Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Triumph of Mercy

But we are assured that we must be ourselves extravagantly generous, if we are to hope for the extravagant generosity which is the slightest easing of, or escape from, the consequences of our own follies...
- “The Letters of JRR Tolkien”

Many of you have read or watched the movies of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (LOTR). For those of you who haven’t – stick with me. While reading the Letters of JRR Tolkien, I ran across one where he laments that so few people caught a crucial point in his story.

Frodo failed.

At the end of his Quest – his mission – after expending “every drop of his power of will and body,” which brought him to the “destined point,” Frodo succumbs to the power of the Ring and chooses to keep it for himself. It was Gollum, who bites off Frodo’s finger in order to regain the Ring, who falls into the Cracks of Doom with it clutched to his breast, who “accidentally” destroys it.

“In this the cause (not the ‘hero’) was triumphant…” *

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, early in Frodo’s quest to destroy the Ring, he had the opportunity to kill Gollum and chose not to. At the time, Gandalf (think: Merlin) told Frodo something to the effect that his mercy towards Gollum very well might turn out to play a significant part in destroying the Ring and, thus, the Enemy, Sauron.

In his Letters, Tolkien explains the significance of Frodo’s earlier mercy and the victory that was won.

“(B)ecause by the exercise of pity, mercy, and forgiveness of injury, a situation was produced in which all was redressed and disaster averted. Gandalf certainly foresaw this….” He goes on and notes that, “Of course, he did not mean to say that one must be merciful, for it may prove useful later – it would not then be mercy or pity, which are only truly present when contrary to prudence.”

Had Frodo not extended mercy but, rather, killed Gollum months earlier he wouldn’t have been there in the end to bite off Frodo’s finger. Thus, mercy created a scenario where victory was attained.

One of Tolkien’s critics, “(R)eviled Frodo as a scoundrel (who should’ve been hung and not honoured), and me too. It seems sad and strange that, in this evil time when daily people of goodwill are tortured, ‘brainwashed’, and broken, anyone could be so fiercely simpleminded and selfrighteous.”

Some “temptations” are beyond our power to resist, Mr. Self-Righteous. For example, Tolkien refers to those who leave prison broken or insane, “praising their torturers. But we can at least judge them by the will and intentions with which they entered the Sammath Nauer (this is a chamber in Mount Doom where the Cracks of Doom are located); and not demand impossible feats of will, which could only happen in stories unconcerned with real moral and mental probability.”

Tolkien believed that Frodo deserved all the honors he received for the victory, as he had spent all of “his power of will and body, and that was sufficient to bring him to the destined point, and no further. A few others, possibly no others of his time, would have gone so far. The Other Power then took over: the Writer of the Story (by which I do not mean myself), ‘that one ever-present Person who is never absent and never named’ (as one critic has said).”
Thank God that victory is in the hands of the Writer of the Story and not in those of some “hero,” eh?  We might want to remember this, the next time our Frodo falls. Remembering it even before this is even better!

We also may want to spend some time contemplating “doing unto others what we would have done unto us,” granting to others what God so graciously has given to us, remembering that mercy triumphs, whether in this life or the one to come.

* All quotation from Tolkien’s Letters, (Numbers 191 & 192)

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

Monday, September 17, 2018

Mannequin v Human

When I was around 11 or 12 years old, my mother told me that I had more patience than anyone she had ever known – “as you have never used an ounce of what God gave you.”  Her comment was made as I was pouring out my frustration over not being able to play one of Rachmaninoff’s sonatas: after a year’s worth of lessons, for crying out loud!

In my adolescent mind, there had to be a trick I was missing. I even told my piano instructor she was holding out on me, as she was clearly not allowing me to learn faster.

When it came to pianists, in those days Van Cliburn was The Man. I remember listening to him on mom’s record player thinking, I want to play like that. Subsequently, I began seeking some kind of unique power that would decrease the gap of time between desire and accomplishment. And by “decrease,” I meant less than minimal effort.

