Thursday, December 28, 2017

Rousseau

 Digging a little deeper into Temet Nosce, I discovered Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, so I decided to add it to my library.  As far as I can tell, it matches up beautifully with my own discourse on having died at birth, but we shall see how primitive he really gets with it.  The Greeks, as much as they didn't understand science and biology, they understood soul.  18th century Europe only really understood soul as the Greeks defined it, and how philosophy and religion had since bastardized it.

"Because we are free, we may always change our minds, change our habits, and change our social institutions.  We can, in principle, start over again.  Resisting those who would have us renounce 'the most precious' of our gifts, we can refuse to surrender our freedom--'the most noble of man's faculties.'"

That's from the intro by James Miller.

He goes on to describe an interaction between Rousseau and Voltaire, whom had been sent a copy of the discourse by the author, and the latter responded with an apparently famous letter which contained: "I have received, sir, your new book against the human race; for which I thank you.... No one has ever used so much intelligence to try to render us beasts.  When one reads your works, it stirs a desire to walk on all fours."... feeding my love for Voltaire, but also stirring my curiosity for Rousseau's point of view.  Like I said, I wonder how primitive he takes it, and if it is the purer primitive based on human nature, or the terrifying primitive they scare us with to justify society's idiocies and necessitate "civilization" as one of the greatest of all oxymorons.
"Not in depraved things but in those well oriented according to nature, are we to consider what is natural."  ~Aristotle, the heading quote.

"...since all the progress of the human species continually moves away from its primitive state, the more we accumulate new knowledge, the more we deprive ourselves of the means of acquiring the most important knowledge of all.  Thus, in a sense, it is by dint of studying man that we have rendered ourselves incapable of knowing him." ~ in the intro, elaborating on aforementioned inscription on the temple at Delphi.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Temet Nosce

 "The unexamined life is not worth living."

                                             ~ Socrates

 I don't know why I was born with this drive when no one appreciates it.  I have trouble finding people who even understand it.  To be perfectly honest, it took me a really long time to understand it.  I have tried to explain it as many ways as I could manage, over and over again.  Generally I just get a pat on the head, or people take something out of it that didn't really have anything to do with what I was saying.  Clearly, I am still failing at getting people around me to understand what has always been painfully obvious to me.
 Nosce te ipsum.

Decades wasted and I haven't really gotten anywhere.  I have evolved greatly in how I approach people and my work, but I still feel the same.  I still see the world the same way I did when I was a child: I am overwhelmed with wasted potential.  We could all be accomplishing something beautiful every day, but we sit around and forfeit our precious energy on stupid shit, which is, of course, relative to what I put importance on, but Socrates would tell you the same thing, so I guess I'll just keep going until you kill me to shut me up.
I'll just keep going, even though this is all debilitatingly depressing.  I can't help but think that I am just horrible at everything.


"Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is man."

~ Alexander Pope


I feel very beaten down by people and a society that complains that I am beaten down.

I'm just a fucking idiot.
You are beautiful.  Why can't you just be beautiful?  Why do you have to keep trying to be something other than what you are?  If you are already beautiful and you are striving to be something else, you are heading away from beauty.  You may see it as 'better', but it's just different, and different than beautiful is just that.  Things that we do are simply things that we do: they come and go with minimal effort and attention.  Who we are is who we are: nothing changes that.  We can change the things that we do to suit temporal needs, and some of those things are temporally beautiful, but no one will ever be beautiful until they can just be, and be happy with 'me'.

If I can't get you to understand, how am I supposed to get anyone to understand?  How are my children ever going to live in a beautiful world?

Saturday, December 16, 2017

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like...

Mom - Put your legs down, Violet.

Violet - ...But I want to put my legs out.

Me - Violet... everything isn't always about what you want.  There are four of us in this family...

........... everything is about what mom wants.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Expression

"There is nothing to paint anymore.

 We've seen everything from the classical to the absurd.

There is nothing to write anymore.

As many books are shredded as read.

There is nothing to sing anymore.

The once avant-garde is now background music."


   ~ Deng Ming-Dao, Day 338

Everything has been said.

Everything has been done.

"Nothing new under the sun" is a quote attributed to Ecclesiastes, so you know that if the gypsies and thieves included it in the BiblĂ© to assist in mind-fucking the dumbed masses, it was time tested already at that point, thousands of years ago.  So much has been accomplished in the last two thousand years, at a glance, but all is really nothing more than a different spin on the same shit.

