Thursday, October 31, 2013

Of all my Horror characters, which could I dress as for my Halloween Party?

So. Happy Halloween! Hope you have a fun and safe day and night. Because we all know that the most fun starts after dark today, right?
Dali and friends
Gee too bad I'm not rich, I could throw a party where people have to dress up as characters from my Horror books and stories. Though I'd have to suggest this enough ahead of time that people would read some of these writings, however. And have time to put something together.

But that got me to thinking. Who COULD anyone dress up as from my published works?

So I looked through them to see what I could find. Here is a list of my books and short stories. Some of those are broken out of my books when they can be stand alone tales. I listed a few others in the books, too and pointed out the figures in the stories who could most easily lend themselves to imitation. Some of these are available as audiobooks (AB) as well. I've also tried to rate them for content as best I could. Odd that though because I'm more used to rating films. It seems harder to me to rate a story. So, check it out. Here's what I came up with.

Quantum History - (Sci Fi PG-PG13) A guy suddenly discovers he has changed into a notorious figure from History. This would be an easy one. Or there's the other guy from the MIT Lab who could be fun.

In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear (PG-13) - About a guy who changes himself into a "computer chip", of sorts. Good luck with that one. But you could do this one fairly easily. More "social horror" than my typical horror. The only thing really scary in it is concepts and how people can change.

Poor Lord Ritchie's Answer to a Question He Knever Knew (PG-13 to R for implied sexuality) - This isn't too hard because it's another historical figure, so dress as a Medieval Lord.

Simon's Beautiful Thought (PG-13) -  Too close to home, a guy in his 20s in our post modern world.

Sarah (PG-13) - An old woman with senility issues. And some land problems.

Gumdrop City (R)- Kind of like Aqualung from Jethro Tull's seminal work of the 70s. Unless you think it's the biker from, "Too Old To Rock-n-Roll, Too Young to Die". But it's not, he's a child serial murderer and this is based on a true crime. I didn't make this up, just made it readable. Okay, the ending is mine as in reality it was a happier ending. This is, let's say, half happy of an ending.

Japheth, Ishvi and The Light (PG-13 or R depending on your background) (AB) - Hmm in this one we have a religious commune, soldiers, zombies and, well, God as a famous figure in current cinema with an odd sense of humor.

The Conqueror Worm (PG-13)  (AB)- So we have here two 12 year old boys and a monster. Yes, you could definitely do this one. It also opens my book, Death of Heaven (see below).

Expedition of the Arcturus (PG) - A normal science fiction tale about normal people on Earth's first normal multi-generational trip to another kind of normal planet. First published on PerihelionSF.com (this version is free but not useful as an ebook as the other version is).

The Mea Culpa Document of London (PG-13)  (AB)-  Tale about a Medieval Witch Hunter and Judge of the Inquisition. Dark robes and a hat, right? Or, a torture victim, maybe. But this guy has some serious issues to consider. This is blown out in my other story, Vaughan's Theorem.

Andrew (R) - Definitely a twisted story about a five year old boy interspersed with his future self as a solider at war and the epic, and I mean, epic, ending. Or is it the beginning? You'd have to read "Death of Heaven" to find that one out.

EarVu (PG-13) - This one has possibilities. Scientists and scientists under shall we say, duress. And an interesting interpretation of what they have to deal with.

Mr. Pakool's Spice (PG-13 maybe R) - A dad and his two young kids crossing through the backwoods of a wintry Oregon while evading the zombie apocalypse. Plenty of possibilities there.

Anthology of Evil
The Fall (PG-13 to R) - Pretty much normal people in the city, well not all normal, but not much there costume-wise.

Death of Heaven (R) - Epic book of Horror.
Harbinger (R) - An Angle of Death. No, seriously. Oh yeah, I could see this costume.

A Thirst Divine (R) - Another Angel but this one, very female and very attractive.

Sweet Jane (R)- Well, perhaps a costume of an individual of, self abuse? Sure, sure this one is a gruesome possibility.

Vaughan's Theorem (R) - About a serial killer. One could dress up as him, shirtless, or doctor's white lab coat, or as a variety of very damaged people, or, well, it goes on. So definitely possibilities in this one.

And that's my round up. I guess maybe I'd go as...

Nawww, I'm not gonna make it that easy for you.