Let’s get this show on the road!

What I was looking for was just the right prayer that would cast a magic spell over my hands and, insto-presto (that’s Latin for Right Now), I’m a child prodigy.

While I gradually embraced the reality that mastering a skill-set or a body of knowledge (if there even is such a thing) takes thousands of hours of study and work, when it came to spiritual and psychological transformation, I spent the next decade or so searching for a shorter route to depth of soul and character than the one I seemed stuck on.

It wasn’t so much that I wanted total transformation, “Sometime this week, Lord,” but more a case where I kept looking for spiritual and psychological tricks (quick fixes with biblical proof-texts) to speed up the process. What continued to bedevil me, however, was that when I found a quick fix for what ailed me, what had been created was unreal, inauthentic, plastic. “Melts in your hands, not in your mouth!”

While mannequins can be put together quite quickly, the personal growth and transformation of a human being is another matter, altogether.

Using some of Christ’s metaphors, a seed is planted, dies, and then gradually creates a new plant. We, with God’s supporting grace, prepare the soil (soul); we tend to the seeds with water and fertilizer; when the plant grows, there will be the necessary pruning, and so on. If we seek to speed up the process by ignoring the preparation of the soil, the seed lands on hard ground and dies, producing nothing. If we seek to use the trick of, say, over-fertilizing the seeds, the plant grows quickly but has no roots, so that when the sun beats down on it, it just as quickly dies.

Getting to the point where a tree actually begins to bear fruit doesn’t happen over night and any one who tells you differently is either deluded or a con.

When it comes to soul work, we need to think like gardeners, not makers of mannequins or magicians. Gardeners understand what to do and when (which season) to do it, while patiently trusting the process - did you hear that, mom?!? – and, even more importantly, trusting the Creator and Sustainer of the garden of our souls.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

“He’s got the whole world in his hands”

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown
- Henry IV, Shakespeare

How many of us remember singing J Baird’s lyrics: “He’s got the whole world in his hands”? So comforting, so very reassuring. Until, that is, we are around 12 or 13 and begin noticing that life doesn’t always show up the way we hoped or worked for, which, we think, means that God isn’t paying attention to our worlds.

“He dropped the whole wide world from his hands…”

And how does this translate into the development of my modus operandi?

I’m in charge of my life and its outcomes
If something needs to be changed, it’s up to me 

Cue: Grrrr, Gaaaaah, Strain, Hernias  

Okay, with some of us, we know better than to come right out and say that we are in charge of our worlds, so we add “under God,” with a wink and a nod toward the heavens.  

“No, no, no Wilson. I really mean, “under God.”

Great. Then you won’t mind answering a few questions.

How often do you experience feelings of fear and failure, when life doesn’t live up to your expectations; say, when you didn’t get the job, your candidate wasn’t elected, or you were unable to move people toward your chosen path?

Do you frequently find yourself wringing your hands and obsessing over your plight, their predicament, or its demise?

Does the word “despair” often pop-up in your conversations with close friends?

What these states of mind and heart tell us is that we do believe that it’s up to us to make things happen: to change it, them, and that guy over there.

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” eh?

The “unease” – the fear, the anxiety, the hand wringing - is due to the fact that God gives us no grace for seeking to be “rulers of our own fate,” much less for seeking to be the masters of others.

There’s only one crown, here, and it belongs to the Creator and Sustainer of all life.

The world is in God’s hands. Your world is in God’s hands, which, with even the smallest degree of self-awareness, should come as a relief. We perform our duties out of love for God and others, trusting God will use our obedience, As. He. Sees. Fit. We can pray, “Let this cup pass from me,” or even, “Let this cup come to me!” as long as our overriding prayer is, “Nevertheless, your will be done.”

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Plans or Arrogant Schemes

Me: Today or tomorrow I will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make some money.

God: Hold on there, tiger.

