Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Despair Is An Unwelcome Companion: Staying Merry While the World Around You Burns

It is probably pretty sad, but the best conservative bumper sticker I've ever seen reads "Losing Slowly :)."

And while I smile and laugh and agree completely, I find it hard to, as a fellow conservative once advised, "stay merry" while the world around me goes to hell in a hand-basket. The sticker perfectly sums up the fact that to be of a conservative persuasion is to be fighting an eternal losing battle. And that can be pretty depressing, let me tell ya.

Especially in today's world. Everywhere I look I see the things I once took for granted being hammered at from the base or completely demolished in the face of the "general will" (see mob mentality) while good men and women watch on or walk past, oblivious. I see groups that once stood for what was good and true do an about-face and show the world their lack of spine or conviction. I see craven cowardice and unabashed greed. Appalling arrogance leads people to believe that they can achieve anything-only to show, in the end, how feeble and petty men really are when they fall. I see how men, seemingly benign, are actually selling their fellow man either down the river to oblivion or to a form of subservience little better (if at all) than enslavement, the only difference being servitude to the all-encompassing "State" apparatus as opposed to an individual, leading, instead of exploitation of labor a hollowing nihilism that kills the soul, leaving nothing but a husk of a man or woman incapable of independent thought or, for that matter, independence at all.

Our country's children are receiving the worst that human depravity has to show, our schools inundated with violence, drugs, sex, and amorality, with any attempt to rectify it being demonized on high. And it's only getting worse.

In the case of higher education, the situation is as bad as its ever been. If anyone ever bothered to see what passes for education in some of our educational institutions, they would return to reality with a piece of their humanity missing, whatever innocence was left gone forever, stolen by our "popular" culture and culture of death. The monstrous Nothing is pervasive in college. Instead of noblesse oblige, Ability, and "to each his own" (in the sense of classical distributive and commutative justice), our universities teach a crushing leveling that destroys not only aspiration but also imagination, reducing us to pawns and replaceable parts in the great machine, denying us our very humanity.

Truly, Pride is the source of all sin. In our arrogance to believe we can create an earthly Utopia, we have instead built the engines of Hell itself. And have willingly chained ourselves to them, selling our souls for trinkets and prizes that will not follow us in Death.

As you can tell, it can be very hard to stay "merry" with Despair and Melancholy greeting you as you rise every morning. So then, how do we go on? How are we not pulled down by our chains and torn from our souls?

Because we realize that the sting of Death is gone. That every Night must, inevitably, give way to Morning. And that even in a world as broken as ours, as fallen as ours, as unlivable as ours, we Are, we Live, and we CAN Rise above it. And that is why, in spite of the host arrayed against us, we continue to be merry and find comfort in the fact that we CAN, indeed, reclaim the age; that we can, in the end, "Redeem the Time."

Friday, January 25, 2013


It is truly amazing to me what comes to mind when my imagination meets great music. Not long ago I found myself becoming quite enamored with "chillstep" and other "chill" music. Now, this is not the kind of "chill" that you play when you're out with your "homies" smoking joints. Far from it. There's a melody and a harmony and an order that I find in this music that speaks to my soul, in the same way that Javert and Valjean make me weep when I watch Les Miserables.

Fine, go ahead and call me a Romantic at heart.

This music brings such visions to my mind, a peace that I can only find...well, really nowhere, 'cept maybe a church. If someone ever commented that Music is a path to finding God, they were right. Give that man/woman a raise!

Just a few minutes ago, I was listening to a section of a mash-up of "chill piano" with orchestral mixes. There was woodwinds (saxophones?) playing, and all I could imagine was walking along the beach, watching the sun set and the waves of the Mediterranean wash ashore. I think I imagined France, since I do remember quite a bit of my stay there.

Here's some "urbane" piano: I imagine strolling in a long coat (navy peacoat, mind) in NYC circa 1950. The notes are the rain that falls.

A few minutes ago, the tune playing at the time had me envisioning that I was walking with God, transcendent, in a time out of space and a space out of time, with the stars as my step-stones.

Now we're getting a bit darker. A lonely soldier, slouching homeward, head down and shoulders heavy with weariness, beaten in body and mind, though his spirit propels him back to his family and hearth, the silent stars his map, his guide. He hears the voice of the universe, sharing his grief and pain, and all seems like it can't go on. But he can, and he does. He quickens his step, and all he can imagine in his darkened countenance is the warm embrace of his beloved. The night draws near, and he must find shelter. And a beacon shines: a Cross, atop a high steeple, reflecting the light of both Sun and Son. He stumbles forward, his vision clouding as he nears the Eternal Embrace. He weeps at the doors of the church, thinking of his failings, his wife and children and all the things he never achieved. But a warm note emanates from the inside: an organ plays a homily, and a gentle priest answers the knock. He carries the soldier inside, and the soldier begs for mercy and confession, his eyes moist with the tears he never shed before, for himself, for his fellow men, broken by war, for his lord and king, for the children who bear his blood in their veins. But the priest smiles, and comforts him. The soldier asks that the music go on. The organ, playing softly now, continues. And a new music meets his ears: unearthly, a beauty he's never known before. He confesses to the priest, his spirit light and whole as a feeling like the warm sun as it rises on the world embracing him. He leaves his body, flying as if held by eagles, soaring. He lands at his door, and his wife greets him with loving eyes, and his children's delight, and he knows: He is home.

Now I hear a kind of Oriental quality, and imagine a garden. A Feng-Sui garden, all order and harmony, but the peace...delicate, temporal, fleeting.

Now, the death of a star. Exploding with brilliant rays, such destruction. But is it really death? Can Hell's bell really have the final say? For even as the nova signals death, it heralds something new and beautiful: the rays of destruction dance in all the shades of color of the universe, like a dream from God.

Now a sentinel, sure in his duty and stout in his heart, stares out from his keep. He cannot know the darkness that awaits but is sure of his place and of his faith, the knowledge that light shines in even the blackest of nights. He imagines trumpets sounding, and he smiles, eager to manifest his destiny.

Now I see Earth, in all her ephemeral glory, as viewed from above. Such peace, such tranquility, from so high up. No war, no death, no chaos...and yet I see the movement of the clouds, the rotation of the planet, the great system working in its capacity. Order even in chaos.

Please do not be alarmed. These are my musings, the visions I see, the dreams I dream.

Almighty God, thank you for your gifts. Thank you for music. Thank you for dreams. Thank you for making them one and the same. Amen.