Παρασκευή, 23 Αυγούστου 2013

"How do you feel, Captain...?"

It is one of those quiet moments in science fiction I like the best. Captain Kirk of the Enterprise is grim and he is asked how he feels. "Old. I feel old" replies the captain with a typical (and, yes, beloved) William Shatner deliverance. You see, the actors of the series were all in their fourties or more by the beginning of the 80's and that had to be reflected in the movies. But it was an honest moment nonetheless. One the youthful Captain Kirk of the '60s would never have experienced.

 I, too, used to feel like the young captain. Till a few years ago the concept of time was very abstract. I knew it existed and I lived within it but I never felt it. Then of course it all changed in a flash (a -ah, King of the impossible...er, sorry). I hate it when I repeat patterns but sure enough there it was. I hit 30 and suddenly everything changed. I became a walking cliche. All the usual "who am I?", "what am I gonna do with my life?", "why is Lady Gaga having a career?" questions knocked on my door and the fool I, open the door wide open. It was like having a period...
 Then you notice it. The first glimpses of change in your body. My metabolism changed, I took on weight, my skin changed - on the bright side though I didn't get an actual period. But I was starting to sound like Ted from "How I met Your Mother" which is the next worst thing. So, I took my chances more or less. I tried to bring on change but I only ended up with the illusion of change (much like Ted's life for the first 8 seasons...ugh, ugly!). Still, what actualy changes after 30 is that you essentialy start to see an end to the erstwhile infinite horizon. The end of the "5-year journey of the Starship Enterprise". And it's scary...
  The pressure is on. You feel the urge to cram in as much as possible before you finaly kick the bucket. But is it a real sensation or another social convention? Α bit of both actually. Everything has its time and place and many things in life can pass you by or vice versa. "There's a time to live and a time to die". But on the other hand society puts on pressure that otherwise shouldn't be there in the first place. We all have our own wants and needs, our own happy triggers, even our own fears and trepidations. We live life like Frankie - our way.
  On the other side I never subscribed to the idea that life is a journey and not a destination. What moron likes to waste about in the open sea? You have to get to the port sometime. There is a meaning and although we may find it way before the end it is only there that it is validated. Did I live a good life? Ask me after I'm gone. Much like Solon, the wise man, do not call a man fortunate before his end. It is not uncommon in the course of this journey to feel lost, no port in sight. In that case, just take a look back and enjoy the blue of the sea. And if a storm is raging round you, stay right were you are. Don't try so hard, darling.
  So, I'm still kinda lost but I enjoy the view. I'm just happy to be onboard. Though instead of a ship I prefer a spaceship. At the end of the movie, even after Kirk has lost his best friend and is at a loss himself, he is asked the same question. ''How do you feel, captain?"...."Young", replies Kirk "I feel young". And rightly so. The Enterprise had a lot more journeys ahead after all. Engage....

Σάββατο, 10 Αυγούστου 2013

About Judgement

"In the same way you judge, you shall be judged"

  People often ask "how will God judge us?". The notion is that there is a Cosmic Rulebook by which we will pass or fail the ultimate exams. Moreover, the Proffessor is like the one presented in Pink Floyd's "The Wall", a malevolent creature bent on humiliating his subjects and wallowing in their failure. God is, for most people, the ultimate expression of Authority in its strictly political sense.
  There are many factors that contribute to that notion. Historical factors, like the actual political power of the church over the centuries. The attempt to break away from that political structure led to morality as the new foundation of the protestant church. But morality is a loose concept whereas God is Eternal. By trying to create something new, we went back to the old, the Law of the Old Testament packaged with a different name. Thus, most christians became puritans, far removed from the Love of God. What Paul struggled to tear down, we built back up. It's no surprise either. We feel safer with a strict God although that sounds like an oxymoron.. A strict God we understand. But a God that is Love and Forgiveness is completly alien to us.
  It is within our human nature to be subservient but in truth Christ never demands that of us. We fail to understand the spirit of freedom to which we are called because it is in fact known in the Spirit, by experience rather than study. "Gotta serve somebody" wrote Bob Dylan as an ode to God but the truth is that although we call Him a Lord and Master it is not uncommon in the orthodox tradition to find such characterizations as ''my Life", "my sweet Lord", "my Love" - not quiet the words used to describe a figure of authority. It is said that there is no Judgement for those who love God and how could there be? Judgement is synonymous with fear and "perfect love casts away fear".
  No one seems to attain perfect love though. In the words of St. Silouanos of Athos "if there is within us even a shadow of dislike for someone, our salvation is not certain". Though that Holy and Great man had none, it is safe to assume that there is plenty of dislike within us for many people. Myself, I confess to hatred for some. Hatred breeds guilt and guilt breeds fear. Even the souls with the lowest modicum of consience feel the absence of love from their souls.People who are capable of love even more. And people who have known the Love of God and have lost it truly suffer for it. It is possible - even for the third category -  to project our fear and our despair to the Creator and resent Him and His Judgement. It is only natural, for if fear is born out of a sense of upcoming loss, what terrible fear should the loss of our soul (in essence our very identity) bring? But that is not the actual  judgement; God does not return our resentment. You could say it's just one more wound in His Body and we all know how he responded to that. He willingly gave His Body to BE wounded.
  Wheras the sense of our  fear is acceptable and can be transformed for good, there is something that is definately not. Taking God's place or, in other words, passing judgement ourselves. Like we said above, we understand a strict God but furthermore that notion allows us to be strict ourselves. Never ones to sacrifice ourselves we instead condemn every person who doesn't hold our high standards. Christians often justify this behavior referring back to Paul. But Paul was only strict with members of the newly formed - and thus very sensitive and immature - christian community and not with those outside. Even so his strictness was balanced by his tenderness to the fallen, his forgiveness and his wisdom. In the fist Corinthians he asks with harsh words that the man who bedded his stepmother be removed from their church but in the second letter he asks the Corinthians to treat him with love and accept him back so that he is not broken. We are mistaken in considering our church more mature but it is not a matter of passage of time. After 2,000 years we are mostly still infants drinking milk, not yet capable of solid food.
  "I judge no one. The Word I have spoken shall be the judge of you". Ultimately, the Word of God is not a seperate entity from the Son of God but they are one and the same. And He is not just the truth, He is the very concept of reality. To deny Him is then nothing less than to deny reality. How would that even be possible? It isn't of course. Reality, as someone said, is the thing that keeps existing even after we stop believing in it.It simply "is".The words of Revelation at the burning bush are simply "I Am". Modern age though is all about the subjectivity of truth and even Good or Bad. That would require of man to be a Creator. It even doesn't take into consideration the one universal objective truth: Death. Still, we justify everything with the term "subjective" which in turn leads to another extreme....
  The absolute absence of judgement! We said that this is what we strive to, so why is it a bad thing? Firstly, because we should avoid judging others but never judging ourselves. Secodly, the absence of judgement should be based on compassion, love and forgiveness. What is the norm today is a total lack of a notion of good and evil. If you want to do it and if you can do it, then do it.The "anything goes" mentality. I'm not implying of course that people are evil. Just that the road we take is an extremly dangerous, like getting ourselves used to little doses of poison every day and finally our system is full of it. But the distinction between a moral man and a christian is a discussion for another day...
  The end of the movie "Stalker" finds the protagonist pondering to himself about human nature. "That which is hard breaks easily. Only tender things can bend and adjust and thus survive". A gentle soul seems fragile but it's the hardend, rigid souls that break easily. We have been given the ultimate way to test ouresves - and never others - before the eyes of God. The love we have for our enemies. No moral code, no subjectivity, no philosophy is greater than that. Pray for me, the least, so I can love my enemies too.

