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Seventy

About five weeks ago, when it became clear that Donald Trump will be elected president next Monday, a lot of my friends freaked.  I didn't see it on Facebook, because I was already gone, but I got more phone calls than is usual for an autistic geezer like me, and I read some blog posts, and I'm aware that folks fear what's coming and despair of countermeasures.

Today was my seventieth birthday.  I spent about two hours of it buying shrouds, pine boxes, and cemetery plots for _wind_spirit_ and me.  Buying the rest of the paraphernalia and ritual seems a bit premature, but I've substantially prepared for the worst:  If things go as badly as my friends fear, but our kids can still somehow find our remains, they can wrap us, crate us, and bury us; and the basic hardware and land are already paid.

I don't expect the worst.  Those phone calls I mentioned?  It wasn't until I was halfway through the second one that I realized that, "since Tuesday," meant, "because of the election."  I'm with Max Ehrmann, maker of the notorious Desiderata, in which he pointed out that "whether or not it is clear to you, …the universe is unfolding as it should."

Whatever is happening is necessary.  Part of God's plan.  That doesn't mean I like it.  Nor even that I'm willing to defend my assertion that it's necessary.  People tend to disapprove of God's sense of proportion (the old hydrogen-bomb-to-sink-a-rowboat criticism). I'm okay with God's sense of proportion.  God is God.  I'm also okay with the criticism.  It has nothing to do with me:  My acceptance of God's will doesn't oblige me to defend it, only to do my own part in Her plan.

For what it's worth to my friends (all of whom already know this, despite my failure to display the requisite level of moral outrage), my role in God's plan is very different from Mr. Trump's.  He has his missions to carry out, and I have mine, and I doubt that we'll get in one another's way.  I'm certainly not going to be distracted from my own missions (whatever they be) by someone else's demand that I oppose Mr. Trump.  Mr. Trump's opposition is already fully staffed and will remain so, and my missions (whatever they be) almost certainly require my unique talents, temperament or credentials, so I mustn't shirk them.

For the most part, I'll do good.  That's my nature — what I was built for.  There's people who do evil for the same reason.  Both are part of God's plan.  The interaction between good and evil advances the works, as does the interaction between male and female and the interaction between or among any other set of polarities.  I won't fight evil.  The call to fight evil is one of the devil's most effective tools of recruitment, and it works!  We become what we resist!  It's a basic law of karma, and I've never seen anyone beat it, though I've seen a lot of people delude themselves.  Even me, a time or two when I was younger.  Could happen again, but I'm vigilant, and I've got Mother Mary backing me up.  She should catch any mistakes I might miss.

I won't register voters for the next election.  I won't help feed the homeless.  The old Dungeons-and-Dragons orientation called lawful good is an oxymoron.  At best, it means, "good, but only to the extent permitted by law."  Good must be chaotic to be effective or even to survive.  And that suits my nature too!

I know God has a mission for me, however trivial it may turn out to be, and I know it'll be one for which I'm well-prepared.  I don't need an opinion, because God.  And if it turns out we need burying, the basics are waiting.

Repentance

"When they said, 'Repent!' I wondered what they meant."
                                               —Leonard Cohen (The Future)

On Saturday, the twenty-eighth day of Elul (the traditional twenty-nine-day month of repentance), I deactivated my Facebook account.

I expect I'll still be here on Live Journal, at least for a while, reading and occasionally commenting.

Happy New Year everyone!

Our second Christmas burglary

It's Christmastime again, and people need presents for their families and friends.  Last night one of them tried to get ours, which we didn't have anyway, because we don't do Christmas.  At about 10:50 PM, we heard our kitchen window break, followed by the follow-on sounds of the attempted entry.  We grabbed our guns and headed for the kitchen, shouting to the burglar to get out.  He ran off, and we didn't have to shoot.   Our last burglary was four years ago, on December 20, 2011.  That time, we called the cops.  They disrupted our lives for about an hour, looking around, asking questions, and gathering evidence; they terrorized the neighborhood with cars and a helicopter; and they arrested some poor innocent kid who happened to be in the area with a couple of buds in his pocket.  They never caught the burglar or recovered any of our property (not much was taken anyway:  as I say, we don't do Christmas).  This time we didn't call.  When the management office of the apartment complex opened for business in the morning, I walked over and told them what happened.  They say someone will be by sometime today to put in a new window.  It's good to live in a state where the right to keep and bear arms is still well respected.  The liberals are working on it, I know, but it'll take them longer than what's left of our lifetimes to get the guns that are already in our possession.  Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

Answer for question 4502.

