed.” ― Jodi Picoult

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“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?” ― Jodi Picoult

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“A real friend isn’t capable of feeling sorry for you, [but instead feeling sorry for/loss of you by the other person.]” ― Jodi Picoult

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“I didn’t want to see her because it would make me feel better. I came because without her, it’s hard to remember who I am.” ― Jodi Picoult

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Preface to Susan Sarandon’s undying line below — the gumshoe/private eye says to Susan Sarandon’s character Beverly Clark (on tailing Bev’s hubby played by Richard Gere) that couples get married for passion, not protocol. Susan’s character Bev in turn responds via her eternal line below.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358135/quotes

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We need a witness to our lives. There are billions of people on this planet…

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I mean, what does any one life really mean?

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But in a relationship,

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you’re promising to care about everything.

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The good things, the bad things, the mundane things…

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all of them, all the time.

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You’re saying

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‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it.

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Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdBATA_Ag5s

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(Sigh) … it could not have been said any deeper than this … with love timelessly, :-)–Curt

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Rose teasingly tells Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack in the 1997 blockbuster movie Titanic –

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Immortalize me, Jack!” (via Jack’s portrait sketching talent) Done, baby!!

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As sage Steven Kalas intones (Love’s Purple Heart is won) –

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/steven-kalas/what-hurts-most-may-bring-people-closest-together

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Once upon a time you stood before an altar

And you promised not to leave

You held each other’s hand and dreamed a sweet forever

Love brought angels to your knees

Oh, the days they do fly by

Count the tears that you have cried

Count the laughter and the lies

Count your love and times love died

And here you stand together, battle-scarred and torn

The locks of fairy tales have fallen, long since shorn

Love has chosen you, blessed you, crucified you

See what you’ve become

Love’s Purple Heart is won

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Once upon a time

You promised to believe

That wounded hearts though painful so

Are the only hearts that grow

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Infinity’s Loving Purple Heart has been won.

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http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/2010/02/15/dispatches-from-curt-%e2%80%94-john-hustons-the-battle-of-san-pietro-semper-fi-wounded-in-action-and-other-musings/#comment-25773

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For Greek philosophers Plato/Aristotle, glorious virtues start w/courage & end w/wisdom, a la Santini/Zulu/the British square/other renowned warriors.

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The 1st historian in the Western World, Herodotus, crusaded to “preserve the memory of great and marvelous deeds,”

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just as successor Thucydides’ mission was to record “important and instructive actions of human beings.”

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I tip my hat to my dearest daughter Staycie age 42 for finding the hero/heroine in us all, our very own Herodotus/Thucydides who exemplify Plato/Aristotle’s creeds that glorious virtues start with courage and end with wisdom, and for making us all the happier/wiser/deeper for these values.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/when-the-unconscious-is-ready-to-deliver-its-great-treasures-forged-timeless-in-the-depths-of-the-human-soul-well-who-would-want-to-interrupt-that-with-a-mere-mortal-agenda-steven-kal/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/its-a-virtual-cliche-for-modern-patients-in-therapy-to-self-diagnose-with-i-need-to-work-on-my-self-esteem-it-rarely-turns-out-to-be-a-correct-diagnosis-i-much-prefer-to-focus-on-self-respec/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/interesting-that-jesus-not-only-doesnt-feel-the-need-to-scour-the-countryside-in-search-of-people-to-condemn-for-fear-that-surely-someones-ruining-the-fabric-of-tradition/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/life-is-full-of-reversals-of-expectations-baby-dedicated-to-my-little-girl-staycie-age-40-my-separation-anxiety-from-my-baby-girl-when-she-turned-18-left-home-to-live-on-her-own-turned/

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my little baby girl Staycie’s look-alike

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gps-for-the-soul/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/mind-blowing-jesus-stands-inexplicably-before-us-and-jesus-turns-common-sense-ideas-upside-down-confounding-us-all-dedicated-to-authentic-ri-in/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/in-tribute-to-my-leader-ri-in-honesty-speaks-to-the-heart-where-true-love-resides/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/love-what-it-requires-how-to-value-it-how-it-calls-us-to-pay-attention-to-celebrate-and-be-grateful-because-we-simply-never-know-human-beings-have-no-rights-or-claims-on-the-ever-so-brief/

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/love-the-simple-measure-life

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“When someone you love walks through the door, even if it happens five times a day, you should go totally insane with joy.”

— Denali

Denali isn’t famous enough to need a last name. He has no formal education. Not even a high school diploma. What he does have is a keen, super-human sense of what love means. What it requires. How to value it. How it calls us to pay attention. To celebrate and be grateful.

Because we simply never know.

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Human beings have no rights or claims on the ever-so brief moments they are given to be together.

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Denali doesn’t understand why people complain about the fact that salads cost $12 or why their shoes got wet. Denali has love in keen relief, proper perspective. He talks of loving his dog, Ben, through cancer.

In journeys like that, you don’t notice your shoes. And maybe you forget to eat lunch entirely, at any price.

I’ve never met Denali in real time. I heard him quote the above words in an eight-minute short film called “Denali.” You can watch it on Vimeo.com. (https://vimeo.com/122375452)

Films like “Denali”

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remind me how simple is the measure of my own life:

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When I notice myself in narratives of chronic complaint, I’m a loser. It’s that simple.

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Then, when I get the idea that others should be obliged to grant an audience for my complaining, I’m a loser and a boor.

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The tortured trifecta is when I take the point of privilege to feel slighted, to mobilize resentment if others are unavailable for my complaining.

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Loser, boor and Crown Prince of Entitlement.

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When, instead, I work the discipline of gratitude, I’m a man of peace and humility. My soul is in a posture to receive rather than grasp or take. I revel in an inventory of unspeakable grace and gifts,

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not an inventory of ownership, achievement and deservedness.

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Ownership? Every day I grow older, the whole idea of ownership seems more a waste of time.

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For what is truly my own

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except for the moments I dared to love and be loved?

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Answer:    nothing.

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“We are in bondage to decay.” — Romans 8:20-21

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Only love survives.

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Nobody lies in hospice and makes an inventory of ownership. Nope. Dying requires us to take inventory of love.

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“Love is paying attention.” — M. Scott Peck (1936-2005)

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A friend tells me about a family tradition, started by her father, now gone to be with God. Home from work each night, he would pull his car up to the house and tap a friendly “beep beep” on the horn. He would announce his arrival, and a wife and children would rise and mingle toward the door to greet him.

Today, my friend continues the tradition. Her family knows to expect the “beep beep” as she pulls her car around to home.

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Thus do healthy families and healthy marriages make customs and rituals out of comings and goings, hellos and goodbyes.

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They see each other. They behold each other. They respect each other. (Look it up. In Latin, respectus means “to see again.”)

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I remember, as I do at least annually in this column, the Thorton Wilder play “Our Town.” At the end, the protagonist pleads to her mother, “Mother! Won’t you just look at me!”

Then she says to the stage manager: “Does anyone really live life while they live it?”

“Oh, a few,” says the stage manager, puffing his pipe. “Poets and saints, maybe. Nobody else.”

By the way, if you decide to click that link and watch “Denali,” bring a box of tissues. It’s going to wreck you. Wring you out like a dishrag. Pour your heart into your shoes. If you can watch this piece and not be moved, something is wrong with you. You’re embalmed. Sleepwalking. Frozen in ice.

Watch it. Ponder what really matters.

Then put this column down. Go call someone you love, and tell them so. Just because.

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Irony is a way of transcending and ultimately extending the limited resources of everyday language — irony uses words to point beyond language.

http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Lite/LiteBred.htm
https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/irony-can-include-paradox-and-paradox-can-include-irony/

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Irony entails endless reflection and violent reversals, and ensures incomprehensibility at the moment it compels speech.     Essentially, irony swallows its own stomach.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony#Irony_as_infinite.2C_absolute_negativity

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Jonah in the belly of the whale as irony swallows the multiple hypocrisy of the Pharisees and teachers of the law when they confront Jesus.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonah#Jonah_in_Christianity

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Irony, reversal, and frustration of expectations are characteristic of Jesus. Does a periscope (short saying — “turn the other cheek”) present opposites or impossibilities? If it does, it’s more likely to be authentic. For example, “love your enemies.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Seminar#Criteria_for_authenticity

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“Hi everyone! The one we worship was crucified by the Romans. Come follow us.” This opening line did not fit among Greco-Roman religions. Claiming that a divine figure was helplessly beaten, tortured, and gruesomely–shamefully executed, would have been proof positive that such a religion was a joke worthy only of late night monologs. The ridiculousness of the crucifixion of the Son of God is easily lost on modern Christians. We miss an important reversal that so typifies the gospel. Because the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation of being wise, to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:18-21) — Peter Enns

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We are here for a while, we busy ourselves, we accomplish things, and then we move on — and others continue the cycle. “We can’t all, and some of us don’t.”

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What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?”       ― Jodi Picoult,Nineteen Minutes    

http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3375915-nineteen-minutes
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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/04/discovering-the-futility-of-human-existence-at-my-high-school-reunion/#ixzz3YGIJHHDx
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http://theutopianlife.com/2014/11/22/eeyore-pessimists-guide-beautiful-life/
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Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before.

Ecclesiastes 3:15

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http://biblehub.com/ecclesiastes/3-15.htm
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Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
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3:11-15 Every thing is as God made it; not as it appears to us. We have the world so much in our hearts,

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we are so taken up with thoughts and cares of worldly things, that we have neither time nor spirit to see God’s hand in them.

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Our purpose is to love others (as God first loves us).

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Ecclesiastes 3:15

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Is there anything of which one can say,
  

            “Look! This is something new”?


It was here already, long ago;

 

             it was here before our time.

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This realization often comes much later, in mid-life, when the frantic pace of our youth has become tiresome, when we finally slow down a bit and take stock.

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I’m just another in a long line. I’m not at the front or back. Just in the massive middle. So are you.

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So is everyone.

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We are here for a while, we busy ourselves, we accomplish things, and then we move on — and others continue the cycle.

I also, strangely, felt peace at this thought. I wasn’t exactly sure at the time why, but perhaps knowing that things are as they are and that I will not break this cycle  —-

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leads to a healthy resignation, a release of the fantasy that we control our universe, our lives.

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This is how I put it: my epiphany was a tender “letting go” moment.

I have found that letting go is a key component of the Christian life—of any spiritual life—but I was never taught “letting go” in my Christian education, in church, college, or seminary. The sub-current always seemed to be how “special” and privileged we were

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to be part of this endless cycle of life.

I was taught to think of myself as outside of the circle.

But we live our lives within this circle, and our lives

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 have meaning. Not a meaning handed to us, but a meaning we forge—right here, right now — by choice. Not by denying our humanity but by looking it square in the eye, shedding any notion of being above it all  — and choosing to walk or not — in spiritual salvation with our Lord Jesus.

After all, as Christians believe, God himself entered the human drama, the cycle of life, as yet another man in the long line of men before and since, born of a woman, in ancient Judea, in Galilee, who grew and learned like everyone else.

God valued the cycle enough to be a part of it.   So will I.   I so choose to walk in spiritual salvation with my Lord Jesus.

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/06/a-faith-crisis-in-the-bible-and-dont-let-some-60s-hippies-tell-you-otherwise/
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Confession of resignation in Ecclesiastes:   The best we can do is to find joy (in God) in everyday life.

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In Ecclesiastes we find we hear our voices of sadness, depression anxiety, strife, and doubt echoing back from 2,500 years ago.   Life is not so grand, but we are not alone in feeling such.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/it-ll-take-more-bubble-bath-cure-your-stress

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Four fundamental sources of stress    —

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1.   MEANINGLESSNESS

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung said that the crisis of Western civilization was a crisis of meaning. As the great “symbol systems” of our past erode (e.g., the American flag, wedding rings, clear gender symbols, Judeo-Christian symbols), we are left more and more with a culture void of symbolic identity. Our understanding of relationship and intimacy is no longer grounded in depth communion expressed by shared symbols but in the facade of “connectedness” (see Facebook, etc.). Our work is less and less grounded in the symbol of vocation and more and more grounded in “occupation.” That is, something that occupies our time and makes money.

More and more patients enter therapy not to resolve unhappy childhood memories, not to change some unhealthy habit, but to try to express that vague, nagging, painful emptiness of a soul looking for meaning.

Meaninglessness is very stressful.

2.    DENIED EMOTIONS

Imagine standing waste deep in a swimming pool, holding a volleyball. Now, push the ball underwater with one hand. Hold it there, underwater. Give it a minute. As your arm tires, you will notice the ball’s desire to surface. It wants to surface. Demands to surface! Your arm will start to tremble. You have to concentrate. Perhaps a grunt will escape your lips as you bring to bear the effort to keep that ball underwater.

This is what it’s like to deny your emotions. To do anything but feel. Anger, fear, vulnerability, shame, guilt, grief, loss, despair — our culture raises you to deny suffering at all cost.

Undigested, unrecognized, denied emotions are very stressful.

3.     DISRESPECT/CONTEMPT

If a tree is planted in a poison forest, it will fail to thrive. If you rescue the tree by digging it up, repotting it in healthy soil, feed and water it, then the tree will begin to recover and grow. But, once restored to health, if you return it to the poison forest … well, there aren’t enough bubble baths in the world to make living in that forest OK.

This is what it’s like for so many patients. I help them. They begin to thrive and heal in therapy. But, if they must then return to a poison marriage … or return to poison parents … or return to a poison workplace and a poison supervisor … well, relaxation techniques will not ultimately be enough to save them.

Participating in relationships marked by chronic disrespect/contempt is very stressful.

4.     THE DOUBLE BIND

In the 1950s, Gregory Bateson struck upon the idea of the double bind: “A psychological impasse created when a person perceives that someone in a position of power is making contradictory demands, so that no response is appropriate.”

Bateson says the victim of double bind receives contradictory injunctions or emotional messages on different levels of communication (for example, love is expressed by words, and hate or detachment by nonverbal behavior; or a child is encouraged to speak freely, but criticized or silenced whenever he or she actually does so).

No meta-communication is possible — for example, asking which of the two messages is valid or describing the communication as making no sense.