It never ceases to humor me when people who otherwise disregard or even pooh-pooh the Bible, love quoting passages that validate whatever it is that they are peddling. What brought this up to me (again) was coming across some wisdom from Proverbs being cited by an author who was selling the idea that our thoughts create our reality: yeah, verily, our very destiny. “For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.” This, in turn, got me to thinking about my own use of this verse in my writings, which, in retrospect, have been a tad squishy.

Clearing up the squishy: the context of this wisdom is where an individual is being cheerily told by a ruler to sit with him for a meal, while his heart is actually filled with some bad mojo toward his guest. What appears to be sincere hospitality is essentially a desire to get something over on his dinner companion. Be cautious, here: don’t be tricked by his words but remember, as a man is thinking in his heart, so he is. (Proverbs 23.1-7)

Anyway, sticking with how the verse is often applied -

Yes, I believe that our deepest thoughts have a lot of influence on our daily habits and outcomes. Habits of the mind create habits of attitudes and behaviors. However, the idea that our thoughts – however “good” – regarding our desired outcomes are always aligned with God’s thoughts on the issue is foolish … at best.

How often, for example, have we experienced having the outcome of, say, eating bread: creating a strategy for attaining the desired bread, disciplining our minds to see ourselves eating the bread, even praying for the bread, only to be surprised that God had something else in mind for us. We thought we were going after bread when in reality it was, for us, stones.

We say that we are going to the city, “spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” We envision, we construct our plans, and we discipline our thoughts accordingly. God says, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” (James 4:13-15) If our plans are not continually bathed in the prayer, “Nevertheless, your will be done, Lord,” then, as James goes on to write, what we are calling “plans” God calls “arrogant schemes.”

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Pleasure of a Preening Self-Righteous Anger

Reasonableness and amiability (both cheerful “habits” of the mind) are stronger in the end than the . . . spleen. To rail is the sad privilege of the loser. -CS Lewis

In a letter in which CS Lewis is critiquing George MacDonald’s (his spiritual mentor) novels, he writes: “The pleasure of anger – the gnawing attraction which makes one return again and again to its theme – lies, I believe, in the fact that one feels entirely righteous oneself only when one is angry. Then the other person is pure black, and you are pure white. In fiction you can put absolutely all the right, with no snags or reservations, on the side of the hero (with whom you identify yourself) and all the wrong on the side of the villain. You thus revel in unearned self-righteousness which would be vicious even if it were earned. Haven’t you noticed how people with a fixed hatred, say, of Germans or Bolshevists, resent anything which is pleaded in extenuation, however small, of their supposed crimes. The enemy must be unredeemed black. While all the time one does nothing and enjoys the feeling of perfect superiority over the faults one is never tempted to commit.” *

The first thing that jumped out at me was the fact that, while CSL revered George MacDonald, he hadn’t made his hero so heroic that he had idealized him. MacDonald was a human with faults common to the human condition. The second thing that hit me was the temptation common to us humans of making our “enemies” out to be all black, thus giving us a sense of superiority while we self-righteously pour out our anger on the villain.

The second temptation is the one I am interested in, here.

One feels entirely righteous oneself only when one is angry.
When the only time we truly feel righteous is when we are angry then what we are feeling is self-righteousness. Anger is such a delicious emotion. We fondle it like Sméagol fondled his precious ring. (LOTR) Why: because, all too often, our anger is not about righteousness, not elicited by the desecration of God’s standards, but because it causes us to feel superior. Look at my anger: Dost thou not see my blazing righteousness? Dost not my parries and ripostes with this villain prove that I am the all-white hero? Actually, no: it doesn’t. How so?

