"It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubborness of the inorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed." - Albert Einstein

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I aspire to a stubbornly incorrigible nonconformity. The degree to which I have achieved my aspiration I leave in the capable hands of those whose wisdom and humilty exceed my own.

Friday, April 27, 2007


I have had a slowly evolving malaise over the last few months and I wasn't quite able to identify the cause. I have a lot of stress at work and health problems but it seemed that it was really something else. It just occurred to me this morning.

I am a card carrying member of the News Junkies Anonymous and now I am dreading the news. I am cutting back on how much media I watch or read. And when I do go to the news, I start looking at golf news or the offbeat stuff or the arts calendar. I am avoiding headlines and front page news. I see it, I just don't really see it, or read it.

I remember this.

The landscaping is different, but this is the late 60s and early 70s all over again. When it was never a question of if there had been any horrible news from the war, just how bad was it. Never a question of if any soldiers had died needlessly for some dubious yet unattainable, and largely unidentifiable, goal, just how many. How many young men (almost all men in Viet Nam) had sacrificed their lives for that huge lie that they were serving and protecting their country.

OK, so it's more than just the different foliage. Now young women have also bought the big lie and are dying to protect their country.

I wake every morning knowing in my bones that some of the best and brightest young people in this country have been killed or maimed or otherwise traumatized and that we are so much poorer for their loss. It is never a question of whether or not this has happened, only how much, how bad is it. How much grief and loss is there for my breakfast today?

We sit here going through the motions of work and family lifle, listening to music and voting for our favorites or watching selfish egocentric people conspire against each other on some tropical island, while half a world a way, the future and talent, spirit, energy, and creativity of this country is slowly bleeding away in the sand. How many brilliant future teachers or doctors died in Iraq today? How many gifted artists or musicians are irreprably traumatized today? How many future world shaking inventions have we lost today? What great books will never be written or films never made now?

And when those who are "only traumatized" come home, how many future homeless vets have we created? How many flashbacks and nightmares yet to terrorize are being planted today? How many children became orphans today? How many children might as well be orphans because their parents are emotionally and spiritually incapable of being present?

We have the capacity to create greate things ~ literature and music and inventions and medicines and people. We are choosing the path of destruction ~ blowing things up, knocking things down, and the people, always the people.

That seems like enough to explain my malaise.

But then I think, I always try to think, I aspire, to bring some light into this darkness. I have little influence or capacity to change what happens in Iraq. I can influence what happens here and now, which is the only place and time I actually have anyway. I can ... I do choose to cultivate positive energy, to light a candle, tell a story, read a good book, help a neighbor, make a friend, play some golf, be artistic and creative, make a delicous meal. Its not a cure for my malaise and it won't change our government or Iraq and it won't make me forget or ignore, but a candle lit in the darkness, no matter how dark, is better than a curse.

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