Category: Character Study

When We Don’t See What We See


In my father’s house, some fifty years ago, we had a set of Collier’s Encyclopedia and a set of The Book of Knowledge, about thirty books in all. To us, these books and the few others my father possessed, were the limit of our Internet. Our knowledge of the world did not go far beyond those books and the small, 15″ black and white television on the other side of the room. We lived a sheltered live.

There was a hand drawn, color picture in one of those books depicting a crime scene. The picture was fairly innocuous and nothing like the image above. The image in the book showed a street with several every day items; a clock, a car, fire hydrant, a few citizens going about their business and a crime represented by a store front with a broken window. Simple, easy to understand. Not complicated.

The objective was for children like me to study at the image for thirty seconds then turn the page. The following page had questions about what the picture showed you. It was a memory test and you were the detective.  What time was it? What color was the car? What is the man wearing? What was the woman holding? Is there an animal in the scene? As memory tests of the era went, it worked.

I remember looking at, studying it as fast as my ten year old brain could in the untimed thirty seconds. I wasn’t very good. My older sister seemed to remember more of it than I. Perhaps she had taken the test more times than I. Perhaps we simply looked at it differently.

It is much the same today. Why is it in 2016, when we view something on the Internet or on cable, we are guilty of doing the same thing my sister and I did, only now the conversation is soaked in hate rather than instruction? Why? Is my prejudice in the way? Is yours? Is my bias blinding me to what you see? Is yours blinding you to what I see? How did we come to this division, this mistrust of each other? Why is it what we cannot discuss civilly what we see, what happened, without blaming someone we have never met?

We do that you know, really we do. The vitriol in the public square is overwhelming and disheartening. I try not to participate on Facebook or news media conversations. It seems pointless. The comments are mostly hateful. And in the few times I have expressed my contrary point of view, the backlash becomes ad hominem so I remain silent for the most part.

It saddens me, all this eternal hatred we have chosen to embrace. I pray it will end one day, when we forgive each other first, without condemnation, regardless of those pesky facts we see so differently. 


Gods and Goddesses in Embyro

Imagine if you can a time, eons ago beyond present memory, when you existed in some form other than you do at this moment, sitting where you are, reading this blog. Nothing more than a thought. You drifted amongst the solar wind endlessly, aware only of yourself and nothing else. You were utterly alone.

Then you sensed something, something distant and far away. A light, perhaps. A light in the complete darkness calling to you. You are drawn to it without seeing it.

As you move forward, your mind expands. Your senses find life. You feel, see, hear. Knowledge floods your consciousness. You discover wonders beyond imagination. Stars, planets, creation.

And you realize a truth. You are nothing. Nothing more than an empty seed, wandering without direction or purpose, until the light reached out to you. You are worthless by comparison. 

Emotion overwhelms you and yet, you sense you can became like the light itself. But there is danger. If you try and fail, you become less than you are in the attempt.

Is it worth the risk?

For intelligences like you, who accept the challenge fraught with risk. The sharing of such power with any not capable of restraint is disastrous. A testing place is created,to find who is worthy and who is not. Who will be given the power and welcomed into the council of the Gods. 

You accept the price. 

Your journey continues. Your evolution involves many changes. You struggle is seemingly endless.

Finally, when you are ready (or so you believe) the final test arrives. All memory is stripped away and you find yourself where you are, right now, at this very moment. A mere mortal on a planet, one of countless planets the light has created.

You do not know  your very purpose or why you even exist. You are as you were in the beginning. Alone again, for the first time it seems. 

You are, nevertheless, here.

This power, this control, is at your fingertips. Only death separates you from your goal.

What will you do to obtain it?

What will do you do with such power?

Will you condemn or pardon?

Whether or not you achieve what you set out to accomplish is revealed in your choices.

What did you do today, with the power you already have?

The Fat Little Pastors

Many years ago, I watched Cabaret, with Liza Minelli, Joel Grey and Michael York. In the musical, the song “Money” stood out because of a single verse that resonated with me. It was a time in my life where I did not feel I had enough to even put food on the table for my family.

If you haven’t any coal in the stove
And you freeze in the winter
And you curse on the wind
At your fate
When you haven’t any shoes
On your feet
And your coat’s thin as paper
And you look thirty pounds
When you go to get a word of advice
From the fat little pastor
He will tell you to love evermore.
But when hunger comes a rap,
Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat at the window…

At the window…

[EMCEE (spoken)]
Who’s there?

[GIRLS (spoken)]

[EMCEE (Spoken)]
Ooh, hunger!

See how love flies out the door…

One of my angst at the time was coping with the concept of those who have passing judgment on those who have not. I utterly detest those who have what they need (let alone want) advising those who are struggling to not lose faith, to work hard, pray, fight the good fight and eventually their dreams will come true. Most dreams do not come true.

I noticed, from my particular personal point of view, how easy this advice must come from them. Had they ever struggled in their life? Had they ever been without? How dare they, sitting before their well ladened table, consuming their fatted calf and drinking wine, while I crawl beneath them, licking crumbs off the floor. 

I still cringe when such advised is offered from the fat little pastors.

The Dementors

You have met them, at least one of them. Those dementors hiding in your family, in your social circle, perhaps at your employment. The one, evil soul, who sucks your soul away. I pray there is only one in your life.

These bullies, and there are more than two of them hunting me every workday, prey upon those they feel are less worthy and filled with fear. You know those they hunt: the kind, the good, those who simply want to live their lives in peace.

To confront them is unimaginable to them. They are rarely confronted in their life. They intimidate those around them, insisting life is according their definitions.

They are the strong, the intelligent, the rich, the beautiful.

You are the weak, the stupid, the poor, the ugly.

They are above, before and beyond you.

And when you have had enough, when the social filter you possess that governs your behavior is so dirty and strained from their behavior, and you finally lose control, and your rail against the tyranny on display because you have had enough and cannot take more, it is your fault.

You are the one out of control, you are the one who is in need of anger management. You are the evil one.

These dementors do not get it. Empathy is a concept beyond comprehension. They possess no frame of reference by which they can understand those beneath their self appointed station in life.

You are wrong.

They are right.

I would rather be wrong than be one of them.

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