Have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Visit JZ Murdock.com

For those times when you finally lash out at the cruel harshness of the world; at that natural anxiety that lives inside you, always; at the underlying horror that you know dwells within the soil that lies beneath that shear fabric of the universe; at those oh so cheaply attached heads on those oh so foolish individuals who stood before you, ranting, for no particularly good reason that doesn't do you any good at all in how you are feeling....and yet, you do start to feel better now, and you realize, I can always clean this mess up in the morning.
Happy Halloween....
2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

58% of Americans say legalize Pot. So what new Drug shall we attack?

So, 58% of Americans now think we should legalize Cannabis. So let's stop wasting time and energy and legalize Pot! On the federal level. Let's now put that money into something useful. The War on Drugs has failed. So now what?

Consider that with the end of Prohibition against alcohol, Harry Jacob Anslinger (who held office as the assistant prohibition commissioner in the Bureau of Prohibition, before being appointed as the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department's Federal Bureau of Narcotics on August 12, 1930), replaced alcohol as the drug to war against, with pot. After all, he had to do something for those poor agents now pretty much out of work with families to support. Right?

So? Where does that leave us now? Don't we now have to replace warring on pot with something else? So what do you want to be the prime target now in our eternal war on whatever, I mean, drugs (and Americans) now?

Look, if you want to continue your wasteful "War on Drugs" then you've got to find a new drug to attack. A new group of people, new users, new addicts to attack, to ruin their lives like we have for so many pot smokers and their families (for no apparent reason or end purpose). And just what should be the new, nefarious, and most highly dangerous drug in History to attack and destroy? Well, I think I've got it. But it's not a drug, per se, though the symptoms are pretty much the same.

Extremism.

At least, extremism in ideological views. I'm all for extreme sports (within reason), as much as the next guy. Then again let's face it, extreme anything at some point, just becomes stupid. And we've seen a lot of that in recent times. The lesser of the evils, is still evil nonetheless in the form of trying to decide other's lifestyles, as in being antiGay, and needs in life, as in making abortion illegal and taking away women's rights, trying to force them into roles right out of the 1940s.

It would seem that conservatives in this country can't have a progressive thought without first leaning on their childhood fears of Hellfire and brimstone. But these are the least of our worries as there are far more ridiculous people out there. Not just people standing behind the counter-intuitive banners of ProLife, but those who out right murder people. Like abortion clinic Doctors. Or worse.

Yes, extremism has brought us suicide bombers, the destruction of the twin towers in NYC, mass murders, genocide, abuse, rape, child slavery, and on and on. It has recently even brought our government to a shut down (thanks GOP extremists), or to a slim down or whatever you want to call it. Whatever you label it, it was bad. Stupid, and bad.

Extremism is where you take something based in a truth, twist it with a half truth, then intelligently shove it down the throats of the less educated, the ignorant, the stupid, and those who are more rather than less, narcissistic. See you can't con an honest man. Conservatism and extremism, are like kissing cousins. As is Fundamentalism. It's all an attempt to decrease things to their simplest elements and let's face it, Life ain't simple. And whenever you try to make it so, people get lost in the shuffle. And a select minority find power.

Maajid Nawaz, is cofounder of the world's first counter extremism think tank, Quilliam, a campaign organization where they do "counter messaging", where they try to popularize counter narratives against extremism. They are looking for ways to "inoculate" extremists against extremist messages. Maajid was recently put on the Al Shabab hit list, so he must be doing something right. He is also author of the book, "Radical - My Journey out of Islamist Extremism", and he is one of those out there fighting the good fight, trying to squelch Islamic extremism.

Like the eleven year-old girl, Malala Yousafzai, who stood for education in her country against the Taliban, and who in 2009 was shot in the face by them for her efforts. She is now touring and continuing to speak out. Sam Harris called her, "The best thing to happen to Islam in 1,000 years."

One group engaged in this, in the arena of Women's Rights is AON. On this order of things, Valarie Plame (author of the new novel, "Blowback" and previously the non-fiction work, "Fair Game"), said recently that you can tell that "the trouble spots in the world, it is no coincidence, are places where women are treated as second class citizens."

Christopher Hitchens once said in a July 2011 Vanity Fair article, in speaking about Islam before the Talibanization of Afghanistan and Pakistan and on repression in the Islamic republic, "Let me try to summarize and update the situation like this: Here is a society where rape is not a crime. It is a punishment. Women can be sentenced to be raped, by tribal and religious kangaroo courts, if even a rumor of their immodesty brings shame on their menfolk. In such an obscenely distorted context, the counterpart term to shame—which is the noble word “honor”—becomes most commonly associated with the word “killing.” Moral courage consists of the willingness to butcher your own daughter."