The victim cannot leave the communication field.

Failing to fulfill the contradictory injunctions is punished (for example, by withdrawal of love).

The double bind is often one of the poisons in the poison forest. It is a common strategy (albeit, often unconscious) of folks treating us with chronic disrespect/contempt. It can make you feel like you are losing your mind.

Sure, take time for yourself. That’s a good thing. But, if any of these four stressful dynamics haunt your life, you will have to do something about it.

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The issue is whether we are able to accept that our cognitive power–which can be limiting and deceiving as well as liberating and enlightening–is truly up for the task of grasping the divine.

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http://www.peteenns.com/when-god-stops-making-sense-or-my-favorite-part-of-the-old-testament/
http://www.peteenns.com/a-blog-post-in-which-i-ask-myself-4-questions-about-christianity-and-evolution/

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Job’s experience threatens the foundation of his moral world. God punishes the wicked, yet Job isn’t wicked. So why is God doing this (theodicy — the issue of suffering)?

Job never gets a straight answer to the question–other than God telling Job “I’m God, the Creator. You’re not.”

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“You are human, Job, present here on earth for a few moments. You can’t possibly comprehend how the universe works, or my part in it. The script of the sacred story is fine as far as it goes, but this world and my place in it aren’t constricted by it. You will not figure this out, Job.”

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The universe we inhabit is largely deaf to our moral preoccupations. It is distant, cold, empty space, beholden to an apparently endless cycle of destruction and rebirth.

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God’s answer to Job, if I may translate into the contemporary idiom, is that the divine is “trans-rational.”

At the end of the day the human thought process can only get you so far when it comes to God.

At some point, for most of us, as it was for some biblical writers, God stops making sense.

The question then is whether the non-sense leads to disbelief in God or becomes an invitation to seek God differently–even through confrontation and debate, as these biblical books model for us.

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I’m just saying that over time I’ve come to answer that question in the second way–as I think Job, some psalmists, and the author of Ecclesiastes did.

Some might call that kind of faith “fideism”–an irrational belief in God rather than based on “sound reason.” But I think the charge of fideism misses the halting lesson life insists on giving us, and also persists in presuming what Job’s friends also insisted on–that where God is concerned, things make sense.

The issue as I see it isn’t simply whether your faith is or isn’t “reasonable.” “Reasonable” is a moving target.

The issue is whether we are able to accept that our cognitive power–which can be limiting and deceiving as well as liberating and enlightening–is truly up for the task of grasping the divine.

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That, I think, is what these books of the Old Testament are after in their own way and in their own time and place. And that’s why I like them.

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Was Jesus more than a 1st century Jew? Yes, I believe he was—and working that out is the stuff of 2000 years of Christian theology. But however “more than human” Jesus may be, and whatever we might mean by that, he was certainly not one micro-millimeter less than fully human—and that has all sorts of implications.

But that’s the deal with the incarnation, and that’s why appealing to a reference or two in the Gospels doesn’t trump the profound observations of science.

And to think that it does, ironically, is not respectful of Jesus or a declaration of a “high” or “orthodox” Christology. It is actually a quasi-biblical sub-Christian Christology that betrays a deep discomfort with the theological implications of the core element of the Christian faith–the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

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http://biblehub.com/john/1-14.htm

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John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

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God manifested in the flesh. But observe the beams of his Divine glory, which darted through this veil of flesh. Men discover their weaknesses to those most familiar with them, but it was not so with Christ; those most intimate with him saw most of his glory. Although he was in the form of a servant, as to outward circumstances, yet, in respect of graces, his form was like the Son of God His Divine glory appeared in the holiness of his doctrine, and in his miracles. He was full of grace, fully acceptable to his Father.

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My life has been a Griffin Dunne character in After Hours    

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Paul Hackett (Dunne) experiences a series of misadventures as he tries to make his way home  (mishaps produce laughter via cynicism, skepticism, & the irony of incurring wrath thru one’s desire of pleasure).

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This film is on the list of “Great Movies,” and it combines comedy, satire, and irony (irreducible truth) with unrelenting pressure and a sense of all-pervading paranoia/destruction.

Hopscotch to oblivion’, Barcelona, Spain

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtPI9jIx1kU

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_Hours_(film)

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Nelle Harper Lee’s epiphany To Kill a Mockingbird    —

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In real life, Nelle’s father defended two black men accused of murdering a white storekeeper. Both clients, a father and son, were hanged.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harper_Lee#Early_life

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Loss of innocence

A color photograph of a northern mockingbird

Lee used the mockingbird to symbolize innocence in the novel.

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Songbirds and their associated symbolism appear throughout the novel. The family’s last name of Finch also shares Lee’s mother’s maiden name. The titular mockingbird is a key motif of this theme, which first appears when Atticus, having given his children air-rifles for Christmas, allows their Uncle Jack to teach them to shoot. Atticus warns them that “it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Confused, Scout approaches her neighbor Miss Maudie, who explains that mockingbirds never harm other living creatures. She points out that mockingbirds simply provide pleasure with their songs, saying, “They don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.” Writer Edwin Bruell summarized the symbolism when he wrote in 1964, “‘To kill a mockingbird’ is to kill that which is innocent and harmless—like Tom Robinson.” Scholars have noted that Lee often returns to the mockingbird theme when trying to make a moral point.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Kill_a_Mockingbird#Loss_of_innocence

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-kornbluth/maybe-you-should-re-read_b_7779356.html

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An honor guard from the South Carolina Highway patrol lowers the Confederate battle flag as it is removed from the Capitol grounds Friday, July 10, 2015, in Columbia, S.C. (John Bazemore/AP)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lowering-the-flag-of-divisiveness/2015/07/10/e519f21a-2740-11e5-aae2-6c4f59b050aa_story.html

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Friday’s ceremony in Columbia was brief, dignified and profoundly moving for the many gathered, as well as those watching from afar. Gov. Nikki Haley (R), surrounded by fellow officials and lawmakers, looked resplendent in a white suit that was reminiscent of a white flag offered in surrender and in peace. I don’t mean the South’s surrender to the North, or of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to the NAACP, which has fought for the lowering of the flag in South Carolina for more than 20 years.

It was the surrender of injured pride to the cause of the greater good. It was the sublimation of “I” for the liberation of “we.”

South Carolina’s better angels were tapped by the departing souls of nine people gunned down while praying in the historic Mother Emanuel church not far from where the first shot of the Civil War was fired. Only silence can capture the totality of so much suffering, forgiveness, surrender, reconciliation and grace.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/flag-debate-rages-readers-responses

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I resolved the struggle when I realized that innocence of motive (mine) combined with understandable naivete (again, mine) is and was and insufficient argument for doing nothing. Let alone the folks protesting their own innocence (“€œBut: it’€™s about heritage!”) or still insisting The Civil War was wholly the North’s fault and had nothing to do with slavery or it’€™s tantrum progeny, racism.

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I had struggled through a contradiction within myself.

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The disease that spawned The Holocaust is not a German disease. It’s a human disease. The only citation Hitler’€™s Germany deserves is one of scale. But the “DNA” of the problem courses through the blood stream of every human being, including this columnist. Its name is human evil. And it’s always here, always waiting for the conditions allowing it to incubate. Individually or collectively. On scales small and large.

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One reader sobered me. Broke my heart. Because I think he represents a critical mass of America today.

“€œDialogue is useless. Waste of time. No one is gonna change anyone’s mind. We are in a culture war. In a war one side will win. You have no clue.”

About that, Good Reader, we disagree. Dialogue is a beautiful thing. Powerful. Even profound. By definition, its participants come to the table open to the possibility of change. Even excited about the possibility. Learning, changing and growing is the only reason to be in a dialogue.

It is not dialogue that is useless. Rather, it’€™s a culture no longer courageous enough to enter in to dialogue. It’€™s easier to dichotomize and vilify.

To decide that I have no clue (when the option is imperative — to uplift the forsaken).

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http://www.vulture.com/2015/07/jon-stewart-told-wyatt-cenac-to-fck-off.html

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This happened back in the summer of 2011, when Stewart was roundly pillorying the 2012 presidential hopefuls, including one Herman Cain. He made fun of Cain by doing a “voice.” At the time Cenac was on a field assignment, and watched the bit from home. “I don’t think this is from a malicious place, but I think this is from a naïve, ignorant place,” he remembered thinking. “Oh no, you just did this and you didn’t think about it. It was just the voice that came into your head. And so it bugged me.” Stewart had been getting flak from Fox News for the voice, and he wanted to do something to respond — an Avenue Q–style “Everything I do is racist” segment. (They did change the frame to one making fun of Stewart.)

Cenac, who was the only black writer there at the time, voiced his concerns during the writer’s meeting. “I’ve got to be honest, and I just spoke from my place,” said Cenac. “I wasn’t here when it all happened. I was in a hotel. And I cringed a little bit. It bothered me.” He wanted them to drop the bit and said that it reminded him of Kingfish, a character Tim Moore played on Amos ‘n’ Andy. He remembers:

[Stewart] got incredibly defensive. I remember he was like, What are you trying to say? There’s a tone in your voice. I was like, “There’s no tone. It bothered me. It sounded like Kingfish.” And then he got upset. And he stood up and he was just like, “Fuck off. I’m done with you.” And he just started screaming that to me. And he screamed it a few times. “Fuck off! I’m done with you.” And he stormed out. And I didn’t know if I had been fired.

The fight carried on at Stewart’s office and was only stopped when one of the office dogs began pawing at them. (Aww.) Eventually, the show had to go on, and Cenac remembers going outside to a baseball field and having a breakdown. “I was shaking, and I just sat there by myself on the bleachers and fucking cried. And it’s a sad thing. That’s how I feel. That’s how I feel in this job. I feel alone,” he said.

The entire conversation is well worth listening to. Cenac is characteristically thoughtful about how racial dynamics manifest themselves in creative spaces like The Daily Show, and how it places people of color in a bind where they have to “represent”:

Something like this, I represent my community, I represent my people, and I try to represent them the best that I can. I gotta be honest if something seems questionable, because if not, then I don’t want to be in a position where I am being untrue not just to myself but to my culture, because that’s exploitative. I’m just allowing something to continue if I’m just going to go along with it. And sadly, I think that’s the burden a lot of people have to have when you are “the one.” You represent something bigger than yourself whether you want to or not.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/time-the-naive-wake-symbolism-confederate-flag

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When I began to digest the news of nine murders at a historic black church in South Carolina, I confess it was at first hard for me to take Dylann Roof seriously as a white supremacist, any more than I took Mark David Chapman seriously as a Christian when he murdered John Lennon for saying “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus.”€ That is, Chapman could have just as easily murdered James Taylor, whom he’€™d accosted the day before Lennon‘€™s murder at a subway station.

Roof, for me, was just another mortally damaged, soulless, sociopathic punk whose sickness is wont to fixate and react to anything and nothing. A church. A school. A mall. An ethnic group. A leaf blowing across the yard.

I‘€™m saying that crazy is disturbingly random stuff. I‘€™m reluctant to give it too much credit for ideological calculation.

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Then, when we as a nation turned our heart-wrenching horror and grief toward the Confederate flag, I shifted into my clinical training in bereavement. “Here we go,” I thought. Because desperately sad, frightened people often turn their collective grief, fear and guilt to some symbolic action they see as redemptive. Sometimes this action is well-reasoned and meaningful. Sometimes it‘s just reactive and a bit willy-nilly.

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The controversy challenged me. It made me examine and re-examine. It made me wonder –€” again –€” what part of my worldview reflects wisdom, truth and goodness — and what part is naivete and/or historical ignorance.

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The more I read, the harder it became to distinguish between the Confederate flag as standing for regional pride or injured pride, the latter being a real problem.

Yeah. Let‘€™s take it down. While surely some Southerners have flown that flag as innocently as a 10-year-old drawing swastikas, the time for stubborn innocence and willful naivete is just as surely over.

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http://www.bartleby.com/400/poem/2501.html

’Tis But a Little Faded Flower

By Ellen Clementine Howarth (1827–1899)

[Born in Cooperstown, N. Y., 1827. Died in Trenton, N. J., 1899.]


THIS but a little faded flower,

  But oh, how fondly dear!

’Twill bring me back one golden hour,

  Through many a weary year.

I may not to the world impart

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  The secret of its power,

But treasured in my inmost heart,

  I keep my faded flower.

Where is the heart that doth not keep,

  Within its inmost core,

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Some fond remembrance, hidden deep,

  Of days that are no more?

Who hath not saved some trifling thing

  More prized than jewels rare—

A faded flower, a broken ring,

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  A tress of golden hair?

  1869.

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Right hearts, minds, and actions in sequential order

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New Testament external prompts correlate with the convergence of the human and holy spirit and the sacred items in the Ark of the Covenant

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christian-piatt/following-jesus-isnt-prim_b_6740148.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Right thought or belief is generally called “orthodoxy,” [New Testament prompt of sipping wine-conscience/Old Testament Aaron’s Rod]

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while right action is called “orthopraxy.”  [New Testament prompt of breaking bread-fellowship/Old Testament manna]

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And sometimes we seem to assume that these are the only things to focus on, or even that one is somehow superior to the other.

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In studying the teachings and words of Jesus, however, I’m coming to embrace the sense that “orthopathy,” or right-heartedness [New Testament prompt of Lord’s table-intuition/Old Testament Torah Scroll], is a critical third leg [actually the first leg] of the proverbial stool.   This right-heartedness actually helps lead us to the path we’re seeking for the other two.

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Consider the Greatest Commandment, which Jesus claims is foundational to all other laws and commandments. He’s not saying that the Ten Commandments are irrelevant or that the 600-plus Jewish laws should be cast aside. Far from it, in fact. By focusing on loving God with all we are, loving all our neighbors (“all” really does mean all) and even loving ourselves in kind, everything else falls into its proper place.

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He doesn’t say that the Greatest Commandment is to claim a certain set of beliefs, get baptized or go to a certain church.

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He doesn’t say that the virtues of action to which we are called in the Beatitudes are paramount.

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But at the same time, he’s not diminishing or undermining these.

