The Flowing Fear

We sit here in shallow fear. It rises to our chests and threatens to drown our rationality and perception of what can be only hailed as a thin line between insanity and enlightenment. So let’s take the plunge and see how deep the waters go. How long can you hold your breath before the thought of air burns in your lungs like the thought of freedom burns in your mind? Set aside your doubt and claim hope as your own.

Train Ride

The train glided effortlessly beneath me, carrying me to a new land. The darkness permeated from beyond the thick glass window of my compartment. I starred into this abyss, the rhythmic thumping of the train´s movements played like the drums of a tribal ceremony of old, becoming me to stare on. Nature heard its cue in the ancient rhythm the train played and the clouds parted for the dancing rays of the moonlight to take its place upon the stage. The abyss was replaced with the dark silver lined silhouettes of pine trees rushing by as mere faces mocking my boyish awe. Calmly and cooly the trees subsided like the curtains of a stage to reveal a large and vast field. Every row of crop rose and fell like the kingdoms ruled once by The Slayer of Sphinxes, The Prince of Denmark, and the Dictator. I saw their empires. I saw their lives flash by through the windows of this dark train. In the moonlight, I heard their falling.

I’ve been here there and mostly here

Hello people of the interwebs! I am back and eager to bring more to the table!

I feel as though an explanation is in order for my absence. I have been so extremely busy that it is ridiculous. I won’t rant, as I have done many times since August, on the unethical hours a college student must live, but I will give you some insight on what I’ve been up to lately. 

As mentioned before, I am a computer engineering major. Part of the new curriculum for a class I was taking was to build a functional 3D printer! The challenge in the project was that the instructions were very obscure, and the parts issued were of a very breakable plastic. After months of toiling over books dealing with the ancient dark magic known as “Circuit Analysis” and working on my writing in a composition class, learning about waves, magnetism, and electric fields, as well as learning how to use basic lab equipment, I finally have made it to the end of the semester and have survived with my GPA intact! 

The prospects of actually having free time next semester looks hopeful and having a girlfriend that encourages my amateur (nonexistent) writing career is also really great. That said, I have some really interesting ideas for some short stories/poetry! Then again, I may say they’re interesting because I’m a little biased… Anyways, I am really happy to be back and can’t wait to share with you all of my new material! 

- August

A Matter of Trust

I have come to learn to not always trust a man wearing a cross. While the decorum is quite notable, I often forget that while some enjoy the metaphysics of the thing, others just enjoy roman torture devices.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

I decided to take a small break from reading the Ender Quartet and pick up this lovely gem. Its been on my reading list for a while and seemed small enough to be a nice diversion from the reality bending philosophy that Orson Scott can’t seem to get enough of.

Generally, I am not a big fan of an allegorical writing that seems to just give away all of the deeper meanings that I would love to uncover on my own time. When an author gives away their message so easily, I feel like the reader is being insulted. That the writer says, “Ha! This is a beautiful piece of knowledge that I have to share! But wait… My audience won’t understand it so I better just tell them what to think for them!”  This, I also believe, is the difference between The Divine Comedy and Animal Farm.

Now that I’ve had my rant, I must say that on terms of being almost allegorical, The Alchemist really stole my heart away. I picked up the book and couldn’t stop reading because I had to understand and see and feel what Santiago was seeking. I would love to give you some deep insight that I found hidden within the pages of this Brazilian masterpiece, but I can’t. The book is what it is, and I love it all the more for that.

The story is quite simple: Santiago, a young shephard, is called to begin a quest towards his Personal Legend, finding a treasure in this instance, the reader follows along his quest through Spain and Egypt.

The overarching theme through this story is that every person has a Personal Legend. A purpose that they were mean to achieve in their life. The Universe guides them towards their goal, although not without trial, by giving them omens. What I find especially fascinating about these elements of the story, is that Paulo illustrates both a Christian and Muslim influence on the main character’s faith; however, it is clear that God is God and that no religion can truly know Him or His works. He guides Santiago through all trials to find who he really is.

Overall, I highly recommend this book for the soul-seeker that is trying to find their own Personal Legend to run with in life.

