I am currently trying, once again, to deal with the Veteran’s Administration (VA), to get my left femur replaced. At this point in time, I have been trying for 38 years to get this problem fixed.
In all of that time, the standard response of the VA has been “the problem is not yet severe enough for us to justify the expense or risk of performing the procedure.” What that means is, because the procedure would probably need to be repeated in 20 years, they are unwilling to do the corrective surgery before I am old enough to only qualify for it one time.
So, because I became disabled so young (aged 18), I have spent 38 years waiting for the chance to resume anything even remotely resembling a normal life – even though it would only require ONE surgery to deliver that option to me.
My new primary care doctor, at the VA Health clinic in Joplin, was willing to order a new MRI to evaluate the situation, and that has been scheduled for later this month. However, based on the report of the preliminary X-rays before the MRI, I am not expecting them to agree to the procedure at this time.
IMHO, this is a completely upside down evaluation. The VA is looking at how many times the procedure may need to be done throughout my lifetime – and what I am concerned about is my quality of life for however long I have left. The last 38 years have been what should have been some of the most productive years of my life – and of them I’ve spent 28 years doing minimum wage labor, and the last 10 years I’ve been unemployable. All of this despite the undeniable fact that nobody knows for sure when I will die – whether by an accident, illness, or natural causes. Let’s not forget, it all started with a bone tumor, and that caused a permanent impairment to my immune system.
If the VA tells me later this month that they are still not willing to replace my femur, my wife is considering adding me to her medical insurance, just to attempt to get the surgery done. I think that is still a long shot, but we’ll look at it. If it isn’t viable, I’m considering whether it is time to consider a new body. Continuing the downward spiral is certainly not going to be viable for very long, and since I do believe in a form of reincarnation, it is worth thinking about.
On this day, one week before the start of a new semester at the local university, I’d like to address something that all college students will be faced with throughout the coming year . . . the ongoing battle of good versus evil.
It’s so pervasive, and long lived, that the terms we have to speak of it are myriad – yet probably none approach the universal use and recognition of “black and white”. Black – the color that represents the equal presence of all colors; white – the color that represents the absence of all colors. Those terms have nearly eternally been recognized as the short-hand reference to the battle between good and evil. Yet, I have a simple observation to point out that doesn’t get near the attention that it merits.
Good cannot exist in the absence of evil, and evil cannot exist in the absence of good.
Consider the typical, fully charged, battery. You pick it up, hold it in your hand, and know that it has the power to potentially do wonderful things. But it will do NOTHING until it is plugged into a circuit. Electricity is just a potential until it has somewhere to go. The same is true with an idea. Thus, it does not matter what your idea of a better universe is (and I guarantee that someone out there considers it to be evil), it NEEDS the presence of an oppositional idea to have somewhere to go, something to do.
Good and evil need each other to serve any purpose for those of us who invest time in thinking about them. Thus, it is an eternal waste of effort to invest yourself in the eradication of whatever idea is opposed to yours. I guarantee two things. If you succeed, it will be the death of your goal, because your goal will no longer serve a purpose. And , even if you consider that to be a fair trade, there are others out there who feel the same about beating your idea.
This apples universally – most especially to religion and politics. Thus, we need to all take a step back, a deep breath, and consider from a point of genuine sanity that what we honestly need is not a victory, but the ability to embrace in tolerance the ideas we most hate.
For those who enjoy reading anything that is not required for a course, or for work, there is one book I will recommend you read before this calendar year (2018) is completed:
GNOSTICISM: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing – by Stephan A. Hoeller
Before I give you the quote, I should explain that in the video game this comes from, the characters call their world “Thedas”. So, in the quote, every time you read Thedas, you can substitute Earth, and see if you agree that it applies to us.
“There is a danger to the natural order. Legends walked Thedas once, things of might and wonder. Their passing has left us all the lesser.”
“Yes! Is Thedas so full of wonders that we should leave them to die, one by one? Mankind blunders through the world, crushing what it doesn’t understand: elves, dragons, magic… the list is endless. We must slow the tide or be left with nothing more than the mundane. This I know to be true.”
Both of those quotes are verbalized by the character Morrigan, in the game Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Here is another piece of wisdom gleaned from a video game. This was found in the “Rise of the Tomb Raider” game, and was attributed to a disciple of a “prophet”.
“No man has ever told the truth about God, for no man can ever know.
There is more sacred in the heart of a farmer or soldier than in the hearts of lords and emperors.
We are all of us deceived by those that claim to speak on behalf of the creator.
No man speaks for Him, for His voice is the sky, the water, and the flow of the world.”