Saturday, February 25, 2012

Launch: 'Resistance to Civil Government' by Henry David Thoreau

I am pleased to announce the latest addition to my little stable of books and ebooks, a new and easy-to-read edition of Resistance to Civil Government, also known as On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.

Even a cursory reading of Henry David Thoreau’s immortal 1849 essay reveals echoes in contemporary discussions of individual rights and the limits of government in a free society.

Its themes resonate into the 21st century. Faced with a federal government that condoned the institution of slavery and was waging a war of questionable origin in Mexico, Thoreau pushed his readers to consider the responsibility of an individual with conscience.

This new edition includes “The definition of a peaceable revolution,” an introductory essay by yours truly.

You can read Resistance to Civil Government online or download the ebook at this link ...

or you can purchase a durable and permanent copy complete with this lovely cover, made from the finest of dead trees, by following THIS LINK.

Free yourself first

If thou would'st right the world,
And banish all its evils and its woes,
Make its wild places bloom,
And its drear deserts blossom as the rose,
Then right thyself.

If thou would'st turn the world
From its long, lone captivity in sin,
Restore all broken hearts,
Slay grief, and let sweet consolation in,
Turn thou thyself.

If thou would'st cure the world
Of its long sickness, end its grief and pain;
Bring in all-healing joy,
And give to the afflicted rest again,
Then cure thyself.

If thou would'st wake the world
Out of its dream of death and dark'ning strife,
Bring it to Love and Peace,
And Light and brightness of immortal Life,
Wake thou thyself.

James Allen
The Path of Prosperity

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The one in which I reveal I needed my books most

I know how you feel. That's the whole point.

Dirty little secret?

I wrote Refuse to be Afraid because I was tired of being stuck because of fear. Same old, same old, and I knew it was because I was afraid – afraid of stepping forward, afraid of rejection, afraid of consequences, afraid of this goofy economy, afraid of losing freedom – and I needed a pep talk.

In the midst of writing out those fears and trying to cope with them, I found – just like a cliff I fell off as a child – that the things I feared weren't nearly as formidable as they seemed. When you control your fear instead of letting the fear control you – when you refuse to be afraid – the rewards can be enormous, especially in terms of peace of mind.

I wrote A Scream of Consciousness because I was tired of living aimlessly, watching brainless TV shows that I immediately forgot – or surfing the Internet. I told myself I was educating myself, but I rarely took action about what I learned.

An exuberant aging folkie named Barry McGuire and a 350-year-old book by a Jesuit priest taught me concepts about living in the moment that I had to share.

Funny thing – when I put my little self-pep talks out to the world to share, I discovered I wasn't the only one who needed to hear those messages. When a friend tells me how Refuse to be Afraid served as a reminder to stay calm during tough times, I realize we all face moments when fear threatens to immobilize us, and we all let our consciousness drift.

What's keeping you from going forward? Maybe the first thing you need to do is write yourself a pep talk. Don't worry about building an audience – or even if anyone will ever read it – just write what you need to hear. You may find – as I did – that you're not alone.

(And if you want to buy my books as examples of what I'm talking about, I certainly won't object.)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jedi mind tricks and A Scream of Consciousness

Rather than wander off to the movie theater to see the new 3-D rendition of Star Wars I: A Phantom Menace, Red and I ripped open a bag of Doritos and the DVD last night. It was a pleasant enough experience.

I was intrigued right away by the advice sage Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn gives to his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, in the opening scene as they await a potentially confrontational moment ...
Don't center on your anxiety, Obi-Wan. Keep your concentration here and now where it belongs.

Master Yoda says I should be mindful of the future...

...but not at the expense of the moment. Be mindful of the living Force, my young Padawan.
It's as if the Jedi had adopted A Scream of Consciousness as one of their textbooks. I couldn't have summarized my book's themes better. Read more here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The joy of punctuation

I've got nothing to say, but it's OK. Good morning! Good morning! Good morning!

Meaning: I have nothing to say, but that's alright. It's a good morning anyway.

I've got nothing to say but it's OK. Good morning! Good Morning! Good morning!

Meaning: The only thing I have to say is that it's OK. And that's good!

Commas rule.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I choose whimsy

I see and hear the cranky and dyspeptic political tones, philosophical arguments dressed up as a battle between good and evil, and I have seen and heard enough.