One does nothing and enjoys the feeling of superiority
Doing nothing covers a number of breakdowns. For example, how about when we judge the sawdust in another guy’s eye, while doing nothing about the log in our own eyes? Or what about our trashing the all-black villain along with anyone who “pleads in extenuation” while we are doing nothing to demonstrate Christ’s love and Truth? And posting diatribes on FB rarely count. I suggest we need to check the “pay off” for our anger: is it virtue signaling to our tribe, ego boosting, or has it come from a place of devotion to God and love for others?

Playing the All-White Hero
The Pharisees’ prayer: God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers - or even like this tax-collector … or CEO, politician, neighbor, TV personality, or minister. (Luke 18.11) So my sins in comparison to the villain’s sins are trifles?  His moral caca smells but mine doesn’t? Of course our intent is not to play the Pharisee. However, when we judge others while not judging ourselves that is exactly whom we are playing. But Wilson, I have never committed adultery or stolen from anyone or made a wicked deal with Iran. No, those are sins you were “never tempted to commit.” Ok, but what about pride or a preening self-righteous anger or the hypocrisy of being a poser?

How do we combat the temptations of self-serving comparisons and self-righteous anger, of playing the all-white hero against the all-black villain? We make our lives the prayer of the tax-collector, who would “not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner’ [….] For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18: 13,14. NIV)

* CS Lewis: A Biography, by Roger Lancelyn Green & Walter Hooper. Letter written on January 17, 1931.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Power to Persuade: Stories v Data Dumps

In my book, Legendary Leadership, I wrote about how the most powerful communicators are great storytellers.

Broadcasting facts and data will often alienate people, making them feel as if they are being lectured to or preached at while becoming increasingly uninterested in whatever it is we are “selling.”  But stories of how your ideas, ideals, or beliefs change people’s lives, of how your vision is already making a difference for good in the lives of specific people—this form of communication will grab and hold your listener’s hearts.

When seeking to persuade others, statistics, and philosophical or theological assertions have their place, but there also needs to be more than this. Consider Frederick Douglass’ comment regarding the songs of Stephen Foster and what they did for Douglass’, a former slave, black brothers and sisters who were still in shackles.

They are heart songs, and the finest feelings of human nature are expressed in them. [Songs] can make the heart sad as well as merry, and can call forth a tear as well as a smile. They awaken the sympathies for the slave, in which anti-slavery principles take root and flourish.

When we read the Old Testament what do we hear? There are stories after stories (and songs!) of patriarchs, prophets, and kings. It is no stretch to say that God revealed himself in stories. In the New Testament, Jesus, primarily, communicated his message through stories.  (WWJD!!) As for us, however, we usually gravitate toward the assertion of theological, philosophical, or historical bullet points. Which is fine, as far as it goes, but that’s the thing: information dumps don’t go far enough, as they don’t touch hearts. And if we don’t grab hearts, minds will wander away.

Go back to Douglass’ line about Foster’s songs: “They awaken the sympathies for the slave…” Stories (songs are stories put to music) put a face on the information we wish to convey. Stories put flesh-and-bone to theological assertions and philosophical arguments. Yes, share, for example, the information you have on poverty and its causes, but where’s the story where such facts will go deeper than our listener’s brains? Speaking of brains -

Quite often our audience’s brains are guarded by radar that points out any incoming information that has already been deemed bogus. Splat. (That’s the sound of your data hitting the ground.) This is true in school classrooms, churches, and boardrooms. Your arguments driven by data are pretty much useless in such cases where there are already built-in defense mechanisms that guard against your “bias,”  “phony information,” or “fake news.” But with stories: stories get around radars, pique the interest of our audience, and moves hearts to listen more intently.

Don’t tell me that God loves me. Tell me a story that demonstrates His love, as it relates to me.

Hold off on the data dump regarding, say, poverty and tell me about a specific broken and poverty-stricken family, and the generational losses of fathers, self-respect, and hope, and how, when proper solutions were applied, people flourished.

