Friday, February 23, 2007

Jesus Chrysler, part I

© 2007, Troy K Spears

the third explanation,
the law of the excluded middle,
or if you prefer,
neither and both –
the included midsection,
the tortured torso of venus,
the lost cannibal children
of tortilla flat.

i descended from the greek theater,
staggering behind the berkeley hills
after a night of coma,
sleeping with raccoon, skunk, deer, and kitfox...
waking in vomit and vodka
and little yellow flowers no bigger
than the pupil of the eye of my amphetamine.

i awoke with a counterargument
to my sad russian and german authors,
the brainchild of twirly girls and squirrelly worlds,
a new song that seized in my throat,
which i soon forgot
because all i could see was
the bloody sun crawling
after the beaten day.

what was that song that i almost heard?
dipping, diving, dreaming,
daffy magic of the foregone conclusions.
falling trippingly off the tongue,
all my erudition,
criticized at birth.

comes now my beloved,
beloved shulamite,
the mad light behind her eyes,
her passel of misbehaving children,
filing out of the laundromat,
eyes downcast,
past the watchtower witnesses
who are now awake.

i turned to examine the death
of my youthful friend,
untutored adonis whose liver failed
from too much leaving the path,
too much motherlode
riding along with the white horse,
dripping into the neediness of lonely wives,
the boredom of troubled schoolgirls.

no, you did not dip the needle
in the bleach that would have saved you
before you dragged it along your arms,
deep and deeper into your veins.

no, i did not think before i lunged
into broken philosophers
who drew nearer to me than my breath,
dragging me into the waves.
and i could not summon the faith
nor madness
that would have forgiven you.

now your body is lowered
into the sluttish earth,
and my eyes are lifted
as the horizon falls beneath the sun.
the day turns into the devil's anvil,
my heart is crushed
and laid out upon the stone,
my tears baked into the evening's bread
and i weep for humanity's feeblemindedness
and our contempt.

come no nearer, my beloved,
and speak no more...
let me gaze at you
and your brats
in silence.

Compassion and kindness are too rare...

to waste on imaginary beings.

- Friedrich Nietzsche, sort of.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Pedal to the metal, balls to the wall, flat out...


Honesty with oneself is so refreshing.

I don't believe that any cosmic principle or deity
is going to make everything alright or even just.
I believe I have to kick the evildoers' asses
or the bastards will get away with it.
No karma, no dogma.
Only us.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Thinking Your Way Out Of Thinking

One of AA's slogans is Think think think. Some people in the rooms find this slogan disturbing because they see thought as a hindrance to getting clean. These folks expect that if a problem user is allowed to think, then the problem user will use ratiocinationhairsplitting and argumentto evade the responsibility to try something new. I disagree with them. I believe "My best thinking got me here."
  1. I realized that I had a problem.
  2. I realized that I didn't know how to solve it.
  3. I asked for help.
  4. I learned about my patterns and triggers by writing about them.
  5. I talked honestly about my past with someone who had already achieved some sort of solution to problems similar to my own.
  6. I became willing to change my behavior.
  7. I let myself off the hook for the past and accepted responsibility for the future.
  8. I examined my past for people I had wronged, for which I still felt shame and guilt.
  9. I thanked people I forgot to thank. I acknowledged my poor behavior to those who suffered the brunt of it.
  10. I continued to watch myself and compare myself with my ideals.
  11. I practiced meditation and humble speech about my longings and fears.
  12. I listened to others and shared my story.
All of this involves thought. And thinking clearly, humbly, and lovingly will do the most good - for ourselves and those we would help.

"The greatest deeds are still thoughts. Around the thinker, the world revolves, but it revolves silently." Friedrich Nietzsche, sort of.

The problem is not thinking per se, but our irrational, superstitious, magical, and egomaniacal attachment to our own inner dialogue. I used to think (read: "drink") all night long, reading and writing with a fervor generated by a survival instinct gone awry. I honestly believed that I was uniquely situated to help the world resolve what I perceived as a general crisis of faith. I drove myself mad.

When I came to the rooms, I still believed in my unique ability to save myself and the world... but there was a chink in my armor... I was willing to listen, even though I discounted most of what I heard. I slowly began to realize that I was too close to my own problems. My fear and my pride kept me from having a realistic assessment of my situation and my abilities. I realized that uninterested but compassionate advice was necessary if I was to get better.

I also realized that my attachment to my own inner voice was irrational. I was addicted to my own thinking. But the thought-addiction was beyond my thinking. I had to think my way out of thinking by first realizing the limitations of what thinking could and could not do. This is what the Vedic gurus referred to as jñana yoga. (See endnote below.) Like the Zen masters, paradoxes and nonsensical stories were contemplated until the mind let go of its language-addiction. I had to surrender to win, give to keep, and die to live.

