Friday, June 27, 2014

Half a Century Ago

Half a century ago:

There was hybridization and selective breeding, but no GMOs.

I was part of the largest demographic this country had ever seen; after WW II our forefathers really got down on it and produced The Baby Boom Generation. We had a strong influence upon American culture but were unaware of the fact, being caught up in our own world. Bombarded by sales pitches, often we were coaxed down incorrect paths that would lead to nothing, or to ends that would serve others. We were brainwashed into thinking that love was the answer for all of our ills when I was seventeen, but the radio in our barracks sometimes played songs that made me wonder if there weren't other parts of life at least as important if not of a greater meaning. Granted, one of my favorite ones in that summer of '64 was "Sealed with a Kiss" by Brian Hyland; it was a very romantic ballad that had a line I could identify with because of the impending date of our completion of training: "…meet in September, and seal it with a kiss." But there were other songs that did not toe the love line. In "It's All Over Now" Mick Jagger put out a message in keeping with those four words while Gale Garnett did a reprise of the Paris Cabaret scene of the late 1930s, wistfully singing, "We'll sing in the sunshine." Looking back, I'm glad that I had no one waiting for me. Strange mixture, in this de facto physical prison of the Navy I found feelings of emotional freedom that would have been diminished by having a girl on the outside.

With the Internet, today, many different versions of the truth can be quite a bit easier to find than they were in 1964, but I'm not sure if it's better now because there are scores of paid debunkers, whores who have as their employed task the job of ruining and destroying any and all evidences of establishment lying.

In that time of the summer virtually everything over the airwaves was A) the wrong stuff to want; B) lying; C) twisted; D) disinformation; E) deflections to something else; F) or focused in on some (safe) useless crap. And then came the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the excuse to snuff out the lives of about 58,000 American kids (and a whole lot more Asian ones). We had been brought up in the age of "duck and cover," and the experience of the Cuban Missile Crisis was fresh in the minds of every one of the recruits in company 366. We had H-bombs over our heads; the Cold War was raging, and America had a very powerful sense of raison d'être. Each of us had to deal with this atmosphere as best we could individually. If one of us were to think about these influences too much it would not lead to any positive pattern. Concentrated on too much, the result could lead one to cynicism and even nihilism; I'm tempted to characterize this negative in the words of Mel Brooks, in what he said about the time in England when the tales of Robin Hood became popular: "When things were rotten." But there was also a negative we all knew about. It was conveyed to us by our parents, who told us, by their experiences, that what they had gone through in the Great Depression had been terrible. Things could be worse – by far. In 1958 the U.S. had gone through a mini recession. Vietnam would be the eventual answer, but at a great cost. "Okay junkie, I'll get you the dope" (and he would only need more later).

A package of cigarettes cost twenty-once cents at the Navy exchange and a little more than thirty cents in town. A cup of coffee at most diners was a quarter but at the same time my pay, as a Seaman Apprentice, was in the range of thirty-two dollars every two weeks (so what the hell). And as another economic comparison, the minimum wage back in Omaha was a dollar twenty-five an hour.

When I left my family there were three television stations there; baseball was much more popular than it is now, and reefer was something that those nasty Mexican gangs smoked out in Los Angeles. The lid was still very much on the specific details of the assassination of John Kennedy. It wasn't just me: I can't say that in following a lack of knowledge that bliss results, but in checking alcohol consumption statistics for Omaha I found that in the sixties the locals consumed a lot of booze. It was, perhaps, a sign of the times that a few kids I knew weren't totally sure that pro wrestling was faked.

Most of the people I knew attended religious services at least once in a while. And in the years leading up to the millennium (not just the sixties), to be labeled a homosexual was a terrible stain to have on one's character. One of the recruits in our company was that way for sure: sometimes, on Sundays he would decorate himself with pinned handkerchiefs and dance on our center-table. How he got in, I'll never know, but I do know that the straight sailors were gnawed at by unspoken fear, and I was one of the ones who were scared of being turned over.

