The death of the mind
Creeps in through necessity
Crushed beneath the lie
The death of the mind
Creeps in through necessity
Crushed beneath the lie
The sickle moon hangs
above the dark horizon
my road lies beneath
The 10 Commandments
|One of the key aspects of thinking about religion without regard to any one dogma, and purely in context to our current world is that it forces you to consider many actions and judgments carefully. This can be a tricky thing, as many people would agree. If you adhere strongly to a religion, you may simply say “my religion determines what is right and wrong”. An atheist might simply say “law determines what is right and wrong”. My experience with many religious people, though, is that they often break their own religious codes based on common societal practices. My experience with Atheists is that they often have feelings about morality that are outside the current law.
For myself, I am stuck making decisions consciously if I am going to make them within the structure of conscious living that I strive to achieve. My decisions are based partly on my experience with religion, partly on my knowledge of law, and partly based on my knowledge of history. My objective is to try to do the best I can do, in balanced measure, for my family and the society in which I live. The risk in doing it this way is that you can find yourself justifying almost any crazy stuff if you are not consciously grounded in a reasonable society. I use a broad range of friends and relatives to help me stay grounded.
In reference to the 10 commandments, I feel that this is an important historical document that must be taken into context both for the original writing thousands of years ago and for its effect on society and vents in history. It is part of the original Jewish writings that defined the journey of the Jews and their religious lessons over a long history. It was incorporated by the early Christian church, made dogma by Emperor Constantine, and then codified in the Christian Bible around the 9th Century. Its historical significance pales in comparison to its general use as a moral compass through the centuries, still in general use today. Please note that I don’t see the bible as a source for literal stories or commands. I DO see the bible as both a tool to understand social history, and as a source for life lessons that have bolstered a religion that has had one of the greatest effect on people in recorded history.
Here is my take on the 10 Commandments
|I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
No, I don’t see there being a God who is “My Lord that lead me from Egypt”, nor any other unpleasant form of slavery. I think that this statement was placed ahead of any strong urgings by the writers of such material to establish the credentials of this writing.
|Thou shalt have no other gods before me
No: Not my morality. This is a critical commandment for a one-god religion. I must admit that I don’t see God anymore with a capital “G” in the light of an old guy with a beard and omniscient powers sitting just out of site up in a fluffy cloud place called heaven. My view of God is somewhat more flexible, and I don’t see bowing down to the old concept as critical to my spiritual life.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
|The Iconoclasts would argue that this commandment meant that you shouldn’t have any religious art, statues, or anything that might generate a sense of reverence in “Image”. For myself, I’m not really sure what this commandment means in our modern times. It was written by the ancients when idol worshippers were a dime-a-dozen, and the objective was to get them to stop making secret idols, as far as I can understand the times. My answer for modern times would be, strangely, YES: I don’t see making images to bow down too as a healthy or moral thing. Whether that is the “image” of the almighty dollar, the “image” of some Hollywood icon, or any lifestyle “image”. But also NO: I don’t see any problem with religious art, or physical images of any kind.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
|No: Not my morality. This is a second critical commandment for a one-god religion. I prefer a concept of God that doesn’t have to take him or herself that seriously.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy
|No: I’m willing to work on Sundays (or Saturdays, depending on the source). In fact, you are hard pressed to find many Christians who take this one seriously. But also YES: I think that it is important to make a space in your life for your religious practices, and important to have a day of rest to focus on your family. In many ways I think that or busy life has sapped strength from each one of us by sacrificing this weekly day of contemplation to the gods of Football or Home Repair.
Honour thy father and thy mother
|Yes: I agree with this on a spiritual and moral level. I don’t see this as a message of “do whatever they tell you”, but I do honor them by listening.
Thou shalt not kill
Yes: You shouldn’t kill… and No: you might have to kill in order to protect your family or your own life. I don’t believe we should kill criminals. I don’t believe that we should go to war unless the case for protecting our families is a very clear one. Given the violent nature of ancient societies, the violent nature and death lust of many Christians through the ages, I’m surprise that this commandment remains on the books.
Thou shalt not commit adultery
|Yes: It is against my morals to commit adultery, however No: I believe that a couple can be married, then divorced. After divorce, it’s no longer adultery. In my moral structure, “Divorce” is not the point when you get your legal divorce paperwork from the government, “Divorce”, and the end of possible adultery, is when you have a mutual agreement that the marriage is ended, with or without the blessings of church or state.
Thou shalt not steal
|Yes: stealing is immoral and bad for society. This includes, in my mind, the legal stealing that is performed by irresponsible businessmen and politicians.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
|Yes: If I make statements about my neighbor, then they should be true and carefully considered. I don’t consider this commandment to mean “Don’t lie”, however, Yes: I think that falsehoods are immoral and we should teach our children to speak the truth, carefully and with consideration.
Thou shalt not covet (neighbor’s house, wife, servants, animals, or anything else)
|Yes: I don’t see covetness as a major problem in my life, but lusting after your neighbors stuff is something that I would teach to my son as something bad for society. As well, “keeping up with the Jones” can sap your bank account and ruin your credit rating.