Try to name some famous opposites of the Islamic extremist leaders who are on the other side of the table, as Democratic leaders in the Muslim world. Far harder to think of, isn't it? You remember Bin Laden, right? But who is his opposite number on the other side? Extremism is alive and well around the world, and here at home.

We can't keep trying to simply take out these extremists with raids and drone attacks and so on, as it works about as well as the drug war had. It's not stopping. We need to treat Islamic extremism like the ideological phenomenon that it is. As any extremism is. We can't simply remove the heads of these movements and organizations and expect them to simply go away. It just doesn't work.

They will just be replaced. Extremism needs to be nipped in the bud. It becomes as a drug to them, an addiction that they need to be extracted from, weaned off of. And because of it, they won't listen to reason. They are much like a drug addict of a real drug. Not pot for reason's sake, but we're talking your heroin or meth of the theistic type. The change needs to come in a fashion more insidious to them. They can't see it coming, because no matter how much sense the opposing argument can be, they will refuse to hear it. Spoken with an extreme American Conservative lately?

People are afraid of clarity in these things because it forces them to think, and have to avoid reason and they don't want that. They don't want it because it forces them to face that they aren't using reason, they are rationalizing what they want emotionally. And the world seems to be going that direction, more and more.

Whenever we are clear about a position, then people are forced to have to go up against it and either agree with it or more typically, disagree with it. But at that point they have to KNOW something. They have to know either that they don't know what they are talking about, or that they are avoiding dealing with it rationally. And that pisses people off. Not appropriately at themselves, but at others who are opposing them. No matter how correct those others are. Since mostly people don't know something, they then become fearful.

Richard Dawkins said that in the struggle of his Atheism against Theism, that this was exactly what he had come up against, time and time again. And it is very much how it is today in our own nation.

Since about 1980 Christians have taken over our national agendas. And that has got to stop. We need to have a secular government back to make secular decisions. Ones based in Humanity and not religious tomes. But we have been steeped in extremism ourselves in order to further these right wing religious agendas against secularism and sanity. We are in a death throw with theism around the world, and at home.

But at a more base point, it isn't just an issue with theism, Christianity, Islam, etc.

Again, it is the drug of Extremism.

Extremism, that easy drug to swallow, to become addicted to. It doesn't require much thought. But the thought it does require is easy and fun, emotionally satiating. Regardless who else out there gets hurt by it. Because it is a very narcissistic addition. It is for the "Me" generation. It is a kind of, "put your head down and ram it into the wall repeatedly" kind of thought format. It is both dangerous and holding the world back from advancing, from evolving. And it warps compassion for our race and justifies things, in the Islamic terror organization as example (and there are other religions doing this), such as killing of innocents and their own Islamic brothers and sisters.

Finally in Catholicism with Pope Francis, some sanity is coming into play. He is putting down all the avenues of extremism available to Catholics. Stop picking on Gays, stop being so focused on the concerns of birth control. Love one another, have compassion. Basically, he is turning the largest religion in the world, Buddhist, albeit with different rituals and texts. And, I am good with that.

So in the end we need a new drug. My vote as you have seen, is for a war on extremism. Or no war at all. Because the way we are really going to get a handle on things kinds of things, that keep popping up, is to treat all people of the world with compassion and not just corporate and national interests as primary concerns. But in the well being of all of Humanity, even those not of your country, or personal belief system.


Monday, October 21, 2013

On Being a Writer

What is it to be a writer? I have addressed this topic before and each time it has had a slightly different orientation.

As a starting point I'd like to say that writing IS, rewriting. But it also takes practice, it requires learning the overall art of wordsmithing. It takes finding one's "voice", having something to say, having the ability to entertain, educate, and exemplify. Yes, to entertain. That is serious for entertainment writing, but even the News industry has discovered that to be true. Sadly for news consumers, as this discovery by our journalistic brothers and sisters (more so their corporate handlers) has truly been a downfall for us all, as well as for them. 

If you get paid for writing something, are you a professional?

Yes, pretty much by definition. But you can also be a "professional" oriented writer if you have that attitude and present those results. One could argue that an amateur writer can be as professional as a professional, without the pay or notoriety. In which case I suppose the next level would be a hobbyist, though they can be pretty amazing in some cases too. "Fan fiction" does have the extremes of being at a professional level and probably more often, a very amateurish level. Yet even then some works can be popular. 