In the summer of that year San Diego was overrun with young men in uniform. The atmosphere of the Hollywood Theater was marvelous; it allowed this green bunch of swabbies an opportunity to harken back to the burlesque entertainment of the '30s and '40s, when sexual inferences and slight nudity, with suggestions, were considered to be at least slightly dirty. I looked around at the rest of the audience and saw nothing but sailors in white. Then, some weeks later, while at my next duty station, I went down to Tijuana where the hookers taught me that there is such a thing as bad sex.

In the early part of the decade Newton Minow had coined the term "a vast wasteland" to describe television in general. The words were accurate. But even during this period of drivel there were at least two exceptions: I thought that Naked City and East Side/West Side brought to the home a few excellent presentations of drama. Taken as a block, in TV there was not much for me to miss while at the Naval Training Center, however reading was another matter. During training there was no time for this, except for the manuals whose content we were tested on. But when I got to the air squadron after training once again I dove into my personal study program by checking out John Updike and John Steinbeck books from the base library. Also, in town I bought a book written by Henry Miller. It was total garbage from cover to cover but as a seventeen-year-old, I liked it that he used the word fuck a lot. Cool, during this time I learned the correct pronunciation for vagina too. As I look back at myself I see a horny, lonely, and uneducated kid, usually a little pissed off about the whole thing.

Politically, I had been ambivalent about Kennedy: I, too young – he, too rich for me to identify with, but I did not trust LBJ even as I liked the aggressive attitude of Goldwater. I had done some reading about the old left because of my maternal grandfather being a gold miner in South Dakota, and a sometime backer of the IWW. The support I felt for the Senator from Arizona may have been contradictory when seen in the light of how I admired guys like Big Bill Haywood and Jack London, but in youth, because of not really knowing, it is possible to look up to conflicting role models without feelings of complications. Considering this now I think it was because both sides expressed activism as opposed to the status quo.

In the later years of the sixties there was an explosion of creativity in movies but in the early and middle years of the decade if one to three good ones were produced every twelve months that was about par for the course. Lawrence of Arabia was a standout, as was Dr. Strangelove and The Lilies of the Field. We had one flick during training. I did not get to see it since I had the watch that night, but later on I was grateful because it had been one starring John Wayne. Later in the year, at North Island I discovered Lilith with Jean Seberg and Warren Beatty and was interested enough to see it twice, and then years later I learned that the country's leading homosexual, J. Edgar Hoover, had badgered the beautiful girl so much that she committed suicide.

From the age of fourteen on I found myself liking the Beatniks. From a recording of The Beat Generation: "I once knew a man who worked form nine to five;
                     Just to pay his monthly bills was why he stayed alive.
                     So keep your country cottage, your house and lawn so green,
                     I just want a one-room pad where I can make the scene."

But I was practical enough to realize that this category was not for me. Coffee houses have always been associated with protest from the first sip of the stuff: once a king sought to close these centers down because when people gather there, "They always say bad things about me." In Omaha and Council Bluffs this was something that was available; there were at least three and sometimes four operating coffee houses in the early sixties. Also the music turned me on: the top of the heap was Bluegrass; I loved the songs of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, as well as the Bill Monroe group. And right along with that genre was the Folk Music of the time, that coffee houses provided…live.

So much of the time I seemed to be at the periphery of something but never with enough identification to go into it full bore. When I read of that night in San Francisco when Allen Ginsberg presented his poem "Howl," I found myself irrationally regretting that I was not there. I thought that the real beatniks had found it but I couldn't screw up enough courage to try giving up as a lifestyle. Actually though, Jack Kerouac's failure was much greater than mine. He had made money from espousing the Bohemian lifestyle but as time went on he got further into the bottle and became less able to live up to its precepts of counterculture. Gay or not, Ginsberg was closer to the real deal: they deported him from India because of an overstay on his visa; he had been with the funerary caste and helping in their rites of caring for the last trip of the deceased. He had found his calling; they should have left him alone.

Half a century ago there was no bridge to Coronado, and the ferry cost a quarter. In daytime many of the scenes of San Diego looked as if they had been taken from a travel poster. The bay was beautiful. It was only upon closer examination that one could see the trash that lapped the shore along with the water.