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Rather, he’s helping bring them into greater fullness (perfection) by focusing first and foremost on loving. Not just love as a claim or feeling but as a verb, a worldview, a lens through which we understand all of creation. When we are driven by such all-encompassing, consuming, perfect and sacrificial love [New Testament prompt of living water-convergence of the human & holy spirit/Old Testament Tablets of Stone], the beliefs and actions fall into place.

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In this way, the teachings of Jesus dovetail elegantly with the teachings of the Buddha:

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Right hearts lead to right minds, and right minds lead to right actions.

 

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Perhaps we focus on orthodoxy and orthopraxy more because, in many ways, they’re easier to measure. Also important is that they are easier to wield over others, in assessing whether or not they are worthy of salvation, inclusion, or (fill in the blank). But the act of living into perfect love is terrifying, partly because it is perpetually unfinished business.

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Also, it is radically subversive, because the rule of love (rather than the rule of law) cannot be used to consolidate and exert power over one another. 

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Whereas our application of the old laws — or orthodoxy or orthopraxy — can be used to control or conform,

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love inherently releases and liberates.

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And in the best ways possible, it subverts the very systems of power we have built to contain, control and even marginalize those without power and privilege.

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I know that for some this is a significant shift in understanding what is at the heart of following Jesus. It is shockingly simple but never, ever easy. It is accessible by all yet controlled by none.

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It is the way, the truth, the life. And it is so much bigger than any church, denomination or religion. To me, that is good news; that is gospel.

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Hope (as in salvation/inner joy-peace) beyond suffering is what moves us to suffer for the good of others.

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The spirit of fear (self-conscripted insecurity/ego defensiveness)(smallness ergo self-inflated importance to mask our insecurity) is selfishness, whereas as examples the fear (respect) of God & the Wrath of God have selfless-altruist outcomes.

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Which is why deepest thinker/soulful pilgrim Steven Kalas intones that authentic Christianity/Christian mysticism are incompatible with today’s “hip” New Age outcomes of narcissism/me-me-me mentality.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/new-age-spirituality-aka-integralevolutionarytransformational-not-to-be-confused-with-christianitys-i-am-exodus-314/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mysticism#Biblical_influences

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mysticism#Modern_era

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Age#Late_20th_century

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Do you know that theologian Martin Luther’s tabletalk (intimate heartfelt dialogues with others) helped inspire Luther’s deep comprehension of Scripture (selfless sacrifice for the good of others)?

 http://www.ccel.org/ccel/luther/tabletalk.html

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And that mysterious and mystical exemplar Christ’s tabletalk with diverse/divergent ones from atheists to believers — inspire our deepest connection with compassion for others??

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Platonism (the mystical) was considered authoritative in the Middle Ages, and many Platonic notions are now permanent elements of Christianity. Platonism also influenced both Eastern and Western mysticism.

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While Aristotle became more influential than Plato in the 13th century via Aquinas, St. Thomas Aquinas‘ philosophy was still in certain respects fundamentally Platonic (mystical).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonism#Christianity_and_Platonism

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Aquinas placed more emphasis on reason and argumentation, and was one of the first to use the new translation of Aristotle’s metaphysical and epistemological writing.

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This was a significant departure from the Neoplatonic and Augustinian thinking (the mystical) that had dominated much of early scholasticism (early church fathers).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholasticism#High_Scholasticism

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/augustinian-mystic-martin-luther-aquinas-cognition-john-calvin-and-yet-bertrand-russell-apostle-john-are-augustinian-plato-logos-analytical-acolytes-huli-au-upside-down/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/augustine-acolyte-original-sin-john-wycliffe-1320-1384-was-the-impetus-to-luthers-protestant-reformation-a-century-later-for-this-reason-wycliffe-is-called-the-morning-star-of-the-reformatio/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/in-praise-of-pastors-calisto-violet-mateo-of-our-god-reigns-ministry-at-1289-kilauea-ave-hilo-suite-h-phone-808-961-6540/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/ouvre-nearly-half-a-century-of-deepest-passion-i-can-see-it-in-your-eyes-that-you-despise-the-same-old-lines-you-heard-the-night-before-and-though-its-just-a-line-to-you-for-me-its-true-a/

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlgregg/2014/03/the-life-tradition-versus-the-death-tradition-in-christianity/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/it-hurts-to-be-treated-as-a-means-to-an-end-the-hurt-is-a-sign-of-our-health-our-self-respect-not-a-sign-that-anything-about-us-needs-to-be-fixed-from-sage-steven-kalas/

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An overprideful person “swallows one’s own stomach.” Such nature entails endless self-aggrandizement and vanity, and ensures incomprehensibility at the moment it compels authenticity/truth.

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It is true, the strength behind the leader is the person who mystifies me, the so-called unspoken one, like baby brother Andrew was to Peter [Bible].

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God has no use for pride, such that the meekest of the meek went on to lead, like Moses/Gideon.

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Look at King David. Lowly Nathan chastened shell-shocked David. Look at Joshua/etc. All unheralded/unsung heroes. Tremendous symbolism of “never judge a book by its cover.”

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/grace-jisun-kim/jesus-and-the-cross-rejec_b_5143162.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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No one likes rejection.

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Jesus knew rejection through his life. The people of Nazareth, his own hometown, rejected him (Luke 4:26-30). Still others wondered about him because of that hometown. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked (John 1:46). People rejected much of his teaching. Many questioned the origin of his teachings and do not accept him as he was born poor, the son of Joseph the carpenter. In Matthew 21:42, Jesus talks about the stone the builders rejected. The story is a revelation about Jesus, himself.

The Gospels say that Jesus travelled a lot and suggest he entered villages where he found no place to rest. Luke’s Gospel tells of one time Jesus was not welcomed in a Samaritan village (Luke 9:51-53). Jesus’ comment on the experience could imply this happened frequently (Luke 9:58).

Remember the last few hours of Jesus’ life before his crucifixion. Many people and groups rejected Jesus, including those closest to him. Judas betrayed Jesus and identified him in the Garden of Gethsemane for those who came to arrest him. The disciples all ran away in fear when Jesus was arrested. Peter, who said that he would never desert Jesus, ended up denying Jesus three times (John 18:15-27). The high priest, the chief priests, the elders and scribes rejected Jesus and wanted him put to death.

The religious leaders took Jesus to Pilate for a trial. Pilate did not want any trouble and since it was the governor’s custom to release one prisoner during Passover, he asked the crowd, “Which do you want me to release, Barabbas or Jesus?” (Matthew 27:17). The crowds chose Barabbas and rejected Jesus, leaving him to be crucified.

At the final moment of his life, Jesus felt the ultimate rejection. On the cross at the ninth hour Jesus cries out “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45). Jesus knows and understands rejection. Jesus exemplified rejection.

Tremendous pain comes with rejection. The experience can feel like one has been thrown into a spiraling emotional and spiritual black hole and lead one to wonder if there is hope of return to a normal life.

Rejection fills life.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/knowing-when-dream-when-let-dreams-go

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Not every dream comes true.

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Sometimes because our dreams overreach the miserable human condition (ideals of great love).

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Sometimes our dreams overreach immutable realities (my body simply wasn’t designed to fly like a bird).

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The good life, then, requires us to tightrope this paradox: We must never stop dreaming … yet also we must learn to say goodbye to some dreams.

If we stop dreaming, our lives become one-dimensional, static, not fully alive. If we don’t know how and when to say goodbye to a dream, we get stuck in embittered, nostalgic quicksand.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/limits-vs-limitless-freedom-choice-life

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James Kavanaugh publishes “Celebrate the Sun: A Love Story.” In it we meet protagonist Harry Langendorf Pelican. Like his seagull compatriot, Harry rejects the ordinary life of a pelican and reaches outward for his own potential. Like Jonathan, Harry falls into disfavor from family and friends. He considers his willingness to suffer the disfavor as a measure of his depth, commitment and bravery.

Then Harry’s mother dies. And Harry is confronted with limits. No amount of affirming our life’s potential or hurling ourselves boldly in that potential changes the fact that there is, in the end, no such thing as limitless freedom.

The most joyous human freedoms emerge, paradoxically, from surrender to limits.

Kavanaugh’s book critiques Bach’s book. And I knew I must choose. And I did, finally, choose. I decided. I know it sounds like a riddle, but I decided there is ever-so-much more potential for freedom in limits. I began to see the idea of limitlessness as … limiting.

Bach says, “You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self — here and now. And nothing can stand in your way.”

I concluded, “Oh, actually tons of things can stand in your way. That’s the wonder and joy of it: the journey of finding authentic selfhood when so many things are standing in the way.”

Bach says, “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours. If they don’t, they never were.”

I concluded, “If you love someone, choose them with your whole heart! Never stop having high expectations of him/her, or of yourself!”

Bach says, “If you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them.”

I concluded, “Yes, many limitations are in fact self-imposed. Rethink those, for sure. But other limitations are immutable. We’re mortal. We age, weaken and die. We suffer. We grieve. We cannot will our own goodness. We cannot, no matter what we achieve, ever be wiser or stronger than The Mystery. Life will continue to happen, independent of our striving to be the sole author of our fate.”

Humility is the doorway to all the greatest treasures of the human experience.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-write-to-live-authentically-having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-per-great-sage-viktor-frankl/

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I write to live authentically — “having been” is the surest kind of being, per great sage Viktor Frankl

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Usually, to be sure, man considers only the stubble field of transitoriness [the “now”]

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and

overlooks

the full granaries of the past [reflective lookback] –

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wherein he had salvaged once and for all his deeds, his joys

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and also his sufferings.

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Nothing can be undone, and nothing can be done away with.

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[for example, I dream of being loved & wanted in the most beautiful way, & even if this dream is not reality, such thought/”unction” comprises my strength & “positive/right” attitude, even in the starkest moment of despair/seemingly hopeless predicament/state of nonexistence-nonbeing closest to death itself, having been forsaken all the way around –

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which is why Jewish Viktor Frankl’s dream amid the Holocaust even when facing down the death chamber/firing squad was “the angels are in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.” Ohh, so true!!]

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I should say ”having been” is the surest kind of being.

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2782.Viktor_E_Frankl?page=2

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‘Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved –

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but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.’ “

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From “Logotherapy in a Nutshell”, an essay” Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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The reality of life is the luck or unluck of the draw [a crapshoot] —

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“fair” & “unfair” are nonexistent in life’s vocabulary —

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life “just is.”

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Thence, how I deal with setbacks is the key to existence, not the external factual triggers [to despair/hopelessness of predicament].

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/this-ancient-blueprint-fo_n_5312209.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS+for+the+Soul

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Find your ‘inner citadel.’

Marcus Aurelius, who faced a fair share of hardship and warfare in his life, and is thought to have written the Meditations from a tent in a Roman battle camp.

The Roman statesman wrote that in dire situations, man must have an “inner citadel” to which he can retreat. Living from this inner place of peace and equanimity — a place which no person or external event can penetrate — gives a man the freedom to shape his life by responding to events from a rational, calm headspace.

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We can choose to exercise power over our thoughts and attitudes in even the most dire of situations — Roman philosopher Cicero uses the example of torture to illustrate a man’s power to choose our own thoughts, which he says can never be taken away from him. In his Discussions at Tusculum, Cicero explains that when a man has been stripped of his dignity, he has not also been stripped of his potential for happiness.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/54285947.html

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In this gaping hole of despair & hopelessness of one’s predicament is a crushing emptiness and an aloneness that can make you lose your mind and a sadness that can make your heart question the wisdom and the relevance of continuing to beat — a sadness no person thinks one can bear alone.

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On some days, very much to wish it would stop beating.

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To die of unrequited love. Van Gogh didn’t shoot himself in the head. He shot himself in the heart. He saw reality so deeply and clearly, yet could not ultimately disconnect his heart [“be not of this world” — self-respect despite this indifferent and tragic sentient life] from this reality or the other people in it.

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Van Gogh died because, in the end, he could not differentiate himself [self-respect] from the Collective Unconscious [our indifferent & tragic lack of empathy/compassion in our broken/flawed sentient nature] into which he was compelled to wander.

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My own epiphany, but I always was a wanderlust, dreaming of beautiful landscapes and never-seen places. Last night I dreamed that my long ago deceased uncle from Kona [symbolizes the love which my ohana/kazuko progeny Minnie/Donna still have for me] showed me a breathtaking vista of a mountainscape ahead of us as we gazed from the seashore toward the distant horizon. This “awesome dream come true” despite my 3 other Hilo family members having ignored me yesterday at McDonald’s in Hilo. I could’ve unconsciously nightmared over forsaken-ness, but such did not manifest. Wow!

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/sharing-grief-puts-a-healing-distance-between-us-and-the-pain-this-is-why-storytelling-matters/

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sharing grief puts a healing distance between us and the pain — this is why storytelling matters

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Share the suffering. The opportunity to tell the story of our suffering to a compassionate and skillful listener is helpful beyond measure. Simply in the telling and retelling, we begin to shift perspective, to put a healing distance between us and the pain.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/because-in-the-end-great-journeys-of-integrity-are-walked-alone-sage-steven-kalas/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/10174701.html

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Great journeys in emotional maturity are walked alone

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When another man’s life forces you to behold your own smallness, all you have to do is retro-narrate pathologized stories about him. Just like that, your world is a safer, happier place.

Your friends who are simply gone? You force me to behold, J.K., something I hate to think about:

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All great journeys in emotional maturity are ultimately walked alone.

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The archetypal picture here is probably Jesus, whose friends agreed to accompany him into the garden of Gethsemane that night to pray. Jesus is scared. Anxious. Asking God if there isn’t some other way. He looks to his friends for support and encouragement.

And they are sound asleep. And Jesus asks a rhetorical question into the silent night air: “Will no one stay awake with me?”

As a matter of fact, no. Tonight Jesus will suffer, and he will suffer alone.

How to maintain some sense of respect and optimism for humanity? I can only tell you what I do.

When I’m feeling low, when I’ve lost track of why I keep putting one foot in front of the other, when I am sick and tired of paying the price for living out values about which no one else appears to have much if any investment, when I can no longer argue with Protestant theologian John Calvin who used the word “depraved” to describe the essential nature of human beings …

… well, J.K., that’s when I think of people like you [who suffers alone in ennobled integrated fashion to care for his incapacitated wife].