Now, I am playful with my thoughts. I can wrestle with a problem for the evening and still go to sleep, even if I haven't figured out a satisfying solution. I still believe in the wonderful benefit of scientific and methodical thought, but I don't need thought to solve the world or its problems. I think because it's helpful and a pleasure.

Psalm 131:
  1. LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
  2. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul [is] even as a weaned child.
ENDNOTE: The path of reuniting with Deity was referred to in Sanskrit as yoga, which is cognate with English yoke, the device that hooks oxen to each other and to the cart that they pull. There were four ways delineated for going about this reunification: raja yoga, the yoga we are most familiar with, involving meditation and posture; karma yoga, the yoga that comes from ritual and repetition of cycles of actions; bhakti yoga, the yoga that involves fervent devotion to an image of deity such as Krishna, or in the West, Jesus Christ; and jñana yoga, which involves fervent study of theological and philosophical problems until the mind frees itself from them. Jñana comes from the same original Indo-European word as does our English knowledge and the Greek gnosis.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I've been reading Bart D Ehrman's book Misquoting Jesus which deals with the provenance and pedigree of scripture. It recalls many of my adolescent misgivings as I studied New Testament Greek, the discrepancies of the oldest codexes, and the birth of Christian orthodoxy. When the misgivings reached critical mass, I landed in the lap of another Christian-adolescent- philologist-turned-atheist, Friedrich Nietzsche. Fritz took me through the dark exploration of a world without an external conscience and without authority. Fritz demanded that I own my own authority.

For many years, I was fiercely opposed to anyone turning to a book or expert to help them decide questions that must be decided alone, i.e., questions of value. I still am scornful when people turn to bibles and dictionaries to resolve personal questions. I have no use for Bible or Big Book except to disagree with them. If I agree with a point made in these books, what is gained by citing to the dead text instead of voicing my own living words. But what is gained by disagreeing with them? I believe I help to slow the mad dissent of my lazy minded contemporaries who are always shirking their responsibilities to live their own lives and voice their own thoughts and who are always in danger of becoming a stupid and bloodthirsty mob.

The bottom line is that authority always begins originally with each person. Certainly, authority is the distilled opinions of a child's elders; but this point becomes absurd and infantile once the child reaches maturity. The adult child gropes for elders and heroes that aren't there... and the adult child is forced to imagine an older hero that looks lovingly and/or disapprovingly from outer space. The authority is ours. Mother Eve bit of the fruit, making gods of each of her children, knowing for ourselves what is good and what is evil. We hand over this authority provisionally to gurus and texts, but in the end, the choices are always ours.

"If" is the middle word in "life"

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Waiting to blog

I haven't wanted to blog lately because I've wanted my informal blog to have the structure of a published work. I make things too hard on myself for no reason. A blog should be free and obey the mood of the day. Maybe later, I can put my thoughts into some magnum opus... but not today... just not for today.

My head has been swimming with ideas about the true and rightful place of thinking in taming the addicted reptilian brain. I've been wanting to figure out how to get AA to throw open its doors to other addicts, offering them full membership. I've been thinking about the neural location of the Higher Power in the brain's right hemisphere and the physiology of communication, evangelism, and prayer. I've been thinking about issues outside of AA's purview, and what the goddammed Washingtonians have to do with anything. Was Bill Wilson really doing history or sociology? Or was his political conservatism (perhaps even cowardice) grasping for a reason to keep AA from having an opinion on segregation, women's rights, and governmental invasion into our most private actsincluding the act of what substances we decide to take into our own bodies.

Perhaps you can tell that I'm feeling restless and a bit hamstrung within the current ambience of my local AA groups, but like the blog, I'm putting rules on myself that I don't have to follow. I'm going to continue doing whatever I need to do to stay clean. I will continue to give the best advice that my right brain (a.k.a., Higher Power) has to offer. I will not let myself be silenced. I will protect newcomers from oldtiming bullies. And I will not expect AA or the people in AA to be perfectly in sync with my vagary moods and opinions.

As long as I can be of some help to somebody who doesn't know how to manage without chemicalsas long as I can listen and share my storyI believe I can continue to stay clean and improve my life year by year. When I stop being useful, I can always change. And when AA ceases being helpful, then AA will cease, or hopefully, become ready to begin again.

As Dr Bob noted about the eventual disintegration or transformation of AA, this thing will continue...

For as long as God needs us.