                                                             Search for the supernal:

There are mystical powers and forces above our existence and they do have effects upon our behavioral patterns. Most of their slight wafts of jinn escape the common man. The mean organizational abilities aren't developed enough to connect the dots; most of the time the result is a vaguely perceived awareness that something is out there but in this realm of existence is a background noise on to a sensory glut that can overwhelm the subtle information falling from above. It's like trying to copy a weak CW Morse code signal through a lot of static. But some find that meditation in a partially darkened and silent room to be of some help toward a path toward readjustment. (A sensory deprivation tank is the extreme in this instance, and one should consider the King's Chamber in the Great Pyramid, especially with the sarcophagus as a resonant transmitting antenna.) In the mundane world some of us can feel the higher orders and for us, care must be taken that we don't go too far and enter into the world of obsession and paranoia. It all has to be held at arm's length; as is the case with all suspicions that have not enough data to form a certainty, we must hold the concept in abeyance, as if it were in a cloud outside our heads but not sure enough of its content to be allowed entry.

The ancients came up with the myths in an attempt to account for these cases. They answered the problems inherent in this problem with tales of gods and goddesses, in allegory each one represented by way of inference. In this way, though the primitive minds might be made to feel uneasy by the higher worlds and even if the stories were entirely wrong in the consideration of the source point, for the tale and the answer it provided, at least, a wrong answer is still an answer and did give a sort of soothing balm to a sore spot. (When the kids came up with ridiculous questions that you – as a parent – had never met with before, at least by memorizing blocks of mythology most of the time you could shut them up, as your parents had done to you in your youth.)

There is a difference between a fairy tale and a sea story: a fairy tale begins with "Once upon a time" whereas a sea story always starts with "Hey, this ain't no shit, man." Well, hey, this ain't no shit, man: when you bring that puppy home and he whines all night, what is happening is that he is programming you; as a kid in school you and the others may have witnessed two dogs having sex. Use your head; in the determinations concerning the nature of reality, it is sometimes more important what is NOT there. This may not have been as impromptu or off the wall as you may have thought at the time; it just might have been part of the overall nature of the dimensions programming us from our youth, using the dogs as tools. The chances are pretty good that you have not seen copulation between two dogs in public like that repeated. What I'm going on about is this: the ways of the influences are complicated to such an extent that if we get too far into a fixation upon the system it's possible for us to go over the edge and into paranoia, if not into full schizophrenia. It is too much data, there's too much to take into consideration so we put definitions into boxes, we classify them, label them, and pigeonhole them into safe areas of our brains. Everything in your own immediate world is part of your own little corner of The Matrix. All of it influences you in an interconnection; all media, all extensions of your humanity exert a certain amount of control, whether they be friends, family, material possessions, or pets. This is why I took the advice of Henry David Thoreau when he said, "Simplify, simplify." The less complicated, the easier it is to choose and decide correctly. Too many influences can result in the rat race of Aries, or the mess of Gemini. If you are able to logically arrive at planning determinations you might be able to avoid this next Navy dictum: "It does you no good whatsoever to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp when you find yourself up to your ass in alligators."

I think that each of us was dealt a hand of cards when we came into this world. Much of it is like a Wheel of Fortune gamble as to which country and family we arrive at, but I have to say that our past lives might have something to do with this as well. And this is another one of those things that has to be held in abeyance.

Here's something else from the Navy: "Ninety-nine percent of the women in the Navy are really good looking. And the other one percent follows me wherever I go." What this means is that statistics can serve as a false healer for mental anguish. Winston Churchill put it thus: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." You are you, and they are they; the classifications concerning other humans may have nothing to do with you. Most people find happiness in marriage, for example, but it's just as possible that they are lying to the one taking the poll because they don't want to appear to be different. Thus, as a young man you had a tendency to believe the majority only to get married and find that it was the worst sort of psychic and mental torture that could have been devised by man. So, when we come in contact with wisdom sayings we must realize that they might be true, but that they also may not be true. "He who hesitates is lost" is counterbalanced by "Look before you leap."

