Saturday, May 24, 2014

Knowledge

Verily these verbal verisimilitudes are but verbose platitudes voiced from a plateau of arrogance, or perhaps ignorance.




If we but knew of what we know not we would know how little we know and so by not knowing know more than we did when we knew everything and had no knowledge.




The knowledge of the knowledge we lack allows us to know what we know not and therefore rather than being proud of our knowledge of nothing to know the nothingness of our pride.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Peregrination

This, is pretty weird. I've been practicing writing. Not communicating or saying cool things. Just... writing. What follows is strange and completely unrelated. Just enjoy it. (Or not if you're one of those people.)



I sat there in class. Staring out the windows at the dragons circling above. Wishing that I could ride one, or better yet be one. Oh to be a dragon, soaring so freely above the world. Power, coursing freely and vibrantly through my veins; rippling through my muscles, delivered through tendons into my mighty claws and fearsome jaws. With one beat of my wings I could lift my body from the ground and soar mightily through the air. Unparalleled freedom.

And none, none of these puny ground-bound men would be able to challenge me. Even my rider would constantly be aware that he rode only at my suffrage. With a twist, a flick of my tail and drop of my wings, away he would drop. Kilometers below he would smash into the hard earth. The terror of the fall would live in him throughout the flight. Never would he take me for granted. Never would his respect for me lessen.

But in time, the gift God gave but to man would triumph. Is insatiable thirst for dominion and his unquenchable ingenuity would conquer even me. The mighty beast would lay calm, tamed, beneath his hand. With bridle, with saddle and with prehensile thumbs he would overcome me. And I, clever as I would be, would still have to bow down and acknowledge him as lord. All my great power would be his to command. And then I would learn a new thing. In these bounds, under his command. Freedom? True freedom. Freedom I’d been incapable of dreaming of before. My liberty was my chain. My wings dragged me down until he lifted me up. His will set me free. Only, by being led by man could I be truly free to do as I willed.

But what freedom would this be? I want not freedom if I can’t be in control. No bit or bridle for my mighty jaws. ME who could crush a man in a single bite. Who could rip a horse in two with 40 centimeter long teeth. That I would close my mouth and meekly allow a man to pet my muzzle? Madness! I would choose my own path, even if it were a path onto destruction.

With chains and whips, with swords and other dragons; they would try in vain to tame me. To break my will would be an impossible task. I WILL NEVER SERVE YOU.

But… with love. Love would tame this beast. And in time, I would lie, be still. I would rest in the love of my caretaker. Hunt, kill, sleep, hunt, mate. Such was my life. But now it would be filled with love. My caretaker would drive me to hunt, but feed me if I failed. He would provide and I would serve. A symbiotic relationship built not upon mutual benefit but respect. And… Sacrifice?

For he would be willing to die for me, and I in turn for him. Eagerly I would chap at the bit, knowing that it was no longer what controlled me. Love drove me, the bit only served as a means of communication to quicken my response.


I snapped back to my immediate surroundings. My professor mumbled on. I briefly considered dozing. Or opening…. why yes. So it would be. I opened the window and climbed out. Ten kilometers up I clung to the side of the building. Building? Cliff. I began to climb. For a while it was easy. I exulted in toned muscles. Hours of exercise had honed my body. But as the climb wore on, as meters stretched into kilometers…


What’s that? Oh, yes please…. That would be wonderful…. Thank you.


I hung by my toes from the skin of the sphere as it whirled through space. Spinning, revolving; a mad top. Green blades failed to cut my calloused feet. Far below (above?) drops of rain rose to soak the world. The dragons turned out to be bats, a mere flight of my fancy had morphed them into something ferocious. The plain stretched out before me. Curving away into infinity. Thoughts of calculus sprung unbidden into my mind. Infinity, distance, curvature. Oh the beauty of this world to which I clung, so tenaciously, by my toes.


With a roll of my soldiers I launched my attack. Dice of fate on a table of destiny. Win or lose, I was committed in force. I so detested war back then. Before I learned its necessity; and its beauty. Nothing like red to paint the world.


With a roll of my shoulders I launched into a handspring. Failing I landed hard on my back. The air used the distraction my pain provided to escape my lungs. Mingling with her sisters she was quickly lost to the sky. Oh well, I could always find more.


I sucked in breath but there was nothing to fill my lungs. I was drowning in the void of space. As the stars and the blackness began to engulf my mind I reflected on what had brought me here. Those fateful and oh so fatal decisions that had led me down this path.


She spoke. I closed my eyes and lost myself in the lilt of her voice. The depth of her words was a reflection of the depth of her eyes in my own. I remember holding her hand. Except it was my hand; because we were one. Yes, I was once one with someone. Now I am but a half. If she’d died it would have been as swift as it was unexpected. The devastation I would have felt would have been ineffable.

