Friday, February 09, 2007

Creativity: the Origins of Speciousness

No. This is Not really about Anna Nicole Smith.

Nor is it about the recent outbreak of violence in Jerusalem, though I would offer that a few well placed Neutron bombs would put an end to that situation for good … I figure that if you can’t live together in a place in peace, nobody deserves to live there. Period. That’s all: you have one hour to leave, the bombers have been dispatched. Take your friends, take your pets, this patch of land is going to be a night-light for the space shuttle for the next fifty years.

Now … don’t get your panties in an uproar … as I said, this ISN’T about those things … I’m not advocating the destruction of Israel/Palestine (just fantasising about it), and I certainly wouldn’t suggest that killing a bunch of ignorant, intolerant fools would be a way to solve some problems … oh, maybe it would … but that’s not the point of this post … creativity is … or is it? Well, I guess you’ll just have to find out. Actually, the 2nd Amendment is the ultimate target … that’s right, friends, I’m taking aim at the right to bear arms (and its winter … I’m wearing long sleeves). I also fire shots across Holy Scripture and a number of other things … but all in good time … all in good time.

A great deal of my time of late has been devoted to the contemplation of issues relating to creativity. This is not really unusual for me given that I am a composer and writer, but in this particular case it is the result of an invitation to contribute a chapter to a textbook that is being written; my contribution, in short, is to write about creativity and mental illness. In researching this topic many things have been coming across my radar screen, much of which is totally irrelevant to my topic, but happened to come up through searches (or appeared in journals and books with material that I am using for reference).

It isn’t surprising, of course, to find things that aren’t related to your research when you are digging around for something very specific, but it never ceases to amaze me that humanity has now crested a new millennium and yet it seems completely backwards when it comes to so many things that could have been … or should have been brought into “modern” times long ago.

Of course, I may merely be expressing my naïveté regarding what I have always felt was a promising future for the human race; a future of enlightenment and civility in which all nations are able to set aside their petty differences and live together in peace, where nations of the world do not invade other nations in order to install their version of “democracy” while the country disintegrates into a violent civil war. Or, it could be merely be an expression of the repressed rage that has been building up within me for decades, a rage that has never been given a voice with which to have its grievances appropriately vented … either way, I am amazed at the level of ignorance that is being perpetuated in the western world on so many levels.

While my research has supposed to be primarily related to the realms of creativity and mental illness, it is part of my nature to be easily distracted (thus this blog, the fact that I compose, write, write poetry, paint [though badly], and have a variety of other outlets for the creative energies that seek expression in my life). I have found a variety of interesting and not so interesting lines of divergent pieces of information that can easily distract me from my goal … and may well do so if I’m not careful (thus this hopefully cathartic post giving voice to some of these grievances).

Something that continues to amaze me beyond all else is the way in which the political systems of the west have been systematically hijacked by the neo-conservative right wing movements that stand behind the Bush regime in the United States. It used to be possible to say that Canada was a politically independent nation, a country that had its own political process that was separate and distinct from our neighbours to the south (as well as different spellings of certain words, such as honour, neighbour, favour and flavour which serves to add another dash of distinction to our two nations).

Today, on the other hand, the language that is spoken in the land is virtually the only thing that serves to distinguish “us” from “them”; that and the fact the “we” aren’t embroiled in a psychotic and false anti-terrorist war in a nation that never attacked “them”. Now that Prime Minister Harper and his (neo)Conservative minority government is pushing ahead with its surreal agenda it appears that the 19th Century doctrine of Manifest Destiny is well on its way to being fulfilled. While Manifest Destiny was initially introduced by the Democrats around 1845 under the leadership of Andrew Jackson, it has been under the guidance of George W. Bush that the true fulfilment of American Colonialism has reached its apex. Thanks to the cloning technology used on Stephen Harper “we” are now well on our way to becoming just like “them”.

No, I’m not even going to cite any specific examples … I shouldn’t have to: if you are of the wont to agree with this sort of thing then you know of the sort of things that have been going on in the Canadian press of late, such as the recent visit to Israel by Peter MacKay, our Minister of Foreign Affairs; a visit that managed to turn a blind eye to every violation of human rights taking place in Israel and crimes being perpetrated against innocent civilians in the name of “national defence”.

Okay, so I did cite an example … sue me (blood … stone … water … desert … luck … none … chance … fat … honest … politicians [this gets too easy after a time]…).

