Thursday, August 6, 2009

quote me baby one more time

Hi all
please note: I will not edit your responses: they will be posted exactly as sent in by you.
No anonymous postings will ever be posted: have the courage and cajones to stand by your words: or stay quiet.

Let's start with a simple quote or two: just to get the creative juices and responses flowing:
"History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce''. Karl marx

You can't argue with that can you?
Well you could, but if you do: i'll assume you've only just landed on planet earth. 

If we haven't yet experienced either tragedy or farce: we will: probably many times over: but you probably know that already and could tell a tale or two to enlighten and inspire. So tell away.....

Immediate family: alas for the majority of us both tragedy and farce; Cities; Detroit springs to mind: tragedy and farce for all to see; Nations; tragedy and farce; time and time again. Whole eras, movements, ideologies, inquisitions, dogmas, wars, justifiable(maybe) stupid(definitely), holy wars (unjustifiable period), have littered our history with tragedy and farce.

Mankind's history has proof beyond all reasonable doubt that we have this inbuilt ability to make the same mistakes over and over again: if we learn, we learn slowly: most of the time it appears we don't learn at all; yet we would appear to have learnt enough to justify ourselves in the courtroom of our own minds and proclaim that it is always the other guys  / other nations / other race / other creeds fault. heaven forbid that it may be ours. Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Too busy forming our own defense; learning to repeat it by rote: convincing ourselves, yet fooling no-one else: while ice skating around the many issues real and, alas the imaginary ones that roll around inside our paranoid heads like marbles in a tin can. We could choose to address 'stuff'  head on in an effort to 'get well'. But we probably wont: besides i just bought the ice skates. Life can get very complicated; but it could be simple:

''All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope''. Winston Churchill.

As a fellow englishman i'd like to add a 'one word' great thing to Winston's list:  integrity. not much of it lying about is there?


balmertoo said...

Two things occur to me.

First, the history-repeats-itself adage only seems to be dredged up in response to the tragedies. Do heroic things repeat themselves? Do recoveries, revivals, rescues or inspirations repeat themselves? Are new saints ever fathered by the life stories of old ones?

Second, if the second go-round of the tragedy is a farce, when can we expect it to become funny?

motorcityguvnor said...

thanks martha:

you've got a point there and by way of full disclosure let me state that i have always been inspired by people, their stories, the events both tragedy and farcical that are interwoven into the fabric of all of our lives and our own idiosyncratic worldviews:

heroic things - thank God - do repeat themselves: amen and amen.

I am nearly always moved to tears by heroic events; alas such events nearly always result in loss of a heroic life. but maybe that's what ultimately makes it heroic?

I am also rescued almost daily by friends, films, music, comedy, art, and the virtuosity of the human beings who deliver the stuff that floats my boat, fires my creative neurons and causes me to weep for joy.

i have a list of folks who loom large in my overall development as a flawed human being and inform and continue to redefine my mindsets (i can multi task to some extent - so i generally have more than one mindset operating at the same time)

There are folks i have met on my travels and whom I still know: and folks i have never met: manly because they died before I was born and i haven't perfected time travel yet. So i am ultimately left like all of us with the most important thing:

their legacy.

To be able to say thank you to the following individuals for the inspiration they have been to me would be a blast:
george best
marc bolan
stevie ray vaughan
jimmie vaughan
my grandad
little richard
fats domino
churck berry
steve mcqueen
clint eastwood
woody allen
eric cantona
tim minchin
eddie izzard
Muhammed ali

the list is pretty much endless - so i'll stop for now

i try to draw folks towards things/events and people that have inspired and sustained me over the last 47 years - well maybe slightly less than the actual 47 years i have been on the planet - because i only became self aware last week. So they can maybe go away and refine the search for their own heroes, revivals, inspirations and recoveries

i hope that new saints are fathered by the life story and legacy of older ones: they'd better be - or we're pretty much screwed:

The only thing we leave behind apart from a lifeless corpse and all the material stuff that all too easily rules our lives all too easily if we let it is - as mentioned earlier - our legacy

i hope you and all the folks i know and those i don't will inspire me to leave behind a legacy worth something to somebody

i dont want folks turning up at my funeral just to make sure that i am really dead!