But she didn’t die. That would have been impossible. She was just missing. She’d gone ahead and now I must follow. She was waiting. At a distant star. A binary star full of passion and beauty. This chintzy little world could never contain us. We needed a bigger planet. A brighter star. A fuller system. A larger galaxy. A more infinite universe.

I saw a nebula the other night that reminded me of you. I knew it was night because it’s always been night since you’ve been gone. It was a vivid green, swirled with pinks and lit by purples. Star shone like your eyes, blues and golds. If it had been pure gold, or pure hydrogen. It still wouldn’t have been a fit painting to capture your captivating beauty.


“An asteroid.” He swallowed as though trying to swallow the tears in his eyes. “The thing you have to understand, space is cold. Its hard and dark. It knows nothing of us mortals. It knows nothing of love. Sailors upon the earthly seas understood the harshness of the sea. Space is the same. All spacefarers maintain a love/hate relationship with the void through which their ships ply. Space is beautiful, like the sea. Its beautiful in a deadly, brutal way.”

I said nothing. The room was silent, everyone waited for the old sailor to finish his tale. A relic from the days of pioneers, the golden age of danger and high adventure, he’d spun his yarn and entrapped us all.

He joined the room in silence, a moment given to the couple that had died nearly a hundred years before. He shook his head and looked up. His eyes expanded as though he’d just noticed the expectant crowd. “Love’s too big for this world. This universe ain’t infinite the way love is. No love like that can last. He followed her even unto death. An asteroid smashed a hole right through his engine. He drifted, dead in the water, until he ran out of oxygen.”

Someone in the back piped up. “Then how do you know the story? If’n they’re all dead?”

The old man turned back to his drink. He’d seemed to lose interest in us, and even in the story. “The erts found an audiolog.” He tossed over his shoulder.


It was tales of darkness like that that had replaced the fables of glory from a hundred years prior. When mankind first ventured into space he was wide eyed a naive. Like a child left to its own he’d wandered out into the galaxy and gotten lost. Not physically of course. We just weren’t prepared to face the immensity (and maybe even the enormity) of the universe. Up until then we’d never had to face how small we really are. There’s always been some crazy monks of course, those willing to stare infinity in the face and in turn face how small they really were. Maybe they learned some method of coping.Humanity, however, was devoid of any method for dealing with its own insignificance. Space was colder, darker, larger than we’d ever imagined. But it was also more beautiful than we could even realize as yet. Or so I hoped.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Blurb. Blarg. Glurgg.

Let us not reflect on the future that lies behind us but rather look towards the past that lies before us.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A story called 'Tents'

There once was a kingdom with a most unusual king. The kingdom was at war with all of the kingdoms surrounding it. Despite being heavily outnumbered and surrounded, the kingdom lost few battles and prevailed valiantly against its enemies. Though the war had continued for thousands of years, the cause was still fresh in the minds of those on both sides.

The name of this kingdom and of its kings, as well as its enemies and their kings, are extraneous to this story. What is important to this story is the strange king of the beleaguered kingdom and his strange method of training soldiers. The king was in the habit of riding into the neighboring countries and finding enemy combatants. Upon meeting his adversaries, the king would offer them his life. If the enemy took the king’s life, the king would recruit the hostile personage into his army by rather convoluted means that are tangential at the moment. Those who turned the king away were left in a state of blissful aggression until they changed their minds or were killed; at which point they died (that is to say when they were killed).

Our story actually takes place in the army of the king. The kingdom of which I refer actually had no indigenous soldiers. Its entire military force was comprised of those recruited by the aforementioned means. Thus all of the soldiers were brothers in having been converted from being enemies of the kingdom. The army of the king was subdivided into divisions, brigades, regiments, battalions, platoons, companies, etc. Our story is chiefly concerned with two particular battalions and with a few soldiers within them.

For some time before the beginning of our story a sort of feud had been simmering between the two battalions. Supposed, or perhaps real, insults had been passed back and forth between our characters. Harsh words were spoken and lines had been drawn. One of the battalions became so incensed with the other that they had upped and moved their tents a whole ten miles up stream. It is to be assumed that both battalions brought up their complaint against the other with the proper authorities over them. But the upstream battalion refused to have anything to do with the downstream battalion, going so far as to refuse to gather before a military tribunal and have the matter judged accordingly.

A few soldiers from the downstream battalion acted in like kind and began to refuse to train with or support the upstream battalion. They even found like minded soldiers from other battalions that shared their belief to support them. The simmering confrontation looked close to boil over. Some said that the lines in the sand would soon become lines of battle. Things indeed were in a sorry state.