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/9380491.html

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Mystery surrounds deep connections we make with others [making friends with “Alone”]

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An old friend writes from far away. Oh, not that old. She’s 48. I mean we’ve been friends a long, long time.

There’s this bond between us. A connection. I felt it the first time we spoke, which is funny because the first thing she ever communicated to me was disdain. I was 23, so I reached into my repertoire for managing repartee with beautiful women and selected “boyish cockiness” for my retort.

When you’re 23 and male, boyish cockiness is pretty much the extent of your repertoire.

But that was it for us — bonded. A connection that has survived time together, protracted times apart, even years of no communication whatsoever. The friendship has survived love affairs — not with each other — marriages and becoming parents. We’ve been drunk together. And sober. It occurs to me that I’ve never seen her cry.

She was 20 when I met her. Once, on a whim, she sent me a picture of herself at age 5. I smiled. Somewhere inside myself I knew her then, too. Recognized her. In some alternative past, she and I played together in a sandbox (until she made me cry because she was so bossy). Like the bond between us contains secret passages that defy time and space.

She writes to me: “I get you, Steven Kalas.”

Her words strike me like thunder. Truly awestruck, like the way you fall into a spectacular sunset, or the way you stop breathing when you’re standing in a barn at 2 a.m. watching the birth of a calf. I’m focused in a point of time, staring at my monitor. It’s like she’s right here. Right now. I have a friend who gets me. She sees me. I jumble a few words and she says, “Oh yeah.” She not only understands, but understands why and how things matter to me.

Amen.

Then I have this other friend. Or did. Or thought I did. Could’ve sworn we were friends. Soul mates. Years we were friends. Across passion and victory and folly and failure. Across celebration and loss. This friend knows me. And doesn’t know me at all.

We’re not connected anymore.

And I know as much about why we’re no longer connected as I do why I’m still connected to the other friend. Which is to say I don’t know anything at all. And I’ve been railing against the disconnection, like, if I protest loudly and long enough, my erstwhile friend will snap out of it and be connected to me again.

I’ve decided to stop railing. Sad, yes. Probably sad forever. But pounding on it serves all the purpose of pounding on a grave. Why would I look for the living among the dead?

See, both connections and disconnections deserve the same responses. Awe. Respect for the mystery. Even I, a man who believes his gifts and his calling to be teaching people how to be in relationship — well, I can’t tell you much of anything about why some connections happen and some connections don’t happen and still others disintegrate.

The most terrible thing my therapist ever said to me was also the most important: “Steven, we’re alone. No one has anyone.”

Yikes-oi. (Sorry. This sort of thing happens when a GoyBoy tries to express himself forcefully in Yiddish.)

I hated what she said. Railed against it. Argued with it. She had thrown existential sand into the gas tank of my fine-tuned DeLorean of delusion. And my pricey car would go not one mile farther.

My therapist was right. And, as with every other time when she is right, it’s time for me to grow up. We’re alone. No one has anyone.

Strangely, this new truth, while initially a scalpel slashed across my chest without anesthetic, did not burden and depress me for long. Surrender to separateness and aloneness quickly began to create a new space in me. A space for … for …

… relief. A kind of peace. And, most precious, gratitude and humility. Relationship is a grace. A kind of miracle. Human communion emerges as a gift. An unmerited joy. Yes, there are ways of living more conducive to forging and maintaining lasting relationships than other ways of living. I’m not saying there’s nothing we can do. Just that, in the end, I no longer think I have earned or deserved the people who stand in the inner circle of my life.

I just give thanks.

We’re alone. No one has anyone.

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Human beings cannot be possessed. They cannot be apprehended. They can only be respected and enjoyed. Or respected and bid farewell. Relationship is mystery.

Who really sees you? Who gets you? If you need more than one hand to count those people, you are rich beyond your dreams.

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Individualism as ego overpride is not the solitary reflection of an authentic life –

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http://www.lvrj.com/view/steven-kalas-we-are-individuals-in-consequential-relationships-162688016.html
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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/idyllic-imperatives-in-this-tragic-and-indifferent-life/

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/appropriate-self-respect-can-lift-all-areas-of-life-118320899.html

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A warning: there’s a downside, a real tricky balance in the work of self-respect. I have learned to nurture a healthy suspicion when I become too strident, too righteous about that value.

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There’s a line between self-respect and self-important/arrogant pride.

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It’s a fine line. Easy to cross. Way too easy for me, anyway. And I cross it at my own peril.

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When the human ego conscripts the language, the work and the mantle of self-respect, you start to feel really good and right about discarding people from your life.

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And then you can know that you were right, because you don’t have any friends at all.

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Self-respect and self-importance — not the same at all. But they can feel the same.

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Why can’t I be like you or in sync with you? Because then there would be no need for a me, just you and you alone.

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You can become your  own refutation. When overpride/vanity/jealousy are your Stygian Triplets, you know you’ve passed into some parallel universe.

This is what fear masked as supreme confidence with emotional manipulation looks like in print.

Methinks thou doth protest too much.

Missing is the “Grace to You” part.

There is no crisis, folks. Really. There isn’t. Only the one you continue to fuel.

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/02/heres-something-new-genesis-is-in-crisis-and-if-you-dont-see-that-youre-syncretistic/#ixzz3SzNTPDXE

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/culture-s-approach-to-suffering-only-prolongs-pain-129608658.html

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And, for those kinds of sufferings/losses that can never be entirely healed, to bear it. To find meaning in it. To turn that suffering into some transformative work in the world.

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And the truth is this: The human journey includes suffering. No one comes to ask for help who isn’t suffering.

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But, here’s another truth: In any given time in your life, the number of people who actually, really, honestly want and

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are willing to grant you an engaged and healing audience for your suffering/loss is …

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small!! Or nonexistent!!

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Even people who sincerely love and adore you might find themselves ambivalent about really engaging and listening to the part of you that suffers. See, the people around us have egos, too. Their egos mobilize to protect them just like your ego does. “Cheer up … get over it … God has a plan … everybody is doing the best he or she can … don’t cry” — the felt motive for these messages is to help you.

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But each of these messages also contains the anxiety of the messenger:

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Please stop bothering and disturbing me by suffering.

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And that’s what most modern people do. They try to stop suffering. They “get over it.” They build layer upon layer of pretense and persona over their wounds, because it’s, well, the sociable thing to do. Most of us, then, suffer unconsciously. Because that’s the way we’ve been taught to suffer.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/9146411.html

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Lots of people don’t want to be present to sadness — their own or anyone else’s.

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Other people would like to be present to their bereaved friends and family, but don’t know how.

We live in a culture where grief is treated as a disease to be “cured,” or a weakness cursed of shame or self-loathing.

Contrarily, grief is the holiest of human journeys.

One of my favorite Friedrich Nietzsche quotes is, “Everything holy requires a veil.” Now, modern Americans might think he means that we should keep things covered up because those things are shameful. Nope. He means that some things are so beautiful, so huge, so powerful, so naked, so intimate, that to gaze casually upon them would be injurious to their meaning and value. Injurious ultimately to us.

Grief is such a thing.

I concur with your observation that people around us are largely inept at befriending us in grief. Yet I also encourage people like you to remember to veil (protect and value) their grief. Keep the circle of confidants small. Pick two and no more than five people who will hear the depths of your pain.

There are two ways to read your question at the end. Literally you ask how you might numb the heartache. But I’m guessing you aren’t being literal. In fact, it’s not a question at all, is it? It reads more like an indignation. Like, how dare anyone ask you to numb the heartache! How dare the medical community suggest drugging your bereavement!

See, J.R., you know how precious your sadness is. A breathless, crushing burden, yes. But precious.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/alienation-i-dont-belong-and-estrangement-getting-dumped-because-i-dont-belong/

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alienation [I don’t belong] and estrangement [getting dumped because I don’t belong]

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Alienation & estrangement – the results of Loss [e.g. getting dumped] by your beloved [lifemate/soulmate]

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/_Retirement_leaves_time_for_pondering_self_relationships.html

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Question: What do all people seeking release from personal despair have in common?

Answer: They are suffering some combination of alienation and estrangement.

Alienation means a crisis of belonging. We are alien. We don’t belong.

Estrangement means the painful disruption of the bonds of relationship. Interpersonal injuries and injustices. To become estranged is to become a stranger to the one we love and by whom we are loved.

I’m saying your use of the word “misfit” sounds like a crisis of alienation and estrangement.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/western-religion-breeding-ground-neurosis

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When it comes to the question of the usefulness of guilt in shaping and inspiring a thriving human identity, I would say Western religion is, at once, beautiful, nutty and (potentially) pathological. Healthy religion knows these dangers. And psychologically healthy pilgrims embrace what is beautiful while keeping a keen watch on what is nutty or pathological.

Guilt is beautiful, holy, vital and important when it is healthy guilt. And healthy guilt is nothing more or less than the name of the grief we feel when we abandon our own values.

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The grief of alienation and estrangement.

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Healthy guilt, however miserable it feels, contains within itself a holy longing for reconciliation. (One prayer during the rosary, for example, is asking God to “give me a contrite heart.” Meaning, “Please give me the courage to let my heart break over the ways I have hurt others, etc.”) Catholicism — its rites, rituals and symbols — bears much beauty into the world to facilitate the blessings of healthy guilt, healthy shame.

The nutty or potentially pathological side of guilt happens when people, families or institutions (especially the church) peddle guilt to us with darker, perhaps unconscious motives. If you, for example, are threatened by another’s genius, gifts and “light” (envy!), then one way to dodge the threat is to instill in that person a grave, crippling self-doubt. An anxious, paralyzing self-consciousness forcing a default posture of apology to the world for daring to be him/herself.

Or, people/institutions instill guilt because they are projecting sadism. That is, they are reveling in the humiliation of sinners. Yes, some of our accusers are having a grand time!

Control, humiliation, hierarchy, authority, power — when discussions of guilt bear these darker motives, run away quick!

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Brené Brown studies fear, shame, and vulnerability

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In Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, she writes about collecting huge amounts of data about how human lives are shaped by the “struggle with shame and the fear of not being enough” as well as “the power of embracing imperfection and vulnerability.” She then began analyzing the data for common characteristics of people who were resilient in the face of adversity and who were living wholehearted life: “living and loving with their whole hearts.” Emerging out of that huge data set were some clear patterns:

The Do column was brimming with words like worthiness, rest, play, trust, faith, intuition, hope, authenticity, love, belonging, joy, gratitude, and creativity. The Don’t column was dripping with words like perfection, numbing, certainty, exhaustion, self-sufficiency, being cool, fitting in, judgment, and scarcity. (x)

Now, I don’t know what your reaction is to that “Do” and “Don’t” list. But Brown confesses that her initial reaction was horror. She says, “I thought I’d find that Wholehearted people were just like me…: working hard, following the rules, doing it until I got it right, always trying to know myself better, raising my kids exactly by the books…” (xi). But Brown was horrified by the revelation that as a successful professional, she had been formed and rewarded for living almost exclusively by the list of how not to live a wholehearted life, by the list of how to increase the likelihood of reaching the end of your life with many regrets: “perfection, numbing, certainty, exhaustion, self-sufficiency, being cool, fitting in, judgment, and scarcity.” So, she packed up her research and hid it under her bed for a year-and-a-half (xii)!

When you pause and take a step back, you can often see that daily life is a constant reminder of our imperfections and limitations. We are constantly being invited to “let go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embrace who we are,” but often we’re like Brown and shove those invitations under the rug as quickly as possible. In Brown’s words, “The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button” (xiii).

The UU First Principle affirms, “The inherent worth and dignity of every person.” But often it can be easier for many of us to fight for the rights and recognition of a marginalized group than to fully embrace the inherent worth and dignity of all those hidden parts of our own self: all those imperfect parts that we hope we are hiding from others. As the old saying goes, “Too often we compare our insides to others’ outsides, and we feel inadequate.”

Brown writes, “The greatest challenge for most of us is believing that we are worthy now, right this minute.”

Not I’ll be worthy when I lose twenty pounds, if I can get pregnant, or stay sober. Not I’ll be worthy if everyone thinks I’m a good parent, when I can make a living selling my art, if I can hold my marriage together, when I make partner, when my parents finally approve, if he [or she] calls back…, or when I can do it all and look like I’m not even trying. (24)

On the other side of a lot a research and some important work in therapy during that year-and-a-half in which she had hidden her research under the bed, Brown says that she’s come to be “a recovering perfectionist and an aspiring good-enoughist.” That doesn’t mean that we should stop pursuing excellence. But when you embrace your inherent worth and dignity, then your motivation changes in a vital way. Brown puts it this way, “Healthy striving is self-focused — How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused — What will they think? (56). The middle way is perhaps neither the narcissism of exclusive self-interest nor the self-deprecation of acting only for others, but instead knowing your limits and seeking the next best step for both yourself and others.

Leonard Cohen, in the chorus of his song “Anthem,” says that all any of us can ultimately do is “Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in.”

Where are the cracks and imperfections in your life?

How might those places of seeming weakness paradoxically be the most powerful invitations you will ever have in this life to “let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are,” to let go of our culture’s addiction to certainty and the myth of permanent satisfaction — and instead to savor and celebrate the gifts of the life that already have: right here and now.

I will conclude by offering you this blessing from one of my favorite liturgists Jan Richardson. In this life, we all have our different struggles, gifts, and graces:

May you have the vision to recognize the door that is yours,

the Courage to open it,

and the wisdom to walk through. (47)

May it be so, and blessed be.

