Just spit it out . . .

I’ve had an idea for a post rattling around in my head for weeks now, but I never thought I had it together enough to write a blog with it.  Part of the problem is that I haven’t slept well in ages, it seems.  I go to bed, and a half hour later my body hurts so bad that I get back up.  Or – I have a migraine and don’t sleep anyhow.  When I do sleep, I get perhaps 3 hours before I roll over on my hip or shoulder, and wake myself up.

Anyhow, I decided to just toss this out there, and see what everyone thinks.  Please forgive that it isn’t very polished.

It’s about Illusions.  I was a youngster when I first read Richard Bach’s “Johnathan Livingston Seagull” – and that was probably my first brush with Illusions as a concept of reality in this world.  A follow-up book by the same author was “Illusions: the Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah”.    I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I think this world is not real – but recently I started to ponder the deeper question:  If it isn’t real, why do so many believe that it is?

As I pondered that question – I began to realize that my video games held a clue, even if accidentally.  THEY are created illusions, and people actually pay money to dive into them for entertainment.  As I looked at this, I realized that each illusion world was supported by MANY other, lesser, illusions built into the world, that define what the world is and how it works.  When people accept the rules of that world, playing the game becomes “real” to them for as long as they are plugged into it.

Which leads to a supplemental question about OUR world – what illusions exist to define it, that are accepted by so many people as to make it “real” to them?

Over the last couple of weeks, I have attempted to formulate a list of such illusions.  I don’t really know the best way to present this, so I’m going to just make it a list.

Dignity, Morality, Nobility, Organized Religion, family, society, nations, governments, power, success, wealth, health, pain, illness, possessions,  duty, honor, sacrifice, obligation.

There is a proof to the fact that these things are illusions – just challenge someone else with the idea that one of them isn’t real and watch their reaction.  If they bought into it, they will become livid over the suggestion that they are wrong – but they can’t PROVE they are right.  They can only prove they are willing to use force to make you withdraw the accusation.

Gaining clarity . . .

Today is April 5th, 2017.  I wouldn’t (quite) call this a major breakthrough in my understanding of myself, but mostly that is because I don’t see how this can lead to anything.  But, I do have an idea.

I had a dream while I was sleeping last night in which I wrote something bemoaning the state of politics in the US.  In the dream, I specifically used this statement: “There are no liberals or conservatives in US government.  There are only those who are greedy or despots, and there are plenty of both in both parties.”

That needs some explanation, especially in this era of hyper-partisan politics.  What I mean is that there are those who went to Washington for the ability to enrich themselves financially, or there are those who think their idea of an ideal government is so great that it is okay to use the power of government (force) to compel those who disagree to submit.  As of this writing, I don’t see anyone in Washington who doesn’t fit into one or the other group.  There hasn’t been anyone in Washington, to the best of my knowledge, who didn’t belong in one of those groups FOR OVER 30 YEARS.

I’m not just talking about elected officials, either.  Every non-elected bureaucrat who works in Washington is in one group or the other.  Every Presidential appointee is in one group or the other.

The longevity of this partisanship in Washington is infecting every facet of society.  Christians think it’s okay to use the 1st Amendment to compel atheists to attend SOME form of church.  The GLBT crowd think it’s alright to use the force of law to compel some form of “equal treatment” from those who do not want to associate with them.  Liberals think they are being “tolerant” when they write laws that compel submission from conservatives.  Conservatives think they are looking out for themselves and their families when they empower businesses and churches to exercise greater influence and control.

EVERYONE IN THE UNITED STATES needs to learn the meaning of TOLERANCE.  We can not build a more tolerant society by empowering an ever-growing, ever more powerful, government.

Oh, and just in case someone cares – I’m picking on the United States because it is my home, not because it is alone in experiencing this problem.  The whole world needs to wake up and realize the perils of hyper-partisanship.  And ALL Muslim mosques need to start speaking out AGAINST the use of force to compel change for non-Muslims.

Mystic Lands series . . .

One of the things my wife and I have been watching lately is a documentary series (available on disc through Netflix) titled Mystic Lands.

It was conceived rather ambitiously for a network TV series (originally airing on the Learning Chanel).  The idea was a 13 episode series looking at numerous different locations of the world, and the spiritual practices that were (or, in some cases, are) practiced there, without cultural bias or prejudice as to the views of the practices being shown.

We’ve seen 4 episodes so far, and I have to say that I think they succeed.  Series director Chip Duncan (who is interviewed about the project in an extra feature on Disc 2) wanted to show spirituality as a potential unifying force of humanity despite the diversity of beliefs, and I respect that view tremendously.

I would choose to phrase it this way: WHAT you practice is not so important as IF that practice means something to you. On the other hand, something being successful as a faith for you is no indicator of it’s rightness for anyone else.  You have a right, and obligation, to do what is right for you, but you have no right or authority to enforce it on anyone else.

Ultimately, your decision to make someplace a spiritual place for you is the only thing that is necessary.  You can make it spiritual just by setting up an altar in a room in your basement.

Cholesterol check . . .

I’ve been sitting on this for over a week, waiting for a chance to talk to the lawyer who’s handling my claim for Social Security disability.  Unfortunately, she’s having health issues herself, and hasn’t returned my call yet.

Anyhow, through the last 5 years the doctor at the VA clinic has been “concerned” about my cholesterol levels and has wanted to put me on drugs to lower them.  This year, he didn’t even have a lab on-site to get the results from, but he went full-court press on pushing the statins just based on LAST YEAR’s results.

I swear, being an MD is nothing but legalized drug pushing anymore.

Anyhow, I told him I wanted to see what the results of the NEW blood work were before making any decision, and they could contact me with those results by email.

I got the email the next day.  My results were that the total cholesterol went up over 40 points.  Here is an excerpt of what he said:

“LDL (bad cholesterol) has gone up from 240 mg/dL to 280 mg/dL  Patient has been very resistant to taking statin drugs.  Complications of untreated high cholesterol including heart attack.  I would advise him taking ATORVASTATIN … in order to get his LDL down.  Possible side effects include muscle weakness, muscle pain.”

First – ATORVASTATIN is generic Lipitor.  Notice that the only side effects he mentions are muscle weakness and muscle pain – nothing about LIVER DAMAGE, which all the literature on the health websites claim is the #1 side effect.

Anyhow, I still haven’t talked to my lawyer, but I also haven’t been sleeping well for the last week, mostly because I’ve been stewing over this.  I still want to talk to my lawyer, but I think I have figured out what to say to the doctor.  It would go something like this:

Dear Doctor:  Please notice in my records that I am a Scientologist.  This affects much more than just my attitudes towards drugs that have psychiatric actions.  It is WHY I have an Advanced Directive AND a Living Will, both of which stipulate a DNR order.  It is my religious and spiritual belief that the end of this life is only an opportunity  to begin the next one.  I am happy to discuss health care options that affect the quality of life while I have it, but I have no interest in extending it.  If I have a heart attack, it will be the end of my life, and I’m comfortable with that.  I will not take anti-cholesterol drugs now or ever, and you will not ever bring it up again.

Well, I think that’s what I’d say.