And such was the state of these things when, one day, a soldier from the downstream battalion ran into a soldier from the upstream battalion. The two soldiers had both been sent to the same well in order to bring water back to the camp. They approached each other warily. Though they wore the same uniform (and loe, were even the same rank), they were hesitant to trust each other.

As they drew near each other, on their way to draw water, they both offered the proper salute and greeting. These pleasantries past, they eyed each other for a long moment. The well separating them was no deeper than their gazes in that moment.

“Comrade, I seem to remember you. We’ve met before?” The downstream soldier (who we’ll call Bob for the sake of the story) tilted his head to the side.

“Yes, quite a few times actually. We used to be in the same camp.” Replied the upstream soldier (by the same token ‘Jim’).

“Ah! You must be Jim then? It seems like I never see you anymore. I wonder what happened.” Bob smiled sadly; knowing, at least in part, the cause of their separation.

“Yes,” JIm replied. “It seems almost as though we’re no longer friends.”

Bob sighed heavily. “But I’d like to still be your friend. Are not we in the same army? Fighting the same enemy? Serving the same king?”

“And I would gladly be yours comrade.” Jim said.

“Good then! Then let’s repair to my camp and have tea.” Bob offered his hand.

Jim stared sadly down at the hand for a long moment. “I cannot my comrade.”

“And why is that?” Bob dropped his hand, looking puzzled.

“There is one, in your camp; a commanding officer. I cannot stand him.”

“You would avoid the entire camp for the sake of one officer?” Said Bob.

“I would. He is a harsh man. I will not go into any camp that he is in a position of authority within.” Jim’s eyes matched the hardness of his voice.

“But comrade, how then can we be friends?” Pain was substituted for Jim’s hardness in Bob’s eyes.

Jim brightened. “You can come to my camp!”

And so the two comrades set out. A day’s journey took them back to Jim’s camp where they spent the evening and much of the next day. As Bob was leaving he spoke to Jim again.

“Comrade, will you still not come to my camp? Will you not for my sake? Or for the sake of your other friends within my camp?”

“I will not.” Came the stolid response.

“Nor will you vent your anger upon the one who has offended you that reparation might take place?”

“I will not.” And so Bob left his comrade there and returned to his own camp. After reporting to his commanding officers, Bob retired to his tent. As he lay upon his sleeping mat he reflected upon his day. He thought of his friend Jim, of his friends camp and all he’d seen there. He thought of all that had bothered him within his friend’s camp. He thought of all that was different and of the little that was wrong. He mourned for his friends pain and strived to hope. Tears streamed down his wooden cheeks as he fought to remember good of his friend and his camp. Finally, exhaustion claimed him and he lost consciousness.

It was a few weeks later when Bob and Jim again met. They both happened to be in a neighboring battalions camp at the same time.

“Bob!” JIm’s face lit up in a smile. “We really need to spend more time together.”

Bob strived to smile for a while before succeeding. “We do indeed comrade.”

They talked about this, that and the other. Eventually the conversation turned to the enmity that existed between the two camps. “I talked to the officer who offended you. He wants to make amends but is… dissuaded from visiting your camp. Will you not visit him?”

“I want nothing to do with him.” Jim’s reply was as strong as ever.

“Then still, you will not visit my camp?” Bob tried one last time.

“I will not.”

Bob squatted down. “This is how I see it. This is the kingdom.” He drew a large circle in the dirt with his finger. “And these are our camps.” He drew two smaller circles within the larger circle. “I think that both these camps are on the same side?” He looked up questioningly; Jim said nothing. Bob continued, tears in his voice and eyes, “They both seem to be within the kingdom, and within the same army. So why then must they quarrel? Can’t we fight the same enemy?”

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tree

I wrote you a story. But I'm not gonna post it just yet. For now here's this.


The tree stretched upwards, crawling up the cliff. Kilometers of twisted growth, climbing higher than the mind could comprehend. Any sense of scale was lost in the vastness of the plant and cliff. Its branches stretched out like the limbs of some animal, reaching out to find finger and toe-holds, invisible from below. Thousands of years it’d been climbing up the cliff; determined to reach the top for reasons only it knew.

A brief google search left me unable to find any picture analogous to what I just described.
Oh well, here's this.
The Lone Cypress

(Image credit: bdinphoenix [flickr])

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: Brave Saint Saturn

I've been really blessed by this band that my friend David showed me. The band's lead singer is Reese from Five Iron Frenzy. They have three albums about a NASA mission to Saturn which goes wrong. They've got some pretty awesome songs and lyrics. They're a lot darker and more serious than what I know of FIF.
 Consider this your first installment of Hipster Music Reviews.


This isn't really much of a review I guess. *Shrug* Enjoy.