Granted, there are all these things and so many more levels of each type. One of the reasons I ever first took a chance on writing a fiction story was because of a story I had read in a magazine. I just knew that I could easily do better than that.

But this is all too complicated and confusing. 

Basically for the purposes of this piece, I see writers as being broken up between Professionals and Amateurs. But I do accede to the simplification of that. Nevertheless...

Anyone can be a "writer". Write a grocery list, you're a "writer". Turn it into a stream of consciousness, you're more of a writer proper. Put it into a fiction story format and you are even more of a writer and at some point you are an author. So being a writer is a matter of degrees of being.

When someone says, "I'm a writer", it's really hard to know just what they mean by that. Just what that means, to you, or to them. I suspect there are many people who claim to be something they are not. Sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose to make themselves already be what takes years of experience and hard work

To be what we typically consider to be a "Writer", that is, to be a "published" writer of some quality, one surely has to have skills in writing. Of course you then get into asking, what does "published" mean? Published by a major publishing house? Surely. But what about being self-published? For many decades now anyone with money can do that. But now a days even if you don't have money you can turn out an ebook and call yourself a "published writer". Are you?

Aren't you?

To be a Professional Writer (in my "book") the writings have to be impeccably spelled, the grammar built to draw the reader in. You should notice that I didn't say that you have to have perfect grammar, but you do have to have acceptable grammar. Of course it's best to first learn the rules of grammar in order to be able to twist them on end, in order to titillate and satiate.

Allow me to share with you a book a friend and fellow Author, Kurt Giambastiani (great writer) recently sent me and I'm quite grateful for it. It is called, "The 10% Solution". From the Amazon book description: "This is a concise book jammed full of the kind of information it often takes beginning writers years to learn. Ken Rand offers his own advice and twenty-five years of experience for the benefit of other writers.His no-nonsense approach to editing fiction will do more to make writing more professional."

Books on writing are your friend, just be aware there are some bad ones available too. People are in the end one of your best resources. Astute readers, that is. And other (especially published) Authors, if you can find them and they are interested in helping you (or if they have the time), are invaluable.

Most of the feedback however that I've gotten back on my writings throughout my life were useless. Mostly I heard "I liked it". But nothing is as valuable as constructive criticism. Having good readers in your group of friends is immeasurably helpful, if they are willing to be submitted to your trials and efforts. And if any ever are gracious enough to read your non-final draft nonsense, be grateful and appreciative and take to heart what they say. One would assume they said it for a reason, whatever it was.

One more thing. One of my favorite Professors used to say, and I'll paraphrase his more direct statement, never show your first draft of anything to anyone. It's typically offensive and if no one tells you that, they are simply being kind. There are few authors who can whip out a first draft in sell-able form. You're probably not that person. Maybe you are, but it's far more safe to consider that you are not and you have much practice and effort ahead of you to get there.

In the end readers have to be able to read your writings without being so disturbed by the prose that they find it hard to comfortably take in the story being told. What is "comfortable" for them in this case, is up for discussion and has something to do with what authors certain readers will choose, over others. Genre, "voice", intellectual levels and so on.

All that being said I would caution about "authors" and their final products. I've read self published books that were perfect, amazing. I've read huge best sellers that had words out of place, or spelling errors. Yes that is all a part of it, but that's not the end of things I'm discussing here. What I'm talking about here is what the writer produces, not what the final product looks like. That's another topic entirely. Just as important to a professional writer, but a different half of the same book, if you will.

Story, is of course all important. But the reader has to be able to access it. 

A writer has to be able to do the writing, to perform the action of writing from start to finish. To sit, stand, dance, whatever, while one finishes the work. Which usually takes an effort to continue with the writing until it is finished. 

A writer has to be able to create story. To tell a tale, keep a reader's attention. To in the end, make a reader want more. Otherwise, what's the purpose? 

There is a thread of conversation among new writers about how one keeps writing when the desire isn't there. Another is about what I'm discussing here, what it means to be a writer or what a writer is. Are you even a writer if you aren't writing? Are you only a writer while you write? Or are you a writer only if you are a published, or a paid writer. Or like, what?

One thing that I believe separates professionals from amateurs is that professionals finish what they start. And nothing goes to waste. They take notes. They save, everything. They review them regularly, adding to them as time passes so that in some cases, you one day have a complete story and you just need to work toward a final draft, and submit it.