How selfish and delusional are we to think that we can do it any better?  In reality, nothing gets any better; it just gets different.  Because we need to create and explore what we currently define as the arts, we settle for different, or better than we used to be, or not as bad as the next person, but it all becomes stale and stagnant. Simply different is underwhelming, and the potential of different is overwhelming, but we also instinctually need it, strangely enough.

One thousand and one people can paint the same scene, and the result will be one thousand and one different paintings.  One thousand and one people can play or sing the same piece one thousand and one different ways.  To expand even further, one person can play or sing the same piece everyday, and the result will be infinitely different pieces, no matter how minute the difference, even if the difference is simply how the piece is heard, to the point where it is impossible to exactly repeat a performance or work.  I can take the same soul to the same location, use the same mood and pose, under the same light, and get an entirely different photograph.  The same book read by different people has a different impact.  The same book read by the same person at different moments in their life has a different impact.  Each of any and all of those variations are completely under subjective interpretation, and none of the thousand and one times infinity results are better or worse than the rest... unless they just totally suck.
I stopped playing music because the infinite possibilities of notes and expression drove me near insane.  I relinquish control with photography, because with control there are too many variables to choose from, and I am not selfish or arrogant enough to live in the delusion that my choices are correct.  Capturing whatever the Universe gives you not only gives you something unique to this moment in time, something that has never been seen before and will never be seen again, but allowing the Universe control is to intertwine yourself into the very fabric of time and space.
Nothing will ever be exactly how you want it, or turn out exactly how you planned, so to truly succeed, you must learn to appreciate what is happening, with or without you.


That is my art.


How I interpret the world is completely unique to me.
You can spend your life trying to copy what has already been done, only to find that it is uncontrollably different, or you can spend each moment appreciating thus.

Everything has been said.

Everything has been done.

... But nothing has been said or done in this moment.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sin Nombre

I met a girl
Snowball in hell
She's as hard
And as cracked as the liberty bell...





~ Elliott Smith          

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Overlapping

 "If to its own content, there is no need of reasoning, which could not itself perform the act of creation; creation is the operation of that phase of the Soul which contains Ideal-Principles; for that is its stronger puissance, its creative part.
     It creates, then, on the model of Ideas; for, what it has received from the Intellectual-Principle it must pass on in turn."

~ Plotinus, Second Ennead III, 17

"For as long as divine Mind and Soul exist, the divine Thought-Forms will pour forth into that phase of the Soul: as long as there is a sun, all that streams from it will be some form of light."  ~ 18

I was recently accused of writing like a professor.  I write how I need to, and I relay what I feel is important, in relation to what I am figuring out and going through.  As long as there is sun...

Existence is Relationship

 It pains me to read ancient philosophers attempting to explain what we now know as science with reason, like it pained me to read Aristotle or Hippocrates explain biology with reason.

You only understand what makes sense to you.

You can only function in what makes sense to you.

I always thought my relation to existence was my work: what I produce is how I see the world, and I am sharing that world with whoever is paying attention, but the existence of my work is reduced to the relationship of who is paying attention.

Every Thanksgiving we go on an adventure, to accomplish something when most are sitting around filling their stomachs and pretending to get along with their families.  This year was a bust, but some of my daily reading provided some inspiration.  The morning we left I had to backtrack because the morning before I left for work in the early dark, and didn't have a chance to read.  The stoic reading mentioned the Zen teaching of "the glass is already broken," which I use to explain my "I Died At Birth" philosophy, and the Taoist reading mentioned something that shamefully kicked my ass: "There is no such thing as objective reality.  You color everything.  If you want the highest state of being, aim for consciousness without color." 11/22, Day 327
 Both Stoicism and Zen condition you to just do what needs to be done, because it needs to be done; you can bitch and moan about it, or you can just do it.  How you choose to respond to it in the meantime only effects your mood and the responsive mood around you, but either way it is going to get done, so you can just do it, or you can complain that it isn't the way you want it to be.  This is all very relative to how our little Thanksgiving vacation went


Then, the morning of: "There is one thing and only one thing that causes unhappiness.  The name of that thing is Attachment." ~ Anthony de Mello, a la the stoic reading.

I feel like everything at this point is just overlapping too much.  There is too much information, and I am having trouble fitting everything into its right place, so let's just fight about everything.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Note on Ethics

If you go into things with pure intentions, and are genuinely not doing anything wrong, then you will come out of those things having not done anything wrong.

