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Love’s Life

Love is fleeting
Ocean waves retreat
Boasting
Words ill spoken
So I ghost and retreat
Just coasting
Wheels burning out
Chills make me feel froze in the street
An iceberg awaiting the summer song birds word
He tweets out
Heat melts the sleet
The tires tire of turning about
Then comes summers adorning
I take my section
My resurrection in turn comes next
Speech humbly sweet
The floods returns and love is a fleet

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The Unknown

A young man and his wife are driving at night and exit a highway. They end up on an unknown street; terrible frights pass by one after another. Unknown street signs, followed by unknown landmarks, then fear of unknown surroundings give way to something more ominous, sinister, gut-wrenching—unknown faces. Faces stained with tar, language bitter as wormwood, expressions gritty as nails.

The yellow couple’s fingers interlock and they lock the doors while their minds sway like a hammock in an angry storm.

The car sputters…it’s on E! That dreadful E! If only they could escape, evade, erupt, or whatever out of away from ethnicities! The car jerked and coughed—it lungs were also infected with the smog of this strange country—the husband withdrew his wife’s hand to stir the car to a curb in this abyss; he wondered if he’d tumble into a deeper layer of hell. Suddenly, men and women and other like ilk, seeped out of the shadows. They crept and slid toward the car like something out of thriller or like that damned hammock.

They were both now in the eye of the storm. The clenched hands again, tightly, making one fist as it were.

Suddenly, they heard a tapping at the window. Their heads jolted and they shifted towards the sound. This was it. The critter opened his mouth, “How yal doing? Need some help? It It sounds like you ran out of gas, but that’s no trouble, there’s a gas station on up the block. Throw the car in neutral and we’ll give ya an umph.” If they are gonna rob us they are gonna rob us, so they kicked the shift into neutral and sat back.

At that moment two large men and a woman began heaving and hooing and lo, the car moved onward; the gods sent a southern wind and it caught their sail. They shoved that old boat all the way to Ararat Gas.  One man took out his purse and purchased gas, and filled the car to the brim. The man felt safe enough. He lighted out of his vehicle to meet his strangers. Each had bright truthful eyes and a dialect sweet as a fine tune, nothing but kind words. The wife ventured out and met with her husband—their fright was accosted by hospitality.  No longer were they in a strange land because generosity is part of their home and so they soon saw these people as their kin. They exchanged conversation and laughed and made merry that night, and went about their way with new impressions.

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Talking About Race: A Third Way?

Is it possible to talk about race/ethnicity/political standing without viewing it through a lens? I have felt throughout my lifetime that these kinds of discussions lack the nuance needed to facilitate an important conversation that respects both sides of the issue; it lacks the capability to bring about the unification of different social and political classes. Is a third way possible? Is it possible to examine each person individually based on their merit and ideologies, as opposed to trumpeting perceptions, and requiring people to dance-to-tune who have two left feet. I don’t know but I’d like to get this discussion going

A little about myself. I grew up in Alexandria, VA. At least in my experience racism and prejudice–while present in some facets–was not prevalent enough to shape my experiences. I went to elementary school and middle school with differing ethnic backgrounds: African American, African, Caucasian American, Indian, Hispanic, Arabic etc… And to date, my good friends and even best friends have emerged within this soup of differing ethnic distinctions. This type of diversity, I feel, has placed a crucial role in shaping me into a cosmopolitan individual: neither Jew nor Greek, black or white, male nor female. We are all citizens of this tiny blue dot and we have to live among each other, interact, socialize, and consume and produce the resource available to us on this planet. With a cosmopolitan approach, it is more challenging to (for me at least) to staple one’s identity to a specific sociopolitical and cultural narrative. As a side note, you may be question if this isn’t also a perceptions I bring to the discussion. That’s a valid point. I don’t think it’s possible to divorce yourself completely from your experiences. But I do believe that an perspective that is more inclusive and more neutral produce allows for a less biased observation.

