Sunday, January 25, 2015

Waiting Patiently, Ignoring Death's Whisper

He hears a faint whisper blowing through the trees, a beckon, an enticement, a sexy urge to end things. But the brave man, in his worn leather wide-brimmed sun shield and faded baggy brown corduroys, whistles quietly back at Mr. Grim's request, drowning him out for a while, buying enough time to notice a few more geese flocks buzz by, to witness a few more refractions of light bounce off of the pond's surface and shatter into fractals in his mind's wondering, wandering eye.

He smiles to himself, then audibly chuckles, since he knows the cosmic punch-line, the amnesiatic fate that waits for us all, as does the Reaper from beyond the yawning grave. But unlike his old pals consumed by the psychosis inducing drugs of society -- consumerism, materialism and the like -- this old dog sees through the tricks. That sleazy bastard, Death, wants us to die early for a reason, because he gets something from it, a payout, something that could be had on our end if only for a little patient waiting, a little work to live better.

Down go the slacks and off he pulls his worn sweatshirt over and past his weathered cheeks and silvered hair. His wiry muscles stay tuned despite the calendar. His iconic gaze, that of a true star, one of simplistic means and iron will, remains gripped in living.

Living well, if only to spite the old trickster, is enough for him. He likes the shape of that a la mode. He clears his mind of doubt and fear, and he dives deep into the frigid April water, through its glassy surface and over to the other side.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Fear of Success and Death

Both big fears, those of success and death, are cut from the same rug. They are individual fears, yes, but where they really hurt us is when they manifest themselves in the species as a whole.

We can point our index fingers at politics, economics, or religion as the main culprits, but they are just masks for the masked man Fear. With a sand grain of compromise we could hold hands across the earth, take care of Her (along with our brothers and sisters under the sun).

Religion is fear. Sam Harris says that all we need to behave badly is such. The funny part is that some of us think that we aren't religious because we're not worshipping a 2,000+ year old Abrahamic theology, yet there are 100 year old theologies like Capitalism, Liberalism, Conservatism, and Classism, that reign just as ugly. There is also another religion, one as old as the age of man, called Denial. We fear and deny ourselves a near-utopic future because we cling to our impermanence with ugly claws relentless selfishness.

So back to success and death, I argue that our fears of these imaginary monsters are just cheap shades put up to deflect the rays of reality, impermanence, and doubt.

Be a hero and live a life without fear. Live outside of our constructed window shades that block out the truth and prevent us from taking the next step in our species' evolution. It is a collective effort that will take all of us.


There are a few ways you can be a hero and support AJ. Free things are: try Audible or AmazonPrime for 30 days, link us to a social network like TwitterFacebook or Reddit, or download and rate the podcast in iTunesIf you have a little spare money you can send a Paypal donation to ajsnookauthor@gmail.com, buy one of AJ's Kindle eBooks, or buy anything on Amazon by going through the Amazon links on the site. Thanks so much for your support, AJ

Friday, January 2, 2015

Ray Bradbury: The Muse Is That Most Terrified Of All The Virgins

Bradbury the master. One reads his work and knows that he's a romantic. Take "The Rocket Man". Family struggles. A father's dreams of returning to space whist home and coming back home whilst waltzing with the stars. Classic tropes without age. Aged, crafted curves in the lives of man that won't relinquish themselves save an event so profound even the master himself hadn't thought it up.

As someone who takes creativity seriously as both a topic of hobby and a topic professionally (I'm a junior high school teacher), the topic of the muse has always been one of my favorites. The ethereal servant to passion and hard work. Though powerful, her powers depend on our actions. A symbiotic beauty from another land. Someone Mr. Bradbury knew so very well:
The Muse, then, is that most terrified of all the virgins. She starts if she hears a sound, pales if you ask her questions, spins and vanishes if you disturb her dress. What ails her? you ask. Why does she flinch at the stare? Where does she come from and where go? How can we get her to visit for longer periods of time? What temperature pleasures her? Does she like loud voices, or soft? Where do you buy food for her, and of what quality and quantity, and what hours for dining? 
We might start off by paraphrasing Oscar Wilde's poem, substituting the word "Art" for "Love." Art will fly if held too lightly, Lightly, tightly, how do I know Whether I'm holding or letting Art go?  
For "Art" substitute, if you wish, "Creativity" or "The Subconscious" or "Heat" or whatever your own world is for what happens when you spin like a firewheel and a story "happens."

