A short message

Felt them goose bumps rising as the anthem played for Kate Ledecky’s medal. Came in at the last few bars, and even then I was shivering.

And I’ve realized why. Over these last few days, we’ve finally caught a break, the briefest moment of respite. After months of name-calling, mudslinging, dirty politics, scandals, shootings, terrorism, and the idiots on TV, we finally get some heroes to get behind. Simple men and women, solely focused on excellence, undistracted by the standard-issue human pettiness.

Americans, Brits, Koreans, Japanese, Israelis, Russians, Ukrainians, French, Chinese, Indian, Syrians, Moroccans, Italians, Brazilians, Mexicans, Canadians— we should all savor this moment. It is a rare one, when we can observe a clarity of purpose and total purity of will.

For us Americans, when the Olympics are over, we will have to return to this freak show of a presidential race, as the two most incompetent / deceptive / head-up-the-ass / boobish / nob-headed / treacherous / selfish a**holes ever to run for higher office go head to head, and all the world cringes.

No matter who you vote for, we’re all wrong.

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An Abrupt Change of Tone

Our world is dying.

Not in the slow, geological sense, but at the erratic and unpredictable, inexorable speed of our own destructive impulses. I can’t speak as to whether this will be our last gasp or only another maelstrom which we must endure to rebuild shattered lives, but the world that we thought ten years ago would blossom into a new era of prosperity and understanding will instead be consumed by fire.

We suffer from a cancer whose symptoms are terror, suicide and depression, and whose causes are intrinsic to the world order which we so hoped would stand out from the blood-scrawled roll of history.


Stranger Danger; tolerance; safe spaces; personal space; political correctness; affirmation; convenience; welfare state; “work smarter, not harder”: facets of the cancer consuming the West which once stood as the measure to which all the rest of the world aspired.

We no longer allow our children to explore their neighborhoods and meet their own friends for fear of a random stranger in a white van. We daren’t speak our minds for fear of the immediate and callous judgement of a society that prizes propriety over honesty, allowing hatreds and opinions to fester in the resentful pit of a human mind trapped by artificial social rules. We self-isolate from information that challenges our beliefs rather than try to understand the opposing side to prove or disprove our own opinions nor find the third way that trumps either. We submit ourselves to the animal preference for comfort over progress, to ration our resources rather than seek to expand our wealth; on the micro, we’d much rather dawdle at home or skate by at work rather than force ourselves to be more than what we are. We make a mockery of those who weren’t born with an innate level of academic intelligence or a talent for inflated grades, and this only to avoid looking inward to see our own stagnation as we chase the sweets trolley of consumerism and corporatism.

And much of this can be laid to blame on the persecution of the spirit and His Spirit from the public eye. When we have no spirit to look to for guidance, no promise to keep our eyes turned heavenward, when as Nietzsche said, “God is dead,” we do not then exist in a happy atheism, seeing each man as our equal in a Godless world. Instead, as Chesterton said, “When Man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing, but worships anything at all.”

In a world where we doubt the power of Providence and lack the security of the Covenant, we must make our own gods, again from Nietzsche. From this proceeds violence, hatred, division, blindness, cruelty, tyranny, the glorification of murder, the anointing of hedonism as the new prince. In the absence of God, we worship the gods of Pleasure, Avarice, Pride, and War. From the pursuit of endless pleasure comes an insatiable gluttony for the means to sustain it. From the acquisition of wealth and the conquest of moral constraint flows hubris. And from such accumulated pride, excess of wealth, glut of pleasure and void of spiritual purpose erupts the bloody cataclysm of war, the crucible which forges a man and damns ten thousand.

The gods of Man are many, and their king is Man himself, cloaked in the surefooted certainty in the power of his will and his wisdom. In his right hand is held the iron hammer of craft and cleverness, and his left is the mirror which reflects only what he wishes to see. His throne is Babel, and his crown is the ten spiked cast-iron circlet of Mars.

 

 

 

A Guilty Mind

And here he sat, comprehending his own villainy, the muck and murk of human myopia and his fleshly urges to short-lived pleasures, all but castrating himself over his indescribable badness, refusing to qualify the foulness of his sin against such terrors as the kings of history and prehistory when suddenly the page spoke and said:

“Then confess if you’re so guilty. But keeping it all to yourself like this, obviously you don’t feel that bad about it.”

“Evil exists to be forgotten. When all men are dead, the good men will have gone on and left the evil ones behind in the place of no names.”

And while you might disagree, someone infinitely more important than you has decided you’re an alright sort of bloke. Without opening the door on unbridled hedonism, know that it really doesn’t matter.”

“You recognize the wrongness of it. Disassemble the transgression, examine and multiply its parts. Realize the brute pleasures come of someone else’s expense, virtual or real. And thereby brand it as the valueless thing that it is.”

“Move on. Giving up is only proving one thing.”

 

You can be a good Christian.

He’s already forgiven you.

So forgive yourself.

5 Things You Learn from Writing “Bad” Books

You have no idea how much I have been needing this post. Thank you for writing this. Thank you a thousand.

A Writer's Path

Bad

by Kelsie Engen

Every author has a “bad” book to their name.

Come on, admit it. It’s that book you wrote back in your early writing days, the one where you thought it was magical. Then, for one reason or another, you set it aside, and when you dusted it off a year later, you cannot read a word of it without wincing.

