Belong

Belong: (v) to fit in a specified place or environment.

Dictionary B

Shortly after my arrival, I was told that I belonged to a family.

I was also informed that this collection of people was supposed to be supreme in my mind, and I should defer to them in all cases.

It didn’t take long before I was required to belong to a school.

  • We had a mascot.
  • We had teams.
  • We had jerseys.
  • Our school was better than your school. At least, purported.

I also belonged to a church. It was not the only church in town, but in many ways, I was instructed that it was the only church in town. To belong to this institution, I had to believe in their ideas, doctrines which granted them a sense of importance, uniqueness and preference.

My genealogy told me that I was of German descent. So apparently, I belonged in the white race, the offspring of Germanic tribes. That seemed to carry some significance which I never totally fathomed.

I met a woman. Actually, I met several women. But I had to pick one so we could belong together. Picking more than one was considered scandalous.

I graduated from school and was told I needed to belong to a corporation and have a job. I found that limiting and tried to launch out on my own, only to be scolded for failing to belong to the good working folk of America.

It did not take long to realize that other people belonged to different things than I belonged to, and because of that, it would be impossible for us to achieve high levels of interaction or fellowship.

It seemed to me that belonging was just a well-organized way of clumping–and once clumped, a certain amount of defensiveness was necessary in order to maintain the integrity of our particular heap.

I grew weary of such foolishness.

I belong to the human race.

That’s it.

I am not in the mood to join any other faction. 

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Apathetic

dictionary with letter A

Apathetic: (adj) showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm or concern.

Even though the aspiration of many organizations is to gain the status of “institution,” we must realize that when this is achieved, those who participate begin to feel like inmates instead of followers.

I feel this when I go to church.

Yesterday I sat in the back of one of these “cathedral-esque” arenas and allowed myself to be the proverbial fly on the wall, watching, listening and taking in the ambience of what the American religious community calls worship.

Several things came to my mind immediately:

1. Everything was too familiar.

Once we gain familiarity, we have a certain sense of serenity–but also a deep and overwhelming realization of boredom.

2. Everyone had their own reason for being there.

In an atmosphere in which unity of spirit is meant to be the goal, there were so many ghosts haunting the room that we did not connect unless we were required to shake a hand or “pass the peace.”

3. Conversations were going on while discourse was being offered.

If the hearers were not convinced that something was important, they felt free to ignore the prattle coming from the pulpit and indulge in their own activities.

4. A certain level of misery was being passed off as devotion.

Human beings are not good at suffering and don’t become better by practicing it. The best we can do is pray that in the hour of our greatest need, courage will arise. Simulating our unworthiness through religious dependency only makes us bitter.

When I looked at these four actions, I realized I had arrived at the climate–and therefore definition–of apathetic.

For I will tell you that an apathetic lifestyle infests anyone who believes that they become better than others because of the level of their sacrifice.

 

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Anomaly

dictionary with letter A

Anomaly: (n) something that deviates from the normal, standard or expected

I liked music.

At eighteen years of age, I’m not so sure that I was totally devoted to a career in the field or whether there was a bit of laziness tied into the equation, because playing piano sounded easier than punching a time-clock. (After all, we get ourselves in the most trouble when we try to purify our motives instead of accepting them a trifle sullied.)

One afternoon during that eighteenth year, I took my girlfriend, who was soon to become my wife, into a back room of a loan company owned by my parents and sat down at a piano which had been given to our family, but because we had no room in our house, ended up stuck in the back corner of this lending institution.

I had never written a song before.

As a teenager, I sang in choir, a quartet and for nursing homes, pretending like it was a big gig at Madison Square Garden.

Yet on this day, I suddenly got this urge to compose. It was not stimulated by a professor at a college asking for an assignment, nor was it motivated by my ancestors, wishing that I would abandon all normal courses of occupation and pursue a musical path.

It was truly an anomaly.