Ye shall erect these stones which I command thee upon Mount Gerizim
No: I’m not erecting stones upon any mountain. I’m not even sure where that mountain is.
I’ve heard recently that every major religion includes some form of meditation. We don’t know much about the ancient Celt’s real practices since our documentation of these (mostly pre-Roman) cultures is minimal: only what the Greeks and Romans wrote about these tribes. And yet, we might hazard a guess that some of the Celtic religious practices were captured in early Catholicism, like flies in amber, especially in the early Irish Christian church, where the pre-Christian Roman influence was much less. Meditation in that early church was something well known (See Last Meditation of St. Columbia).
Meditation for me, as a modern Celt, has been few and far between. I’ve always been a man of action, fighting my battles in modern businesses, and I have not yet taken on the mantle of someone who spends time sitting around thinking. My moments of contemplation have been short, and usually tactical.
Perhaps the time for change has come. Perhaps, Like St. Columbia, I need to consider just what I’m going to do with the years I have left, what little wisdom I’ve accumulated, and for the family that I’ve begun. Perhaps I need to spend time on a hill, quietly thinking. From Last Meditation of St. Columbia: “It was not long that he, who was all weary, stood upon the hill, but even to man there are times when one hour is as many years, and a lifetime as one hour.”
This, perhaps, is the key to meditation. Within the space of a meditation time becomes meaningless. Within the space of meditation, the worries of worldly pressures can fall away. Within meditation the possibilities of reaching to the sublime, connecting to what is important, connecting to nature, connecting to the primitive but very real self that lies within the shell of your society.
For some people meditation is simply sitting back and letting yourself relax enough to enjoy the beauty of the land around or the sky peeking through the leaves above. For some people, meditation can lead to a nap, and I don’t see this as bad. For others meditation is something that had to be lead, controlled, with blank mind, in a cross-legged posture. Perhaps there are ways to do it wrong, however, I don’t believe there is any one way to do it right. So what are the key ingredients? Here is my guess:
So my suggestion for the modern Celt? Find a hilltop, or any quiet spot away from the wife and kids where you can look out at your trees and lawn. Spend a few minutes there when ever you are troubled. Relax, open your mind up and think about where you have been, and what lies ahead. Let your troubles slip away as you enjoy your quiet moment.
Each clear word written
Wipes away the confusion
Freed knowledge released
I have discovered that I’m beginning to grow a great hatred for Chevrolet. For all Chevy vehicles. I recognize that this hatred is most likely undeserved for most Chevy vehicles, most Chevy people. And yet I have this growing hatred.
Why, you might ask? And what could be the cause of this growing general malice?
I have been experiencing conflict since the day I drove my new 2014 Chevy Volt home. In the process of purchasing the new car I have found a growing number of reasons to love the car, and an unfortunately larger number of reasons to hate the car, hate the dealerships, and hate the Chevy support services. Hate is not too strong a word. The bile rises when ever I think of them.
Why, might you ask, have I developed these conflicting feelings?
Because the Chevy Volt is a fun, fast, car with some great engineering hurtles overcome. It is quick, reasonably nimble, and includes a powerful electric motor that can zip it into traffic with at least the quickness of any production sedan that is reasonably priced, if not the full neck-snap of the $100,000 Tesla Roadster. The small and efficient gasoline generator does a reasonable job of keeping the electric motor running even after the batteries are run dry. This car is a perfect balance of plug-in electric vehicle, with enough range to cover most commutes and the flexibility to be taken on the road for unlimited gasoline travel. I bow to the engineers that designed this drive train. it’s not a Tesla, but it’s a good, solid, fun platform at a reasonable price.
The reason why my hatred grows, however, is NOT the engineers that developed this excellent drive train. My hatred has to do with the elements of the Chevy organizations that seem to have conflicting objectives. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I think that these elements are either abysmally incompetent, or attempting outright sabotage. Here are my points:
How, do you think, can these blinding problems generating my hate have been perpetuated? All I can think is that the right hand of Chevy is gnawing on the left. The left hand, those lovely drive train engineers, seemed to have been given direction to develop a great car. The right hand, those sniveling managers, seem to by trying to sabotage that lovely car in favor of their antique gasoline engine technology by under supporting dealer roll outs, and sliding in the worst console design team in the history of modern consoles.
I think that this conflict echoes the basic problem with Chevy, and perhaps is a harbinger of their very long term chances for success. Will they get their act together and come up with a more integrated electric car? The Bolt looks promising, but we will see.
As for me, Chevy had one chance to convert me from my Toyota ways. It failed. This is leased car, and I’m going to have a party when I return it.
There is a red sun rising over the trees
There is a red sun rising to meet the steaming day
There is a red sun rising / There is a red sky coming
The river bleeds bloody red
Black trees hold the red sun in the eastern sky
Black trees release it again
Black trees will bake / Black trees with blow
Till they bleed red at the end of the day
Green lies the grave beneath the red trees
Green turns to gray in the twilight shadows
Green goes to black / Night falls deep
Bright flickering fireflies rise up to be free