What others choose to see are their issues, not yours.

Do beautiful things.

Primum non nocere.

No one can touch you.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Void

As much as I've fought to be a better me,
I don't need reminding how bad I can be.



Saturday, November 11, 2017

Wanton Salton

 Part three of Sunday's trilogy: Salton sunset.

A few campers parked in the sand; some desolate buildings sinking into the earth; at the end of a road with a sign: "County Park Closed."; Lifeless power poles littered the landscape; something as simple as a boat ramp deemed completely useless: broken earth where the water once was.

Eroica naturally went straight for the fish skeletons.
 "Withdraw into yourself and look.  And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful: he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work.  So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labour to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiseling your statue, until there shall shine out on you from it the godlike splendor of virtue, until you shall see the perfect goodness surely established in the stainless shrine."

 ~ Plotinus, First Ennead VI, 9

Picking away at Plotinus' beauty, but that quote doesn't fit the location as much as my people in it.
Something about the sunset light at the Salton Sea is absolutely incomparable to anywhere else I've ever shot.  I have no Idea why, but I could make some practical guesses.  Forget the masses of abandoned structures in the area, this is basically an abandoned lake.  Man made, though by accident, a pretty sizable aquatic structure here, to sit in desolation amidst a universe of fish skeletons.  The only time I have ever seen a significant number of people around this lake, it was groups of photographers who seemed to be mulling around capturing the aftermath of some natural disaster.  The true irony here is that most of the beautiful abandoned structures and cars that everyone always told me I should shoot, but I didn't, are gone, in an attempt to clean up the area, and apparently make more plots of uninhabitable wasteland, like trying to polish cancer.  I imagine that at some point I'll be the old guy telling my grandkids that I remember when there was water there, like those our great-grandparent's age would say that they remember when this was just a pond in the ugly desert.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Amor Fati


 I get mixed messages when the stoic daily reading quotes Nietzsche, especially when it's the Nietzsche I know and not the nihilist that people assume.  Ironically, I was having a conversation with Mephistopheles (for those who know) just yesterday about Nietzsche being nothing like what we were told: stating the painfully obvious, which seems to elude the masses, is not nihilistic; if it is any 'istic', it is optimistic, with a genuine hope that someone, anyone, will understand, even if he was "philosophizing with a hammer."  Most the time people only listen when you're yelling.

 Meanwhile...

“The solution is in understanding the virtues and what each has to give: thus the man will learn to work with this or that as every several need demands.  And as he reaches to loftier principles and other standards these in turn will define his conduct: for example, Restraint in its earlier form will no longer satisfy him; he will work for the final Disengagement; he will live, no longer, the human life of the good man—such as Civic Virtue commends—but, leaving this beneath him, will take up instead another life, that of the Gods.    
     For it is to the Gods, not to the Good, that our Likeness must look: to model ourselves upon good men is to produce an image of an image: we have to fix our gaze above the image and attain Likeness to the Supreme Exemplar.” ~ Plotinus, First Ennead II, 7

Plotinus' second tractate, on virtue, hit home on a number of different levels.  Primarily in my having to always remind people to focus on what's important, and when they don't seem to understand what I'm talking about, I can never really articulate what I mean, so nothing changes (like it would anyway).  Amor fati, yes, but this definition of fate is nothing more that the mundane things in your life, which we should all easily rise above and be the very best that we can be within our immediate fati.  Id est, you can always refine how you choose to live and understand in the life that was thrust upon you.

Amor fati is also very Zen, like most of the stoics I read: thus; life is a dead leaf falling from a tree in L'autunno, twisting in the chill of the breeze, or maybe I understand nothing; there is a very good chance that I understand nothing.  I am, in fact, an idiot.  I do, however, see the irony in someone who devoted their entire lives to pointing out all the things that were obviously wrong with the world, or our place in it, and our wasting of precious energy on so many stupid things, uttering a phrase like "Amor Fati."  Ok, talking about two very different philosophers in the same post is hurting my brain.
"He would be neither wise nor in the state of happiness if he had not quitted all trifling with such things and become as it were another being, having confidence in his own nature, faith that evil can never touch him.  In such a spirit he can be fearless through and through; where there is dread, there is not perfect virtue; the man is some sort of a half thing.
     As for any involuntary fear rising in him and taking the judgement by surprise, while his thoughts perhaps were elsewhere, the Sage will attack it and drive it out; he will, so to speak, calm the refractory child within him, whether by reason or by menace, but without passion, as an infant might feel itself rebuked by a glance of severity." ~ First Ennead IV, 15
Happiness, sandwiched between zombie tractates on Happiness and Extension of Time and Dialectic.