The programming matrix does not want you to move; it wants to see you as safe. So when you find a way of success, a ladder rung to grab so as to pull yourself up a little higher, the most difficult move to make comes in recognizing that all of your past associates, friends, and family will not and cannot rise along with you. Indeed, if you do not, at least, lessen your connections to them you will be dragged back down again. The best example I can cite is less than ideal since it comes from the pen of a fiction writer, but it holds water so I will say it: in The Sea-Wolf by Jack London, on board the sailing craft Louie saved the girl's life. He stopped drinking, rediscovered himself as Dr. Prescott, and he wanted the captain and crew to treat him with the respect he felt was his due. (And this can be what to expect from those in the gutter. :) But the captain ripped part of his shirt and pushed him toward the crew. They took the hint and continued to tear and rip at "Louie" as they snickered and derisively laughed at him. He began to climb the rigging, higher and higher until he reached the top, and then he jumped. Now, of course, this came from the mind of the writer, but what I saw in Fritz's Pool Hall on North Twenty-Fourth Street was not fiction; what I learned from experience in the Navy was real as well, and it is not fictional in terms of the morose, brooding, and seething anger present in the lower classes of American people. Any small- to mid-size town has its share. Go to a local tavern, have a beer, but you'd better not make eye contact or you'll find yourself in a back alley getting your brains bashed out against a brick wall. For those of lesser abilities, the avenues of resentment, envy, and harsh criticism – borne of stupidity and ignorance – are easy paths to follow.

The differences between the Gnostics and the Christians are still there. The former were not perfectly sure about their own mythos but they did hold the personal experience that leads to learning as a goal of high esteem and they extolled intelligence. On the other hand, however, one could be a respected Christian and be brutish and boorish, and when presented with evidences contradicting theirs, he could say, "Yeah, well I don't read them books." Or she might react like a scalded cat, shouting you down, belittling you and deriding any and all points you made, accepting nothing (intractable, adamanti) with no agreement anywhere and no compromise to be had.

Yet, returning to the higher powers, in our dull and soft distress we must be about the most insignificant, worth-nothing dregs of the universe. Here is mankind: burning up his own planet with overpopulation and nothing is being done, and seemingly no notice is forthcoming from the heavens. Basically, the rest of the universe looks like it is absolutely indifferent to our plight; if the evidences are added up without irrationality and delusion they can be understood as a statement: kids, you are on your own.

The operations of the leaders and authorities do not work as they used to. Indeed, it may be argued that they aren't working at all, but in displays of mental illness the same-old, same-old is all the top knows so that's what they will always revert to. And if any of us are stupid enough to take our personal candle from under its hiding place (as if under a bushel basket), then we will become the Eloi, food for the Morlock sons of darkness who will, once again, take what we have, corrupt it, twist it and pervert it, and then destroy the one naïve enough to offer.

There is an interplay between the higher and lower dimensions. It is characterized by the dictum: "As above, so below." In the time and place where I am, virtually everything is a form of untruth. Among the sensitive a cynicism has developed; all that can deeply think have learned not to hope, trust, or believe anything. As a consequence, I must say that the understandings of above and below may be a bunch of crap as well; we don't know because it has not been tested yet (at least as far as we in our modern realm can tell). But with no other way open to me other than the accepted establishment lies – that have never really worked – I am willing to speculate that we are so far removed from communications with the higher worlds as to be considered to be held incommunicado. The upper dimensions do not know what is happening here because we are thinking and speaking in languages removed from their understanding. If somehow we were able to get a connection I believe we could receive an answer, but toward the end of this Piscean age mankind is in a chasm so deep that I don't know if he can even consider anything other than what he has always done. This is why chapter eight of my book was written. It is devoted to the resurrection of temple observances and without its implementation it looks to me as if we are doomed. Maybe it will come to nothing, but the alternative is to be like those three monkeys with eyes, ears, and mouth covered.

The views stated by (Aquarius) FDR in May of nineteen thirty-two are now applicable for the entire globe: "The country needs, and unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation." And he added, "It is common sense to take a method and try it; if it fails, admit it frankly and then try another. But above all, try something."

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