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

 

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/jesus-death-becomes-even-more-powerful-when-this-particular-messiah-also-carries-your-personal-projections-that-is-the-celebritys-life-mirrors-important-pieces-of-your-own-psychic-journey-your/

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Jesus’ death becomes even more powerful when this particular messiah also carries your personal projections. That is, the celebrity’s life mirrors important pieces of your own psychic journey. Your own life dramas. Jesus did this for me with his transparency. His naive nakedness. He was the first “icon” to recognize egotistic “discernment” as insanity, to rightly despise it, and to distance himself from it. Unlike Jesus, celebrities of the flesh like John Lennon, Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, & Judy Garland couldn’t stop seeking it. If one says that a weeping fan’s grief is “unrealistic (and therefore annoying) at a time when so many are struggling with foreclosures, debt, disappearing jobs and other miseries,” I would say quite the opposite — that the sting of this grief is made more acute during these hard times, because we will miss the beauty, the passion, the inspiration and hope that pour through these artists and into our lives especially during times of social misery. Celebrities, and especially artists, provide us a deep mirror into the celebration of being human. Some celebrities become iconic. That is, the mirror they wield reaches into the collective human experience of a culture and sometimes across cultures (such as Waikiki’s Bruno Mars). And the death of an icon is felt painfully and powerfully in a human psyche. The loss is real and meaningful. And so is the grief. John Lennon was a celebrity. In Latin literally “the one who helps us celebrate.” And did he ever help us celebrate. And the price he paid was the burden of fame, fame in Latin meaning “rumor/gossip.” Celebrity is a calling. Fame is simply nuts. In the end fame killed him. If anybody needs forgiveness here, it’s us. Just as fame killed Lennon, we killed Jesus (mob hysteria after Jesus cleansed the temple of the mammon money changers). For then are when we need our leaders most.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/celebrities-can-lift-us-and-let-us-down

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Celebrity  lifts us  into the collective inspiration of the human race. The gift is ultimately found in the collective — not the individual.

While celebrities gather us to remember how utterly cool it is to be a human being, fame gathers us to affirm how utterly and uniquely cool is one particular human being. And, invariably, no mortal is utterly and uniquely cool.

In psychology, we would say that celebrity invites projection. That is, we tend to be attached to celebrities in ways that can be fun, useful, very emotional, even meaningful, but are nonetheless irrational, because our attachment says everything about us and virtually nothing about the actual mortal we’re adoring.

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Fame is a lonely and isolated business. And deadly. Fame killed Kurt Cobain. It killed Jimi Hendrix. Judy Garland. Speaking of Marilyn Monroe, Robert Bly wrote, “No one can survive the weight of 100 million projections. Marilyn did not survive.”

But, if not deadly, then fame is one seductive, bewitching place to be, inviting illusion and delusions of power and entitlement. Fame virtually begs its owner to forge two identities — one public, and one hidden.

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But never have I been confronted so powerfully about the naivete and power of my hero-projections until this week. Until a judge decided to unseal a 2005 court record revealing Bill Cosby’s confession that, yes, he acquired prescription Quaaludes with the intention of giving them to women with whom he wanted to have sex.

See, I was desperately holding out.

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And now, this. My mind rages against truth.

Losing a battle with temptation in a moment of human weakness is one thing. Being a lousy husband is another. Shameless promiscuity is many things unflattering — a dead end, an emptiness, a recklessness, a compulsion — but it is not evil.

I’m not a guy who bandies about the word “evil.” I save it for very special occasions.

But somnaphilia? This would mean that Bill is (or has been during his lifetime) a seriously unwell human being.

And drugging an unwitting woman so as to sexually exploit her unconscious form is not “a moment of human weakness.” It’s not being a lousy husband. It is not shameless promiscuity.

It’s rape. And rape is evil.

And I’m reeling.

 

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/but-these-reactions-are-not-really-about-batman-theyre-about-us-and-our-relationship-with-narratives-stories-and-mythology-the-primary-way-we-encounter-and-make-sense-of-the-world-is-through-sto/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/shakespeares-great-prodigyera-peer-john-miltons-poem-paradise-lost-is-about-the-fall-of-man-the-temptation-of-adam-and-eve-by-the-fallen-angel-satan-and-their-expulsion-from-the-garden-of-eden/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/to-be-or-not-to-be-real-dear-hamlet-tis-the-question-in-praise-of-grace-mercy-full-of-redemptions-greatest-emotional-therapist-shakespeare-who-incredulously-not-to-christians-whence/

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French-Swiss John Calvin reacted against Martin Luther in more conservative terrains far south of Frankfurt’s latitude. John Calvin was 26 years younger than Martin Luther, and for the most part Calvin was the “yang” to Luther’s “yin,” so to speak.

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Shakespeare actually is a product of Martin Luther’s Reformation, with Grace & Mercy “full of redemption” replete thruout Shakespeare’s Morality Plays.

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Word out, so to speak, Shakespeare plagiarized Scripture thru and thru, Daddy-O! No Scripture, No Shakespeare!

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Remember that just 30 yrs. before Shakespeare was born, Latin to English Bible translator William Tyndale was

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burned at the stake by the Papacy for making the Bible readable

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by the English commoners.

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

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No matter the rather undeserved propping up of Shakespeare on the backs of our Gospel Authors. Kudos to Shakespeare for Shakespeare’s own search for the mystery and the Truth of Jesus!

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Which, by the way, says a lot about shunned predestination pariah John Calvin, who is Shakespeare’s total opposite on salvation.

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Looking at the frayed Calvin proselyting about Man’s venality & depravity amid predecessor reformer Martin Luther’s Reformation in the north latitudes, one easily accepts Calvin’s admonition about the evil of Ego/overpride as our worst affliction/contagion.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/the-take-away-which-is-a-huge-lesson-to-learn-from-some-contemporary-evangelicals-is-that-calvin-did-not-impose-onto-the-gospels-a-view-of-how-the-bible-ought-to-work-as-gods-word-rather/

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Calvin correctly says that the best Man can hope for is a release from Hell’s Iniquity by choosing Jesus as our Lord & Savior.

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Has anything changed from early Church father Augustine to intellectual Aquinas (Summa Theologica) 800 years after Augustine, to us today 800 years after Aquinas??? 1200 AD Aquinas is equidistant by 800 yrs. after Augustine & 800 yrs. before us today — yet nothing has changed in our depraved nature from 400 AD Augustine to us today, not to mention from Jesus’ crucifixion to Augustine 400 yrs. later.

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No, not in our own mental/intellectual gymnastics/tortuous rationalizations on predestination vs. free will.

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And certainly not in our innate venal toxic nature.

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We are as detestable today as we were when we crucified Jesus in the mob hysteria of those 6 days 2000 years ago.

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Imagine, we sing Hosanna, even the stones shout Hosanna, as Jesus marches into Jerusalem sideway on a donkey’s colt.

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And no later than you can bat an eyelash, we crucify Jesus because

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Jesus cleans out the temple of everything evil about us.

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No, we are no better today than that week when Jesus died for our sins. Like I say, John Calvin has something here, baby!! ;-)

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Augustine and Luther came to Christ thru Romans and Galatians.

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

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Epistle to the Romans is the 6th Book in the new Testament, and is the longest of the Pauline epistles. It is considered Paul’s most important theological legacy.

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

Salvation is offered thru the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Especially where there are multitudes of sin, there is more Grace — so that the former baleful sinner/wretched man/filthy rag such as Saul nka Paul now missions supernaturally for Jesus’ Word.

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Justification has 2 meanings in Greek: 1) Propitiation which is subjective forgiveness for each sin as if one had never sinned; 2) transformative righteousness which is objective deliverance from continuous sin. Or, as great disciple Watchman Nee suffused, Jesus’ blood on the cross is the subjective mercy of God for our numerous sins (plural), whereas the body of Christ is the overall objective deliverance from continuous sin (singular).

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/in-praise-of-china-christian-capstones-yu-cidu-dora-yu-1873-1931-margaret-emma-barber-1966-1930-their-acolyte-ni-to-sheng-watchman-nee-1903-1972/

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http://orthodoxwiki.org/Justification#Western_v._Eastern_concepts_-_Implications

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Legal/juridical concepts of mercy/propitiation & acquittal/substitutionary atonement

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substitutionary_atonement#Ransom_and_Christus_Victor_theory

were clarified by Augustine.

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Anselm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anselm_of_Canterbury#Influence

developed these ideas 600 years later,

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and Luther built on the work of Anselm 500 years after Anselm.

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To the early correctly rooted Christian, theology is not something that improves with age—it is something to be internalized, and it can best be understood by journeying as close to the roots of our faith as possible. Reason and logic ergo the Enlightenment cannot guarantee a better understanding of God, his Son or our faith.

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Justification is seen by Protestants as being the theological fault line that divided Catholic from Protestant during the Protestant Reformation – Catholics emphasize works/rituals of righteous deliverance, whereas Protestants emphasize transformative faith, that faith is entirely distinct from works.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justification_(theology)

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Protestants emphasize that law/ritualized righteousness is not to make us righteous, but to let us know we’re sinners/to convict us.

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Unlike Catholics, Protestants emphasize that our of-the-flesh sinful nature distorts righteousness by ritualizing works.

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In this sense, Christ has no value to me if I’m delusionally self-righteous (such as by Catholic ritualized works).

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On the other hand, if I’m open and honest about myself, I will fail, which is what Christ’s atoning sacrifice/faith-obedience are all about.

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After all, Romans 8:7 speaks of mankind’s natural/flesh enmity vs. God.

http://biblehub.com/romans/8-7.htm

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Revelation via deliverance from continuous sin gives us a new heart, and we become a new creation.

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Like Paul, both Augustine and Luther made great efforts to refute the notion that our works could serve as the proper basis for justification & eventual sanctification.

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Remarkable that one’s experiences span a century or more, if one is lucky enough to live into old age. My uncle Masaaki 1903-1970 was 50 years older than me. My grandsons Silas & Ashley are 50 years younger than me. Uncle Masaaki is a century older than Silas & Ashley. My life experiences span a century between Uncle Masaaki and my grandsons Silas & Ashley. Gatz! Defy Father Time??

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Of course, one can stretch even longer life’s time span – my grandma [Uncle Masaaki’s & my dad’s mama] Tome was 70 years older than me. I just turned age 61, so my lifeblood youngest progeny is my youngest grandchild, my granddaughter Maya, who is 59 years younger than me. Not equidistant, but 130 years separate my grandma Tome from my granddaughter Maya.

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Actor William Demarest 1892-1983 was 60 years older than me, thus meeting the equidistance measure, with my granddaughter Maya being 60 years younger than me — the total span being 120 years from William Demarest [or my uncle Bill Cappy Chun, also born in Demarest’s time] to my granddaughter Maya. Here is prolific vaudeville/longtime character actor Demarest –

William Demarest Picture

William Demarest(1892–1983)


Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, William Demarest was a prolific actor in movies and TV, making more than 140 films. Demarest started his acting career in vaudeville and made his way to Broadway. His most famous role was in My Three Sons, replacing a very sick William Frawley. Demarest was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting role in the real-life biography…See full bio »

Still of Humphrey Bogart and William Demarest in All Through the NightStill of Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre and William Demarest in All Through the Night
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Of course, last year’s 60th year Diamond Jubilee with majestic Queen Elizabeth had the most amazing aerial displays –
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but let’s also remember lusty [yes, con todo mi alma y corazon] Victoria‘s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 [my grandparents were hormonal teens bent on pioneering East to the Hawaiian islands of silk & honey][Victoria is current Queen Elizabeth’s great great grandmother][our greatest modern Hawaiian statesperson Pi’ehu Iaukea 1855-1940 pilgrimaged to England for this tremendous occasion — Pi’ehu was preceded in great diplomacy & leadership by Kamehameha III Kauikeaouli 1813-1854]

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Thence, my immigrant grandparents’ odyssey East transcended both Victoria’s & current Queen Elizabeth’s reigns – my ojisans/obasans [tutus] experienced both divine queens in all their soulful reigns – 115 years [Victoria in 1897 & Elizabeth’s 2012 jubilee] spanning 3 centuries [1800s to 2000s]!!! Wow!!

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I was 20 when my daughter was born, 40 when my oldest grandchild/mo’opuna kane was born, 50 when my middle grandsons were born [among 5 grandchildren, 3 boys, 2 girls], and nearly 60 when my youngest grandchild/mo’opuna wahine was born.

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My parents whom I worship and miss dearly were 40 years older than me. My mature parents were tutus/grandparents to me in age chronology, & I am blessed by their mature wisdom/magnanimity & composure/equanimity.

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My parents died 17 years ago 4 months apart [coincidence — Mom died of a stroke/Dad died 4 months later from cancer].

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I felt like a grandchild blessed with the most loving & supportive tutus/grandparents in the world, though when I was a barefoot plantation toddler here in Wainaku [Ha’aheo Elem. School atop Kamehameha the Great’s most beautiful pu’u/hilltop] — I felt terribly embarassed that my parents were fuddy-duddy oldsters vs. my village kid peers’ parents, and that my mom worked, so that I never came home to a homemaker mom who had cookies laid out for me on the kitchen table in our old plantation mill camp.

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When my parents died 17 years ago, I suddenly crossed over to be a tutu/grandparent to my burgeoning mo’opuna/grandkids. My grandparents 70 years older than me had died by the time I was old enough to know them.

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I don’t remember being a child [in a most blessed sense], but undeniably I was blessed/gifted [of the spirits? Cor./Romans/Ephesians/Peter/etc.] as a grandchild would be, with my dearest parents who were like grandparents to me in wisdom/countenance.

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Nor do I remember being a parent [my daughter Staycie who is at middle age at 42 — laughingly tells me that I was a lousy party animal parent but above all else — I loved my daughter more than anything/anyone in the whole wide world — and this is the only thing which counted for my daughter, which is/means everything to her & to me!!].

Always my little baby Staycie girl

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But now here I am as a grandparent [by default — ha ha ha — still a party animal], and wow, time flies, baby! !!

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And now I am by default/pied piper via hedonism/elan tutu again to 2 dearest “hanai”/emotional attachment — mo’opuna — Colton age 27 & Jill age 22, grandkids to me in age chronology! I ask Colton how may I be of service to him/Jill, & Colton shoots back, “Don’t! Just be you!” Gatz! Who am I???? [ha ha ;-) ]

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Foggy bottom, baby — is my head — spinning like a top???!! Ha ha! Dig my hero George Harrison’s video – [40 years from age 20 to 60 for me — go by in the blink of an eye!!][Maui resident Harrison died of cancer at age 58 after 9/11 & a year after this You Tube video was produced]

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Yes, I hope to make it to age 80 & still feel like a passionate teenager in love!! Ha ha ha!! Enjoy [the treats below], baby!!!