And so to finish by addressing your last question:
if the second go round of the tragedy is farce, when can we expect it to become funny?

well: “I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer” Douglas Adams

But i laugh all the time: I seem to have found the ability to rejoice and again i say rejoice whilst at the same time maintaining a small dose of cynicism to balance the bittersweet tragic comedy that is life on planet earth

“Sometimes questions are more important than answers.” Nancy Willard

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein

J Lee Harshbarger said...

This is why I like to study history. It definitely repeats. When I study history, I see patterns that I can recognize in events today.

The Old Testament is one piece of history that often makes me marvel, "Wow, human beings really haven't changed in thousands of years, have they?"

Bradley said...

I've always thought the phrase was, "Just because you ARE paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you.".... I guess it works either way.

I heard a sports coach (it might have been Lloyd Carr of Jim Leyland) say that to be a bad coach you take too much credit when things are going good and not enough when things are going bad.

I agree with Mike that (bad) history does tend to repeat itself because we, as humans, tend to not be truthful as to our part in the matter. We are always defending ourselves, trying to put our own narrative on the situation, trying to explain why it is everyone else's fault but ours.

On the contrary, I feel that (good) history does NOT tend to repeat itself because we, as humans, tend to overemphasize our part in the matter. We are too busy patting ourselves on the back, trying to put our own narrative on the situation, explaining how everything went so well because we are so great.

In the end, it all comes down to PRIDE. We, as humans, need to be honest with ourselves. It is PRIDE which does not allow us to accept the blame when it it rightfully ours. It is PRIDE which makes us seek out the glory when it is not rightfully ours.

When things go wrong, we need to be able to say, "Hey, I really screwed the pooch". When things go good, we need to be able to smile and and just see that it is good and move on.

al said...

Wow, I am not now and have never been a blogger but I'm pleasantly surprised at what I'm reading so I'm jumping in. It's good to learn new things and so them when you're my age. Seems to me I've got too much of done that, been there thing working in me and I need a new groove to revitalize. So, first thought, or comment, I too am amazed by how accurate the old testament reports true human behavior. No matter how modern we get, or think that we get, we're still acting out the same old lines of sin and pleasure that have been around for centuries. New names, new philosphies, SOS, same old stuff. Helps me to maintain my balance in a supposedly rapidly changing world. What keeps me sane is music, friends, and children. The more I can hang around them and feast off of their pure innocent reactions the better I feel about the future, that there's still hope and everyone has not been corrupted. They are such pure reactors to the situation at hand, not the properly thought out response, but genuinely what they are feeling and thinking at the time it happens and they always surprise me. I often think that raising my kids was the most fun, and pain, that I have had in life and they are still a delight to me...

motorcityguvnor said...

j Lee, Bradley & al:

great thoughts and thanks for taking the time to write them or is it blog them on down: wait a minute that sounds like an old blues song by R L Burnside:

No that's shake'em on down; a little blues history there for ya

J Lee - I am with you on the history thing - i always loved history at school: as an englishman you gain a certain perspective on history when you learn growing up that your country has been invaded by nearly everyone else on the planet in the 2000 years prior to your own birth; i loved roman and viking history as a kid: as an adult the industrial revolution and the fall of our own empire has within it an endless opportunity for learning.

Empires tend to all fall eventually and normally in the same manner as the last empire that ruled the world: over reaching aims causing too much strain on the base of the empire for it to last forever; but as history has shown us - empires never learn either.

Thanks brad for the reminder too that:
'We are always defending ourselves, trying to put our own narrative on the situation, trying to explain why it is everyone else's fault but ours'.

sometimes you just gotta take it on the chin or as you say admit to 'screwing the pooch': it would help us all in the end to take ownership - rather than deflect, heck we may even grow a little as individuals and then pass on our learning: trouble is; folks have to be listening for learning to take place; there's a great line in the Queen song White Man written by the guitar player Brian May:

white man:
a man who learned how to teach
then forgot how to learn

forgetting how to learn is dangerous - but you dont have to look very far to see 'not learning' taking place: so we're back to the recurring theme we started with

as al commented:

No matter how modern we get, or think that we get, we're still acting out the same old lines of sin and pleasure that have been around for centuries.

nothing new under the sun is there: at least not from from the perspective of the human condition.