When the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman case was underway, I felt like the center of two adjacent circles.  In certain respects, I could clearly see the issues with profiling and the danger of armed vigilance. In other respects, I share disdain with aggressive violent and can see proper justification for defending ones self if they are truly being assaulted and in fear of their life. It’s us versus them. It’s us or them. Pick a side, dammit! Please understand. I am siding with all people, as much as is possible. I refused to pick a side. I was neither pro-Martin or pro-Zimmerman. I am neither pro-darker skinned people or pro-lighter skinned people, but pro-people. I refuse to pick a side. It’s not the color of your skins but the content of your character, as Dr. King would say. But what I noticed was white progressive and African Americans immediately siding with Trayvon Martin and demonizing interlocutors, and pro-gun, right wingers waving Zimmerman like a banner and stereotyping black poeple, even before the trial was underway, completed, or before the facts were in. What I didn’t notice was a discussion between equals who sought to understand each other. I’m attempting to come from an epistemic foundation that collects data and formulates a theory after the panorama is in view. Rather than subsuming an untold narrative into ones current narrative, can we allow the story to unfold and take shape as it actually is rather than how we want it to be?

This isn’t just about Trayvon and George. It’s about the polarization of different groups of people. It’s about how we allow our past to define us. It’s about how people born Christian stay Christian, how people born democrat stay democrat, how people who look alike tend to date, hang around, and interact with people who look like them. I welcome conversation and comments to this blog entry.  I encourage challenging questions and arguments and thought provoking communication. What needs to be left out is unjustified assertions, “common sense” insinuations, brown balling, name calling, Ad hominem declarations, and statements that begin or end with “it just is” or imply such jargon. All comments are welcome but hopefully no comment will go unscrutnized or unheard. So why do you believe we bring all of our perceptions into a conversation and allow it to sift and mold the data present? Is it possible to have a more nuanced, respectable discussion?

 

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Fiction

Beleaguered

Archie Ramone, stared down the the judge, and said, “Y’know, I’ve been a wonderin. How exactly can a fella be for justice and work down in warshington if he ain’t got his shingles about’em? Ya know, that good covering from up yonder.”

Mike Watkins responded, “Well, you raise an intriguing challenge. How can a naturalist, agnostic, atheist, or whatever brand you wish to label him participate in democratic justice?”

“Yea, I’d like to hear.”

“So what was your question exactly? You’ll have to forgive my naivety to souther’n colloquialisms. I am a bit famished from the plane ride, jet lack and all.”

“Well, I ain’t too keen on all the Yankee speak myself. Momma always said to cut it straight. Big talk is for lawyers and fat cats on the Wall Street. But how’you hold no religion and still be a judge? I reckon that’s what I wanna know.”

“Understood. Well, my concept of justice stems from my philosophical understanding of the world. We are all, whether we are comfortable with confronting our history, children of the Enlightenment. Even on the heels of modernity in a post modernistic era, we can’t quite elude reasons pince, if I may fabricate a verb. Going beyond reason, I’d say the findings of science solidify my confidence in reason, intuition and the latest gleanings from science.”

“Cut is straight. I ain’t never been a man to mince words.”

“Ok, science and reasons (Philosophy) inform my judiciary decision making, of course within the realm of law and jurisprudence.”

“Odd changing of events. Back yonder a fella couldn’t even testify in court’les he claimed legiance to his Maker. Testimony was thrown square out. Can’t trust a’man who don’t believe in Providence or divine punishment. How do you figure thangs’changed to allow fur an infidel, well, polictically correctly speakin, a man who ain’t got faith to sentence a man?”

“Well, I’m confident in humanities maturation or at the saturation of western democracy with secular education. Truth be told, it’s about time. Unless the great US beckons for a monarchical rule with theocratic siphoned talking points.”

“No, no,” he waved his hand with impatience, as if he were dismissing a cab who thought he needed transport, never that. and continued, “We deft don’t want to be bowing to no puppet queen and wear no sissy boy uniform and buffalo hat.”

The judge, chuckled, “I suppose not. At least we have concession. Damn the Brits right?”

The local met his words with a hearty nod and humphed up he leg over his knee against the wishes of his protruding belly.

“Not to get all historical on ya, continue, sir.”

“Right, to be a true democratic society, we must have equal voices, among the religious and non religious, among worker and employer among black and white, and male and female. In that respect, all need to be represented. The non-religious also have stake in this country, and besides that, I believe good law is sourced from many pools—religion included. As a movie once said, he scratched is head with complacence, I don’t recall exactly, but, even though I am I’m not religious I do go to church. My church is the democratic society we brought forth…something to that extent.”

Archie cast him a look like he had lost his way in the conversation long ago, back at, non religious probably

“Do you get what I am saying?”

“Naw, it sound’s like ya wouldn’t lose sleep over nobody serving in this great pure country, not the the unbelievers, what ya say about the A-rabs? They need’n representation too?”

“Yes, of course. We are a free country after all.”