A professional writer will get up in the middle of the night to write down good ideas. They will stop to finish a thought and note it, wherever they are. They may dream a story, writing it down once consciousness takes over in the morning, or when they suddenly wake.

I can't say this too strongly. Far too often to wait till a convenient time to note a good story or idea, is to lose it. I not completely, at least partially. Which sometimes can be just as bad. 

So what IS a Writer? Perhaps you are the one who defines what that means. If you want to be a writer then you have to do it. A runner cannot be a runner if he is a great swimmer and never runs. You have to do (as much as possible) what you want to be. A claim is nothing like the ability to point to a product to show who you are.

I've heard the question about whether a writer is born or created. Some I think are born writers. But others can learn the craft. It's all a matter of degree of quality and popularity. And remembering that if you never put your works out for others to experience, there never can be a chance for popularity or acclaim. And it is just a private hobby.

But we all have a story to tell. Some of us can simply tell it more cleverly than others. And some of that just comes from hard work and learning what you need to know in order to do, simply what you may claim you want to do.

There is never a better time than the present for starting to be who you want to be. 

All that being said... here's a good brief comment on writing.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I am...a Murderer

I am a murderer. It dawned on me the other day. Murderer.

It's my fault and that makes it thus: I murdered. Kind of by definition.

First let me say when I was younger, I used to blame other people, other things for my difficulties in life. Mostly my parents. And rightly so, as they really screwed things up, and me. But they also gave me things, like genetics and an orientation in life to survive, to succeed. Mostly though I owe my Grandmother, my mother's mother. But still, I moved out of my parent's house (mother and not very well liked step-father from since I was five, in either direction) at seventeen with a chip on my shoulder. Eventually I joined the USAF at twenty. Life was going no where for me and I thought this might turn things around. It did in a way, it didn't, in another way.

Eventually though after the military, during my University years toward getting a degree in Psychology and while working things out with my primary Psych Professor and Adviser, I came to realize that I needed to take responsibility for myself. Actually it was that Prof. who shoved that one down my throat until I finally understood and began to get it. Finally I realized that after I moved out of my parent's house, whatever was wrong or right with me became fully my own responsibility, to blame or to praise. And that was perhaps the biggest revelation in my life. It turned my life around. Failures started to turn into successes. Though I'll have to admit a nod to my mother and her mother for my persistence is surviving nearly anything. A troubled childhood, a difficult adolescence, a difficult decade in my twenties that didn't really stop there. Why? Because the paradigm I had grown up with, was faulty. But that is another story for another time.

So what's this about murder?

My first wife and I ended it on good terms. I was in the end, probably just too young to get married at twenty years of age. But that was only the beginning.

See, I have married three and a half times so far, in my life.

My second (non-wife as we were together long enough at around six years, but we never married) went through our college years with me, before and for a little while after. But that was just never to be in the end. I seem to find relationships end at seminal moments. Like when I got out of the USAF. And when my University years were over. Then things changed.

Divorcing the first time had traumatized me and I never wanted to do that to another. Regardless of whose fault it was. That first time had been my desire to marry and later my desire to divorce since it had just stopped working. It wasn't my fault, it wasn't her fault, it was our fault. But my second long term relationship was doomed to failure.

My (legally) second wife said she had really wanted me from the start, no matter what, from the time she first saw me, she later said she was going to have me. I on the other hand, wasn't interested. Not so much because of her, but because I had recently been run through the wringer after my University years and the preceding military years and by this time I had really had it with romantic relationships.

From the TV show, "Elementary", words spoken by the modern times, Sherlock Holmes character:

"I've lived most of my life with the firm conviction that romantic love is a delusion. It's a futile hedge against the existential terror that is our own singularity."

He then goes on to say that he then went on to meet a woman he fell in love with, who turned out to be, a criminal, the modern day, Moriarty. To which he said he now feels, liberated on the topic.

So I was taking a break when my second wife found me. Still, she put her mind to getting me in any way she could. And testament to perseverance and desire, she got me.

My third wife, loved me a lot. I loved her a lot. But in the end, she loves herself more than anyone. Still, in her universe, I had murdered...us.

See I didn't live up to her expectations of me. I didn't fulfill the concept, of who she thought I was. I broke her view of who I seemed to be and so in the end, I killed that view she held of me. It wasn't very long after, that the marriage ended, and well, I had murdered it.