"And Plato rightly taught that he who is to be wise and to posses happiness draws his good from the Supreme, fixing his gaze on That, becoming like to That, living by That." ~ 16

Again, mixed messages from the Universe, but I am getting what I need out of everything, if only the kind of reinforcement I have always gotten from the ancients.  This warehouse that I've always wanted to shoot was more like an art installation than an abandoned building.  The graffiti was not mindless, illegible crap; it was intelligent and necessary, aside from some beautiful things being covered by idiots.  The building was also filled with dozens of fire extinguishers, so whatever happened there was done responsibly.  It was refreshing.  Luckily, while this beautiful soul is completely impatient and blind to her own beauty, she is patient with my madness, so she has mostly kept smiling through all my philosophical and psychological flailing and temporal disengagement, which I now understand as my soul withdrawing to its own place.
Just when I was settling in to Plotinus and getting mildly bored with the rambling writing style, I was absolutely blindsided by the Sixth tractate, Beauty, which I haven't continued reading from, and will likely have to read again.

"The same bodies appear sometimes beautiful, sometimes not; so that there is a good deal between being body and being beautiful."

~ First Ennead VI, 1

I marked like half the tractate to note.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Salvation

 "In all this there is no sin--there is only matter of discipline--but our concern is not merely to be sinless but to be God." ~ Plotinus, First Ennead II, 6

Without stupid and ignorant people, we would not have stupid and ignorant monuments, that people flock to and clog up, "ooh"ing and "Ah"ing over all the overwhelming stupid ignorance.  Wasn't that long ago, this would've been beautiful sculptures carved into a hill.

 "Disengagement means simply that the soul withdraws to its own place." ~ 5

Which is where I was at pretty much the whole time, because people make me recluse into a safe place where no one exists.  Maya kept demanding that I take photos of her in-between the hordes of people mulling around like mindless cattle, consuming and vomiting out the space with nobody selfies and nothing-of-significance social media posts that will probably get more notes and likes that most of my posts because these people probably have followings that put mine to shame.  I shot a cat for a while, then spent the rest of the time there glaring and zombies who were standing in my frame until I scared them off.  People started paying more attention to what I was doing once I pulled the Mamiya out, but it was still quite tedious.  Luckily, Maya is much better at talking to strangers, so once we got up the nerve to actually talk to people, everyone was cool with shifting around a bit for frame.  Well...the ones that understood the language.

 I knew better heading into it, but we went anyway.  The only times I had ever been there were in July and August, over 110, but there were still a handful of people poking around.  A Sunday in November was absolutely stupid.  It wasn't even completely about tourists, but occupants: that little asshole of the desert, nestled up against Slab City, was packed with campers and tents.  I have to assume that these are more permanent residents and desert rats, because I don't know who in their right mind would vacation there.  The campers around Salton Sea, sure; as ugly as it is, it's still beautiful during very brief intervals between getting swarmed by dying  gnats and choking on the stench of rotting fish.  Way down south of Niland?  There must be some pretty impressive riding terrain for people to venture way out there to camp around a tourist abyss.
 I've heard plenty of stories about the guy who made this place, and I know he was a good human being, but think about the time and energy that went into this, and think about significant things that could have been accomplished with said time and energy.  Maya was immediately disappointed because she thought it would be bigger, and I was gradually disappointed to see all the things that had been stolen or destroyed.  Whoever the caretakers are, they aren't doing a very good job.  There was no one watching the place when we got there just before noon.  On our way out there was some rude woman yelling at people to stay on the yellow road, like this was some national monument that was instantly being destroyed.  Yes, people could slip and fall, sure; stupid people tend to do that... a lot.  Just put up a sign that says: "steep slope. slippery paint. fall down."; and no one can sue you when their idiot asses fall down; don't follow them around and bark at them.
 My social frustration quickly translated to technical frustration when I pulled out the Mamiya.  The only film I had expired four years ago, and the only polaroid film I had was sitting in the holder for about three years, so those chemicals were shot, but I had to try them anyway...just to make sure they were what they were... three fucking tries... around dozens of oblivious people... killing like 40 minutes of our day.  Then the shutter froze up again on the 120 back.  Upon further review, I am pretty confident that the little piece of metal that allows the shutter to release is bent, but I don't really know, so that's awesome.  The shutter on this camera has always been sluggish.  Maybe that's why.  Meanwhile, I ordered 10 more rolls of film that I can't really afford, and now I have to pull out my chemicals and developing gear because I can't afford to send the shots I did get to any lab for processing.  Then, naturally, they will sit in a plastic sleeve and gradually get more and more scratched up because I don't have a scanner good enough to scan them, and I don't have the means to set up a darkroom anywhere.
After the Salvation debacle we headed to an abandoned warehouse that I've always wanted to shoot at, but never had time.  Then we headed out on an unexplored road that dead ended into the Salton Sea and watched the sunset, which was at like 4:30pm, because those are the joys of daylight savings time changes.  We shot a ton, and decided that we needed to do this more, just hopefully with a lot less people around.