Guys thanks for checking in - hope you'll do so again: peace; mike

rabbsn said...

Like Al, I also am not a blogger. But I have to add my two cents to this great discussion.

Mike: I like the idea of learning from someone's legacy. Legacy is simply the handing down of "something from an ancestor", be it good or bad. Even Al Capone and Hitler left legacies that help us human beings learn. Personally, I want to leave a more positive legacy than either of these two guys where folks don't "turn up to my funeral just to make sure I am really dead."

I think the key to leaving a positive legacy is "integrity", like you said in your original posting. Integrity is another neutral word, like legacy, that can be both positive or negative. It can mean: "consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcome". Given this definition, Al Capone and Hitler possessed integrity. Be careful of quoting this definition out loud in front of your kids. It was quoted back to me recently by my teenage daughter when I was arguing against a body piercing. What parent wants Al Capone and Hitler to win out in the the "integrity" department?

The definition of integrity that I want to live by involves the following things: "1) discerning what is right and wrong; (2) acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost; and (3) saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right from wrong."--Stephen Carter. Okay, I also need to add a number four to distinguish my integrity from Al Capone and Hitler's. For me: #4) integrity involves integrating moral character into our actions and behavior.

So, maybe history does repeat itself. But like the definitions of legacy and integrity, history repeating itself can take on two meanings. We can effect which kind of history repeats itself, at least in our personal lives. We can ask our friends for a sober assessment of ourselves along the way and choose to live integrated lives where our actions/behavior exhibit moral integrity. Some positive legacies that have inspired me: Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, Angela Smith (my aunt), name a few.

motorcityguvnor said...

“Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.”
Billy Graham.

Rest assured Rose that you will leave a legacy with more love and grace and peace attached to it than either of those two guys! - and the majority of folks i have ever met.

From a historical perspective the sanctions 'et al' put in place by most of europe towards Germany at the end of world war one, actually helped create some of Hitler's mein kampf mindsets and so in effect one could argue that world war two started the day world war one ended.

Cause and effect; alcoholic fathers and mothers; some folks master their environment and parenting more than others; some folks find freedom in the boundaries handed down to them by way of legacy and some folks are bound by the 'freedom' they were handed down by their parents:

the same situations can bring about any number of responses from any number of individuals; as we are all unique; even tho' we all breathe the same air and all have needs and wants: life throws us a curve once in a while: and of we learn slow; it'll throw the same one again and again:

i suspect that we could all tell tales of tragedy and farce; now if we can only add learning to those stories: we may move beyond some of the least helpful MO's that we deal with everyday.

And be more of a help than a hinderance to those we cross on our daily journey:

you never know who you're gonna meet

you never know who is gonna drop the golden nugget that you needed to hear that day;

but what if you're not looking or listening for it?

or only looking in the places that you have - as it eventually turns out - incorrectly judged that the real bona fide insight will come from?

what if it's a transvestite english comic; eddie izzard; who has some ideas about the nature and characteristic traits of God that may well be closer to God's MO than those bought to bear and to bore many a congregation week in and week out?

i'm just asking; is the idea any less valid because the guy is wearing fabulous make up and in a dress?

never judge a book by it's cover; i get judged all the time for looking the way i do: some people know me, some people really know me; and some folks think they know me, but they've only ever really given me scant regard; because my face don't fit;

those are the folks down the years whose actions towards me speak louder than their words and prove beyond all reasonable doubt that they dont have the first clue who i am.

The I AM knows who i am.

You can't top that

peace to all

rabbsn said...

You never do know who has the “golden nugget” of truth that you need to hear on any particular day. From Eddie Izzard during his stand-up comedy routine to Balaam’s donkey. I guess our hope is that we have the eyes and ears to recognize the golden nugget and not dismiss it because of the packaging.