I murdered it for my last wife, my next to the last wife, my unwife (the point five wife, as we had lived together a long enough for common law though we don't have that in Washington state, but I figured she earned, deserved, at least a half listing as a wife).

But still, I am a murderer.

I murdered my marriages. I murdered another's self delusions and misinterpretations of who I was. Who I was supposed to be, to them. Who they needed me to be. Was that their fault? Was it mine? Was it my responsibility to live up to who they expected me to be, even if I didn't fully know, or realize who that person was? Maybe.

Because when you take on another person as your responsibility, and when you marry, you are, isn't it at least somewhat your responsibility too? Isn't that the reason to be really damn sure of what you are getting into when you marry? Maybe that is why so many are choosing now a days not to marry but to simply live together.

So in a way I had murdered. I had murdered multiple times, multiple relationships.

Perhaps if I had known more fully who I was but more importantly almost, who others perceived me to be, and specifically who I was perceived to be by the women in my life, perhaps then I could say that I was responsible and had lived up to those expectations.

Because mostly, and this is the weird part, I was who those women thought I was. But not in the way they thought I was. Mostly from what I could later deduce, they saw things, saw me, in black and white. And I see things in various shades of grey.

My last wife actually stated it in those words, saying: "Life IS black and white." to which I responded, "No, no it isn't. Life is various shades of grey. Life is complicated. It's easier to live life as if it were black and white, but that is missing so much of what is going on. It is missing making the best decisions possible. It is setting yourself up for failure in the future. It is a temporary fix seeing things as black and white, an easy effort to come to a quick conclusion for something that may work for now, but in the future will turn on you and ruin your plans."

Okay, I didn't say all that. I just said I disagreed and that I saw things as various shades of grey.

My point?

I have been taking time off from relationships for a while. Trying to see who I was, what I was doing. So that next time, if there is a next time, I will chose more correctly. I will have more to bring to the relationship rather than needing someone to "complete me". One of the stupidest things to think a relationship will do for you. First, you need to bring a whole person to the relationship, to add to it, not take away from it to "complete you". That, is just a drain on the relationship doomed to failure.

Next time I decide to enter into a relationship, I will take my time on who I choose to spend my time with and who I allow to spend their time with me so as not to waste their valuable life time. Because their decision is in part my decision too. I will use a different set of criteria for making these decisions. I will give more weight to what they need and if they are looking for me to "complete them". Because if they are, I'm running the other way.

Actually, I will politely beg off and walk away with my (and their) dignity still attached.

And because, I don't want to be a murderer anymore.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Knowledge is....

What is, knowledge?

It is not just a set of facts. It is not just a wisdom set. Not just a lexicon, data set or knowledge-base. It is for all intents and purposes, a quandary. A state of perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation. And life is a difficult situation. We need to have accurate information in order to live properly and function appropriately in life. We need, knowledge. And knowledge is not just information, not just experience, and not just wisdom, the blending of the two.

It is also a process. It is how we get there and how we reroute when we get off track. It is also who we are. We need not only to be right and succeed, we need to make mistakes, to disagree, to debate. But it is also important for us to allow others to view this process and when possibly while it is in process.

My ex-wife thought that we should never show ignorance to our children and I heartily disagreed. To always look perfect is to teach imperfection. To show imperfection and how to deal with it is to teach how to strive into perfection while not concerning oneself with not being perfect. Or the fear of not being perfect.

Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism has at its core, debate, for a reason. Without debate at the core of our knowledge-base we can find ourselves stuck in that horror of horrors that religion finds itself in time and again. That of being static to the point of not seeing reality for our beliefs.

So go forward and make mistakes. Disagree. Not just for the sake of being contrary, but for the sake of seeking the Truth in its various shades. Be proud of your ignorance for it is a noble condition that everyone everywhere has been in and will always remain in.

We all start there but hopefully do not end up there. Although one might realize as one learns that the more one learns the less one knows. So in the end if you have worked hard, listened, debated, analyzed, experienced, you may end up more ignorant than you started. But you will still not be ignorant in the same way as when you started.

It is in holding Truth as our destination and our path, that we most become alive in this world, in this Universe. But do not let Truth be your only goal or the pursuit of Truth make you rigid. It is for that reason that the Buddhist Koan exists: "If you meet the Buddha, kill him.”– Linji

Please feel free to enjoy the quandary. Cheers!