There are a few ways you can be a hero and support AJ. Free things are: try Audible or AmazonPrime for 30 days, link us to a social network like TwitterFacebook or Reddit, or download and rate the podcast in iTunesIf you have a little spare money you can send a Paypal donation to ajsnookauthor@gmail.com, buy one of AJ's Kindle eBooks, or buy anything on Amazon by going through the Amazon links on the site. Thanks so much for your support, AJ

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Psychedelic Without Drugs... Not An Oxymoron

Living in Japan has its plusses: an interesting, refined culture, mountains, seas, kind and generous people, safety, low unemployment, generous social services, and a physically healthy lifestyle. It has its minuses too: a rigid, maladaptive culture, overworking citizens, ethnocentrism, and harsh drug laws.

In a nation that encourages overindulgence of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, it is unwittingly draconian in its punishments of illicit drugs which include marijuana and non-addictive psychedelics such as psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA. Hemp, like in many places around the world, was widely used until post-war Japan. Magic Mushrooms were legal until just after the year 2000. They could be bought in vending machines. Currently, in a reaction to the strict laws, there is a surge in the popularity of designer, synthetic drugs known as "legal herb" in Japanese, or Spice in the U.S. Unregulated and unpredictable in effect, I now stay away from these loophole drugs.

Tobacco's been out for years now.

And alcohol feels more and more like a death curse as Father Time does his worst to me.

All of that said, I'm not particularly mad about the conditions of my life in Japan, but with a family and a career, I don't take my chances with illegal substances in Japan.

I still identify with the ethos of psychedelia, however. Transcendence, the soup of consciousness, lifting the veil, brushing away the mist, these metaphors grip me strongly. I see them as stepping stones across the river of man's evolution, though we keep slipping and getting our feet wet, forced to dry off and try again (often without proper reflection, making the same mistakes over and over and over again).

This gets me to my main point: the English language needs a term for this. We need a word to describe those of us who are psychedelic/transcendent, but who do not want the pharmacological or religious labels and connotations that come along with those aforementioned monikers.

If you have any good ideas, please let me know in the comments section.

There are a few ways you can be a hero and support AJ. Free things are: try Audible or AmazonPrime for 30 days, link us to a social network like TwitterFacebook or Reddit, or download and rate the podcast in iTunesIf you have a little spare money you can send a Paypal donation to ajsnookauthor@gmail.com, buy one of AJ's Kindle eBooks, or buy anything on Amazon by going through the Amazon links on the site. Thanks so much for your support, AJ

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gabor Mate in Seeing the Truth

The truth is that we are all in this thing together. We suffer, rejoice, trip and fall, and stand in awe as one. Not only are we responsible for our species, but we're responsible for life itself. This does not put us on a pedestal at the top of a hierarch. On the contrary, it demands of us humility. We have the know-how and the wherewithall to describe the energy of life through all the beautiful mediums of art -- prose, poetry, film, painting, animation, athletics, dance -- and science, but we also have the responsibility to preserve and extend life, to transport it to faraway planets, to record it accurately as historians, to remember how to cherish it like our ancestors did and all the living indigenous peoples do so well still.

Save the nihilism and live instead. Turn down the dial of depression. Run down the clock of scarcity. Laugh in the face of fear. Be full now. Be rich knowing that we are alive. Gabor Mate gets this. Most of us get this. Spread the word and don't forget to act.


There are a few ways you can be a hero and support AJ. Free things are: try Audible or AmazonPrime for 30 days, link us to a social network like TwitterFacebook or Reddit, or download and rate the podcast in iTunesIf you have a little spare money you can send a Paypal donation to ajsnookauthor@gmail.com, buy one of AJ's Kindle eBooks, or buy anything on Amazon by going through the Amazon links on the site. Thanks so much for your support, AJ
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