Παρασκευή, 9 Αυγούστου 2013

Happy Times

"Sometimes I get to feeling, I was back in the old days, long ago..."
  This line is, of course, from Queen's tearjerker "These Are The Days of Our Lives" (Thank you Roger, piss off Roger). For reasons unknown, whenever I pass outside an old friend's house at my mother's home town this song plays in my mind by default. You see, my friend is no longer with us, he passed away more than 15 years ago. The song is about the passage of time but on the other hand I don't remeber ever listening to it together with my friend. It's just that the feeling it conveys is in sync with what I feel. Ever since I was a child, time has been racing me and I keep running, and I feel its breath on my neck and I keep running. When I finally look back,  I see "happy times". Always ''happy times".
   I loved my friend. We weren't close, I only saw him on holidays and especially the long summer ones but there is still not one day that I won't think of him. I guess those summer friends are always precious. But the truth of the matter is we didn't always have fun . He used to pick on me so much that by the end I'd decided I'd had enough and backed away. But still those times are "happy". Wether they actually are or because I choose to remember them so.
  Likewise, I catch myself wishing I could turn back the clock. But I know there never were happy times. Only happy moments. I remember coming back from a Robert Plant concert, literally flying with his autograph in my hands. It's a moment that still remains so vivid I can almost touch it. But the reality of my life back then was rather bleak and quite indifferent to my happiness. Would I really want to visit my life back then? No. No way. But I still long to come back home flying.
  For all the times my friend picked on me I can only remember but a few. On the contrary, I still remeber playing Trivial at his front yard with his mother and sister and in my mind I'm still answering "what was the name of Cousteau's ship" in a loop, we read the fist Punisher mini-series in the black and white edition from Cobra Press, we watch Fantastic Four cartoons, go for long walks, ride our bikes, play at the arcades for hours, watch Fred Savage movies and so forth and so forth. Good times is all I really remember...
  Were they wonder years if I know he'd die shortly after? Do I have the right to call them that? I don't really know. But in the end I can't turn back the tide (ain't that a shame?) and I don't have to. All I have to do is remember the past.and suddenly it's alive. In these dark days we're living, I'm making happy moments to save for the future. And wherever I may be then, I'll turn them into happy times...!



Hello! That's my very own blog. I thought I should have one and why not? Well, the real question is "why yes?". Why should you bother to read it? You shouldn't. So if you're looking for somewhere to blow off some steam from that time you were beat at school, turn elsewhere and have a nice day, thank you.
 Why did I bother to write it though? I just love a blank paper (or screen). I feel the urge to fill it.With myself. Writing is an extremly egotistical habbit. You never write for others, you write for yourself. " Myself" is a normal fellow with normal tastes and a normal life. The only extreme about me is my mood swings. Then again, I was never considered normal so either me or society have got that word wrong.
 What's this blog about then? About stuff from ends so extreme as those mood swings. Religion and politics, pet peeves and things I adore, real stories, fictional stories (sometimes they are more "real"), movies and comics (yessir), music and Iron Maiden (a lot. You are warned). It might get messy in here...
I apologise to those who came here for cricket, the sport. Sports is something you most likely won't find here at all, let alone cricket which is virtually non-existent in Greece. Rather, the name is about the cricket from Pinocchio, the personification of the boy's conscience and conscience is responsible for the great and sometimes the terrible things we do.
 So, until next time, live long and prosper, up the Irons and God bless. Hey, I told you it might get messy...