July 19, 2011

Claro



I've been going through a serious criticism of my blog by someone whose opinion I valued for awhile. I'm going to post some of it here and then try to analyze and deal with it.

"you mike have a one track mind.
your problem - and it has been all your life - in every one of your damn blog entries THAT I HAVE READ
is you DONT LISTEN
you only hear your own woes and your own self.
everyone who has met you in this process has pointed that out.
funny, how fifteen people all come to the same conclusion.
and while yours might say "she's still young" mine all say "well he is an angry old man that never grew up"

This person praised my blog to the sky: "There is some good stuff in there." She said it was "strong" and "unique" and other accolades. I admit that those sorts of compliments encouraged me to keep writing. The blog enabled me to finish things and led me to think it was one of the most-productive periods of my miserable 50 years of writing life. I'm not used to people reading my writing, much less praising it. It encouraged me to keep on with it. It was heady praise, and it went to my head of course. When I lost her friendship, my self-confidence went down like the moon, and I lost interest in blogging.

The problem is that I don't know much about anything other than myself. I have opinions of course, strong ones, and think I could organize some things better than they are; but I don't know much about anything, and doubt everything I think I might know. It's my skeptical nature and low-self esteem, which was birthed by betrayals and failure.

But looking back through some of the 190 pieces I've posted here, I can't fully accept the criticism that I "don't listen," and write only about myself. It's simply not true, though it has elements of the truth.


I'm forever re-writing things I read:

"The moments after engaging with a sunset or engaging with a partner in the act of sex are the ones that offer true clarity"

My rewrite:

moments after engaging a sunset or with a partner in sex are moments of true clarity

I wouldn't know.

I've seen thousands of sunsets and remember only one. It certainly was a moment of clarity. The sex I remember ended with temporary unconsciousness but not clarity.




I was walking beside an estuary in Corpus Christi in the early 80's, probably hitching to the university, where I was reading about the Holocaust, when I saw thousands of birds; gulls, pelicans and cranes, standing on rocks rimming the small cove to prevent coast-erosion. They were standing there apparently watching the sunset. I stopped to watch it too.

I was probably stoned. I usually was. I was broke most of the time too, jobless I'm sure, and for awhile I donated blood in one of those plasma-sucking stations that paid 15 bucks for a quart of my vital body fluids every two weeks; but somehow I always had some weed. So I stood there for about 10 minutes completely immobile as our fiery star sank past the curvature of the planet. Then, to relieve my feet, I kneeled.

Every single bird in the estuary lifted off in a flutter of silent wings, hovered a moment, then settled back to the shoreline. They had all been watching me, and, when I dropped into a shooting position, they had instinctively lifted off for evasive maneuvers. I was shocked. They had been watching me. Imagine that a simple act of yours frightens thousands of other creatures into taking flight.

It did not make me feel powerful or important, but small, mean and feared. Other creatures feared me and my species, even as I meant them no harm, and I could not claim species-discrimination. After all, do sea birds shoot at us? Wherever there are birds, it seems, there are two-legged humans killing them for food or sport.

All the other animals must feel the same instinctive wariness, because there isn't a one we haven't killed in great numbers. They know our firesticks. It is in their genes.

At one time it was probably a more-even contest.

There are many many creatures who are our betters in physical ability and ferocity. A bear of any kind can tear us to pieces and eat us alive; a whale can swat a whole boatload of men with a single stroke; tigers, lions, cheetahs, and all other cats,can kill and devour us. A baboon can rip us to shreds with its teeth, a chimpanze can tear us apart with its hands, and our faithful dogs can turn on us and kill everybody in the house. There's hardly an animal out there which a single human can defeat in hand-to-hand combat. Imagine what a wild boar with tusks and teeth can do to a frail or flabby human being. A pig can kick our ass.

We learned to gang up on them, to distract them with drums and poke them with hot sticks, and to beat them to death all at once in a circle of death by rampaging human fury impelled by fear. We learned how to hunt, trap and kill every one of them over time. We are the best predators on the planet; if not the best-looking.

Our intelligence out-matched their strength and ferocity, as Nature would have it, and the smarter ones learned to give us a lot of room, with the noble dog being the only clear exception. This poor animal is probably the only one capable of loving us despite our abuse. Well, we feed them too. Actually, most domestic house-dogs are drugged by their dog food. (As for cats, they are an alien species and parasites of the first order; but they provide us with soothing vibes in exchange for food and shelter.)

We obviously are more afraid of wild animals than they are of us. We've proved we can kill anything on the planet except the cockroach, and the other animals know it. The real danger is if the cockroaches learn it.

The trouble is that there are so many of us, and way too much killing of all sorts. If we keep killing at this rate--species, fish, oceans, forests, air, each other--soon the only thing left to eat will be the cockroaches and each other.

We need to slowly over many generations reduce the population of humans to a manageable billion. There's no reason why each of us can't have hundreds of acres of land and all the resources thereon. Nor is there a sensible reason why we should steal and destroy the natural habitats of the other species. It is clear that all life and systems are inter-dependent. If our quality of life is to improve, the quality of all other lives also must improve. Our arrogant, warlike species has defiled the planet and this must stop. We must rid ourselves of thinking that we can and should control the earth. The planet will destroy us before we destroy it. And it is absurd: we don't control the earth.

It would be so much the easier to do with fewer people and less waste, and, served by robots and machines operated by robots, we could have a happy and serene life. A life perhaps of contemplation or sensation, or whatever we choose. A free life, presumably. Or could we? Life is so complicated and hard sometimes that we can only attribute the cause to human malevolence and stupidity.

But we still would have to put up with cockroaches. They will always be here, feeding on our stenchy waste, searching for and finding food and territory. Rather like ourselves. Of course, they can't make atom bombs. But atom bombs can't wipe them out either. Nothing can withstand radiation like a cockroach.