The Last Trick of Ego

Oftentimes, I start poems or stories here, then copy them to Facebook, only to neglect to return. Life is hectic like that. This was written in a hurry, especially the end, but I had a strong feeling to offer it as is. The formatting is wrong after going to Facebook finishing it on Facebook. I don’t have time to fix it right now. Sorry.

The Last Trick of Ego
There was once a boy named Ego who set out to conquer the world.
When Ego was small, his first kingdom was small. And though conquering this first kingdom was satisfying, it was a small satisfaction, and in time, this small satisfaction grew into dissatisfaction. He knew then that it was time to enlarge his kingdom. With this goal in mind, he set out into the world.
Ego exited his kingdom and entered a new land, armed only with a rubber ball, a gift he had received from the subjects of his first kingdom. (For he was beloved.) He had heard that there were other rubber balls in this new land, but not very many, and that rubber balls were generally regarded as a great source of joy and were treasured. It did not take long for the natives of this new land to gather in awe of this weapon, and Ego became confident that his victory there would be as easy as was his victory over his own kingdom.
For a while, this is exactly what seemed to happen. Ego and his rubber ball were very popular in the new territory and he enjoyed his new life immensely. But he soon realized that the inhabitants there hardly regarded him as king. Stricken with panic, he tried to assert himself, to assert his natural right to rule, but it was of no use. He was not beloved there; in fact, the more he tried to assert himself, the less beloved he became until, eventually, the natives of that land treated him as if he was no different than anyone else.
Heartbroken, Ego retreated deep into his own kingdom, back to his throne room, and refused to come out for any reason. (Not even for sweets.) Soon, word came to him that emissaries from the new land had pursued him and were just outside the doors of the kingdom. They were seeking diplomatic relations, he reasoned, most likely with a thought of the rubber ball, and certainly with no thought for him. Ego decided to send word that there was no ball and that they should depart immediately, and that is exactly what he did.
Though he anticipated no further dealings with the natives of the new territory, they returned for several days thereafter. Each time, Ego repeated that there was no ball, and that they should go away. Finally, on the last day of the week, the inhabitants came with a surprising new message. Somehow, they had managed to procure their own ball and they very much wished for Ego to come back with them to their own kingdom to celebrate. For a moment, he was filled with great joy and nearly ran to them. But then he remembered what it had been like in the new territory, in a place where he was not king. Now, with a new ball, there would be even less reason for the inhabitants to worship him. He would not be loved. He would not go, he decided. He sent word that they should depart and not return.
When the next day came and the diplomats persisted, he bid his subjects to ignore their presence. When they came again the next day, he told them to profess that he no longer lived there. Curious about how they would react to this news, this time he went to an upper window to listen. However, instead of hearing his subjects relay his message, he heard them tell the diplomatic party to not give up, to please continue to seek Ego out for as long as they were willing. Filled with rage, Ego returned to his throne room and barred all subjects from entry.
He ruminated there in his solitude. How could this have happened? He had lost his grip on his own kingdom. Perhaps he had never even had it, had never even been king at all. Ego realized bitterly, he had never been loved.
It was then that a brilliant thought occurred to him. He might be a king without a kingdom, but he would not be deposed. He formulated his final move.
The next morning, he unlocked his throne room and left open the door. He returned to his throne, sat down, closed his eyes, and waited.
When the first of his subjects came and told him of the diplomats return, Ego told her there was no one there and not to bother him. When a second subject came and implored him to come to court, he told him that there was no court. When several subjects came and begged Ego to attend to the needs of the kingdom, he told them that there was no kingdom and to go away. Finally, at end of the day, when the queen mother came and implored him to eat his dinner, Ego told her there was no need, for there was no Ego.
That night, weak with hunger and lonely for companionship, Ego relished his victory. For you see, finding that he could not be the king of anything, Ego became the king of everything. To do this, the trick had been simple. In the end, to become the king of everything, all he had to do was reduce everything to nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zig-zag

I have absolutely no reason to write in this space, save for the fact that perhaps that is the best time to write. 

So, the house flooded. One more in a series of seeming misfortunes that have befallen us. I don’t know if I would judge them to be misfortunes, for as misfortunes go, they are not so terribly bad; others in my circle are suffering far worse. But also, I am in no position to judge the outcomes of these events. The effects will certainly be far-ranging and many of them may not be known until the distant future, if ever. So I will thank God for the fortune of feeling fortunate about my misfortunes. 

My nose is running. I don’t know if I have a cold or if I’m reacting to something left in the air by the demolition, or perhaps something that bloomed outside or in the walls. Hopefully not the latter, which was the whole point for the overkill restoration. 

I’m a bit meh. Much more so than I have been. I’ve slipped back into some bad habits, including spending entirely too much time playing an infernal game app, all whilst Rome burns (floods.) This is probably an indication it is time to stretch my branches and grow a little, in some regard. 