One of the reasons we lean toward using statistics without stories, is that many of us believe that we cannot tell a good and useful story. If this is you, the way to learn is to listen to and read well-told stories. You will also want to search for stories that put flesh-and-bone on your beliefs, vision, and issues that concern you. If you intend to persuade others in mind and heart, then storytelling is not merely an option: it is a critical skill-set.  

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Political Saviors and Their Communicants

A man who “cannot win” beats out Hillary to become our 45th President. Many of her supporters go into psychotic meltdown and begin crowding mental health facilities? Why?

People criticize President Trump and, without a single moment of reflection and consideration, are mindlessly obliterated by many of his defenders. Why?

Lord Acton wrote, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Being elected to political office doesn’t sanctify the office holder. On the contrary: the office tends to corrupt the official. However, and this is more to my point, it also tends to corrupt us.  One of the ways it does so is by an admiration that morphs into personality-worship where people make politicians out to be saviors.

I saw this with Reagan. While I believe he was a great President, I was appalled with those who sat back and relaxed, because “Ronnie has saved us.” How did that work out? It didn’t. Why? Because there are, ultimately, no political saviors: there are no politicians, laws, regulations, policies, or executive orders that will change our culture, in the long run. Anyone who thinks otherwise is in for severe disillusionment.

Sure. Support whomever you think has some solutions to our nation’s problems. Be politically active. However, exalting Hillary, Trump, or any other politician to the status of a messiah is shortsighted and nothing short of idolatry.  

Tellingly, many of the political savior’s communicants, as with those who thought Ronnie saved us, opt out of any sense of responsibility for actually doing the hard work of engaging others in thoughtful debate.

Not me, Wilson. I continue the Good Fight! Right: on Facebook, where, just as you do, those who disagree with you either hide or ignore your posts.

For the most part, changing minds only takes place relationally. This requires humility, patience, empathy, and even – horror of horrors - the willingness to be wrong. It also requires intelligence, not talking points, logic, historical analysis, and so forth. I am not suggesting you need to be Socrates, but it would help if you have actually studied the best arguments on the other side of the issues you advocate. But there is something else even more important.

It is not simply minds we need to be concerned with: it is with souls.

For Christians, our primary mission in life is to declare and demonstrate the love of God as incarnated in Jesus Christ, and to make disciples of all nations. Again, this is something that takes place on a relational basis, and also takes patience, empathy, and wisdom.

The question for my Christian readers is this:  how many people are in your relational world with whom you argue over politicians and politics but with whom you have yet to share your faith?

What does it tell us about where our “faith” is focused when we are more passionate about politics than we are about our love for God and others? When I am willing to go all Tongue Fu for my political stands but not for my faith and Christ appointed mission, it tells me that my heart and head still need some major work.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Eloquence of Character

He (Custennin) was a king ever mindful of the respect of his people and sought to win it daily. - Merlin, Stephen R Lawhead      

As I have often written here, words properly chosen, ordered, and timed, are a necessary component of effective communication, especially in regard to leadership. (Here, here, here, here, and here.) It’s more than words, however, but also how the words are expressed: the tonality and spirit behind the words. As Lawhead wrote of Merlin’s voice:

It was his (Merlin’s) voice that fascinated me. Infinitely expressive, it served him in any manner he wished. When he lashed, it could raise welts on a stone. When he soothed, it could have shamed nightingales into silence. And when he commanded, mountains and valleys exchanged places. “Arthur,” Stephen R Lawhead

Wilson: Crikey, Lord. I want that gift!

Question: Had Merlin been a man of low character, a man whose spirit was muddied and tarnished, what would be the effect of his words, then?

A Man of Impeccable Character
Back in the 70s, I heard a man speaking who was raising money for a mission in South America. He couldn’t put a cogent sentence together, his grammar was atrocious, and his voice grating. The astounding thing, for me, was watching the audience. People were captivated and moved to give far more than his target amount. (I knew the host and asked him how much was raised.)

