Channel

Channel: (v) to take possession of a spirit’s mind for the purpose of communication

Standing in line at the local department store, I was listening to two young women discuss philosophy. Girl 1 said to Girl 2: “No one’s gonna tell me what to do. I’m my own person.”

It gave me pause for thought.

If we have eight billion people on this Earth trying to “be their own person,” we have an emotional explosion which is greater than any
megatons of bombs.

I don’t want to be my own person. I have met him. He is bland, mediocre, nervous, insecure and adds the disgrace of pomposity.

I need to channel greatness.

I would love to channel the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, who uttered, “with malice toward none and charity toward all” just a few days before he was murdered in a theater.

I would like to channel the moment that Thomas Jefferson decided to sheepishly write the phrase, “All men are created equal”–even though he knew he owned slaves.

I would enjoy channeling the fresh, creative, youthful energy of John, Paul, Ringo and George when they brought such singable and danceable music to America.

How about channeling the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth, who in the midst of ignorance and war, told the Earth to “love your neighbor as yourself”?

I would like to channel the spirit of the bear, who has the sense to know when to hibernate, the loyalty of the dog and the devotion of a woman to her man, her children and her cause when she feels that the circumstances are righteous.

And of course, it would be wonderful to channel the moment when God said, “Let us make man in our own image.”

I am not enough and never will be.

When I settle for me,

I end up cheating everyone I see.

 

 

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Birthright

Birthright: (n) a particular right of possession or privilege one has from birth

I hate idealism.Dictionary B

It is an idea that we have relegated to the realm of impossibility which we voice anyway, even though we’ve lined up all the excuses in our minds as to why it won’t work.

Tom Jefferson said that “all men are created equal.”

A lovely piece of belligerent idealism–belligerent because our arrogance will not allow us to accept others as our equals without some sort of struggle or cynicism.

Ironically, Mr. Jefferson was probably being served tea and crumpets by one of his slaves as he penned these words about equality. Thus the damn hypocrisy of honoring principles without first finding a way to live them out.

Americans are obsessed with birthright.

We believe in our “manifest destiny” to occupy, control and manipulate. Sometimes we forget that other human souls, also created in the likeness of God, are tempted to feel the same way.

Sooner or later, it is necessary for the human race to surrender to the obvious conclusion that we are barely out of the jungle … and nowhere near Mount Olympus.

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Append

dictionary with letter A

Append (v.): to add to the end of a document or piece of writing.

Much truth comes out through silliness.

I have found this to be very accurate and on point.

When we’re unable to speak our feelings clearly, we often cast to the wind a sideways remark, later insisting that we were “just kidding.”

For instance, certainly the people who wrote the books of the Bible had no comprehension that thousands of years later, souls would be poring over their thoughts, seeking eternal insights for their internal workings. If they had, they probably would have added an “append” at the end, or a P.S. which read, “By the way, when I wrote Chapters 4-7, I was grumpy and suffering from indigestion” or, “Just kidding.”

Likewise, the delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention knew almost immediately that they had left out some very important ideas, so they added a ten-point “append,” which we now refer to as the Bill of Rights. (Also some of them from the Northern colonies probably wanted to take their quills and jot down an apology to the black race for the three-fifths assessment of their value.)

There isn’t anything I write each day in my columns and blogs that I would want to become everlasting “gospel” for humankind. Maybe I should close with T.I.C. (Tongue In Cheek). So I reserve the right to append all of my pennings almost immediately.

If we really believe that documents are divinely inspired, then we must clarify by saying that they are not divinely scrawled. Even in the process of inspiration flowing through the human being, it picks up some trash, ignorance and dirt along the way.

The truly intelligent reader of great manuscripts must possess the discernment of the spirit which inspired them.

  • So I listen to Beethoven not to worship his talent, but to appreciate the creativity and the frailty which make it human.
  • I read Thomas Jefferson knowing that he had higher ideals than his morals could acquire.
  • And I study Moses and the Apostle Paul from the Good Book, understanding that the yearning they had to be universal was somewhat stalled by their sheep-herder and tent-maker mentalities.

It doesn’t limit the beauty.

It just brings focus to it.

 

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Anti-government

dictionary with letter A

Antigovernment (adj): opposition to a government or the administration in office.

Of the people, by the people and for the people…

 

I think that’s the right order.

What is a government of the people?

It is an organization which is sensitive to the feelings, standards, morals and faith of any given group. Even though the United States would love to believe that the whole world should be democratic, there are countries which have lived with kings and emperors for centuries, and would not be comfortable with a democracy.

What does it mean: by the people?

It means that a secular government is a fluid idea based upon the changing goals of the people it is meant to serve. So even though our forefathers would arrive on the scene, look at the United States with some concern, and maybe even criticism, we cannot put together a contemporary institution based on the ideals of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

They had their time.

Government must be secular–tends to upset religious folks. But it must be an amalgamation of the sentiments of the populace, even if those assertions will soon be amended by better reasoning.

And finally, for the people.

Are we making our citizens more enriched, intelligent, enlightened and aware? If government is causing us to be ignorant, then government is not for the people.

So in the areas where we have legislation which isn’t of, by and for the people, it is necessary for someone to stand up and be anti-government in order to challenge the abnormality.

And what are the enemies of progress?

Religion and corporations.

Religion tends to cement ideas in stone and corporations function by staring at the bottom line. Neither approach affords the flexibility and breathing room for great government.

The “declarers of independence” were revolutionaries who were anti-government of King George.

They took a chance.

Undoubtedly, we will need to do the same in the future, but it can’t be to promote a corporation or a religion.

It has to be to improve the general welfare of all our countrymen.