“Well, that’s where we’a differ. The good Lord brought down great big fireballs on the Baalites. How’ya expect this county ta last if we open the door to people who wanna kill us…well?” (He looked like he made a stern point that couldn’t be answered)

“I think we may be getting far afield from our original talking points. Let’s suffice to say that all Arabs or Muslims, are not out to see the destruction of all Americans or of democracy, which is what your insinuation seemed to imply.”

“The interview well be continued on wolf news, stay tuned for Michael Cranberry’s “Why the President is an Islamic Marxist” guest starting Ronald Strubel, airing 8 PM EST.” The news hummed in the background:

At 8:30, tune in for self taught ecologist, conservative publisher Alberto Ramirez, expound the hoax of global warming!

The onlooker quieted the tube and plopped the remote on a stack of unrelated papers—recipts, pdf files, and gaming magazines, staggered on top of each other. He’d had his take of quibblers and would watch OZ if he wanted to see strawmen. His dog, dusty, was a famished German shepherd, a terrible watch dog but an excellent golden retriever (he fetched the remote). He sanded his hands through Buzz’s short furry brown and black head, running his hand to his underside and back up to his head. Brown and black like the honey badger, he smirked as he remember the effeminate commentary of the famous Youtube video. Man’s best friend readjusted himself plopping his snout on Joe’s lap. Buzz looked up and screeched out two small wimpers. “You too bud?” Joe said, looking down, with a torn smile, trying to save face when his heart was buckling under strain.  He’d been sipping on fireball whiskey. The inevitable interrogation began. Would dismay ever end? Is there light at the end? Is this even a goddamn tunnel? Maybe all along he’d been trudging through innards of a leviathan and if he ever got out, he’d be in deep shit. His heart, black with nicotine tar, and sullied with festering disease. One man’s rotting flesh is another man’s marinated meat, and the negative thoughts aflame the other man’s brew. Throwing his head back and yawning a sigh, he continued his spiral.

–but Alberto. Alberto! This has been confimed by 90% of the scientific community!

Lame facts for lame liberals and their yahoo, sissy boy, nickle and dimeing Negro president.

 “What have I to show for myself? I’m divorced. Shacked up in a crabby studio apartment. No Kids. No legacy. I still barely make more than minimum wage. Still hee hawing between new ventures.” He heaved up a gutturaled cough into his fist. First, his ego fell, then his head fell, then tears. “I just can’t…” He shook his head in disbelieve, “…just can’t get my life together. I’m a fuck up…a perpetual train wreck in constant motion!” he exclaimed, throwing up his hands, shaking his head and then chuckling with helpless resolve. He ran his knuckles against his forehead was anyone home and pressed his palms firmly against his streaking eyes.

At that moment there was a rap at the door. “Yo, you there?”

He removed his fists, leaving prints where blood bandied together under the pressure. “Who is it?” he tried to recompose himself, similar to how you would answer a phone call that woke you up from a warm dream, disgruntled and unbelievable. It’s always met with the same response were you sleep? “Naw, I’ve been up for a bit”

“Are you in there sulling?

“Naw, just tired”

“Gonna open the door?”

“Only if it’s my homeowner’s million dollar check”

“Dude, you live in a studio apartment. I’m sure they only—“

The door flew open. “What’s going on, Mike” he said, hypocritically, still in that slumber. Mike sported a red polo, buttoned to his throat, with tan khaki pants and bronze colored Mocassins. Wet dog smell and cigarette ash trailed behind the opened door. Joe looked shambled….

Antecdotal evidence refutes all the scientists. Today it’s cold outside.

But it’s November.

why of course, but, my slippery heart bleeder, it was one degree higher on the same date last year. Coincidence?

Where did you acquire your credentials again?

“Bro, turn this junk off. Alfredo left New York and moved to Mississippi and raised both their IQs”

Joe consented.

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Uncategorized

Virtue Ethics and Honesty

I will attempt to lay forth a proposal to consider virtue ethics as a viable option for ethical discourse. I will first begin with stating the advantages of dominant ethical theories and what I find to be lacking in them. Consequentialism is strong because of its accessibility and calculations.  It also aligns with many of our deepest convictions, it condemns slavery as immoral, offers protection to animals, doesn’t allow racism, xenophobia, or prejudice and promotes equal rights for male and female. Furthermore, one doesn’t have to look beyond herself to discover how to be moral, no pining away at the inscrutable mind of a god, or searching through religious text, but every person who has the ability to reason, feel, and discern can make ethical choices. Finally it’s all encompassing; the moral agent is neither neglected nor made special. Consequentialism is “on the ground” ethics so to speak.

