Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Somehow today I started thinking about Good and Evil. I'm not sure I can recall why, but I think it had to do with this story about a Holocaust denier vs a Holocaust historian. The thought was, that the denier was evil because they asserted something that was wrong, that they asserted that the Holocaust had not occured, whereas the historian was good for the inverse reason. Anyway during the debate they talked about the need to always remember so that such a thing never occurs again. To which I said (to the radio) that we should therefore have a series of memorials and holidays to never forget the genocide which helped birth this nation. We had a stated purpose of killing every man, woman and child who opposed our dominance, who asserted that we had to right to build upon and farm their ancestral lands. They were evil and so we had no need to remember their genocide. Even if the few survivors might like to have us remember our crimes, they are descended from evil and therfore are tainted. At least that's the way it reads in the Old Testament. Nevertheless, I began to think about how people who are the rankest evil never think of themselves as such, never get up and say "I'm doing something evil today, I am a bad person." Even if they know everyone around might think so, they still rape, murder, burn, eat and so forth in the full faith that what they do supports some form of Order. We did all that and are doing all that today even as we speak. Little nameless 14 year old girls are being raped and murdered in Iraq, in our name. That has to be evil. And so good would be to oppose that evil, and opposed we are. They destroyed two, maybe eight buildings and somewhat over 3000 people to oppose our position that we are supreme leaders of the world, in part because the Soviets are bankrupt in too many ways. That's a bit problematic when one looks at our history and national bank accounts. But I digress.

I decided, finally, that Good was that which supported life. Thus, Hitler was acting in Evil when he ordered the Holocaust because it destroyed life. In fact lots of life. Our bombing of Dresden and Bagdad and Hiroshima and Nagasaki was evil, too, for that same reason. There is quite a bit of both evil and good in the universe. For instance most of my cells are taking in energy, growing and splitting and otherwise contributing to life. So my body is good. I drink beer and sometimes smoke, so I am evil as that hurts life. I fathered two children, so I am good, as that promoted life. I grow gardens, so I am good. I digest, so I am evil. I walk on the earth, so I am evil. I expell carbon dioxide, so I am good. I expell carbon dioxide, so I am evil.

Get my drift? It's not as easy as it seems. Calling something Evil or Good based on finite things not capable of shades of value, just doesn't effectively cover the issue.

It's not a word game or a logic puzzle. It effects whether someone lives or dies, and the manner of both. If we agree there is both evil and good in all things then we can agree not to destroy life in the name of protecting life. It doesn't balence out, it's just evil. There is no greater good than good itself, and somehow machine gunning down a small town of old men just isn't part of any greater good, it's just lacking in all elements of good.

The Catholic church got all upset about a chocolate Jesus but chocolate promotes life and so is good, at least more good than priests raping little boys, which is not a creative act. To be part of some evil is not to be evil itself. Thus, all Americans need not apologize for the genocide of the Natives, but should never forget, so that it might never happen again. The thing to never forget is not the dates and times and numbers of dead, but that it was promoted as a greater good that merely looked like evil because there were dead bodies involved and burning homes. But loss of life and deliberate taking of life must be evil and there can be no greater good when death is involved.

The day after the greatest destruction in our schools since forever... or so they say. Again you get sucked into the problems of Good and Evil, and again I find I can see how a mind can find Good in recklessly killing random and selected people where they can not prepare, nor defend, a reckless but not brave act, and in the minds of many people, a sane mind, a good boy.

The radio show host asks how do you find any sense to this? Those who can trully see sense are busy preparing to beat his score and the ones who have no idea are like lambs in the pasture, cows in the field, bottles on a fence. We are busy doing what we see as important, like raising things to eat and piling up rocks. Eventually we learn to ride and we use that skill to ride over and hit someone from above. Took awhile, but some sick bastard figured that out. 32 dead. more or less. Yet the President is horrified! and oddly enough, up til now, for all the hundreds of thousands of people who died with bullets and shrapnel, and concusive force, walls of houses and so forth...I would expect by simple arithmatic that the President should by now be so horrified that he would be unable to move a finger, because every time he sneezes, six people die. When he scratches his leg, a dozen die. He should be frozen with guilt and fear, but he's not. He's detached and aloof and able to see the greater good. Just like Jim Jones and Adolf, and the rest of them various tribal leaders. They only see the greater good, which is, mostly, what the voices inside them say is right and good. Sometimes they get touched in special ways and then a whole city might burn. Meanwhile some of us have learned to chew a cud while others have slipped off and gotten small.