Much love. 

Pride before fall

I tend to get a little ahead of myself. This is not much of a secret. I can get caught up in that, quite easily, and forget myself. It’s good to remember yourself, though it can be a little painful when you’ve been going along so well pretending. It’s good, though, when you realize you’ve slipped into pretending mode. It calls you back to authentic. It’s even better if you don’t have to do it alone. 

Today is quite a day. It will be the next to last day of school for the kids, and my wife’s last day at her present job. Emotions are running high. We will all be home together for the forseeable future. Prayers and good thoughts are much needed and much appreciated. 

Here’s to remembering. Humility. Authenticity. Loving. 

A fool’s tale

There was once a boy who loved ants.

He dressed in ant pajamas. He covered his walls in pictures of ants from science journals and magazines. He kept them in glass farms. He studied them at school. When he grew up, he became an entomologist with a specialization in myrmecology.

There was another boy who hated ants.

He squished them with his shoes. He drowned them with spittle. He burned them with magnifying glasses. When he grew up, he took a job as an exterminator and sprayed them with poison.

There were two ant colonies. They were much the same, of the same size and species, with about the same resources, located near each other on a tiny island in the middle of a river. They were both about as content with things as ants can manage to be.

There was a bridge going to the island and people often went there to fish.

It so happens that on one day, the boys, now men, both happened to be on the island fishing, separately, but not far apart. As they came closer to each other, they both happened to notice the two ant colonies around the same time.  The heart of the man who loved ants filled with excitement as he bent over to get a closer look. The heart of the man who hated ants turned from irritation to rage, as he saw the other man examining them with obvious love and enjoyment.

The man who hated ants went a little ways away and lit a match. He threw it in the brush and casually went back to collect his gear.

The man who loved ants saw the ants begin to behave in a distressed manner. Then he smelled the smoke and heard the crackling of flames and looked up to see a fire that was growing and spreading and heading his way.

The man who hated ants saw a very funny thing then. He saw the man who loved ants put his hand down to the ground. Walking closer, he saw the ants from one colony crawling into the man’s hand. He looked at the other colony and saw the ants swarming. He walked to it and put his hand down. Just as they had crawled into the other man’s hand, they crawled into his. He could feel them begin to bite as he squeezed and crushed them in his hand. With his boots, he squished what few remained on the ground and mashed the mound down so no ants that remained behind could escape.

As the man who loved ants saw all this, tears filled his eyes. The ants bit him also. They crawled up his body and over his arms, and into every nook and crevice. Their bites were truly painful, yet the man did not mind, for after all his years of exposure he had built up an immunity to their venom, and besides, it was in their nature to bite, and he truly did love them.

He turned to beckon the other man to go but saw that he had already passed over the bridge and gotten in his car. He then crossed over and, finding a suitable spot, carefully picked off each one and released them safely onto the ground.

The man who loved ants had many scars after that day, but he always wore them proudly, and in his thoughts, remembered the ants he had rescued fondly.

 

 

 

 

The mind vice

It seems unnecessary to preface a blog post by saying that my thoughts are simply just that: my thoughts. I am not particularly qualified to hold them or share them, but still, there they are. 

The mind seems to be a hot topic. It keeps coming up for me, anyway. 

Our minds are sometimes likened to computers, collecting and processing data in a more-or-less predictable, mathematical and trustworthy fashion, unless there is some underlying factor preventing their proper function. We are, we think, reasonably reliable, or reliably reasonable.

 I’m willing to bet, most of us would describe ourselves as open-minded people. From what I gather, the idea of ‘the open mind’ is a myth. We have a strong bias towards that which confirms what we already believe.  So I feel as if I am an open-minded person, but I have to believe that is probably not the case. 

So if the mind is closed, why is it closed? If it is biased towards what I already believe, why do I believe the things I believe rather than something else? Is my mind always closed or is it sometimes open? Am I hopelessly locked into my particular thinking as a result of my particular development? Is my mind nothing more than the sum of its parts? 

I’m not sure the relative constancy of our thinking is an altogether bad thing. It may be undesirable to be locked into bad thinking, but it may be highly desirable to be locked into good thinking. 

 I also don’t think our minds are always closed. I think there are probably extraordinary times when our thinking is challenged and, by necessity of circumstance, we are given a brief window in which we may step outside of the box and consider new ideas. 

Crisis brings opportunity for change, as the old adage goes. 

NPM Intermediate

I am making the effort and logging in with my laptop. Still no bueno on the phone. With no small amusement, I present to you:

Intermediate state

There is a flaming sword amid my thoughts
chasing twixt and fro.
There is a bandage wrapped around like flesh
sheltering my soul.
There is a winged fan above my neck
impeding Heaven’s light,
for were I to see it clearly now,
I’d be cremated by the sight.