It took me a few days to process what I had witnessed. Gradually, it dawned on me that it was his authenticity and, even more critically, the respect he commanded. In speaking with the host, I found out that he stayed in constant contact with his donors as to how the money was being spent and the results being achieved … or not. Yes, if it was “bad news,” he let them know.

But it was even more than this. He had a reputation for impeccable integrity.

If he made a promise, he kept it.

He was over-the-top conscientious with the money that was donated.

In listening to others speak of him the description that came up most often was “Respectful toward others.”

While he was not eloquent, his “Yes” was “Yes” and his “No” was “No.” “He never exaggerates”; “he never equivocates.”

We all know people whose skills we respect, while not feeling the same way about their character. While this tension between the two exists for us, it doesn’t always lead to a breach in the relationship. Yet, the reality is that the tension causes us to keep a bit of distance. And when conflict arises? When we are in a situation where their words matter? We have our doubts. Or worse.

What I learned from this missionary was that character has its own efficaciousness and eloquence.

St. Luke wrote that sinners heard Jesus “gladly.” Why? Certainly he was eloquent. However, it was his character that opened their hearts to his words, as it did with this “ineloquent” gentleman.  

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Legendary Leadership: Striking the Spark

Arthur could find the golden beam of hope in defeat, the single glimmer of blue in the storm-fretted sky. It was this that made him such a winning leader—the kind of man for whom other men gladly lay down their lives.  Arthur’s enthusiasm and assurance were the flint and steel to the dry tender of men’s hearts. Once he learned to strike the spark, he could set the flame any time he chose. 
- Arthur, Stephen R Lawhead

Legendary leaders have hope when all others despair. Where the average person sees a closed door, leaders see possibilities. When plans go awry and the masses of men give way to confusion, leaders see a Better Way Forward. When darkness falls on the minds of others and the vision sinks into impenetrable darkness, leaders see the vision as clear as the day it was revealed to them.

For such leaders, this is not a case of failing to deal with reality. The door is closed, the plan is not working, and darkness has descended. (Leaders know the difference between the plan and the vision: The plan is flexible, the vision is primary.) This the leader readily acknowledges. He simply sees more than the troops. Remember: when all others are blind, the guy who sees either is or becomes a leader.

Leaders are realists, for they too have experienced confusion and hardship. As Lawhead’s Merlin notes regarding Arthur’s early years, “For even then he was beginning to display that rarest of qualities: a joy inspired by hardship, deepened by adversity, and exalted by tragedy.” Leaders suffer, as do we all. What sets them apart is what they do with their sufferings.  They do not give up or in; they do not become victims of circumstances. They endure and keep moving forward toward the vision, with joy and hope.

Certainly there are those within the ranks who do the same. A true leader, however, can “strike the spark” so as to rally the troops in times of hardship. It’s admirable to maintain my poise and post in times of adversity but if I can’t inspire my followers to hold steady in times of adversity, then I am not a leader. There is no shame here: it’s only a case of dealing with my reality.

Closed doors, failed plans, and confusion among the troops, are all part of following after the vision, maintaining the Quest. Yet, for a leader, nothing ever clouds the vision of the intended outcome or thwarts their ability to open’s men’s eyes to see “the single glimmer of blue in the storm-fretted sky.”

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018


I’ve never been a fan of the word “precious.” Other than when quoting Gollum (from “The Lord of the Rings” fame), I steer clear of it. For whatever reason, when I hear it coming out of a man’s mouth it gives me the creeps. But THIS word – presh-E-osity. O my.

Noun: Over refinement in art, music, or language, especially in the choice of words; fastidiousness

When I first ran across the word, I thought of a great synonym. Anybody? Anybody?

Think of the potential for your blog, Wilson.

“Preciosity and Mental Health”
Thesis Having a phobic response to the words of others to the extent of demanding safe places is a sign of a severe immaturity that can quickly turn into a mental disorder. The fact that our nation’s universities have become safe havens for the precious doesn’t bode well for our future. (Reference narcissism and arrested development.)