As a regular gal, I can sharpen my nugget-discerning skills simply by interacting with the people I meet, befriend on a daily basis. It’s a natural exchange.

As a church going christian, however, I have found discernment more difficult. In his book, Pagan Christianity, Frank Viola talks about the gatherings of the early church recorded in the book of Acts. In Acts, we read that “the ministry of God’s Word came from the entire church in their regular gatherings…(and) included teaching, exhortation, prophecy, singing, and admonishment. This every-member functioning was also conversational and marked by interruptions. Equally so, the exhortations of the local elders were normally impromptu”. Viola continues to say that our present day church gatherings support a passive congregation that listens to one sermon-giver who delivers God’s word, week by week. Not that we don’t hear a “golden nugget” occasionally from this one designated speaker. But due to our passive participation, we have lost our “every-member” participation concept and have dulled our spiritual senses in discerning the “golden nugget of God’s truth” from each other.

Heidi said...

"but what if you're not looking or listening for it? or only looking in the places that you have - as it eventually turns out - incorrectly judged that the real bona fide insight will come from?"

This has been a big theme for me over the past few months.

Listening to people's stories holds far more importance to me now than it ever used to. You grow up in the church and think that wisdom and insight comes from certain individuals, and not others. What a load of bollocks.

I love to hear what other people are experiencing/have experienced. More often than not, something resonates with me. Dialogue is where it's at for me these days - monologue just doesn't cut it anymore.

motorcityguvnor said...

thanks for posting! hope all is well

i am with you on this: it should be dialog: it really needs to be dialog - you don't learn when you're the only one talking?

and how folks love the sound of their own voice!

i just wanted to amen what you added to the overall thought process and agreeing with the idea of wisdom etc only coming from certain individuals is a load of bollocks

nice to get a little australian / english flavor into the dialog - thanks for that

it's easy to get into a stupor - it's easy to let other folks think for you - and then just dress it up as your own thought process - well i believe in life long learning - so i do my best to question everyone and everything - not in some interrogation type manner - but more in a 'unpack this thought process for me would you?' type of way - try to get inside their head - see if anything is really there - beyond marbles and tumbleweeds

the nonsense you hear folks say cos they just heard it on the TV - or gave themselves their early ritual early morning coffee and lobotomy before leaving the house

I was down in ann arbor with my daughter just the other day and a guy was panhandling some old reactionary nonsense and calling Obama a Nazi - now there are many words that don't belong in the same sentence: military intelligence has always seemed to top the list - but that phrase from this guy resonated with me for the rest of the day - and not in a positive manner - how does one conjure up such insane nonsensical thought processes? the one he was pedaling thru the bullhorn has gotta rank number one right about now - for stupidity, ignorance, with a plain apathy and stupor of thought process thrown in for good measure

besides - he hasn't even invaded poland yet

there's so much learning to be done - and as the tee shirt goes - so little time to do it in

motorcityguvnor said...

shameless plug that has nothing to do with the above conversation - beyond the fact that I am involved:)

Dear ALL,

As some of you know, my good friend Mike Brooks has a powerful blues band named BLUESHOUSE 313. They performed at The Ark a year and a half ago as a benefit to the homeless community of Ann Arbor. It was an awesome show and the house was packed. Another good friend of mine, Katsumi Nagae, and I filmed the event.

Multitasking along side many other creative projects, it took this long to finish editing the entire production, and it's now up for cable TV broadcast. Please tell everyone you know, check the times below, find one or two that fit your schedule, and turn it up to 11.

BLUESHOUSE 313 "Live" at The Ark is scheduled to premiere on your
Wednesday 8/19/09 at 9:05pm

Additional airtimes include:
Thursday 8/20 at 11:00pm
Friday 8/21 at 1:00pm
Tuesday 8/25 at 11:00pm
Saturday 8/29 at 7:00pm

If you would like to watch this program during additional time slots in the future, please call Community Television Network at 734.794.6150, ext.0. They'd love to hear from you.
That's their job.

To learn more about Mike Brooks and his incredible blues band, check out their MySpace link: