The arbitrary memories of a girl named grace

(Please play the song Marfa Lights 2 by Deuter during this story, do not repeat it if it ends before you finish reading)

I remember being confused as I was lifted by the neck while staring into my father’s eyes. It’s only a memory so I don’t remember what I did, I just remember the callouses on his hand when he gripped my throat. I was more confused than in pain…

 

I remember being read a bedtime story when loud stumbling footsteps penetrated the calmness in my mother’s voice. There’s a blur but before the memory ends I see an outline of a man gripping a woman by the neck in a familiar way. The image began to carve a hole in my chest…

 

I remember being happy during Christmas time when I would get more presents than all of my friends. I got some presents early from my mom, then went to my dad’s house to get more. He got me a Nintendo because I swore I’d never pee my pants again…

 

I remember being in the car near a Toys-R-Us when my mom told me to go to hell. I don’t remember what I did, but I remember the feeling in my stomach that made me gag and the relief I felt from staring at the rain drops running down the windows. It made me think the sky was crying for me…

 

I remember being sweaty as I ran around with my cousins in the yard, making footballs from tape and old tee shirts and wrestling later on. When my dad said it was time to go I hopped in his truck and forgot all about them, I felt glad to leave because I didn’t really care about them…

 

I remember being dropped off at my mom’s apartment. As I entered the elevator and turned around, I remember crying as the image of my dad would disappear from right to left. The redness in my dad’s eyes were drastically different from my red duffel bag filled with my clothes, but I didn’t understand why…

 

I remember being upset when my dad wanted to pick me up the coming weekend but it was my friend’s birthday. I just wanted to fit in and hang out with my friends but I thought he just didn’t want me to have fun because he was mean and selfish…

 

I remember being on a vacation with mom and dad. I can’t remember how happy I felt, but I remember the feeling of that smile on my face. It was as if my smile was connected to my soul…

 

I remember being in a house that my mom and dad were buying together. I thought I was dreaming but the look in both of their eyes told me that I was allowed to feel joy, it was ecstasy…

 

I remember being told to call my mother after she didn’t come back to the house for a few days. I don’t remember what she said first, but I told her never to speak to me again and that she was ruining my family and my life. I remember the unfathomable sadness that cracked in her voice after she broke an eternity of silence when she muttered, “okay”…

 

I remember being honest when I saw my mom again some weeks later and telling her I loved and missed her and I was glad to be back. I also remember I said that even though I loved her, I loved my dad more. I don’t remember the look on her face, but I have a feeling I intentionally forgot…

 

I remember being alone and surrounded by people. It was a cliche spilled from depressing poetry and books, but I felt like I really knew what it meant. My friends would go to their parents when something happened, but I could go to only go to my mom after what she reminded me about him…

 

I remember being unable to talk to my mom anymore, it seemed like we somehow grew apart but I didn’t understand what that could mean. I don’t remember how alone I felt, the sensation doesn’t seem describable, it’s just too blurry…

 

I remember being indifferent about talking at all. It seemed useless to even think about, so I didn’t. I remember the feeling of a bottle inside me that consumed all of my feelings. It just felt like a hole in between my ribs: uncomfortable and confusing…

 

I remember being… a husk of who I am…

 

I told my mom about what I remember. I told her about the irreparable damage strained on a parent-child relationship. As I told her, I remembered being held in the warmth of her arms near her family’s comforting eyes. I told her how only half of me could ever love her, because half of me didn’t really know her and she didn’t really know me. I remember the deep sound of my heart sinking and wishing that what I said was a lie…

 

I told my dad about what I remember. I told him the same. I knew him even less so I wasn’t reminded of anything, but I remember the agony that came with that realization. He told me of his yearning for love and the torment his failure had brought his consciousness. He told me of his envy when he sees a couple holding hands and how cruelly his old age has crippled him. He sleeps with dreams that cannot become reality, but his heart mourns only for itself…

 

Now I think to myself how numb my shoulders are that cannot tell me the difference between scalding and frigid showers. As I stand in the dark with hair covering my eyes and water that does not let me feel, I wonder how strange it was to be anything at all…

-Grace

Why You Have to Love My Neon Pink Banana Hammock, Part 2

The goal of this idea/discussion remains to figure out if there are things/could be things that people are required to love. Not how to enforce it, meaning if they don’t love what they should, I won’t be concerned with how to “fix” them, perhaps that could be another discussion.