"There ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys, there's only you and me and we just disagree," the poet sang.

And yet the demagogues behind the curtains conjure images of battlegrounds. We don't just disagree; you are the embodiment of evil walking on Earth. If your kind keeps/retains power, then the rest of us die.

Hogwash. I say again, hogwash. Pay no attention to the demagogues behind the curtains.

My freedom is not dependent upon someone holding or being ejected from office, and neither is yours. Human beings are born to freedom, not granted liberty by benevolent rulers. What part of "endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights" is so hard to understand?

We have a choice to stew in our own bile – or in bile provided for us by willing political toadies – or to live our lives freely, joyfully and in celebration.

You may follow the path to fear and loathing and the infestation of imaginary hobgoblins. I choose whimsy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ramping up the politics of fear

Here we go again.

Four years ago I wrote:
Towards the climax of the great movie about violence and the state V for Vendetta, megalomanical leader Adam Sutler declares the time has come for the rulers of totalitarian England to remind the peasantry "why they need us." What follows is a montage of news reports clearly intended to cow the citizenry into a state of fear, reminding them that the government is the only thing standing between their security and utter chaos.

A civil war drags on in the former United States. Water shortages are reported and predicted because of a lack of sufficient rain for two years. Police arrest nine suspects who were hoarding vaccine against the deadly avian flu. Twenty-seven people have died in the wake of the discovery of a new airborne disease. New evidence links the terrorist V to an attack on London 14 years earlier - reminding them of the attack that made citizens turn to the government for protection in the first place. A skeptical bar patron says out loud: "Can you believe this shit?" Of course we can't, and we shouldn't.

The truth revealed by the movie is that the state is the source of the chaos. The titular character V, either a freedom fighter or a terrorist depending upon point of view, helps detective Finch uncover the reality that the central terrorist attack of his age was staged by government forces seeking control of citizens' lives under the cover of providing more security. V himself is the product of secret government medical research gone awry.

A central theme of the movie is the same as mine: Refuse to be afraid. The standard political script has been unchanged for decades now: Remind people about something they fear. Offer yourself as the solution to that which they fear. Once elected, strip people of freedom in the name of fighting that which they fear. Rule with an iron fist or a velvet glove, but rule; do not let people live for themselves in freedom.
Thursday night I surfed around the Web and found: Israel could attack Iran in April, May or June. James Cameron has bought a farm in New Zealand and speculation is it's to ensure his family is safe if America collapses. President Obama says his religious faith leads him to seize wealth and redistribute it among the masses, citing the Gospel of Luke. A new flesh-eating virus is spread by sneezes.

Can you believe this shit?

The politics of fear is being ramped up again. Think through your fear; don't let the demagogues control you. Don't be conned into surrendering your freedom in the name of protection from imaginary hobgoblins.

Adam Sutler is revealed in the end of the film to be a ineffectual, frightened little man who know no solution but violence. You don't need the Adam Sutlers of the world. Think for yourself. Refuse to be Afraid. Free yourself. Follow your dreams.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What controls your attention controls your life

Darren Hardy, the publisher of Success magazine, offers a practical application of the theories in James Allen's As A Man Thinketh in an article titled "Is Wolf Blitzer Hurting America?" Well worth the read.

Where your attention goes, energy flows and so goes your life. When I interviewed racecar-driving legend Mario Andretti, I asked him for the No. 1 success tip to racecar driving. His answer, “Don’t look at the wall.” He explained, “Your car goes where your eyes go.” If you are a tightrope walker, what’s the one thing you never do? Right, look down. Why? Your body will follow your eyes. Your body (your life) also follows your eyes (your attention). If you point your eyes at Constant Negative News (there’s an acronym for that), your life will also go in that direction.

Your mind is like an empty glass. It will hold anything you put into it. You put in sensational news, salacious headlines and talk show rants and you are pouring dirty water into your glass. If you’ve got dark, dismal, worrisome water in your glass, everything you create will be filtered through that muddy mess, because that’s what you’ll be thinking about. Garbage in, garbage out.
Check out the entire article here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Letters to the Citizens of the United States

Here's my edition of Thomas Paine's Letters to the Citizens of the United States, now available for free download or reading online. You can also purchase a non-electronic permanent copy of this edition on fine paper by clicking here.