Yeah. It’s that one.

I’ve got one (or several) too, books that I’d like to forget I ever wrote.

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Hey, sorry, I’m back.

No excuses for me, I was just lazy. Preoccupied. Doing. Uh. Things. Yes.

But now Steam’s free weekend is over and I can get back to actually being a productive human being.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12004094/1/Exposure

In the meantime, I wrote a fanfiction of a favorite videogame series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., based off the Tarkvosky movie Stalker, which in turn was based off the soviet sci-fi classic A Roadside Picnic, all three of them about a Zone of Alienation.

 

A Roadside Picnic had mysterious and apathetic alien visitors, Stalker was about a mysterious “wish-granter” at the heart of the Zone, and the videogames featured conspiracy theory level soviet mind control experiments set in the deserted Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a plot that while not terribly engrossing, was set in the most immersively bleak and desolate backdrop of Chernobyl, from the creaking rusted hulks of the Rassorva vehicle graveyard to the hauntingly beautiful radioactive Red Forest, and the eerie emptiness of Pripyat, amid a world where the laws of science no longer apply and the Zone itself is a living entity bent on destroying not just you, but your soul as well. The ‘stalker’ name here doesn’t refer to someone who aggressively tails an imagined romantic interest, but to the peculiar brand of crazy lunatics who delve into the Zone and its dark crevices in search of mysterious ‘artifacts’ which have supernatural properties and present a new frontier in technological advancement for mankind— and which are buried deep in anomaly fields, areas of distorted reality where anything from fire spouts to blackholes could appear, and utterly annihilate someone clumsy enough to stumble into them. All three were grim, desolate, and uniquely Eastern European in character.

Or, more humorously: Drink vodka. Trust no one. Eat lots of bread.

The story I wrote takes the premise of BBC Documentary producing a live-footage documentary of the Zone, and so sends a presenter and a film crew with a satchel full of batteries, cash and flash drives to film the Zone, and pays for a team of stalkers

Anyways, I thought the story itself was good on its own merits, so I published it on Fanfiction.com. You can find the link both here and at the top of that wall of text.

—-

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12004094/1/Exposure

I Must Speak

How many of you think Israel is a repressive state?

Because I’d like you to take a moment to reflect on her neighbors.

Egypt– is only recently a democracy, and just barely.

Syria– is currently a geographical term for “sh*t hole.”

Turkey– is devolving into a theocratic dictatorship and may be funding ISIS by buying their oil.

Saudi Arabia– sentences homosexuals and atheists to death.

Iran– funds Hezbollah and imprisons apostates (though I will concede they are socially more progressive than Saudi Arabia, and it is mainly the Iranian government which concerns me, not its people.)


Contrast Israel, in which homosexuality is not illegal, apostasy is legally irrelevant, the military warns bombing targets beforehand, and despite constant terrorist attacks which have brought other countries to martial law, maintains some of the highest liberty ratings in the world.


The Jewish people have a country of their own for the first time in two thousand years, enduring constant persecution and suspicion, hatred and exile, and only three years before Israel’s founding, near-extermination of European Jewry at the hands of the Nazis. When they arrived, it was a desert; now, Israel is a vale of greenery, wealth and prosperity amidst a waste of mismanagement and violence perpetrated by medieval extremists and selfish warlords.

Take a gander at various articles surrounding the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. Notice that there were two states, Palestinian and Jewish. Notice who started the war.

Why are those who support freedom and protection for minorities and national sovereignty so quick to turn on those who need their help the most?

This is why I study history– when we ignore the past, we are all too eager to repeat the savageries of those who came before and blunder gladly into murder. We forget that freedom is not given, but earned in blood and treasure. We forget that when we ask the strong to give us bread and liberty, we receive crumbs and chains. That is why I can never accept socialism or the statist line– taking the easy way not only stagnates us, but weakens us. It is hardship that makes us stronger and makes tomorrow brighter. Israel’s story is not a story of salvation by mighty men, but determination against the odds, solidarity among brothers and sisters, and faith in destiny. With looted German weapons and indomitable courage, Israel stood up against those who would see the Jewish people struck from the face of the Earth, and not only survived, but thrived.

Do not shirk the Israelites or their friendship, for there is no ally like the Chosen People. Do not shirk hardship, but overcome it, for true men and women are not cast like bricks, but forged under fire, and quenched in storms. Do not fear hard times, but embrace them. Faith, Duty, and Vigilance will carry us unto the dawn.


If these sources are unsatisfactory or I have left something insufficiently cited, let me know, either in the comments or in a PM. Feel free to discuss and debate this, and remember to keep an open mind.
Turning the Sand to Land
http://www.csmonitor.com/1987/0519/dsand.html

Israeli Independence War
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Arab%E2%80%93Israeli_War

 

Musings

Musings

What was it that Teddy Roosevelt said? The “strenuous life” makes us better?
Our inborn talents do not define us. We define ourselves by what we make of them. Weaknesses are not merely something to be coped with, but a factor of our being that we can change, through faith and perseverance.
Also, this guy has a novel. Highly recommended.

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Sometimes, becoming stronger entails purposefully becoming worse so you can set aside talents and struggle to conquer weakness.  Focus is shifted from successful comfort to audacious evolution.

In this way, an inner pilgrimage can be made without outwardly having to take a single step.

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