Continuing where I left off, if it seems reasonable that people love and there are clear benefits to doing so. However, just because there are benefits for humanity to love doesn’t entail people should love, it just means that it has the potential to serve human flourishing. There are many cases in which people couldn’t care less about human flourishing and should everyone have to? Should the artist down the street selling his work have to care about how s/he can benefit humanity? No, fuck it! Let the artist be an artist and do as s/he pleases. The only problem that arises if the artist decides to slay some local townsfolk with his/her paintbrush. That seems obviously shitty.

So what if the artist just had to love not slaying people? Broadening it, if people were taught to love “not slaughter” could they go around doing as they please? It seems to me that they could. If everyone was, in some way, systematically taught to love things at least neutral to humanity (neutral might be a messy idea right now, I attempt to clarify further on) and nobody cared for something that would seem negative, it sounds like a step forward. Not saying it’s immediately possible, nor do I know how it would be, but the conclusion seems like something everyone can agree on. Everyone from the most selfless to the most greedy people are ultimately trying to cause what they perceive as good to themselves. The murderer wants to kill to gain something, the sociopath to satisfy an urge, the saint to help whoever, the politician to support legislature they believe in (hopefully), etc. If everyone loved something that was to lead to the conclusion of “not slaughter” wouldn’t that be valuable? I’m not arguing for what people must do, especially in gray areas such as moral dilemmas, but rather than love personal gain in a selfish way, wouldn’t it be better if they loved and believed in an outcome of least possible cost with best benefits? At the risk of belaboring it to further clarify what I mean, I’m not necessarily supporting a utilitarian approach to a moral dilemma, but instead a world in which the person making the decision believed they were making the right choice. It doesn’t have to actually be the “right” choice, determining that could be messy, but the choice wouldn’t be selfishly motivated. To achieve a world like that, as it stands now, seems quite valuable to humanity.

 

Now enjoy this lovely (but kind of early)  intermission: click for fun

 

So what could possibly be something people must come to love for humanity to progress without forcing anyone to actually do anything? Hmmm…. this must be tricky… cats? Well I fucking love cats, plush cushions of warm fur that purr and do funny shit but try to play it off… maybe it’s cats. Then again it could actually be my neon pink banana hammock, some say I look quite stylish in it (nobody has said this). It’s not complicated at all really. If you haven’t heard me say it yet (you have) something people could love which would benefit humanity, is in fact humanity. Love humanity. Do it you shlub! Love everybody! If we all treated each other with the reverence of our dearest friend, our parents, our children, and our loved ones, would there be as much strife as there is today? No, obviously not. We fight with each other sometimes for sure, but don’t we still love them? If they didn’t do anything that they believed could cause problems, even if there was a disagreement, if we loved them what could the worst possible result of that disagreement be? I don’t know exactly, but the best interest is in mind. If 20 of 30 people believed doing M would be the best course of action and it turned out to have horrible consequences, if we truly loved couldn’t we forgive? If my the world decided my mother should be sent to the moon god as a sacrifice, then it turns out there’s no moon god, in today’s society a special kind of hatred is born. The world took my mother for a foolish purpose, fuck the world, I’ll see it burn.  What if that could be replaced with love? What would happen? Love not born, but understood. I could understand that the world tried to do it’s best, what’s done is done, now we can only continue to find the next suitable solution (more people?). Revenge is sweet? Bha, Revenge is immature. Hating is so easy to do, but loving hard. Ultimately though, which do you think is worth it?