Have you ever cheated at a test? If so, how did you feel afterward? Did you get away with it? If not, what kept you from doing it?
Nope, never. Not even the vision test at the Department of Motor Vehicles. I recite the numbers from memory instead of reading them off the chart.
People whom I've encouraged here in cyberspace might not easily imagine it, but often when _wind_spirit_ and I are alone, I act all gloom and doom while she's all sweetness and light. It's what Eric Berne called a pastime. It keeps us entertained, and today we manufactured a conversation that seems worth sharing.

We're in the process of getting back in shape for high-altitude summer hiking, and today was the first time we went all the way to the top of one of the ridges in the Spring Mountains, about ten thousand feet above sea level. On the way up, _wind_spirit_ kept predicting that we'd make it to the top, and I kept wailing, "We're doomed!"

When there were about fifty yards of trail left to go, _wind_spirit_ said, "I can see the top!"

"We might not make it as far as we can see."

"There's someone up there."

"That's terrbile!"

"They might be saying that about us."

"Yeah! Nice to meet people like that!"

Future shock

I make a lot of purchases from Amazon and I rent a lot of cars from Hertz. I pay for both with an American Express card. The card was due to expire in about three years. In today's mail I received a replacement with an embedded microchip and an expiration date further into the future. I activated the new card, cut the old one into little pieces with a dull saw, and watched the video on the American Express Web site that explains the new technology, including the protocol for inserting the card into a chip reader and using a stylus to sign the touchscreen. Then I logged in to my Amazon account and updated the expiration date associated with the card, so future charges wouldn't be declined. And after that I logged in to my Hertz account and found that the change had already been made.
It's been a long time since I wrote anything about spiritual work, except insofar as it's all spiritual work. I've quit encouraging people because I've discovered that if you pursue the path of knowledge, impeccably and with perfect diligence, regardless of where it leads, sooner or later you're going to get the horrors. You'd be better off on a motorcycle. And indeed I met one man who made just that choice. I wondered why, at the time.

But people continue to do spiritual work anyway. Some of them, even while riding motorcycles. I do it myself: I don't know how to stop. They call me Crash.

Today I wrote a comment on a post in a journal of religious exploration. The substance of the post is that deservedness is a toxic concept — an assertion with which I wholeheartedly agree. Looking over my comment, I think a part of it deserves repetition here. (Blekh! You're poisoned!) How do I reconcile that with my general reluctance to write about spiritual work? I don't: I go with what feels right, so here it is:

You got me thinking about karma, and the way the word is used. As a consequence of contemplating what you wrote here, I've come to recognize that the most common understanding of karma involves a sense of deserving. I use the word to refer to a set of natural laws that's a superset of the laws of physics. (The laws of karma that are not also laws of physics differ from the laws of physics only in that we can't easily and precisely measure their operation.) It makes no more sense to me to pull the concept of deservedness out of a description of the operation of a karmic engine (as a magician might pull a rabbit out of a hat) than it does to pull the same concept out of a description of a steam engine. There are many other (philosophers? degenerates?) who think of karma as I do, but I now understand that there's a lot of folks who are committed to the other view, or who have only a passing familiarity with the concept, who can't even imagine where we're coming from.

Making sure that everything is working

We hiked the Upper Bristlecone Trail today, and followed the Bonanza Trail up to the top of the ridge that delimits the Pahrump Valley. It was easier than it's been. I suppose we're ready for our midsummer expedition. We'll do that in a couple of weeks, God willing.

Musing on my theology

Early on, God created the niche and the migration path.

I suppose that would make me an atheist in the eyes of the creationists and a creationist in the eyes of the atheists.

As expected…

I'm posting this from the municipal bus enroute from my apartment to the Strip. It's been a week of trips upon trips, following so fast that the variation among them has to serve in place of sleep. Which it does passably well, for a while. This pace will continue until Sunday night, when we begin our sabbath. Allah be praised for the sabbath!