 Deontological ethical formulas such as the categorical imperative offer a no-loose-ends certainty to morals. Deontology doesn’t factor the consequences of the action; each person is accountable for his own actions, in as far as the correctly follow a moral rule discovered through logic and reason. It too is accessible, for humans are capable of reason and have the ability to understand explanations for why a think is wrong.  Kant argued that duty originates from reason and even then one must do his duty from good will and know that they are acting out of good will. After all, it isn’t difficult to imagine that a man, who helps someone cross the street out of good will, is moral praise worthy. On the other hand, a man who secretly hopes that the person gets hit by a car as they help them across the street isn’t doing something morally praise worthy.  What both ethical theories lack is an emphasis on character virtues, or they need to introduce character virtue in order to salvage their ethical theory.

There are three key components that are found in most virtue ethics: virtue (excellence), practical wisdom (prudence), and human flourishing (happiness). Aristotle taught that some good end is the aim of all human pursuit, “Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good.” (266). But there are many goods, so what is the greatest good?  Aristotle divides actions into goods as means to things not desired for their own sake and good “desirable in itself and never for the sake of another.” (ibid) Happiness, or eudaimonia is the chief good, because other goods instrumentally aim toward happiness. But Aristotle’s understanding of happiness is more robust than physically pleasurable sensations caused by a pottage of chemicals that involuntarily, gloss our eyes, flutter out hearts and showcase teeth.  Happiness includes the good times as well as the bad, it is the winding road of human experience. Vritue ethics is also accessible. We all (or most of us) ask, what is the meaning of it all? What am I put here to do? What is my purpose? How do I secure a good life? Many explanations have been given, to serve and live with God, to make money, to indulge in pleasure, to be in relationships, to learn all you can, or to obey the state. While these explanations factor, as Aristotle would say, instrumentally, arguably they would not qualify as the chief good, or the good that is sought for its own sake. According to Aristotle happiness is the chief good.

This is relevant because it is accessible to all people. We all enjoy relationships, but we know people who are anti-social. Money is sought after, but people can do without it, some do without it, and others cannot achieve it. We anticipate pleasure to follow and precede actions we like, but would consider a person a scoundrel who committed horrible crimes while teeming with pleasure himself.  People long for God; others do not. It’s reasonable to say that people do not long for their own misery intentionally. Only the mentally ill inflict harm on themselves, and no sane man wishes to be a brute over being a brain. Happiness appears to be a goal sought for its own sake. What most separates us from animals is our intellect; it makes us human, to be human is to exercise intellectual faculties with excellence and virtue. This would mean that we seek to improve our knowledge, behave prudently, live a balanced life, and achieve excellence in what we do; that is the heart of the good life.

Happiness is a vein that pumps blood into the human species. It is achievable by all who function as humans; no one is left out, that is its strength. Being honesty or telling the truth should make a person more truthful and be done by people who are honest; a person can tell the truth but not be honest and be honest but not always tell the truth.  There is a distinction between being and doing. Suppose a man is a scoundrel, who lies for no reason and at all. He tips off the police about an innocent man’s wear about and doctors false information to implicate the innocent man. When ask the scoundrel, where does he live, and the scoundrel responds, 207 Waterbrook Dr, apt 7, this man, said a truthful thing, is not honest nor is what he did morally good. Truth is localized within a grid of truth-conducive activity that ought to be delimited throughout majority of speech and be derivative from the soul or intellect and character of the speaker.

Theoretically, neither deontology nor consequentialism requires virtue to fulfill the bare bones of their ethical requirements. This makes their ethical skeleton, the pudding of their system, insufficient.  Neither do we want a scoundrel who is impetuous, racist, callous, and loves it so, acting only out of duty. He may lack good will because he hasn’t cultivated character to think about thing in Kantian framing, or his actions may form a cognitive dissonance—telling the police where the innocent victim is because he suddenly remembered for a flash that it is his duty to tell the truth. And what of consequentialism, potentially, if a scoundrel can maximize the net happiness and minimize pain, he will do it in a manipulative fashion. He would probably make a great consequentialist but a poor member of the moral community overall without virtue.

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Bible Contradictions

*The Hebrew font didn’t go through. It’s a bit technical and cumbersome anyway; feel free to browse those sections.