Let me tell you…

Let me tell you the most beautiful story I know.
A man was given a dog, which he loved very much.
The dog went with him everywhere,
but the man could not teach it to do anything useful.
The dog would not fetch or point,
it would not race or protect or stand watch.
Instead the dog sat near him and regarded him,
always with the same inscrutable expression.
‘That’s not a dog, it’s a wolf,” said the man’s wife.
‘He alone is faithful to me,’ said the man,
and his wife never discussed it with him again.
One day the man took his dog with him into his private airplane
and as they flew over high winter mountains,
the engines failed
and the airplane was torn to shreds among the trees.
The man lay bleeding,
his belly torn open by blades of sheared metal,
steam rising from his organs in the cold air,
but all he could think of was his faithful dog.
Was he alive? Was he hurt?
Imagine his relief when the dog came padding up
and regarded him with that same steady gaze.
After an hour the dog nosed the man’s gaping abdomen,
then began [eating him]
all the while studying the man’s face.
‘Thank God,’ said the man.
‘At least one of us will not starve.’

An excerpt from Orson Scott Card’s “Children of the Mind.”

A small reminder that where one species may hold only love and affection, another is still bound by the laws of nature and death.  

Freedom or Justice: The Masked Conundrum

 

 

A world that is void of Knowledge and Truth is a world that is void of Freedom. We would wander around at the mercy of those above us and seek to gain only what was in front of us. Never mind that the world is burning down around our little patch of green, we would be perfectly content. We would see thinkers beheaded, the writer chained away, and the speaker silenced. What would it matter though, so long as the justice of the ruling party was carried out? Isn’t it enough that the government would crack down on murder, theft, and indecency? What more could be desired than the justice and peace that is spread throughout the land?

A world that is void of Justice is a land that is full of Chaos. The land of “Do-As-You-Please” would grow until it engulfed all of society. Man would steal, murder, lie, and laugh. Corruption gone along with the government that would for so long have held back the flood gates of man’s heart. Do not be mistaken, I do not intend to claim that all of mankind would fall into the depths of chaos at the lack of governing power. People could exist with the lawless love of nature. Caring for one another and holding together a society that would not need justice due to a lack of injustice. However, Dystopia rises at the breath of a single man and Utopia at the calling of many.

Recently, I read a wonderful piece by Alan Moore that is known by the name of “V for Vendetta.” In my opinion, the comic associated with the popular movie has been set aside for the romantic story of the brilliant masked anarchist. However, I set about reading it and discovered that, while the movie portrays a wonderful story, the book holds many more strings of thematic plot than I had expected that all lead to V being completely villain before victim. The main of these plot elements is the focus of this little article: Which should society hold more dearly, Freedom or Justice?

Ultimately, the first paragraph of this article describes elements of the world that we find V fighting against. A world ruled by a tyrant in love with a super computer called “Fate” (this portion of plot is completely left out of the movie). Fate is essentially a machine that is able to see and hear everything under the government’s influence, giving the people a fearful awareness that they are not far from the grasp of the government’s “justice.”  V claims that Lady Justice belongs to the people; that those in authority, while in a place a power, have a duty to uphold the law in a manner that befits the populace. Of course, this does not happen otherwise the story would be rather boring because it would lack a conflict. No, the government, or the tyrant rather, has taken upon himself to take away Lady Justice and be bound by Fate to do as he pleases. So what else can V do but cast aside Lady Justice, his true love, for the sweet mistress “Anarchy”?

V hacks Fate and forces all receptors to shut off for three days, causing all of London to be able to do as it pleases. This begins what he calls the beginning of “The Land of Do-As-You-Please,” bringing the story to the world I describe in the second paragraph of this article. This is essentially the anarchy that most people imagine. Riots become common, violence is found at any place that it’s required, and robberies overcome many businesses. All of this occurs as V watches and waits.

And thus we return to the simple choice between Freedom and Justice. Realistically, the story of V entwines the extremes of both. Freedom is displayed as pure anarchy and Justice as total control by a authoritative individual. The question, I believe, has a simply complex answer: Why not both?

The true solution to the question of choice is to find a balance between the true anarchy that we assume is part of human nature and the legalistic control of a super-power. We humans are not particularly good at finding balance, but that is the only way we can hope to have the resultant of Freedom and Justice in harmony, which is Peace.

My timing on writing this is merely a coincidence in relation to the recent revealing of America’s surveillance habits; however I do think it is worth mentioning here. I do not find it surprising that a government would endeavor to electronically monitor its people. I was aware of the idea when I first typed my name and birthday into Facebook and continued to comment upon my life for the WORLD to see. How could I not expect a politically motivated force to be curious as to what its citizens had to say? A post-it note has no privacy on a white wall. I will not, however state my opinion concerning the action of surveillance itself, but ask you this: Are these actions for the good of Freedom or Justice?

Let’s just hope the world will never see a power like V.