How was your Sunday?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ivory 9

IVORY 9 from Witness Pictures on Vimeo.

Once upon a time I was asked to DP a short film, much to my surprise.  This is it: my first and only attempt at cinematography.  Try to ignore the acting. lol

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The First Ennead

Or... the first nine; the first of six nines.  The collection of writings by, the ever awaited and skipped ahead to, Plotinus.  Finafuckingly.

Plotinus "seemed to be ashamed of being in a body and hence refused to tell anything about his parents, his ancestry, or his country," so sayeth Porphyry, who was not only a disciple, but the one who collected and published the works of the philosopher after his death, against his will.  Seems to be a theme amongst the ancients.  Most of the work I've read was never written to be published and shared.

 It appears to me that the truly great work was the stuff that wasn't refined for public minds, but personal ramblings... sincere heart stuff.  Now, as a note I was given just days ago exemplifies, random heart is seen as weakness; everything must be refined and "professional," or it should remain in a journal and only shared if rewritten and structured properly to fit a story or theme, or serve a purpose.  Well, my heart serves a purpose, and that purpose is telling my story and documenting my evolution, whether it's the voice you believe I should have or not.

 Plotinus, though humble in theory and sound in reason, was obviously from Egypt, and he wandered aimlessly until he happened across a philosopher speaking named Ammonius, and immediately knew that this was the person he needed to find, then proceeded to spend over a decade learning from him.  I never really found that person.  I have had many people in my life who had a huge impact on who I became, but no one I could say I really learned from.  There were two teachers in high school, Art History and Humanities, who completely changed my view on everything, but they don't even know that, and one of them is dead now.  In college, I had the chair of the dance department and the chair of the theatre department that I have often referred to as mentors, but, while they were the only two people I could think to name as ones to speak on my behalf when being considered for probation, we weren't ever really friends... they simply recognized my abilities and talents, and let me get away with more than others would be willing to; they kept giving me opportunities to get better, even though my behavior didn't even remotely deserve it.

 I never really had any significant mentors or internships that most use to move forward in life.  I remember having dinner with Roger Hagadone and Beta Juliet after he shot me, and I was picking his brain about the business, primarily about how he got to where he was, and, when he mentioned that he interned with Annie Leibovitz after attending a photography school that I could never afford, I vividly remember slowly raising a middle finger, and he just kind of chuckled and shrugged, like "it is what it is."  I had to figure all this shit out for myself, the hard way, and no one appreciates that anymore because they're too busy celebrating people who had opportunities handed to them.  I've done pretty damn good here, making the most of what I have access to living in poverty.  In my personal opinion, that helps me appreciate things better, and has taught me more heart than those who are dialing it in for more money.

 At thirty-nine Plutarch decided to leave his teacher to "obtain direct knowledge" of the philosophies of Persia and India.  He, of course, tagged along with the emperor, who happened to be heading that way, and when the emperor was assassinated mid route, he narrowly escaped death and ended up in Antioch, then Rome.  Appreciating where life lead him, like any good, rationally minded philosopher, he spent the rest of his days in Rome, teaching philosophy and giving sound advice, or "directing conscience", to anyone who requested it.  He didn't write anything down for ten years, to honor his mentor, then spent his final years scribbling things down, never even going back to reading it because his vision was so bad, and they read very much like random meanderings, which he never meant to be published and survive for thousands of years.