Suppose you had a rich idiot, a drunken slob of a born again, back-sliding bully of a twerp and his father got elected governor. Suppose for the most part you could control this jerk and get him to use his father's money and power to set you both up, all of you up in a real nice sweet situation. The great thing is, nobody can get hurt, except the poor slobs at the end of the food chain, but hey, that's mother nature, right?

Actually it is Mother Nature, but so is the entire circle within a circle so that eventually the poor slobs are doing fine and the twerp and friends, such as they are, are nailed down to a sad fate as an aside in history: At this point the influence of America on the world stage effectively ceased to be... it's citizens were far too busy "following the money" and finding out how a nation as huge and wealthy as the United States could be penniless, in fact owing trillions of dollars to the new superpowers, China and India.

So what comes around goes around and so forth, like the flu, like a pandemic, like a fad.

I suppose it might be like being a jellyfish and getting caught up in a wave where some guy is breaking a world record. Maybe you know that overhead some guy is ding something great, or maybe you don't, but meanwhile you are swimming the swim of your life trying not to end up on the sand way up there where the water hardly ever goes. You're too busy to see the fine details, to pain attention to the form of the wave. Too bad, because it's lovely. It's good. But it might take a jellyfish to it's death. Thing is, the surfer most likely never at any time during their record breaking experience included the desire to screw up that damn little jellyfish. So nobody set anybody up, they just got there.

But somebody got there with guns and extra ammo, a plan, and a final, totally controlled finish. Where could he have learned such an admiration for the thought and action of killing as many people as you can, people you don't know, or who you do... but people who cannot stop your destruction. Like you were a god, or a hero. It's just a shift in perspective and an abandonment of some basic cultural and biological rules. Like killing babies, or screaming students in their classroom.

I'm having a hard time telling the difference between his bullets killing the innocent and our bullets killing the innocent. The blood is always the same color.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I'm supposed to start working on Aphrodite soon, as in yesterday, but somehow the thought of working at Skidmore again has me apprehensive and nervous. Maybe if Regis hadn't set me up right next to his wheel, in front of all those students I could handle it but I am quite shaky and disturbed. I think it's the studio, but it could be fears about the exhibit itself. Yesterday I called them to let them know I was starting the work and they told me I might not have to do it, that there may not be room for any more work. It's strange, because Aphrodite was the first goddess piece they said they wanted, and they got all excited about it. Now they may not need her. I have to get Ishtar to the studio somehow and get her fired. That has me nervous too. What if the arms break, or the sword snaps off? The firing itself I'm not too worried about if they start slow and 'soak' the kiln for a couple of hours at low heat. It might very well be the fact of working in front of people, even if those people have more than enough to do than watch what I'm doing. It is, after all, the end of the school year.

Yet my hands are shaky, I have butterflies in the stomach and can't think very straight. There's a lot of issues: the students bump things, steal things, make noise. I like some classical music going on in the background but otherwise quiet time. Can I focus in a public setting? What if the thing fails near the beginning? I'm used to having a shit fit, tossing the clay in the bucket and then pouting in my chair slugging down a Fosters while I contemplate what went wrong. Can't do that at Skidmore for sure. Then there's Regis. What if he treats me like a student again and lectures me on my choices? I keep remembering him slashing my Osiris because he insisted I had made a mistake on the arms. He doesn't understand my reasoning, why I change scale and realism, how one thing slides into another. He likes consistency because he's a potter. Alice is one of the few sculptors who work at the studio from time to time and all her work is classical, perfect and clear. My is more disturbing and at times slightly nightmarish. Regis might not 'get it' and then we'd have to waste time and emotion talking about it.

I'm likely being paranoid. They may all be so busy they'll ignore me, but it still feels like trying to work in a subway. The problem, of course, is that my kiln is not ready to use and trying to move Aphrodite in my car to Skidmore for a firing would be inviting disaster. What to do? I suppose I should 'suck it up' and just go start the damn thing, even though the museum won't use it, somebody may buy it and some gallery may show it. Still I will miss my music and wingback chair and the occasional Fosters.

Maybe I can look for tires for the car today and start later at Skidmore. Maybe if Margaret comes to check things out, like tomorrow or Sunday... maybe then I'd feel less threatened. Oh well.

It might be that I am backing off my meds and I have been using them long enough that I have a slight case of withdrawal. That sounds very feasible. Jumpy, twitchy and nervous. Yup. That could be withdrawal. Crap. Grab some clay and work it out. I should build a mask expressing my disappointment over the exhibit. Go buy a beer. Something.

I'll let you know how it turns out.