  • It was contrary to what everybody wanted me to do.
  • It was an open, seething contradiction to my cultural training.
  • I sat down at that piano, and in the course of the next ninety-four minutes, wrote two original songs. I didn’t know if they were good and certainly was not confident they were great.

But something came out of me that wasn’t a conditioned response or a well-studied answer for a final exam.

It was mine.

Whether it was good or bland, it came from me. It excited me. It encouraged me to muster the perseverance to survive the critique of my society and even overcome my own fits of lethargy to pursue it.

It still excites me today.

Hundreds of songs later, I still feel as thrilled when pen goes to paper, words appear and musical notes cuddle up next to them.

No one in my family ever took the course of action which I chased, beginning with that afternoon in the back room behind that piano.

But it is the selection of that odyssey that has made me who I am.

There are two things you have to remember about an anomaly:

  1. It is never immediately accepted.
  2. It always takes more work than you expected.

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Alliance

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alliance: (n) a union or association formed for mutual benefit, esp. between countries or organizations. 2. a relationship based on an affinity in interests, nature or qualities

Sometimes I get a little worried about myself.

I’m not talking about being a hypochondriac or a conspiracy theory advocate. I just don’t trust systems. Let me rephrase that. Systems have not historically proven themselves to be worthy of my trust.

I think that’s accurate.

And as I look at the word “alliance” today, I realize that a sense of ill-will came into my soul over the whole notion of “uniting.”

It’s not that I believe in anarchy, it’s just that I don’t embrace the notion that the opposite of anarchy is a good thing. Here’s why.

If an alliance occurs because two human beings come together and freely admit that they plan on respecting or submitting to a truth which is greater than either of them, then I think there’s a possibility that such a union could be beneficial, if not holy.

Take marriage, for instance. In the simplicity of its composition, it is a  phenomenal institution–taking two human beings and asking them to commit to the idea of faithfulness and equality. Unfortunately, when implemented, it often deteriorates into less noble alliances, which are merely festering compromises of differing opinions.

Case in point: I don’t see any power in Henry Clay creating the Great Missouri Compromise in the mid-1800’s, which allowed for a temporary peace, but also tolerated the indignity of slavery.

Yes, I believe for an alliance to be of any significance, it must consist of two or more people recognizing a mutual need to acquiesce to an intelligence, a belief, a faith or a system greater than any opinion. When we hammer out back-room agreements, trying to maintain an elixir of varied opinions, we always end up with a hodge-podge of meaningless actions which must be quickly corrected due to their short-sightedness.

It’s why in my life I have come down to one simple principle: “No One is better than anyone else.”

Anything that tries to attack, disintegrate or deteriorate this axiom is not worthy of alliance. On the other hand, new ideas that salute the beauty of such a precious precept are not only welcome, but worthy of inclusion.

I am willing to join in alliance with those who recognize that our feeble opinions are always better when filtered through the sanity of the test of Spirit and Time.

Abiotic

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abiotic: adj. 1.physical rather than biological; not derived from living organisms. 2. Devoid of life; sterile

I found a definition for Congress!!  “Devoid of life and sterile!” A physical body not producing any life. How remarkable! Do you think anyone in that particular institution would comprehend it if I refered to them as abiotic?

I was thinking about other things in our society that are abiotic:

Certainly, the entertainment industry came to mind, which continues to pop out pet projects from a group of spoiled technicians who refuse to allow new ideas into their coven of interaction for fear of losing both prestige and dollars.

Certainly our religious system is abiotic. For after all, we more celebrate the death of our leader than we do his life, and even gather around his carcass weekly to grab a hunk, for old times sake.

Our educational system seems to have become abiotic, trapping us into a repetitive merry-go-round of stats and facts, which don’t always add up to the requirements of our ever-burgeoning world.

What a fascinating word!

Sometimes I’m abiotic. I see life happening in front of me and I pull up a chair instead of putting on my tennis shoes.

Abiotic–ignoring life in motion. Being present in the physical without generating any living thing.

Because after all, to live a cautious life is to have completely misunderstood the directions that came with our kit.