Thinking about it, I don’t think loving humanity is good enough either. I believe we must learn to love all life. For the same reasons as humanity: animals, plants, and life in general we must learn to love. This is an especially big leap from humanity though, to love the land as deeply we do one another. Certainly not a common characteristic at the moment, but absolutely necessary. If we loved life from the ants we step on to the plants we remove to construct malls, I contend that it would be in the interest of human progress. Before you think I love ants and refuse to go outside anymore, I’m saying within reasonable possibility. I’ll concede that it’s a very loose term, but with today’s technology there’s no way to easily avoid stepping on ants when walking outside. Even if something is invented, it would have to be highly affordable and mass produced. The point is to leave as little a footprint on the Earth as possible so that it would be that much easier to sustain, if not self-sustained. The extent to which we must love things like bacteria seems to vary from something like a tree. Loving all bacteria could prove problematic to the medical world, but I don’t believe saving a deadly form of bacteria is incredible benefit to human progress. Maybe isolating and keeping it in a laboratory to study (like polio I believe? I could be wrong) but it doesn’t seem like keeping it in an afflicted person (or animal) is all that promising.

 

The question now becomes what precisely will benefit human progress? Who am I to decide that the bacteria is wrong and I am right? Who am I to say how many animals may be hunted/farmed to sustain humanity while keeping the animal population in balance? So many gray areas come with trying to determine what is right and what isn’t and I 100% do not have a sweeping moral code to provide you. Instead, may I humbly suggest loving life? If you believe to the best of your knowledge, consult with experts, or do whatever research to make the best possible decision you believe you can, let me take this time to commend you. Whatever results may follow, I love you. I really do. My last question is if you believe me when I say to you, the most honest way I can while typing, that I love you, how does that make you feel? Think about it and comment!

 

Love yourself. Love me. Love everyone. And love my Banana Hammock. Maybe you’ll even love loving it.

as always I welcome corrections/opposing arguments,
thanks for reading, I.H.

Why You Have to Love My Neon Pink Banana Hammock, Part 1

Are there things we must love? Like my banana hammock?

 

Well I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I’m going to make the case that there are in fact things we – as members of the human race – should all learn to love. If this goal sounds like it could be the beginning of bigotry, that those who do not love what is to be deemed as love worthy should be corrected, you do have something to fear because it will sound like that. However, my hope is that with critical analysis it may be possible to avoid this fear and carefully conceive of values that should be universally loved, at the very least it’s worth thinking about.

So let’s cover a couple basic definitions first, if I miss any you feel important comment with a reason and I’ll post it so we can talk about it:

Love: I’m not going to try to define Love with a capital “L”, fuck that, I’m single so what the fuck would I know about that anyway. However love with a lowercase “l” is a simple verb we learned as children meaning something we deeply care for. I love my family, friends, professors (some), pets, myself (on that journey), nature, the smell of coffee in the morning (but not the actual coffee), baby size shoes, you get the idea.

Value: not trying to come up with a hard theory on objective value either, in this case value will mean it’s overall benefit to human flourishing.

So to begin thinking about the possibility of things everyone must come to love, it seems appropriate to ask why everyone should even have to love something, why people should love anything at all, and why do people love to begin with? Since childhood there are things I’ve come to love (see above, unless you want me to tell you MORE about my life), and at particular times in my life I can be certain I love them. My point is that it’s not valuable to question if I love or am capable of loving, because avoiding “Love”, it seems very clear that people love.

Why do people love? Watch the french movie Amelie and find out. Seriously, leave donations to me as well (note the lack of parenthesis before which truly emphasize the seriousness… not really, but it’s a great film). People love because it makes them happy (not “Happy”, just happy). It doesn’t seem very complicated, when I love something, let’s say walking on the beach, it brings me great pleasure to then walk on the beach. However I believe there is also a more important reason for loving as well, it makes me feel alive. Watch this one minute clip explaining what I mean by a magnificent piece of art for our time. Watch it! Despite what you may think, I contend that it’s 100% spot on. Isn’t it wonderful to enjoy a relationship with someone we care deeply for? Do most people enjoy relationships or not? Let’s take a look at the current population of Earth and imagine how each generation came into being… hmmm…. surprisingly, it seems that for the most part people enjoy romance, sex, hanging out together, all that stuff that comes with being in a relationship (I’ll be honest, I haven’t a clue… don’t judge hater). With relationships comes negatives as well, but as Butters clearly explained, something would have to make you so happy before it can make you feel bad. Isn’t it strangely beautiful that we can feel anything at all? The good must come with the bad, something must be sacrificed for the greater good.