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Age is a figment of our imagination — our core being is ageless!

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See especially timeclock 4:19 to 5:05 of youtube below about Harrison’s opinion on aging as soulfully deepest youth enjoyed –

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uVnKjv4fK0&feature=related

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/in-praise-of-the-46th-anniversary-of-mccartneys-tune-i-will/

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Music is my whole life, and I dedicate these happy links to my Dad Toshi 1913-1998, who was born to sing & play his ubiquitous Martin ‘ukulele, and who sang & played in the mango tree astride my grandparents’ Wainaku mill camp home as a young boy. Dad’s mom Tome 1881-1954 sang & picked at her samisen Japanese fiddle/string board. Dad got his music from his mom Tome. Dad is a baritone, my baby brother Lloyd & Dad’s youngest sibling Charley & Dad’s 2nd youngest sibling Yukio’s son Don are fine tenors. Dad had gone thru hell as a combat soldier witnessing death all around him — thence Dad appreciated every single day of a new dawn of continued life on this earth. Which is why I’m inspired by Dad’s composure/calm countenance in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds/trials/tribulations. Repugnant manipulation/deceit/overpride/anger/hostility/selfishness — are such ordinary behaviors “of the flesh” – which are why Dad’s serenity and joy of spirit for me are “to behold for alltime sake.” 🙂

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My Mom Teruko “Ruth” (maiden name Hanato of Kona) never sang. I think our musical DNA is from my Dad’s side of the family. My Mom was a good athlete [basketball capt. soph. yr. 1932 Hawai’i Island prep titlist —
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Mom spawned all the Kona Hanato girl hoopsters you see today, incl. female coach Bobbie Hanato Awa & Bobbie’s NCAA1 daughter Dawnyelle, though imperious Bobbie Awa has no clue about Mom’s hoopster genesis behind Awa].  

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Mom’s legacy is Mom’s grandniece Bobbie Hanato Awa’s winningest high school program in the whole State and among the winningest nationally.

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Actually, Mom’s father’s [otosan] & mother’s [okasan] legacy abides in their genesis of what is today’s historically significant Kona’s Honalo Buddhist Jodo Daifukuji church

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Mom’s great-grand niece Dawnyelle –

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http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=dawnyelle+awa+videos&qpvt=dawnyelle+awa+videos&FORM=VDRE#view=detail&mid=8D292407068405377FB58D292407068405377FB5

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http://www.hawaiibookblog.com/articles/japanese-buddhist-temples-in-hawaii-an-illustrated-guide-book-review/

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http://www.daifukuji.org/history.html.

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No, the Hanato legacy is not in Mom’s athletic prowess, nor in the Hanato business acumen [e.g. Mom’s sister 106 yr. old centenarian Shizue “Mary” Hanato Teshima’s world-renowned Teshima Restaurant — Shizue 1907-2013]. Dad was a great athlete [incl. bootleg boxer pre-legalization], as is my baby brother [State prep baseball all-star]. Dad’s legacy is as WWII 442nd combat infantry soldier in the all-Japanese American Unit — Dad as Silver Star awardee for rescuing Dad’s mortally wounded CO & fellow PFC after Dad’s squad was ambushed by German infantry soldiers.

* https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/yushin-charley-narimatsu-1920-2013-died-age-93-my-nisei-2nd-generation-uncle-the-last-of-his-generation-in-my-kazokufamily/

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my Dad Toshi 1913-1998 (Dad was longtime State 442 prexy Willy Okino Thompson’s hanai older brother) stepping up in convoy with left leg raised & left hand on side rail (National Archives have actual film/movie of this convoy)

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Even into Dad’s final years, Dad would sing among our backyard pals, Dad’s Martin ‘ukulele always in his arms. My daughter Staycie age 42 is half Hawaiian, & my dearest little baby girl Staycie has instilled in her children the spirit of the islands — aloha — welcome/accomodation/tenderness/humbleness/kindness/generosity — her children Maya age 4/Emily age 8/Silas & Ashley both age 13/Shay age 23. Beautiful aloha. My mo’opuna keiki all.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/tribute-to-my-musical-dad-toshi-1913-1998-george-trices-passion-personality-analog-my-dad/

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Hana hou (one more time — reprise)!!

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D-SgA_NJwk

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVCwe_Jewl8

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As a child just after Statehood 56 yrs. ago, I was enthralled by the theme song to CBS local affiliate’s Saturday Island matinee playhouse. I still have not pinned down its title, but I remember it sounding a little like Glen Miller’s Moonlight Serenade. Music aficionados “in the know” are long dead & gone [the great George Camarillo/Gloriana Adap/etc.], so I’ll have to sleuth a little more to find out the melodic magic of half a century ago. Nonetheless, I present to you favorites of mine over the years. Enjoy ;-)

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Beautiful Pachelbel’s Canon, lost to history for centuries

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Af372EQLck

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Of course, Mozart is the greatest solace/emotional therapist –

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi8vJ_lMxQI

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from https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/susanne-mentzer-the-mozart-effect-beautiful/

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Brain Memory

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The cost of discipleship

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/family/radical-commitment-and-nothing-less-makes-marriage-thrive

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Hope for credibility with  “I’m not religious!”  readers. Sometimes I like to retell a religious story and then apply it to a broader but still important human matter.

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In the Christian Gospel, there is told a brief exchange that Jesus has with three people. The chapter heading in my Bible titles it, “The cost of discipleship.” Each of these three people begins the conversation with an expressed desire to be one of Jesus’ followers. And to each, Jesus responds with the cost entailed in such a commitment.

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Whenever I read this, I think of people who have dared to consider a lifelong commitment to growing love and fidelity with another human being in the bonds of life partnership.

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The first guy says to Jesus, “I will follow you!” And Jesus fires back, “He who puts his hand on the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”   Luke 9:62

http://biblehub.com/luke/9-62.htm

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Well, of course. Either decide to plow the field or decide not to plow the field. But if you decide to plow the field, then put your hand on the plow and keep your eyes forward. Pay attention. If you say “giddyup” to the mule, and then keep eyeballing over your shoulder, fantasizing and wondering about fields you might or should have plowed instead, the mule is going to get the idea that plowing is not very important. You won’t be plowing straight lines. The mule might even get a mind of its own and wander over to someone else’s field, making the owner of that field very unhappy. You’ll also likely get some very critical questions from the co-owner of your field – the field you made a commitment to plow.

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Lifelong togetherness calls for an unequivocal, radical commitment. It’s normal over the course of 40 to 50 years occasionally to indulge the fantasy of what might have happened had you not made this commitment. What might have happened if you made the commitment to someone else or something else. But the fact is, you made this commitment. Not that one. So, hand on the plow. Eyes forward. You are in charge of the mule, not the mule in charge of you.

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So, decide. Unequivocally. Radically. With your whole heart.

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The second guy says to Jesus, “I will follow you.” And Jesus says, cryptically, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  Matthew 8:20

http://www.realteachingsofjesus.com/2009/06/foxes-have-holes-and-birds-of-air-have.html

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Well, of course. Radical commitments require the regular sacrifice of belonging. If I say I belong “here,” then by definition, I will not belong to other places and people the way I once might have belonged. If I belong “here,” then there will be some places and people to whom I cannot ever belong again. Radical commitment demands that we “rewire” belonging.

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If we make a lifelong commitment, then we cannot belong to our vocation the same way. We cannot belong to our mother and father the same way. Nor to our friends. To make someone or something primary in your life means other relationships will now have different orbits in the constellation of our attention and energy.

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I say this often, especially to blended families. Divorced parents meet and fall in love. But they often underestimate, make naive assumptions about or even try to dodge the work of rewiring children into the new union. But if you want your new union to be the success that your first marriage was not, then there is no alternative to having the rigorous conversations with the new mate and with your children about the new constellation of belongingness.

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The third guy says to Jesus, “I will follow you, but first let me bury my father.” And Jesus says: “Let the dead bury the dead. You follow me now.” Ouch.    Luke 9:60

http://biblehub.com/luke/9-60.htm

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Jesus might sound insensitive, but his point is well-taken. There are and will always be reasons to put off radical commitment. Commitment requires us to recognize the illusion of our hesitation. We keep telling ourselves, “When circumstances X, Y and Z are resolved, then I will make a commitment.” But all great unions sojourn in a land of constantly changing circumstances and problems to solve. Make the commitment. Decide. Then turn together – as We – to face and do battle with those swirling, ever-changing circumstances.

We don’t say, “If/when (the problems/circumstances), then my union  …” We say, “What shall We do about the problems and the circumstances?”

Only a radical commitment is a radical commitment.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/writing-and-eventually-dying-a-good-death-expressing-sharing-love-to-the-end/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-write-to-live-authentically-having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-per-great-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/sharing-grief-puts-a-healing-distance-between-us-and-the-pain-this-is-why-storytelling-matters/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/ambivalence-killed-jesus-the-people-waved-palm-branches-on-sunday-singing-hosanna-hey-come-friday-they-shouted-to-free-barabbas-same-crowd-when-you-stand-too-close-to-beautiful/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/acknowledging-ambivalence-is-best-way-to-cope-sage-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/i-will-die-a-good-death/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/because-in-the-end-great-journeys-of-integrity-are-walked-alone-sage-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/does-your-life-have-purpose/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/randy-pausch-steven-kalas-living-meaningfully/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/harriet-beecher-stowes-prophetic-engine-sage-joan-d-hedrick/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/theodicy-suffering-in-the-world-and-the-problem-of-evil-an-afterlife-is-a-cop-out/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/if-were-going-to-write-it-is-because-we-have-a-desire-to-express-ourselves-even-if-we-dont-quite-understand-what-we-wish-to-say-it-might-just-be-an-inner-yearning-but-by-making-t/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/dont-you-just-love-a-cogent-argument/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/whats-the-lesson-in-your-narrative-kare-anderson/

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inspired by wordsmith Steven Kalas’ reasons for writing –

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Art_is_expression_of_self_shared_with_the_world.html

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Art is expression of self shared with the world

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How did I learn to write? Great teachers along the way, including but not limited to the Hayakawas & Nishiharas of my formative teen years.

Why do I write? Some people keep a diary. Some people write in a journal. Some people keep meticulous photo albums, chronicling important moments, times, places and people.

I write about my observations and experiences.

If it moves me deeply, it will show up in my written words. If it opens my heart, it will show up in a written format. If it compels me in paradox, if it makes me tremble with humility and gratitude, if it mobilizes outrage or contempt, it will become a written composition. If I fall in love with you, if I despise you, if you bless me, if you hurt me badly enough, don’t be surprised if you end up in a written verse.

If it makes me hope, makes me ache, makes me cry, then I hand it to heaven, where it ricochets off eternity and pours itself into my Jung archetype named Shadow. Then it pours back out into the world.

Shadow has more than once saved my sanity. Maybe even my life.

I write to know myself better.

Here’s a paradox: Real art is, for the true artist, an act of the purest selfishness, which, because it is pure selfishness, moves out into the world as extravagant generosity.

Selfishness? Yes. A true artist is never first a performer. He/she doesn’t do it for us. The artist is lost in self. For self. Obedient to a voice that cannot be ignored or denied. Art is near hedonism. A naked reveling. It includes suffering, yes, but even the agony is more a masochistic pleasure.

Generosity? Yes. The artist’s brazen and shameless desire to dig so deeply into self produces art that forces us to dig more deeply. To see ourselves more transparently. Art is a cosmic mirror.

Deciding to listen to my Shadow is deciding to see me naked. Though you won’t know that while you’re listening. If my art moves you, then you will see yourself naked. And that’s always a good thing. People come to an artist’s art as a voyeur. But what they spy on, in the end, is themselves.

Does that make me an exhibitionist? I can live with that. It’s a fair cop.

I’ve written much before which never made the trek into our current internet era. The first one was about nostalgia of love lost. The last one is this composition here. But, as sage Steven Kalas says about his songwriting, it’s Steven’s song No. 92 that probably would tell you the most about why I write for myself to share with you, the world.

My heroes have always been naked/ Warm in the clothes of their transparent identity/ Maybe we all should be naked/ With nothing to hide there’s no need to pretend not to see

But shame is the name of the master who must be obeyed/ And after a while we learn to like being a slave

The naked man/ He takes a stand/ He lets the people see/ We point and laugh/ We’re taken back/ But freedom lives in authenticity.

Like a lot of songs, it works on several levels at once. On the most personal level, it’s about my passion to live authentically. I don’t always get there, but I respect myself when I try.

On another level, it’s about my admiration of people who do live “nakedly.” Was John Lennon a card-carrying narcissist? Well of course. But I get why he posed naked with Yoko on the album cover of “Two Virgins.” He was trying to crawl out from under the deadly weight of Beatlemania, a fame he sought, created and then rightly abhorred.

And later, I was surprised to discover it’s a song about my spirituality. In Steven’s case, it’s a song about Jesus.

My heroes are those who live naked/ The man that you meet still the man who is there when you leave/ But brave are the ones who live naked/ Most people are hiding and naked is their enemy

Naked is a mirror in which there is no choice but to see/ So we break the mirror and then blame it for making us bleed

The naked man/ He takes a stand/ He lets the people see/ His naked fate/ Humiliate/ What people hate is authenticity.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-morley/writing-tips-6-ways_b_1591232.html#s1088091&title=Workshops_work

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We are born writers in the sense that we are born storytellers. Language is who we are to the world. Our ability to tell our story with clarity and panache will make the difference between being heard and being ignored.

