September 22, 2006

From Madness to Passion

Bit of synchronicity caught my eye today. I was really going crazy two days ago (between the divorce and some other things), and while shopping ran across a card with this quote. It really resonated with me at the time, so much that I almost bought the card on impulse. Then today as I was logging into a Linux computer, the same quote popped up again.
The only people for me are the mad ones -- the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow Roman candles.
-- Jack Kerouac, "On the Road"
I don't usually fit that description very well. And I don't think I always should, it doesn't sound like these poor people get any rest. But sometimes I catch myself being uncomfortable with my own madness, (like when I was shopping the other day) and it was liberating to be OK with it and just let it flow, to embrace the passion. Another great quote from Nelson Mandela touches a similar theme:
Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

UPDATE: I ran across this second quote again, the day after I posted this here. It was about two minutes after I was telling myself not to make too much noise about an issue because I didn't want to look like I was just trying to attract attention to myself. More synchronicity.

September 18, 2006

Be Afraid! Be Very Very Afraid!

Politicians have been using the tactic of spreading fear to further their own interests since long before World War Two, but the Nazis are perhaps the most famous example of a government using fear to promote their own agenda.
"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

-Hermann Goering, Nazi Reichsmarshall and Luftwaffe-Chief, at the Nuremburg trials.

Did you know that in the United States, you're much more likely to be killed by your appendix than by a terrorist? I believe that right now, US foreign policy is creating terrorists faster than we are imprisoning or killing them. And we have no data on how many of the imprisoned are actually terrorists, because they're not getting fair trials.

Current US foreign policy is all about buying energy security at the cost of our democratic ideals. Is it worth it? I don't think so.

Maybe the Canadian citizen who the US government shipped to Syria to be tortured can tell us something about how fair trials might be important. Like, for instance, how a presentation of the evidence against him would have completely cleared his name, preventing him from being tortured and detained in Syria for a year. Since when did torture become a legitimate tool of law enforcement anyway? I'm not a big Michael Moore fan, but, dude, where's my country?