Then there is the rampant and continuous perpetuation of the myths that simply will not be allowed to die. Anti-Semitism, for one thing: why is it an act of anti-Semitism to be hateful towards Jews, yet it isn’t anti-Semitism to be hateful towards Arabs? In case this confuses you, read the Book of Genesis. Abram and his TWO sons: Ishmael, the firstborn and Isaac, the second. It is a result of a lack of faith that resulted in the creation of the covenant between God and the children of Hagar (Ishmael): a lack of faith that would also appear in the bloodline of the Children of Israel when their disobedience to God led them to disregard His commands when they arrived at the Promised Land (too late now … can’t fix what you didn’t do 5,000 years ago).

After 9/11 there were acts of horrific examples of just how Neanderthalic certain elements of humanity could be when a number of violent attacks against Mosques and individual Muslims took place as acts of retaliation, sometimes against Sikhs who weren’t even implicated (except in the bigoted minds of the White American Paranoids who are convinced of the conspiracy theories that propose alternate theories for 9/11). In none of those cases were the words “anti-Semitism” or “anti-Semitic” used, and – to my knowledge – in cases where someone was charged with a crime (in the United States) they did not invoke the “special circumstances” clause of the penal code by adding “hate crime” to the indictments, a clause that would make the charges far more serious and result in stiffer sentences in the case of a conviction.

Anti-Semitism is something that continues today in too many forms, from the streets of our cities to the Halls of Justice, from our institutions to the very governments that should be protecting us from this cancerous intellectual violence. Yet the government itself promotes this new anti-Semitism, they promote it by taking sides in a conflict between a first world nation armed with modern weaponry against impoverished peasants with a spattering of terrorists with unguided model rockets as their main weapon. Even the footage on the news this morning was a perfect example: Israeli police decked out with shields and high-tech weaponry while they faced off against civilians [idiots] armed with rocks. Yes, the violence was idiotic, but symbolic of a much larger issue, and it demonstrates that something must be changed.

Live together in peace or go somewhere else. Period. Either that or nuke them all, that would be one way to get rid of some of the stockpile.

Of course there is more to it than that … life is always more complicated when you try and reduce things down to a short article, and yet, how difficult is it to explain the issue that people are unwilling to share the space in which they live? How is it that someone can be so deluded by their importance and their place in the grand scheme of things that they feel entitled to live in a place where they are so insulated from the world, kept away from anything that may be offensive to their senses? God forbid that someone not of “their kind” should be permitted to be their neighbour, even though that “neighbour” and their family may have been living there for generations, until their land was stolen from them, reclaimed by the State of Israel.

Prime Minister Harper believes that his being a staunch supporter of Israel makes him a better Prime Minister than anyone else currently vying for the job … and yet, I am still hopeful that we will find a political leader who will find the intestinal fortitude to stand up for the truth, regardless of whether they offend B’nai Brith and the JDL … or (God forbid) AIPAC.

For decades now there has been an outcry whenever the words “conspiracy” and “Jewish” were used in the same phrase, but I am going to say something that may shock and anger some … or most … but you must continue reading so that it isn’t taken out of context: there isn’t a “Jewish conspiracy”, but there is a Zionist conspiracy; a Zionist conspiracy to capitalize on political fear-mongering in order to ensure that their ideology is promoted while their opponents are condemned.

Zionist fascism (the link takes you to a letter by Albert Einstein and refers to his concern over the “Freedom Party” in Israel, Tnuat Haherutand, which ultimately became the Likud Party) and their ilk have grown out of this abuse of political influence, and it has resulted in Israel being allowed to murder and maim with impunity while the rest of the world turns a blind eye to their actions. Israel has been allowed to construct an apartheid state, complete with a wall of shame, and western politicians praise the brave actions of “Israeli democracy”.

The irony of this is that it has demonstrated the height of creative expression to me, though not through music or painting: the ability to manipulate reality into something that bears no resemblance to the truth is quite a skill, especially when that “new reality” is turned around and used to convince the government and an entire nation that it is essential to invade a country that had nothing to do with the largest attack on American soil. I have learned that the ability to obfuscate is a talent that is beyond all others, especially if you have any aspirations for public office: the greatest skill cultivated by the political beasts in power today is their ability to weave a tale that bears precious little resemblance to the truth.

Of course, this shouldn’t arouse any surprise when one considers the source of the majority of the obfuscations: when a nation elevates their constitution to the level of Holy Writ and then finds it necessary to bastardise the meaning of the words by carefully removing portions of phrases from their proper contexts, it can be no surprise that lying is an inherent talent possessed by American (and, by extension, Canadian politicians … and of their world-wide colleagues).

