Monday, April 02, 2007

Cosmic Correspondence

Salut, Russ... Ray and I were having this conversation about friendship. Usually in a friendship, there is an iniator and a recipient. After many years of writing letters, I discovered that I was generally the iniator. I am convinced that most of my friendships(or romantic notions thereof) would shrivel up on the vine without effort on my part. I am pleased that you're an exception to that rule. Everyone else appreciates and comes to EXPECT a regular note from you(the "general you")...and when you STOP, they have the balls to ask if you died or something. Or you get "haven't heard from you in awhile." After awhile, you just realize that it's not really WORTH effort for all of the diminishing returns... So how do friendships flourish or begin? I've given out my "bizcard" to colleagues I meet while on the road...extending the hand of friendship if they should ever be in New Hampshire...Most often, nothing comes of it... And I have to admit, I don't like to socialize on my time off...I DO like to send e-mails or letters...but once I falter, there is nothing coming from the other side... Ah well...whine, bitch, moan... Anyway, with all of the A320 flying I've been doing, it seems that you'd need a cosmic act of intervention for our OWN paths to cross. You know, heaven FORBID two good friends run into each other...the universe might implode or something. And speaking of writing letters, how's THIS for a paradox...I have about twelve people in my mailing list that could be considered serious Christians. While I'm ambivalent about religion in general, I AM looking forward to looking for the appropriate Easter Cards for these folks. I may not take their religion seriously but I take their FAITH and their FRIENDSHIP seriously. Does this make me a hypocrite? And should I even I bother since most of these folks aren't regular with their correspondence anyway? But it feels right and natural to do this...so that's the criteria I'm going with... Anyway, thanks for being a good friend, Captain...GaP _________________________________________________________________________________ GaP, You raise some good points. Life is like an extended cruise on a ship; you meet great people, promise to "stay in touch," exchange e-mail addresses and such and then ... poof. Gone. One of your gifts is that you care enough to actually keep the connections of friendship repaired. You're a bridge tender. And people really appreciate it. I know they do because I do. Think about it. Unless there is an overriding reason to stay in touch, chance of sex, chance of inheritance, your friend is rich or whatever, friendships are generally acts of convenience. No, I do not think you are a hypocrite because you are looking forward to the promise of an Easter card or two from your Christian friends. You do respect their faith. If everyone had that attitude (and didn't think that the person's faith was dead wrong ... what was I reading the other day ... "we do not look for truth because there are millionsof different truths about any one thing") there wouldn't be any religious wars. Why can't we get excited about a shared celebration (not by us) of Ramadan, Chunukah, Easter or the Winter Solstice (oh, right ... that's Christmas!)? About friendship where you're actually with them, spending actual time in others' company: I don't know how to do that. Right now my fragmented life does not lend itself to that pleasant experience. It's like the boat, I want one but now I don't even have the time to go *look* at any much less * own* one! What would it be like to have an integrated, not compartmentalized, life? That is a rhetorical question, I think. Speaking of fragmentation, I now have to crank up the software and get my finances squared away. Last week I went to the Virginia Festival of the Book. I loved it! But today I have 95 e-mails, the finances are a week undone and I've a ton of other work to do. And here I sit in Columbus, Ohio. My turn to whine. Take good care, brother. Russ ____________________________________________________________________________ RussMan... Here I sit in Edmonton. Day Four. Wheeeee... Actually, I've been doing lead and having a good time with it. If someone's starts treatiung me like a lackey, I'm training myself to distance myself from it. But I WILL let some passive/aggressive soothe my ego. Nothing bombastic. Something like "forgetting" to return their coat, for example... I have a CLT layover in April, if you can believe it. Let me check on it and get back to you? Could we actually be hanging out for the THIRD time in the tenure of our friendship? WAOW. Thanks for the kind words, Russ...and fuck Religion. It's stupid. I think we're in a post-human historical simulation or something. It would explain a lot... Catch you later...GaP ___________________________________________________________________________________ GaP, I live in Charlottesville, not Charlotte. CHO vs. CLT. Unless you fly the Saab you won't be laying over in C'ville! :) Screw religion? How so? It's a major deal. We can't ignore it as a reality. Best, Russ _________________________________________________________________________________ No...but I can ignore its bullshit. Whenever some Bible-thumper goes on about their pick of subjects...homosexuality being immoral, the smugness of their dogmatic thinking(we are the CHOSEN ones...yeah, isn't EVERYONE?), and just the sheer absurdity of it all...I can just get up and walk out. Thomas Harris has written that religion has gotten a blank check since it doesn't have to back belief with critical thinking and skepticism...Basically, we have people believing in First Century Superstitions...Tiresome. All of it. I choose not to play anymore... Too bad about the non-layover...Speak soon...GaP _________________________________________________________________________________ Hi GaP, I understand your point. I'm much the same way. Over the years I've learned that the myths the religion are build upon are true (inasmuch as myths inform our soul). But always the followers get wrapped up in the dogma, then they get wrapped up in control and then we have the Inquisition and Jerry Falwell. Much can be learned by going to the original sources however. Who cares if Noah really built a big barge or if Jesus really went bodily to heaven (or was born of a virgin for that matter). What matters, it seems to me, is what these stories have to tell us about living a human life on earth. When I accept the stories as fiction I can see the messages. We do have a big problem when modern man takes a set of 2,000 year old myths and tries to hammer them into his modern life. What you're doing makes more sense; taking modern myths (in the form of super heroes) and seeing how they inform your life. Do you think Batman is real? Hell, no! Do the Invisibles roam the earth? Who cares? But the stories about them sure can teach us a lot! Getting into the modern myths is quite a wise move, my friend. Take good care, Russ _________________________________________________________________________________ Russ... Stories... I do believe you've nailed it. I always used to wonder just WHY the hell people(including myself) were enamored with stories regardless of the genre...super-heroes, romance, Westerns, espionage, horror...what have you. The point IS, we need our stories to make sense of a world where the loose ends DON'T get tied up neatly, where there ARE no sub-plots, expositions, motivations, or any discernible REASONS for the things that happen to or around us. We need stories to make help us make sense of the world/the universe...and yes, lessons can be learned from the classic story-structures. Taking the idea even further, sometimes I believe that fiction exists as an antibody---a preventative to protect reality. For example, science-fiction concepts such as overpopulation and nuclear war have been played out in novels, movies, and television as cautionary fiction...but MORE than that, they present the stories so WE DON'T HAVE TO LIVE THROUGH THEM. Almost like reality taking an antibiotic. The most current example I can give you are the scenarios on 24...First season, family kidnapping, presidential-candidate assasination attempts...Season 2...the threat of a nuke atomizing Los Angeles...Season 3, even more chilling, a terrorist threatening to release a super-virus into the U.S. population...all horrific situations that we've never REALLY had to deal with in reality...So fiction deals with it so WE won't have to? Your thoughts on this? GaP

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