The Watcher behind your Forehead
July, Anno Domini 1998
Juvine, 13 Par Christic
It's been a really long time, I originally meant to do one of these every month, but that quickly proved to be impossible. Maybe now that it's summer... Anyway, it's now been the summer for a few weeks and I've been relaxing, enjoying life and working to improve my life. It's been nice and shows no sign of stopping, at least not for a few more months. This is the time to enjoy life. If you've got a job, take a few weeks off and go camping. In modern society, we're so used to the conveniences of civilized life that we are afraid to leave them. Try taking a tent and a sleeping bag and go live in a campground for a while. Fishing is another good way to escape modern life. It's not about catching the fish, but rather, it's about communing with the world and meditating. In the summer there are lots of ways to escape the modern world. Don't let the time go by without enjoying it.
I wrote most of the content for this and the next issue while I was in Florida, but I wrote them on a notebook with a mechanical pencil, so I was unfortunately not able to copy them as easily as last time to the web. It's a long and hard process to type things in by hand while copying them off paper.
Any church that I would want to consider myself a member of would have to have at least one lesbian priest in it's clergy. Why can't women be priests? Why can't homosexuals be priests? While some religions do allow both groups to join the ranks of the ministers, and my hat is off to them, not near enough faiths are open minded enough.
By the year 2000, one out of three people will be over the age of sixty. That is a very frightening thought, and it'll only get worse as time goes on. The only way it could get better is if some plague struck us, killing most people over forty, and even then we'll have to worry about the problem again when the generation that was turning 39 when the plague struck gets a little older. The situation itself is really the fault of better health, fitness and medicine. Not enough people from the generation born before around 1940 were killed, despite WW1, WW2, and all the various smaller wars and police actions since then. You'd think the two great wars would have weeded enough of them out, but no. And those that survived the two wars came back and had seven kids each.
People over sixty will soon be one of the more dominant demographic blocks. New markets will spring up solely to cater to old people. Movies and commercial products will be advertised to them. Shows like "Matlock" with elderly actors and actresses will become more prominent. I fear what we as a society will become.
I encourage all who would listen to me to stop being so respectful to old people. Sure, they've lived a long time and they have some wisdom and they need more care and help, but it's not longer impressive to be 65 years old. I still intend to be extra tolerant and helpful to people over 85 (to pick an arbitrary age), but people over 60 will no longer be so rare. If someone continues to act like they're still young, treat them like they're still young.
The year 2000 is approaching. Everyone has their own things to say about what's going to happen. I think it's absolutely irrational for people to think the worlds going to end, but there are some pretty uninformed people out there. When the year 1000 came around, back in those horrible and unenlightened days, there was an excusable case of what I've heard referred to as "Millenium fever". It's not a phenomon that's been studied much, seeing as everyone alive to witness the previous ones has been dead for at least 950 years. As 1000 approached, more and more people gave all their possesions to the church and devoted what they thought they had left of their lives to what they thought of as good deeds. The church as a whole never really claimed the world was going to end, but they didn't reassure people either.
Why do people think that the world is likely to end on a big, round numbered year? Why is 2000 better than 1998? The christian calendar that we use today says that it's 1998 AD meaning "In the year of our lord, 1998", or 1998 years after the birth of Christ. But that calendars been adjusted several times. It's been estimated that most likely Christ was actually born in the year 14 BC by our current calendar. So the year 2000 isn't even 2000 years after the birth of Christ. Another thing that everyone loves to point out is that the millenium doesn't start until Jan 1, 2001.
I think that people will only discover this fact after they've spent most of 1999 partying and decided that they might as well spend the rest of 2000 partying as well. On the other hand, maybe people will be rational and not choose to do anything out of the ordinary and treat the changing of the millenia like any other date. Yeah, right, that'll happen. People will take any excuse to live their lives like there's no tomorrow.
A true stoic is a very admirable person. Stoics live more harmoniously with their world than the rest of us. The original greek stoics lived with only a blanket to wrap around them and sleep in. They never knew where their next meal was coming from, and often didn't care. The spartans were much the same way, thus the modern meaning of the word spartan to refer to frugal accomodations or fare.
Don't ask for things from society. Accept what it gives you, but don't make the world go out of it's way to please you. Hunger is good for you. If you're trying to lose weight, the answer is simple: Don't eat. When in someone's house and they offer you food or drink, just say "I'm fine." Don't be rude, but don't make them go out of their way to please you.
Try to eliminate your needs and to consume less. A stoic will never get fat, will always be able to get up early in the morning, will not inconvenience those around him and will leave the world a better place than he found it. There are certain needs that cannot be eliminated, however and it's very foolish to presume that you can live without taking anything from the world, but make your demands modest. Not only are soft drinks a luxury, but they're bad for you. Water is not only better for you, but easier to find, less costly to produce and completely ecologically friendly. Many people live on only rice, and while I'm not advocating that kind of diet, it's impressive and admirable. I recomend and healthy balance of chicken, noodles and vitamin pills.
Never complain. If you can fix a problem yourself without inconveniencing others, do so. But complaining is is a way of saying that you are too weak to solve your own problems. This is not to say that you should allow yourself to be hurt needlessly. If your arm is gushing blood and there's a doctor next to you, it's a good idea to seek his medical talents, but if there isn't a doctor present, it does no good to complain to people who can't help you.
A corollary to Stoicism is Altruism. Altruism is the self-less desire to help others. While you should not ask for aid from other's unless absolutely necessary, you should offer to aid others whenever you can. When it costs you nothing to help someone, why not do so? If having a particular chair would make someone else happy, but you don't care where you sit, let them have the seat they desire. This may seem very simple and intuitive, but alot of people today are needlessly selfish and would not help someone else at no cost to themselves.
Altuism is part of what a society needs to function. People are inherently selfish and mean, and there needs to be some force to help those who need assistance. While I don't believe in welfare or other state sponsored aid programs, I do believe in private charity. I give people whatever spare change they have when they ask me, but I don't think any less of my friends if they don't. It should be wholly voluntary, not imposed upon everyone by the state.
I believe that a lack of altruism is what prevents society from working. Sacrificing oneself for the common good, even if nobody ever knows of what you did, is a very noble thing to do and should be practiced more often.
I recieve mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to tell me I'm a crack whore and that I'm full of shit?
or want me to publish something you've written?
I'll publish almost anything, especially things
that have been rejected by other places. If you have a good short
story or just want to share
your opinion on something, send it to me with a short explanation and I'll probably include it in the next issue.