Links to my Books

Links to My Writings

Third Daughters at Smashwords
Meditations on Maintenance for the Kindle
Memoirs of a Super Criminal for the Kindle, Nook or Smashwords
One Year in the Mountains for the Kindle, Nook or Smashwords
Adventures of Erkulys & Uryon for the Kindle and Nook

Friday, April 24, 2009

Freedom and Responsibility

This is an excerpt from a posting in a discussion group at Fine Art America.

Free is a relative term. As a father I am free to do somethings but not others, as a husband the same holds true. When out in society I am free to act in some ways and not others. And the association with free is always changing. In Cali you used to be free to light up after a good meal, but not any longer. You used to be free to make a living off the land, but not any longer. You used to be free to homestead, but not any longer, (not even in Alaska). The idea of freedom changes over the course of time. We used to be free to live life without the intervention of the government, but not any longer. Freedom is always juxtaposed against responsibility. Responsibility is when you knowingly and freely give up some aspect of your personal freedom for the greater good of family, society or nation. I know people who don't want to give up their freedom of snowboarding to show up to work on time and they cant figure out why they keep loosing jobs. We are free to vote but we are also responsible for the outcome. If we don't like the results we are free to change them, but then we become responsible for the changes (if we wait for the next voting cycle or instigate civil unrest they all have consequences.) I am sure this is all assumed nonsense and I have no need to spout out about freedom and responsibility. If we want to be free to be one of the most powerful nations on the planet, then we also have responsibilities. Am I willing to give up some of my freedoms to make a better world: cheap art supplies, affordable studio space, the ability to travel to shows, plethora of museums and galleries that wealth brings to a city, time in my day to paint and pursue art... I am free but the flip side is I am responsible to use my freedom, even to give it up for the greater good, with a bit of wisdom. And the boy in the photo does not have to think about such things because he assumes his freedom to enjoy a summer day is sacred and protected by the adults around him who have given up personal freedoms to make that day happen; adults who make the tough, in the moment decisions that may be right or wrong but still have to be made then and there. It is no easy thing to be a responsible adult. I always thought that someday some elder would sit me down and tell me how to be an adult, but as I became one through trial and error I realized we are all more or less making it up as we go along. We try our best and hopefully learn from our mistakes, but we don't know it is a mistake until well after the fact. But if we move forward with growing wisdom and the desire to learn from our mistakes then we can grow into being decent adults creating those lazy summer days for children to have the freedom to enjoy without care or concern about safety or survival.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Faith and Doubting

There is a difference between doubting and pushing back against faith. Doubting is questioning the evidence and waiting for more proof before believing. Pushing against faith is when one knows what to believe and when to believe but refuses to do so. Doubting is healthy in creating strong mature faith that is built on solid reasoning and belief. Pushing against faith is creating the illusion of doubt to persist in holding back from belief even if it means the slow decay of the soul and spirit. Doubting leads to faith, pushing against faith leads to despair.

I have always been a skeptic, holding off from making a decision believing that tomorrow more evidence may present itself to persuade me one way or the other. Although that is a healthy way to approach a subject until one has a grasp of the main themes and is ready to proceed towards a conclusion, it is not a healthy way to live. Eventually one must decide. Not that one has to give up questioning or searching, but one must begin to narrow down the searching by choosing a course of action which by its nature begins to exclude other courses of actions. It is hard to live if one is not being committed. You can only half-ass life so long until it catches you. Calling it skepticism or even searching only holds so much water.

So when I bring these two tenets together I see in myself the fear to commit because of my proclivity toward skepticism which I call doubt but in reality is pushing against faith. I can no longer live that way but must commit to a course of living. And along this path I will find many more questions to search out the meaning towards. Having faith is not giving up thinking. Having faith is not blind belief. Having faith is accepting what you know in your heart to be true, even when your mind wants to ask that next question or is waiting for that next bit of evidence.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Life

Life is never the way it is supposed to be. There are so many things outside of our control, things we get blamed for and held responsible for, but in reality we have absolutely nothing to do with. As the old saying goes: life is unfair. But why is that? Why do we just sit by and accept that as part of life? Yes, life will throw curve balls at us, but that is different than intentional creation of scenarios where life has to act in unfair ways. How do we create a life, a society where trust, faith, justice and fairness are the defining points?