Playing With Cheaters

I will attempt to present a biblical discrepancy with an explanation as to how and why the discrepancy arose.  For a while now (as a Christian) I became uncomfortable with disingenuous harmonies that apologists posed. A mechanism that explains the methodology of a discrepancy is worth more than a possibility. Continue reading

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Women

Female Minds–a Toast

Female brains are like windows computers with multiple windows popping up that won’t minimize until the task is finished. The male brain runs more like an android phone, we open one app and at a time and when we close it it runs quietly in the background in sleep mode. I think this it what gives women the propensity to multitask and recall so many bits of information so readily (smells, tastes, colors, clothing, etc…)

Guys often view it as a bane (and it can be!) but I appreciate the neurological structure of the female brain; it’s impressive (picture a metro train controller doing his thing with the switches and coordinating her judgments with all the lights and routes dispersing like veins). I value the emotional logic that’s instinctive to women and the capability to network with others, work cooperatively, and make decisions from a pragmatic individual need basis.

I had a friend recently tell me she wished she thought like a male, less drama, well not really. Being efficiently at few tasks has it’s faults along with our wiring and anatomy: we can be forgetful, dote, communicate poorly, be entirely too insensitive; we are basically social paths until twenty-five and all that damn testosterone makes us aggressive warmongers–who starts all the wars? Yeah… So a toast to the female mind and all it’s wonderful mystery. Men you don’t think better than women do, just differently. And women, yal don’t either…we have our strengths and weaknesses. Coexist. Compromise. Cooperate.

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I saw the stop. My dreams and fears. Angelic years embodied in rain drops. In a lonely home with no one to sweep. Ribs brittle-bone, with no one to eat. ~Fatima’s Ex

The demon’s temptation deemed my sweet, sweet steps pleasant as a flower bed on a fresh spring day, with it’s golden gauntlet hung on hooked chains. He smells temptation. He readies soldiers, they lick at my neck singing my bones–endless nights of the darkest sleep, the night is old, heaven blotted by a giant omen.  Black.  Silver chains hung from his wrinkled grim frown. Blackness, even his silhouette casts a shadow, and a show from that is cast–an eternal slumber.  Though I am ever awake, pangs, hold me at stick-up distance, robbing me of sleep.  The darkness has smoggy breath pumping toxin into frozen lungs–timely moving endlessly still, or it at all? Ancient memories, fresh, dormant dreams reanimated, vivified, and relived as the brittle wiry hand wound back the sacred hands. Faintness gives birth to the ephemeral that faint as I reach them and give way to the dark smog, gobbled up, only to reemerge clearer…closer but less attainable. My mouth…cries but let’s out screeches of laughter that echo into endless nothing and back taunting me, salting wounds that I long believed shut. Wounds resurrected but not faintly, not as whispers but shouts, not just smog but a sticky tar. The dreams retreat–shadows scouring from his foe. And the sophomoric horrors greet me with frozen welcome–and salt. And then a hollow creature swells out from the abyss like a tar bubble yet without relent then flattened. He had no depth. He blew about in the chilling smog, wobbling and strafing off into his destination…of endless nothing. What awaits all the inhuman, to where I strafe and wobble too! Light, as he is, thin, yet morbidly weighed down. Atop thorns hung, a gorgons do, whipping through the dense smog and it’s tongue flickered tattering it’s back like a flagellum.  It gnawed and licked, as I jolt, and squirm with both with ecstasy and nausea. I put my left foot in…is this what it means to dance with the devil? It brandishes a ring. I say, “I do.”

Hell (Part one)

Aside
Poetry

Deafening Silence

Sound is sweeter than silence
even cold rejection is warmer than clandestine
Quiet can leave the brain in riots
things unsaid rise in loops undead
Words scribbled but left unread
dreams in fiat with hopes to be spread
On the canvas of life
Never verbalized for the fear can mobilize
the strife
disguised in lies clothed in prudence
veiled trembling eyes
voice is muted
Issues crop us as ritual
robed in worn vestibules
Cathedral on hinges
alone in the confessional
You stammer frail
with the smell of failure
hammered in brail
your sightless
lifeless
only if you would (wood)
like cypress.
So dits, so
so split, so
you arguing with your self
sounding so schitzso.
it’s so…eerie
lacking needed clarity
lonely
singling in on being singled out
you self marry
now punch drunk beating your wife
is this what it’s come to?
Fuck my life…

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