A viable counter argument could include (and please do if you feel this way or similarly) something along the lines of the inconsistent triad part of an ontological argument against the existence of god conceived by David Hume and refined by J. L. Mackie: “God is good, god is omnipotent, and there is evil in the world.” The point has nothing to do with God, but Mackie does discuss orders of good and evil. 1st order goods include good health and happiness. 1st order evils include pain and suffering. 2nd order goods include compassion and heroism that can only exist if 1st order evils are given. 2nd order evils include cruelty and cowardice, attributes only possible given 1st order goods. The argument itself is rather interesting between Mackie and Richard Swinburne, who claims there is a 3rd order good: freedom. The final point from the theist (the relevant counter point to my argument here, sorry about that), comes from the book of Job of the Old Testament. I’m not usually one to quote the bible, but the point is relevant nonetheless: when god speaks to Job through the whirlwind and says to Job, (you don’t have to read all of it to understand my point, just the first 8 lines or so, but it’s a beautiful read)

38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 38:2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 38:3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 38:5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 38:6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 38:8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 38:9 When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, 38:10 And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 38:11 And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? 38:12 Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; 38:13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? 38:14 It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. 38:15 And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken. 38:16 Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? 38:17 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? 38:18 Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all. 38:19 Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof, 38:20 That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof? 38:21 Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? orbecause the number of thy days is great? 38:22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, 38:23 Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? 38:24 By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? 38:25 Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; 38:26 To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; 38:27 To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? 38:28 Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? 38:29 Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? 38:30 The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. 38:31 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? 38:32 Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? 38:33 Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? 38:34 Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? 38:35Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? 38:36 Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart? 38:37 Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven, 38:38 When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together? 38:39 Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions, 38:40 When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? 38:41 Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.

Regardless of my own religious beliefs, it’s a wonderful piece of literature, but the point is we weren’t there when the assumed God performed the moral calculus of the universe, so who’s to say that 2nd order goods are worth it at all? This counter argument to mine doesn’t need God to exist, it simply questions my authority to deem orders of good and evil worth our love. I’ll argue they do, I see heroism and compassion as highly beneficial attributes to further our human progress and flourishing, but you’re welcome to argue otherwise.

Compassion and heroism are both types of 2nd order goods that have the potential to, and do, greatly benefit human flourishing. People with compassion are capable of protecting others and animals. Maybe they wouldn’t need protecting in the first place if suffering didn’t exist, but who’s to classify what suffering is? When a cheetah hunts down a gazelle and feeds it’s young, is that suffering? Should we petition the cheetah community to stop being carnivorous and evolve more peacefully? However, let’s say we grow up near the gazelle (or house cat, it doesn’t matter) and become attached to it (are there cases in which people are close to animals? I won’t even), do you think said people would want to protect said animals? Of course, and it’s completely natural. This feeling of compassion allows users (in this case people) to fulfill the role of protectors and carefully guard life so that it may mature. Would a mother protect her daughter from a wild dog that’s trying to provide food for it’s own litter? Is denying the starved dog’s family your daughter as a delicious meal wrong? Obviously not, and it’s compassion, sympathy, empathy, etc. that let’s us believe that. Unless you would continue to argue that protecting our children isn’t right and you’re a shitty politician, it seems clear that: compassion… is… good! Not only to ourselves and animals, but people can be protectors of the Earth through various “Green” campaigns. If there was no Green suffering (pollution, energy wasting, dogs peeing on your lawn) what would there be to fix and improve upon? Before I belabor the point further and completely steer off topic, compassion is highly valuable as a direct influence on human progress and flourishing.

Now that I reasonably established why people love, you’ll see how the rest of this comes easily. While I may not be able to convince you to love my banana hammock (there will be no photos lest my blog be taken down for being a grievous wound to humanity) My aim still remains to prove that we, as a community of people, have to recognize certain things that are worthy of our universal love. I’ll finish up the thought in part 2, right now I have to go find some swimwear and enjoy the beach.