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Sunday, August 3, 2014



henry miller

A word I've not heard in so long I wonder what happened to it, conscience. In the time of my childhood, conscience was an important word, not just at school, but it seemed like conscience was a believable aspect of self that was important. Let your conscience be your guide, was held to be important. Then we went through the Sixties of young people acting on conscience, protesting war for the sake of war and racism. Government taught us conscience aint shit. You don't go by conscience. That's too outta control. Everybody's got a conscience. What good is something that common?  We're a nation of laws. Conscience has no price tag; therefore, no value. This is America. Value has only to do with money. If conscience is a value, then where's the deal? How much discount do I get? Value shopping. The word conscience is so gone from the contemporary vocabulary, it has a good possibility to return as something to do with computers, like icon. Icon used to be an Eastern Orthodox painting of a saint. The word forgotten in the past reappears as an image on a computer screen you click on. Now conscience is in that word limbo place where it can be picked up to mean something entirely new and more specific. This is a time of Xtreme conformity with no room for something as individual as conscience. Government doesn't allow it. School doesn't allow it. Work doesn't allow it. Church doesn't allow it. These are your instructions: this is what you go by. It's a time of zero tolerance. Police in the schools. A kid carries a pocket knife to school and all hell is unleashed. Yeah, but.... Justifications spring up everywhere in a world where security is the key word. Fear of the evening news and all day, all night talk shows. Even Faux news is confused; they periodically slip up and tell something like it is.
What went with conscience? Did it just slip away from lack of attention? Is it a word of another Age? It appears to have no relevance in this time. I find it curious that six years ago the republican party turned the stars upside down on their red and blue elephant icon. In the world of symbolism, the upside down star is the same as the upside down cross. It's a satanic symbol. I don't hold with Satanism as anything but egoism, which holds for the white man party, as well as the sect of Christendom that calls itself Christian. I saw a news item of a ku kluxer all dolled up in peaked hood and white outfit wearing Walmart sandals, saying they'd like to kill the few thousand refugee children from Central American civil wars brought to you by the predictable US of A controlling the Third World by provoking instability. My conscience says no to Coca-Cola hiring death squads to kill union activists in Columbia and their families. Therefore, I never buy a Coca-Cola product. That's as far as my conscience can take me. A phone call yesterday from Americans For Prosperity. I saw it on the caller ID and conscience did not allow me to pick up the phone. I have nothing to contribute to the prosperity of the Koch Brothers, not even attention. My conscience tells me to have nothing to do with politics and nothing to do with television. I live my conscience by living in poverty. I have never felt right wanting luxury when a remarkable majority of people on earth live in poverty. I even taught myself to sleep on a board to experience how most of the people on earth sleep. I've become so used to it I'm uncomfortable on a mattress. My fascination with sleeping on a board began while reading about the Indian Master, Shirdi Sai Baba. He slept on a board. I tried it to see if I could do it. I liked it, bought a sheet of 3/4 inch plywood, and that's my mattress. It's a Romantic idea. I'm ok with that. Plywood costs a lot less than a box spring and mattress, is easier to manage and, for me, is more comfortable. It's a measure of conscience that attracts me to sleep on a board.
I feel like conscience has much to do with why I live where I live and how I live. In a world characterized by wealth and poverty, my conscience draws me to poverty. In conscience is a measure of humility, too. After two-thirds of a century of television, arrogance is the style in fashion. Arrogance, however, has been the nature of "the world" from the beginnings of civilization. It's not specific to any given Age. In a culture where individualism has degenerated to me-first, everybody else last, the importance of humility fades, respect fades, constraints on ego fade away, and we find ourselves "represented" by people who bow to wealth and fart on everybody else. They represent us because it's what we do. How many Cadillacs do you see pulled over by the Highway Patrol? How many eyes do you see light up hearing that somebody has big Money, a house with so many thousand square feet it takes a contractor to imagine it, and an German rich man's car? A few years ago it was rumored that rock star Fred Durst of Limp Biscuit was buying a house at Roaring Gap, the old-money country club in the county. The pot smokers and other drug enthusiasts were already partying in their minds at the country club with an uninhibited rock star whose parties never end. Like he's moving to a rich white man's country club to party with redneck stoners. It was a very big deal in those circles. Until he never showed up. If any truth inhabited the rumor, I doubt the Club accepted his application. I'm unable to see a difference between watching football on tv and drinking beer in a house with thousands of square feet or a trailer, or mobile unit as they're called now. It's thanks to this kind of mind everywhere I go that I withdraw further within, pay more attention to conscience, want to be less like the world around me and more like what appeals to the heart.
I saw Jenny out the window lying down beside the gate. Jack came along and Jenny stood up. They stood at the gate looking this way wondering if the ice cream man was stirring yet. My heart welled up with a loving feeling. A good time to visit the donkeys. Picked up three carrots from the refrigerator and went out the door. Jack brayed standing at the gate. Jenny put her head over the fence in anticipation. I gave carrot to Jack first to honor his Alpha status. Jenny is ok with being second when she is not Alpha. It would have been a crime against nature to give carrot to Jack first when Jenny was Alpha. She'd go into a fit of kicking him and biting at me. Give her the carrot first and she would be calm. Humility was the first characteristic I saw in Jack's nature getting to know him. He carries Alpha status with humility too. If I'd given the carrot to Jenny first, Jack would not have shown any feeling about it except being naturally anxious to have his carrot. I take the moment to talk to them, look into their eyes, speak into their curious nostrils, tell them I love them with all my heart and am happy they are with me. This morning it made Jenny jealous when I talked to Jack. Sometimes she is, sometimes she's not. Depends on the moment. The donkeys, Caterpillar, the birds, the trees make my world at home a world I can live by my conscience inside. One day in the coffee shop, Tim asked why my blog writing is so controversial. It was the first time I'd thought of it as controversial. I said I just write what's on my mind; I figure anybody doesn't like it doesn't have to read it. The reader has full control. He said, So you're just a guy sitting on a mountain. I said, That's it. I liked that. It brought to mind Chinese poet, Han Shan. Sitting on a mountain is what I do best. On my mountain a word like conscience continues to have a life. If my conscience is controversial, I accept.    

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