Take, if you will, the example of the Word of God. Americans love God … at least, that’s what they say, and what their money says (and who doesn’t … everyone loves a good scapegoat when things start to go wrong). They also love to quote the Bible … when it is expedient and they can use a phrase to manipulate someone over to their point of view. For many people there is nothing wrong with the phrase “money is the root of all evil”. We have heard this supposed “scripture” spouted often, and with great authority and zeal by the religious wrong in their attempts to perpetuate the desperate economic disparity between the lower class citizens who bear the majority of the tax burden of the upper class parasites.

Sorry, wrong answer. Thanks for playing. Collect your parting gifts at the outer nave.

The truth of the matter is that this is all a lie; that isn’t what is written at all: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10 NKJV). Why should this be of any importance in the grand scheme of things? For the simple reason that if these obfuscating politicians have no problems lying about what is written in Scripture, why should they have any difficulties when it comes to something as mundane as their constitution, or the Bill of Rights?

The fact of the matter is that there is no difficulty. There is no such thing anymore as a conscience being “seared” by guilt for doing the wrong thing. The “wrong thing” is now measured by “grey areas” in an endless gradation of “harmless” white lie to “scandalous” offence (if discovered).

The great “God given” right that is shouted about at every opportunity by the denizens of the Right relates to the right bear arms, “guaranteed” by the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. It is a myth that the 2nd Amendment grants ordinary citizens the “right to bear arms” as has been shouted from rooftops by the National Rifle Association and their maniacal supporters. In fact, the 2nd Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with an individual’s right to carry a weapon.

To understand the true meaning of the amendment we must understand the mindset of the man behind the words. Federalist James Madison was concerned with the young republic’s ability to defend itself (1787 Philadelphia Convention) from the threat of marauding hordes invading from the renegade Loyalists that had fled into what would eventually become the Dominion of Canada. Madison was particularly concerned about the ability of the new nation to muster an army large enough to fend off the Red Coats in the event of their attack.
“Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.”
In light of this, Madison drafted what would eventually become known as the 2nd Amendment, but the text that we have today is radically different than what was originally written … and yet, even without getting into the original, which you can see here, it is possible to see the point of this by examining the text carefully: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The right to bear arms is inexorably tied to the first clause of the amendment: a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state. If you want the right to bear arms that right shall not be infringed, however, you must be IN A MILITIA. The RIGHT to bear arms in the United States of America is wholly intended as part of the process emplaced by the “founding fathers” to ensure the security of the nation in a time when that security was threatened by a very real foe. This is no longer the case … and yet, the “right” to bear arms is still harped after as though their very lives depended upon it, which is not the case.

This is an example of pure, unadulterated ignorance, and it represents one of the death knells of true creativity: it represents how easily we allow ourselves to accept falsehoods as truth without question for the simple reason that “millions of people” can’t be wrong. Yes; yes, millions of people can be wrong, and often are. Just because 300 million people say the sky is green does this suddenly mean that the sky is green? Of course not, but according to this line of irrational thinking that is exactly what it means. If thousands of constitutional experts and hundreds of judges and dozens of supreme court justices have declared that the 2nd Amendment preserves an individual’s right to bear arms OUTSIDE the stricture of a well regulated militia, does that make it right?

Not in one hundred trillion years. The meaning of the words does not change for the sake of convenience, nor does it change depending on the political flavour of who sits in the White House. Of course, if the Supreme Court decided to reverse its position and actually adhere to the letter (and spirit) of the law it would probably be accused of pandering to the left-wing liberal “pansies” … so, can you win? Political rhetoric is enough to make you choke at times, which reminds me of the Bard’s famous line: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” (Henry VI, II) [… then we get the politicians …]. Oh bother … (not the Bard, just a cute bear).

E=MC2 © by Ben Heine
Is it really that hard to ask for people to follow a simple rule … I’ve been trying to live by this for most of my life, and it has saved me a tremendous amount of heartache, if only because I don’t have to remember who I’ve lied to (besides, my mother has always been able to catch me in a lie … so she thinks): say what you mean and mean what you say. It is simplicity itself, and yet it is as complex as the Unified Theory of Everything (or one would think so given the way things are in the world). When we are speak freely, knowing that we have nothing to fear because there is nothing to hide, we can do something that seems quite unusual these days: we can communicate with others and actually understand what is being said to one another without needing an interpreter.

Either that or we can continue on this perilous path and end up in a situation in which it is impossible to trust anything said by anyone … ever.

Oh well … time to get back to the important things in life … maybe a bit of research into Anna Nicole … how about something about the true master of the absurd, Michael Jackson? Nah … I’ll just go bang my head against the wall until I pass out … that will hurt less. Enjoy your day.

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