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We like to think that artistic genius, at least, feeds on solitude. It is not uncommon for new writers to worry that they will become less distinct, less original, if they spend too much time sharing ideas with their peers. But consider the case of Jorge Luis Borges. When he went to Europe as a young aspiring poet, he found his feet (and an education) in the tertulias of Madrid. Returning to his native city of Buenos Aires, he continued the habit. The almost nightly conversations he had with Adolfo Bioy Casares and other writers fed directly into his writing, and into theirs. If Latin America literature then went off in a direction not yet possible in Europe and North America, it is largely thanks to this unruly group of literary hybrids, who drew as much inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe and G.K. Chesterton as they did from Shakespeare and Verlaine. They gave each other the courage to be break conventions, question received ideas, and imagine the unimaginable. – Maureen Freely
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Write, firmly believing that imagination is the quintessential self/the quintessential way of “knowing” the world. This imaginative knowing has the potential to dispel barriers that isolate individuals and communities. Exercising imaginative “knowing” allows, always, for a potentially transcendent narrative, that is trans-global, trans-cultural and speaks to our common humanity. – Jewell Parker Rhodes
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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/a-writers-life-list-listen-more-than-you-speak-engage-with-the-world-thats-where-ideas-come-from-ohh-so-true-these-are-where-ideas-manifest-beautifully-lori-nelson-spielman/

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A writer’s life list: Listen more than you speak. Engage with the world. That’s where ideas come from. Ohh, so true, these are where ideas manifest beautifully. — Lori Nelson Spielman

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Writing Life List

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-nelson-spielman/a-writers-life-list_b_3676417.html?utm_hp_ref=books

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The inspiration for my novel was found in an old cedar box. Tucked alongside my first bankbook and my grandmother’s rosary, I discovered a yellowed piece of notebook paper folded into a tidy little square. In my flowery, 14-year-old cursive, I’d written Lori’s List across the top, along with 27 goals I thought would make for a good life. I also included a sidebar called, Ways To Be, which included such pearls as, Don’t be stuck-up. Don’t talk about ANYONE.

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Never expect to be taken seriously. People, even friends, can be insensitive. They don’t realize how important your craft is to you. Don’t fault them for it.

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Learn to describe your project du jour in one succinct sentence, and do so if, and only if, someone inquires. And never, ever ask your friends to read your unpublished manuscript. Find a writer’s group for that.

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Don’t complain to non-writers. They don’t want to hear it.

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Write with joy and abandon. Use your creative gift in a way that would please its benefactor.

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http://www.pccs.va/index.php/en/news2/attualita/item/787-suspense-novelist-writes-about-people-finding-hope-redemption

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Koontz acknowledges he has “a very low boredom threshold” and wants to be entertained by what he writes. He says he’s been asked, “I want you to write a book that’s very dark and very noir and everybody dies in the end and there’s no meaning to anything.” To which he replies, “You don’t need me to do that. It’s everywhere.”

“That’s not what I do,” Koontz said. “I write about people trying to find hope and redemption in their lives from suspense.”

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/i-will-die-a-good-death/

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I will die a good death — as my greatest hero Viktor Frankl said, “having been” is the surest kind of being, though it cannot inspire envy [life is full of suffering].

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I love and am loved. I want to love and want to be loved. I am true to my heart and I lead with my heart. I will die a good death. No one but me decides my attitude when I die.

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Like basketball/football, I process my life in 4 quarters of 20 years each. The first quarter was schooling in preparation for the workplace. The second quarter was raising a family. The third quarter was paying down the sundry bills which came with a life full of activity. My final & fourth quarter consists of retirement & emotional preparation of inevitable death. I will die a good death.

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I always have an immutable enduring image of Wainaku Pua Lane’s Albert Pacheco Sr. as he rested his head in his lap while sitting on the shoreline boulder by our Wailuku river “singing bridge” astride our ubiquitous lighthouse — contemplating his own death of terminal cancer while still in his middle ages. Ohhh so sad. For the first 3 quarters of my frenetic “frantic” life — I never “got” [captured] the feel of mortality that coursed thru Albert’s soul as he engaged the end of his life. Now I “get it.” I will die a good death. I am at peace with myself. Albert is my hero. Albert’s example is my example. Die a good death. No one owns my attitude with my death. Life’s journey in deepest selfhood always in the end is walked alone.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/because-in-the-end-great-journeys-of-integrity-are-walked-alone-sage-steven-kalas/

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Albert walked wondrously to his inner peace. Albert was the greatest husband, father, & friend. And the humblest! Albert is my hero.

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Hope Kiko Nakamura of downtown Hilo’s Kino’ole St. also is my hero. A native of Japan, she is Amaterasu, my sun goddess who is kindness personified. Nihonjin are very bigoted because of our racial homogeneity [master race psychomania], so to speak. Not Hope Maki, who is the most loving person around — to people of all colors, social classes, manners, ages. Also, I have never seen an older woman any unthinkably prettier than Hope Maki — yet she is our humblest person, singularly divine like Albert Pacheco. Hope Maki and Albert Pacheco are my immortal heroes — forever inspiring — every generation should observe, study, and learn from these 2 sublime archetypes [greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation][like Jesus & like Scripture’s Pericopes/Parables, my dynamic duo above exemplifies such confounding deepest Truths/frustration-reversal of conventional expectations — huli’au/upside down outcomes but the righteous results, so to speak]. Their interior contemplative humblest nature undyingly are for the ages, and they inspire me to no end.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/in-praise-of-gautam-mukundas-extraordinary-study-indispensable-when-leaders-really-matter/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/sublime/

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An interior contemplative “soul” is valued a la Albert, Hope Kiko [& young Kepola Lee in my article on the greatest of leaders –https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/in-praise-of-gautam-mukundas-extraordinary-study-indispensable-when-leaders-really-matter/], and of course, a la Jesus [or ascetic Buddha or Allah, for that matter] –

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my mythic hero Frankie Starlight [Alan Pentony] dares to reach for the stars

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV1EYBnPMEY

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Alan Pentony [with Anne Parillaud]

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

Plot

Frank Bois writes a successful first novel and finds himself looking back over his life. His mother Bernadette (Parillaud) was a French woman who, after the death of her friends and family in World War II, hid herself aboard an Allied war ship heading to Ireland, where she exchanged sexual favors for silence among the soldiers who found her on board. A nice customs agent, Jack Kelly (Byrne), allowed Bernadette to enter Ireland illegally, and they soon became a couple lovers, even though she was already pregnant from one of the soldiers from the ship.

Bernadette soon gave birth to young Frankie (Pentony), who suffers from dwarfism. As he grew older, Frankie develops romantic feelings for Jack’s daughter Emma (Cates), who does not share his feelings, while Jack teaches astronomy to Frankie. Eventually, Bernadette meets Terry Klout (Dillon), an American soldier she had met on the war ship, who offers to marry her. Bernadette and Frankie go with Terry to his home in Texas, but both mother and son feel like they don’t belong there, so they return to the Irish home they loved. An older Bernadette eventually committed suicide, and Frank used his life as source material for his writing.

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Empathy means literally “to enter the pathos.”

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To enter the pathos is to surrender to all that is tragic, absurd, lost, despairing, meaningless. The word “pathos” is not a derision; it’s an observation.

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Compassion means literally “to suffer with.”

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We bandy these words about too easily. It’s not all that frequently we find people who will really do what are implied in those words. I cherish the people I do find.

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I no longer lift bread and wine. I lift broken, poured out people. Folks like myself. My meaning in life is to help others find their meaning.

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/culture-s-approach-to-suffering-only-prolongs-pain-129608658.html

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-watt/why-we-write_b_2411000.html

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Why We Write

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By approaching our writing from this perspective we take our thumb off the scale, and in doing so make conscious what was previously unconscious.

And that is the goal of story: to make meaning out of a set of events.

Growth is painful. To make a choice involves discomfort, because it demands that we take responsibility. But it also means that we get to live in reality. To create from a place of fantasy, of groundlessness, is an escape — which is different than losing ourselves in our work by shedding our ego for a deeper connection to our humanity.

Why we write is more important than what we write because our reason for writing influences the content of our work. It is important to remember that we don’t have to do this. The world is not in a rush for more books. There are more great works of fiction, poetry, memoir, history and pumpkin soup recipes than we will ever have time to consume.

If we’re going to write, it is because we have a desire to express ourselves, even if we don’t quite understand what we wish to say. It might just be an inner yearning, but by making the choice to engage in the process rather than the result, our work has a chance to live. In expressing ourselves, we make what we write essential, if only to ourselves, and by beginning from this place, it has a chance to affect the world.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-goeman/faitheist-social-change-through-storytelling_b_2382772.html

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‘Faitheist’: Social Change Through Storytelling

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America is diverse. However, this diversity occurs in safe, isolated pockets that are stagnant and unengaged with one another. Diana Eck, religious scholar and founder of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University, notes that diversity is nothing to be proud of. Diversity is the description of a community, like Tufts or America, where people of different beliefs or backgrounds happen to be in the same location. Pluralism, rather, is the “active seeking of understanding across lines of difference.” It is this engagement that breaks down barriers and guards against prejudice. If we want to make pluralism, rather than diversity, a descriptive fact of our community, we need emissaries to navigate cultural boundaries.

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We need to invite others inside our communities and show them what we value. And we need storytellers.

“Faitheist” works to end this ideological segregation. Chris humanizes atheism by sharing his life and his values –

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Chris aims to end the cycle of isolation and tribalism by encouraging others to contribute their own story to our collective narrative.

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The more we get to know each other, the more our prejudices will dissolve.

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Toward the end of the book, he notes: “The moment I shared my story as a secularist, others felt more comfortable sharing their own.”

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“Faitheist” isn’t just a memoir; it’s a continuation of the biographical heritage established by “Roots”, “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “Hiroshima” —

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the books that informed Chris about the radical depths of human suffering and inspired his dedication to justice —

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but it is also the predecessor to a new generation of compassionate voices articulating their beliefs while serving humanity.

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Chris’ model of interfaith engagement and storytelling will, I believe, make my university and my country better places —

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places where diversity actually means something.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-herbert/who-am-i-the-heroes-of-ou_b_2497839.html

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Who Am I? The Heroes of Our Minds

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One of my guilty pleasures is the TV show Ice Road Truckers, which tells the stories of the heavy haulers who deliver vital supplies to remote Arctic territories of Alaska and Canada. In just two months each year, these truckers make more than 10,000 runs over hundreds of miles of frozen lakes, known as ice roads. We get to share in the treacherous drives — and just as important, the personal travails — of the veteran Hugh “The Polar Bear” Rowland, the brash tattooed Rick Yemm, the cold-hating rookie T.J. Wilcox, and former school bus driver and motocross champ Lisa Kelly, one of the rare women to break into this man’s world.

I’m not alone in this fascination. Millions of viewers have tuned into every episode of Ice Road Truckers since its premiere in 2007. And if hazardous driving is not your cup of Joe, how about Ax Men or Dance Moms, Chef School or Bikini Barbershop, Sister Wives or Biggest Loser? Reality TV dominates small-screen viewing these days. Viewers have literally hundreds of choices in vicarious viewing every day, 24 hours a day. And so what if they’re not exactly real.

What explains this trend? Well, it’s in part simple economics. These shows are cheap to make. But it’s more than that. There is something compelling about people’s stories, something that taps into a deep human need for narrative. The pull of Deadliest Catch and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo can really be traced back to ancient story telling traditions, which exist in every world culture. We see parts of ourselves in these modern-day folk tales, just as we construct stories about our own personal realities.

Psychological scientists have in recent years begun to examine this deep human yearning for story — in particular our need to create a coherent narrative identity. They have been using narrative identity as both an indicator of psychological health and a possible tool for enhancing well-being. Much of this work has been done by Northwestern University’s Dan McAdams and Western Washington University’s Kate McLean, who describe their and others’ research in a forthcoming issue of the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.

We all construct a coherent narrative identity, according to the emerging theory, from the accumulated particulars of our autobiographies as well as our envisioned goals. We internalize this story over time, and use it to convey to ourselves and others who we are, where we came from, and where we think we’re heading. Consider the example of redemption. McAdams and other scientists have been asking people to narrate scenes and extended stories from their past, and then they code the accounts for key ideas like redemption and self-determination and community. They have found that people who include themes of redemption in their stories — a marked transition from bad to good — are less focused on themselves and more focused on community and the future. They’re more mature emotionally.

This is just one example of how people make narrative sense of the suffering in their lives. Others have studied how people narrate life challenges, such as a painful divorce or a child’s illness, and they have found that those who produce detailed accounts of loss are better adapted psychologically. Their narratives often strike themes of growth and learning and transformation. Importantly, the stories of the well-adapted have endings, positive resolutions of bad experiences.

Psychotherapy is largely about personal narratives. Therapists help their clients to “re-story” their lives by finding more positive narratives for unhappy experiences. Indeed, when scientists asked former psychotherapy patients to describe how they remembered their therapeutic experience, the healthier ones told heroic stories, tales in which they bravely battled their symptoms and emerged victorious. This narrative theme of personal control was also and by far the best predictor of therapeutic success: As patients’ stories increasingly emphasized self-determination, these patients’ symptoms abated and their health improved. The stories themselves created an identity that was mature and well-adjusted.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/if-were-going-to-write-it-is-because-we-have-a-desire-to-express-ourselves-even-if-we-dont-quite-understand-what-we-wish-to-say-it-might-just-be-an-inner-yearning-but-by-making-t/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/dont-you-just-love-a-cogent-argument/

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Writing is simplicity and contentment –

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Playing_with_words_is_fun_as_well_as_meaningful.html

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So, I have come up with three questions. First, why do you write? Second, what inspires you? Third, what do you do to overcome “writers’ block”? — B.F., San Francisco

Why do I write? I write for the same reason people ride roller coasters: It’s a rush. A flow. Movement and rhythm. It’s sensory. Aesthetic.

Words, for me, are like being 8 years old and having a huge bag of Legos. Every day my dictionary contains the same English words, just like every day the bag contains the same Legos. But today I have the chance to assemble them differently! And that’s fun for me.

Why do I write? I write because I love words. I hate jargon, but I love words. Yes, there are a lot of different ways to talk, but words matter.

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The right word can help us apprehend our lives in deeper, more intentional and more meaningful ways.

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There’s a reason the Hebrew verb dabar can mean either “to say” or “to do.” The Hebrew worldview speaks to the power of words: “And God said (emphasis mine), ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

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Words have a creative force. Until we say “I love you,” there will be something about love that does not yet exist.

Am I a ‘word snob’? Oh, maybe. OK, probably. Dammit, yes! But I don’t think my demeanor is snobbish. More relentless and passionate.