At the end of it all, he leaned into a friend and said, "now I shall endeavor to make that which is divine in me rise up to that which is divine in the universe," a phrase that could very well be as glorified as Beethoven's last, "Plaudite, amici, comedia finita est (Applaud, my friends, the comedy is over)."

It is so fucking amazing to be reading philosophy again.

Yes, I skipped ahead.

Yes, Ptolemy/Copernicus/Kepler read like a physics textbook.

This is a glimpse of Box Canyon.

Tomorrow, Salvation.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Carpe Cerevisi

Today, just after our first anniversary of brewing, we brewed our 50th batch of beer, and we're both still alive, so that's pretty significant.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Il Cimento dell’Armonia e dell’Inventione [sic]

 L’autunno.

At some point I wanted to do a series of this nature, with a couple sets entitled L'estate and L'inverno, but as with most ideas, they gradually dissipated and were absorbed into the creative chaos of whatever I can do right now, which is not much.  I often find that I simply don't have the energy to plan anything out, and when people do show interest in shooting, I am more compelled to go do it before they change their minds.
The history with this one is much more personal, as she used to climb me like a jungle gym when she was five and I worked for her parents.  Later she would disappear completely, and I dealt with her sister pussy-footing around shooting, but never actually committing to it.  Regardless, both of them were dear to me, like sisters, like kids, and her recently showing up as an employee at my brewery opened an odd door for me to reconnect.  She hit me with a lot of sad stories, and the mere mention of certain names would cause her to break into tears.
Another reason why it is difficult to shoot local people: there is always a history and there is always a story; there are always people who will assume; and there are always people that you would put on an exclusion list to view the work, or even know it exists.  I, personally, have an odd history with this town, as my work and story were entirely inappropriate when I started doing this, but I never shied away from doing it how I needed to do it, so that I could evolve how I needed to evolve, and any negative opinion of my work was met with a couple middle fingers.
I have always said that if you don't want to see my work, stop looking at it.  If you don't like what I have to say, stop reading.  This one is having trouble finding footing in life because she doesn't really understand a lot of things, but that's what life is.  You have to figure out who you are.  Most fall right in to who everyone around them wants them to be, but they just want you to suit their needs; they don't really care about who you actually are, but that doesn't really matter because most spend the next 6-10 years figuring that out, and even after that you figure shit out every day for a really long time.  The great thing about having genuine friends and family is that they love you no matter what.  I never really had those friends; I never really had that family; but the only thing that makes that constant butting of heads worth it is to have someone on the other end of all the bullshit.  Sometimes it takes 20 years; sometimes it takes a lifetime; to get those people who claim to love you to understand that their love doesn't exist on their conditions; sometimes it just doesn't ever happen, and you have to figure shit out.  I'm rambling again.
“He left the Senate and ended his life by starvation.  His books, so the Senators decreed, were to be burnt by the aediles; but some copies were left which were concealed and afterwards published.  And so one is all the more inclined to laugh at the stupidity of men who suppose that the despotism of the present can actually efface the remembrances of the next generation.  On the contrary, the persecution of genius fosters its influence; foreign tyrants, and all who have imitated their oppression, have merely procured infamy for themselves and glory for their victims.” ~ Tacitus, Book IV, 35

Someone in the ancient world wrote some books that did not say great things about Rome, so he found himself standing in front of the senate defending his work.  Regardless of the sentence, he decided *insert middle fingers* to take matters into his own hands and get the fuck out of a tainted system.  I don't wish that on anyone, but it is ancient testament of the lengths to which people will go to prove very simple points.
I had told her that I would remove her scars, but upon further review I told her that I didn't want to.  The things we go through make us who we are, and scars are a roadmap to the soul.  I remember being so bored with the mundane fucking bullshit that this world tried to condition me to be ok with that I would slice my skin open, just to feel something the least bit extraordinary.  Other people have deeper, darker reasons.  Some people are just tired of being ignored.  None of the reasons are more or less significant than others, and all of them are very easy to deal with, with minimal effort and humility.  There are two sides to every story; more people, more sides.  Who's to say which of those stories is correct?  No one.  Not a single person on this planet is great enough to say how they feel is right, especially when another individual human soul, who is free to feel and think whatever they want, is involved.  Try explaining that to someone who has it all figured out.
I don't write very often anymore.  partially because I don't really have time to even feel anything, but mostly because whenever I do I am just overwhelmed by what a shit show human beings are.  We are a precious few who are just trying to survive; and an ignorant majority who assume power and beat us further into submission.