“Preciosity and the First Amendment”
Thesis Marx understood the necessity of policing language to clear the way for totalitarianism. Controlling language is the pathway to controlling thoughts. Defense: First Amendment. (Grab Orwell’s 1984)

“Poking the Precious”
Thesis While I do not believe this ought to be our go to method of dealing with preciosity, it should be part of our repertoire. I can think of few things more effective for deflating the egos of self-regarding preeners than poking fun at them. Think of it as a discipling technique for toughening up the hides of the overly sensitive.

“The Poison of Preciosity”
Thesis Preciosity is a poison that infects the heart of our freedoms and severely restricts the oxygen needed for free flowing, no-holds-barred discourse. It is the death knell for healthy relationships, the spirit of community, and social cohesion. (Drive home the fact that inoculation begins at home. Illustration: I’m 12 years old.. Dad and I were going at it, tooth and nail. My feelings are hurt. I start crying. Dad: Tears are not an argument, son.)

Ideas for blog posts abound!

When you think of preciosity, picture Gollum stroking, not “the one ring that binds them all,” but, rather, his delicate sensitivities and ego, and repeating, “My preciouuusss …” over and over again. Remember how this corrupted his soul. Look at his twisted and mangled body that mirrors his inward condition. Now tell me whether or not this is a mental disorder that we need to take seriously.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Mindless Moments

So, here I am, after years of seeking to live in the moment, and I find myself “in a place where I don’t know where I am.” (The great American philosopher, Homer Simpson.) What happened was that, over and over again, I was pulled along by the mindless moment without my ever actually making a deliberative choice. Having been led by the moment, I’m a product of past reactions, fancies, and impulses; a jumbled up mix of incongruous beliefs, principles, and goals, many of which I am not even aware of possessing. My principles, my personality, and my beliefs about God, others, the world, and my self, have all morphed into being without my ever having much of a conscious thought on the matter.

Having been shaped by mindless moments, I am foreign to myself.

Questions like, “Who are you?” make me uncomfortable. I draw a blank … and then pop smoke with a confusing, errrr, deeeep religious metaphor or some pseudo-philosophical or psychological maxim - what was it I read in a Hallmark card the other day? – hoping that, if nothing else, the sheer volume of words will cower the questioner.

When I am asked what I believe, I share my feelings on the matter. After all, all I have are feelings, as I haven’t spent any time studying and deliberating. If the questioner is a Feeler, we’ll argue about whose feelings are morally superior, without of course any reference to facts, history, logic, or ethical standards. If, on the other hand, he asks me about the basis or rationale behind my feelings, I turn up the volume and throw a word-salad in his face. Or accuse him of having no heart.

“My philosophy of life?” I’ve found that mumbling something about “love” usually does the trick here, unless I get some wise guy who wants me to describe what love looks like in my day-to-day life. “I’m nice to every one I meet, Cretin.”

And may the gods save me from any one who wants to converse about Goodness, Truth, or Reality. What in the world does any of this have to do with my life? Damn. I hope I didn’t say this with my outside voice. I don’t want to get into an argument.

Talking about this airy-fairy stuff makes my brain hurt.

If my interrogator gets up on his high horse and pushes for answers then my go-to retort is,

“’Goodness’ is defined by culture.”

“All truth is personal truth.”

(Cue Dreamy, philosophical tone) There is no such thing as reality, only personal perceptions.”

Drop mic. Exit stage left.

Of course, I haven’t actually thought through any of this, except memorizing a few lines from quotes I found online from Postmodernism for Dummies, so at all costs avoid questions regarding classifying terms, defining words, or the like. Daaaamn youuuu Socrateeees. Ancient white-guy logic: who needs it. What matters is that I stay away from those who cause my brain to hurt and that I feel good about myself. Isn’t that what life’s all about anyway?

Wait a minute. I do have a philosophy of life!

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018