 

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ADD

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

ADD: (abbr.) attention deficit disorder

Ironically, I was thinking about writing an essay on how Thomas Jefferson, who penned the Declaration of Independence, was considered by many of his cohorts–those gentlemen we call “the forefathers”–to be a rather obnoxious sort because he was always bouncing from one idea to another, proposing several different drafts and considering every paragraph and line in his document, like some sort of nervous kid on a sugar high.

Oops. There he is again.

The fly.

He got let into the room yesterday. I HATE a fly in my room. Do you know why? They lie in some corner, dormant, until, in some fit of gregarious insect joviality, they join you for dinner, watching TV or sipping your coffee.

I want to kill the fly. Is that wrong?

Speaking of Thomas Jefferson, he had a tendency to question the silliest little words, wondering if they would be understandable to future generations, and what that generation would consider to be freedom and their concept of the Revolution.

Do you like that song by the Beatles? I’m talking about the song, Revolution.

Do you know what I once did? I was doing a television show and wanted to include the song, but every time I tried to edit the song in, it was distorted. So I bought myself a mixer to try to remove the distortion, and then someone pointed out to me that the first part of the song commences with a distorted guitar.

Which brings me back to Thomas Jefferson. I think he finally realized there’s no such thing as a perfect document, and the Declaration of Independence would have to be interpreted by future generations based upon our evolution in democracy.

Do you really think we came from monkeys? I was thinking about evolution. We’ve never really found the missing link, have we? I have met some folks worthy of study, but even they would not be conclusive to such a claim.

It’s not that I would mind being a monkey, it’s just that cooking with only bananas would get very old–let’s say, lose its “a-peel.”

Even though I suppose you could use plantains. Do you like them? Plantains? Do I really want a non-sweet banana? Do I need a potato substitute? Have potatoes failed me?

I like Mr. Potato Head. I was one of those weird kids who used to put the ear in the nose and the nose on the mouth…and then I would present it to people, thinking it was funny, and they just thought it was weird.

Yes, it was weird that Thomas Jefferson fussed so much about the Declaration of Independence.

Do you think maybe he had ADD?

 

Adams (John)

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Adams, John (1735-1826): the 2nd President of the U.S. from 1797-1801. A Massachusetts Federalist, he was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774-78 and helped draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He negotiated the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution in 1783.

John Adams was a wild card.

Wild cards are fun. Wild cards are specific units from a deck which can be anything we need them to be in order to complete a winning hand.

In an era which included the very secular Benjamin Franklin, along with the religious and often belligerent Patrick Henry, who were crashing together to attempt a common purpose, there was a need for a wild card who could converse, argue, fuss and negotiate with both parties freely and act as a wild card for independence.

Thus, John Adams.

It is rather doubtful that the anti-slave members of the Continental Congress and the Virginia slave owners could ever have gotten together had it not been for Mr. Adams:

He made them talk instead of just stomp out of the room in anger.

He provided a reason for a stuffy Puritan from Massachusetts to at least attempt to understand a tobacco-growing country boy from North Carolina.

He made freedom the issue instead of bogging us down in continual useless conversations over preferences.

Into every generation a John Adams must be birthed. Otherwise the extremes stand at a distance and hurl rocks at one another.

Behold: the problem we see in our political system today.

We have plenty of Benjamin Franklins in our Democratic Party and an abundance of Patrick Henrys in the Republicans and Tea Parties, who are both adept at spitting across the creek at each other, finding no common canoe or even a bridge where ideas could cross back and forth.

We need a John Adams. John Adams wasn’t flamboyant or even interesting. He had a calming effect. He found a way to argue without frustration, disagree minus splitting apart, and eventually found a way to come to terms without sacrificing principles.

Although he had deep convictions, he also had a political savvy which permitted him to be a buffer between those who eat Quaker Oats and them that prefer grits.

Never forget the value of a John Adams to our Declaration of Independence.

He found a way to be friends with Thomas Jefferson even when they were bitter political enemies.

We probably do not need to be on the hunt for a better leader for our country, or even for Congress to have more acceptable members. Our generation requires a John Adams–or a plethora of them–to come in and find the means for discussion … instead of the elements of argument.

Abridge

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abridge: (v.): 1. to shorten (a book, movie, text or speech) without losing the sense. 2. curtail: Even the right to free speech can be abridged.

This happened to me several months ago.

I realized that my essays, speeches, and even books were getting too long. They needed to be abridged. But you see, the only problem with making something shorter is that the evidence of truth is often hidden in the longer discourse.

But our entire world is abridged, via texting, tweeting and even an instinct to summarize deep concepts into brief sound bytes. So I was thinking about famous thoughts or virtues that were once spoken in some length that now would be abridged in our society for the sake of convenience and ease of comprehension:

The Sermon on the Mount — It probably would be summarized via a tweet, to four words: Be good to people. Much would be lost in the translation,k but the tweeter would certainly insist that the summary was sufficient and specifics, unnecessary.

The Gettysburg Address: “Lots of dead people. Let’s honor them.” Even though Abraham Lincoln thought he WAS being brief, his words would still not fit into a tweet.

The Declaration of Independence: “We’re all the same, so chill out.” Thomas Jefferson’s eloquence might be lost in this rendition, but you cannot really tweet multi-syllabic words without abbreviating them anyway.

And of course, there’s The Bible, which would basically be tweeted out: “There is a God. Act accordingly.”

Even though I see the value of an occasional Reader’s Digest abridging of certain aspects of human communication, there are thoughts that require the beauty of language and the interlacing of the fabric of phrases.

So brevity is the soul of wit–but sometimes being witty is not nearly as pretty.