I admire excellence and precision with language. I’m a harsh critic of the way American pop culture lazily conscripts the English language willy-nilly.

Americans tend to think of this — when they think about it at all — as another entitled “freedom.” A creative evolving of language. Most of the time it’s exactly the opposite. We broaden, distort and thereby cheapen the meaning of important words. This undermines meaningful discourse.

In the end, it’s worse than merely me not understanding what you mean to be saying; you no longer can accurately apprehend your own experience with anything like clarity and meaning.

For me, there is only one dictionary: The English Oxford Dictionary. Why? Because it alone is willing to guard the power and meaning of the English lexicon.

If I step out on my front porch, and shout “Labeedoowitz” loudly enough, the word “labeedoowitz” will show up in the next printing of the Rand McNally Dictionary.

OK, that’s hyperbole. But, I swear, coin the word “labeedoowitz” in a hit Broadway musical, and it will indeed be automatically included in the dictionary your son and daughter take to college.

I want to chase people to the dictionary. Regularly. I don’t apologize for using important words when just the right word matters.

I love it when I hear a new word. I interrupt people, right there on the spot. I say, “Ooh, I don’t know that word!” That’s a rush for me. A delicious feeling in my brain.

Why do I write? I write because I’m a compulsive communicator who loves to think out loud. Critical thinking turns me on. I like building an argument the way little boys like Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets.

I even have fun when the argument collapses. My best friends will tell you that I flat out love being wrong. Yep, when someone puts a finger clearly and accurately on the flaw in my argument, my brain stem hums as if I’d just bitten into a vanilla creme chocolate. If your argument can derail my argument, then I’m like a little kid with a new toy! I’ll race back home with your argument. Take it apart. Put it back together. Play with it. Integrate into my worldview, now changed.

Bring me a good argument, and I’ll ask you to marry me. (Uh, metaphorically speaking. I am so off the market.)

What inspires me? Life. Love. Tragedy. Suffering. Redemption. Evil. Beneficence. Truth. Beauty. Moral dilemmas. Mystery. The human journey inspires me, in virtually any form or circumstance.

What do I do to overcome “writers’ block”? Two things. First, I surround myself with deadlines imposed by others in authority over me. I’m inherently lazy. Not much of a self-starter. Without deadlines, I tend to sit around congratulating myself for thinking about all the brilliant things I could write. The thing that best “jump starts” my most creative self is the high expectations of others, especially if I have contractual obligations with them.

Second, I overcome “writers’ block” by writing. It’s like pumping the pump handle on a reluctant well. At some point I stop saying, “When I get a worthy idea, I’ll start writing.” No, I just sit down and start banging the keys, until a worthy idea shows up.

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http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/01/08/f-scott-fitzgerld-on-writing/

F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Secret of Great Writing

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What is the secret of great writing? For David Foster Wallace, it was about fun. For Henry Miller, about discovery. Susan Sontag saw it as self-exploration. Many literary greats anchored it to their daily routines. And yet, the answer remains elusive and ever-changing.

In the fall of 1938, Radcliffe College sophomore Frances Turnbull sent her latest short story to family friend F. Scott Fitzgerald. His response, found in F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters (UK; public library) — the same volume that gave us Fitzgerald’s heartwarming fatherly advice and his brilliantly acerbic response to hate mail — echoes Anaïs Nin’s insistence upon the importance of emotional investment in writing and offers some uncompromisingly honest advice on essence of great writing:

November 9, 1938

Dear Frances:

I’ve read the story carefully and, Frances, I’m afraid the price for doing professional work is a good deal higher than you are prepared to pay at present. You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner. This is especially true when you begin to write, when you have not yet developed the tricks of interesting people on paper, when you have none of the technique which it takes time to learn. When, in short, you have only your emotions to sell.

This is the experience of all writers. It was necessary for Dickens to put into Oliver Twist the child’s passionate resentment at being abused and starved that had haunted his whole childhood. Ernest Hemingway’s first stories ‘In Our Time’ went right down to the bottom of all that he had ever felt and known. In ‘This Side of Paradise’ I wrote about a love affair that was still bleeding as fresh as the skin wound on a haemophile.

The amateur, seeing how the professional having learned all that he’ll ever learn about writing can take a trivial thing such as the most superficial reactions of three uncharacterized girls and make it witty and charming — the amateur thinks he or she can do the same. But the amateur can only realize his ability to transfer his emotions to another person by some such desperate and radical expedient as tearing your first tragic love story out of your heart and putting it on pages for people to see.

That, anyhow, is the price of admission. Whether you are prepared to pay it or, whether it coincides or conflicts with your attitude on what is ‘nice’ is something for you to decide. But literature, even light literature, will accept nothing less from the neophyte. It is one of those professions that wants the ‘works.’ You wouldn’t be interested in a soldier who was only a little brave.

In the light of this, it doesn’t seem worth while to analyze why this story isn’t saleable but I am too fond of you to kid you along about it, as one tends to do at my age. If you ever decide to tell your stories, no one would be more interested than,

Your old friend,

F. Scott Fitzgerald

P.S. I might say that the writing is smooth and agreeable and some of the pages very apt and charming. You have talent — which is the equivalent of a soldier having the right physical qualifications for entering West Point.

Two years prior, in another letter to his fifteen-year-old daughter Scottie upon her enrollment in high school, Fitzgerald offered more wisdom on the promise and perils of writing:

Grove Park Inn Asheville, N.C. October 20, 1936

Dearest Scottina:

[…]

Don’t be a bit discouraged about your story not being tops. At the same time, I am not going to encourage you about it, because, after all, if you want to get into the big time, you have to have your own fences to jump and learn from experience. Nobody ever became a writer just by wanting to be one. If you have anything to say, anything you feel nobody has ever said before, you have got to feel it so desperately that you will find some way to say it that nobody has ever found before, so that the thing you have to say and the way of saying it blend as one matter—as indissolubly as if they were conceived together.

Let me preach again for one moment: I mean that what you have felt and thought will by itself invent a new style so that when people talk about style they are always a little astonished at the newness of it, because they think that is only style that they are talking about, when what they are talking about is the attempt to express a new idea with such force that it will have the originality of the thought. It is an awfully lonesome business, and as you know, I never wanted you to go into it, but if you are going into it at all I want you to go into it knowing the sort of things that took me years to learn.

[…]

Nothing any good isn’t hard, and you know you have never been brought up soft, or are you quitting on me suddenly? Darling, you know I love you, and I expect you to live up absolutely to what I laid out for you in the beginning.

Scott

For more wisdom on the writing life, see Zadie Smith’s 10 rules of writing, Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 guidelines for a great story, David Ogilvy’s 10 no-bullshit tips, Henry Miller’s 11 commandments, Jack Kerouac’s 30 beliefs and techniques, John Steinbeck’s 6 pointers, Neil Gaiman’s 8 rules, Margaret Atwood’s 10 practical tips, and Susan Sontag’s synthesized learnings.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/i-write-to-live-authentically-having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-per-great-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/all-those-moments-of-life-will-be-lost-in-time-like-tears-in-the-rain-time-to-for-me-time-to-deal-with-myself-alone/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/christina-patterson-the-novice-poet-will-try-and-express-feelings-they-already-know-they-have-but-an-experienced-poet-is-one-who-knows-that-a-poem-is-only-a-true-poem-if-it-reveals-what-you-didn/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/no-one-can-take-away-ones-own-attitude-to-live-authentically-passionately-in-praise-of-roberto-benignis-15th-anniversary-movie-life-is-beautiful/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/getting-over-having-been-dumped-by-the-one-you-want-is-a-long-difficult-process-getting-dumped-does-not-dump-your-self-respect-attitude/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/reconciliation-formula-sage-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/an-ennobling-sufferance-living-life-to-the-fullest/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/true-faith-is-a-context-for-suffering-sage-steven-kalas/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/the-choice-is-not-whether-to-have-or-not-have-a-worldview-in-which-you-place-faith-the-only-choice-is-whether-we-are-willing-to-choose-with-intention-clarity-commitment-sage-steven-kala/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/having-been-is-the-surest-kind-of-being-extraordinary-sage-viktor-frankl-only-then-through-the-power-of-using-the-past-for-living-and-making-history-out-of-what-has-happened-does-a-pe/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/in-some-ways-suffering-ceases-to-be-suffering-at-the-moment-it-finds-a-meaning-such-as-the-meaning-of-a-sacrifice-life-is-never-made-unbearable-by-circumstances-but-only-by-lack-of-meaning-and-pur/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/surrender-yes-what-is-demanded-of-man-is-not-as-some-existential-philosophers-teach-to-endure-the-meaninglessness-of-life-but-rather-to-bear-rationally-his-incapacity-to-grasp-its/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/society-blurs-the-decisive-difference-between-being-valuable-in-the-sense-of-dignity-and-being-valuable-in-the-sense-of-usefulness-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/dostoevski-said-once-there-is-only-one-thing-i-dread-not-to-be-worthy-of-my-sufferings-sage-viktor-frankl/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/what-is-to-give-light-must-endure-burning-sage-viktor-frankl-in-tribute-to-connie-francis/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/the-paradox-of-authenticity-a-conscious-commitment-to-your-peace-whether-its-i-or-not-i/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/faith-is-consequential-but-it-is-not-about-immortality-faith-is-about-finding-peace-within-oneself/

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http://www.asianentrepreneur.org/thai-nguyen-founder-of-the-utopian-life/

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-rubinstein/writing-process_b_2707747.html?utm_hp_ref=books

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For me, writing begins with an almost dreamlike process. It’s as though my mind goes through some semi-conscious period where things from the past and present seem to coalesce and begin building upon themselves. Sometimes a thought fragment forms, only to fade the way some dreams dissolve as you’re awakening. At other times, an idea imbeds itself and develops with a clear forward trajectory.

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The novel’s story incorporates other aspects of my own and others’ experiences, coupled with large doses of imagination and fantasy. Like all fiction writers, I draw from the things I know well, and borrow heavily from life around me.

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I draw water from the well of my life’s work, and create stories.

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A writer is someone who always has an eye open and an ear cocked. I am no exception.

Drawing from life is at the heart of my novels, although each one begins in its unique way.

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 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patrick-hess/mentors-we-dont-realize-exist-_b_6726214.html?utm_hp_ref=religion
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A valuable principle I learned in my Christian ministerial studies was a mentoring metaphor that has never left me. It was idly called the Paul Principle.

Paul was the apostle that came after Jesus had already ascended into heaven. Paul was the adopted step-child of the disciples. He was mentored by Barnabas, was in jail with a peer named Silas, and wrote letters of teaching to a student called Timothy.

The principle was this…

Every man in life should always have a Barnabas, Silas and Timothy if he is to be a complete man.

Always identify your Barnabas, the one who is mentoring and teaching you.

Discover your Silas. The peer who is in the trenches with you and learning life at the same time.

And never forget to pass the torch to a Timothy in your life. The wise saying goes “If you can’t teach it, you really don’t understand it.”

We all have many Barnabas’ along our journey. We all have many Silas’ too. But to avoid complete selfishness, we need to take the wisdom we’ve acquired and impart it to ones like our children, their peers, and anyone else God allows us to come to know in our lifetime.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/irony-can-include-paradox-and-paradox-can-include-irony/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/jesus-makes-clear-that-to-forgive-is-to-forget-propitiation-and-their-sins-and-iniquities-i-will-remember-no-more-hebrews-1017/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/topic-irony/

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony#Irony_as_infinite.2C_absolute_negativity

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Irony as paradox [subtitled as negativity]

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Where much of philosophy attempts to reconcile opposites into a larger positive project, Kierkegaard and others insist that irony—whether expressed in complex games of authorship or simple litotes—must, in Kierkegaard’s words, “swallow its own stomach.”

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Irony entails endless reflection and violent reversals, and ensures incomprehensibility at the moment it compels speech.

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Similarly, among other literary critics, writer David Foster Wallace viewed the pervasiveness of ironic and other postmodern tropes as the cause of “great despair and stasis in U.S. culture, and that for aspiring fictionists [ironies] pose terrifically vexing problems.”

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

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In response to the hegemony of metafictional and self-conscious irony in contemporary fiction, writer David Foster Wallace predicted, in his 1993 essay “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction,” a new literary movement which would espouse something like the New Sincerity ethos:

“The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows.”

In his essay “David Foster Wallace and the New Sincerity in American Fiction,” Adam Kelly argues that Wallace’s fiction, and that of his generation, is marked by a revival and theoretical reconception of sincerity, challenging the emphasis on authenticity that dominated twentieth-century literature and conceptions of the self.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/this-is-water-david-foster-wallace-wallace-used-many-forms-of-irony-but-focused-on-individuals-continued-longing-for-earnest-unselfconscious-experience-and-communication-in-a-media-s/

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-irony

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox#Paradox_in_philosophy

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Paradoxes are irresolvable truths, not contradictions, in which only one opposite is true [a contradiction]

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http://www.academia.edu/2541288/Towards_an_Ethics_of_Irony_The_Paradox_of_Love_in_the_Symposium_

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“In Critical Fragment 48 Schlegel remarks that, ‘Irony is the form of paradox. Paradox is everything simultaneously good and great.’ This is the best articulation of the concept of irony in the German Romantic tradition: in contrast to the classical trajectory of irony embodied in the figure of Socrates who rhetorically dissembles his own knowledge, Schlegel’s fragment is emblematic of an irony that is a condition of possibility of objects, literary or otherwise, occurring in time and space.

The form of paradox becomes the horizon of potential that, for instance, allows good works to be read, un-read and re-read in countless interpretations hence becoming the great works of history. Or, in Kierkegaardian terms, which themselves are spectralized reproductions of Aristotelian terminology, irony allows one literary actuality to be superseded by the potentiality located in the literary actuality itself. As thus envisaged, hermeneutic progress itself hinges upon this ironic potential.

But what about ‘progress’ and ‘potential’ thought of in terms of political hope? Can irony, this condition of possibility, inform an ethics?

Ironically, perhaps an answer is to be found not in the German Romantic tradition, but in the very classical tradition that has been consistently distinguished from it. In