THE EXCELLENCE OF THE PHYSICAL – HAMMER, TONG, AND TOOLS

THE EXCELLENCE OF THE PHYSICAL

Some people think that I am primarily a mental man, or a “man of the mind” because I spend a lot of time studying, reading, attending and listening to lectures, mastering languages, writing stories and poetry and songs, conducting scientific experiments, etc. Some people think I am primarily a man of the spirit because I spend a lot of time talking about God and to God, examining scriptures, praying, meditating, etc. Some people think I am primarily a man of the psyche (of the soul) because I closely observe my own behavior and the behavior of others, because I watch and take note of other people and am very aware of how they actually behave versus just what they say or proclaim or pretend.

And all of those things are partially true. Not primarily, but partially true. I am in some respects a man of the mind, in other respects a spiritual man, in part a man of the soul and the human psyche.

But there is another part of me that is very, very earthy and physical.

Because I love, and am highly attracted to, and have always been highly attracted to, physical activity and things physical. (Except for eating, I could take or leave eating and if something better than eating existed I’d never eat again. Waste of time to me, and extremely inefficient and wasteful.)

Actually I often do my very best work when hiking, running, clearing land, having sex with the wife, exercising, exploring, climbing, etc. I am attracted to and have always enjoyed physical activity – strain, pain, pleasure, sex, exhaustion, etc. and to me all of those things are drivers and motivators. I have had to learn to correctly control them all and use them wisely and properly but they are all very dear and useful to me. They make me feel alive and invigorated. They are also both stimulants and inspirations to me. Doesn’t matter what I am doing, inventing, working on a business project, writing, composing, drawing, investigating, doing science, etc. physical activity is a stimulant to me.

For instance this morning I took Sam (my American Superior) for a run in the woods (rather than a hike, he’s getting a little fat and I want to work him back into shape with me) and while doing so I developed in my mind six good scenes for my Kithariune novel, a science fiction short story, a Real World invention based around the subject matter of the sci-fi short story (actually the real world invention came first), and had an interesting idea for a scientific experiment. (Physical activity is also an excellent mnemonic technique to me.)

Had I done nothing but sit on my ass this morning and tried to just “Think” (I have nothing against thinking by the way, I highly recommend it to everyone, it’s just I’m not much of a sedentary thinker, I’m an “active thinker” – physical activity stimulates my thinking) I doubt that a single one of those ideas would have occurred to me.

Yes, I am partially a man of the mind, and the spirit, and the soul, but also of the body. My body stimulates the other parts of me. In many ways my body is perhaps my single most important tool of creative expression, either directly or indirectly (as it feeds my mind, soul, and spirit).

I might not have the most excellent body but my body has done me the most excellent service. And just to give him his due, considering what I’ve put him through, he’s been tough as hell and I admire and respect him for that.

Is the body or physical activity a stimulant to you as well? Do you also rebel against the idea of “thinking” as being a sedentary pursuit, or the “thinking man” as a sedentary creature?

I certainly do and always have. Even as a child.

 

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SORROW AND PAIN, SORROW AND SHAME

SORROW AND PAIN, SORROW AND SHAME

I had a weird and kinda sad dream right before waking this morning. In it I was attending a military event in which at the end a group of soldiers were singing as part of the event.

There were two guys standing on a platform above most of the others and these two guys were carrying the song. Suddenly the taller guy stepped down and a much shorter and far younger guy (Audie Murphy type guy but with jet back hair and dark eyes) started singing alone. His voice was, well, let me be honest, incredible. Far deeper than you would expect from such a little guy and clear and resonant and so loud he almost shook the building. It started softly but it became a truly rousing extremely powerful song.

But it was not just how he was singing, but what he sang. He was singing an “autobiographical song” about his short life (he was probably only in his early twenties but had seen a lot, and I mean alot) and the lyrics were astounding. Truly astounding. I have tried to remember them all morning (although I remember the music clearly as will compose it later today), to no avail except for a few snippets. If I could only recall them it would be the best song I’ve ever written.

As he sang by the way you could actually see the scenes he was describing hovering in the air about him. He had truly suffered a lot.

Two lines I do recall clearly, from the chorus, were: Sorrow and Shame, Sorrow and Pain.

He repeated them often.

THE EASY PAIN

I woke this morning with these lines running through my head.

(That often happens to me with poetry, I awake with a poem or a set of song lyrics already running through my head – it is a lifelong habit going back to when I was a kid. Don’t ask me why this happens, maybe it is a result of part of my dreaming or sleep cycle. To me it’s just the way it works. And has always worked.)

To me this poem is a sort of psychological or sub-conscious encapsulation in verse of how I feel about pain in general, and what purpose is served by pain in particular.

I know that a lot of people, especially modern people, think pain and suffering is something to be avoided at all costs, a thing to be eliminated, ignored, or at the very least escaped by lifelong periods of “treatments” or self-medications of one form or another. Something they would rather not endure. And truth be told, sometimes at least, even I am sympathetic to that point of view. In certain cases anyway.

But to me, at least in general and in most circumstances, pain (of most any kind) is not an enemy, it is not something to be dulled or medicated, or cured (except in specific situations – such as injury recovery) but rather you should use it as a tool and a weapon to Cure and control the lesser and weaker parts of yourself.

Pain is not something you fear or flee, but rather embrace and use to reforge yourself into a much harder, tougher, and stronger man. Pain cures you of your own smallness and frailties. It is both a method and a means to become a much bigger, stronger, tougher, capable, and a much greater man. (Or woman, or child.)

I am sympathetic, even empathetic to the pain of others in most cases (unless it is needlessly self-inflicted pain used as an puny excuse to lazily escape their better natures), and many have been the times in my life I wish I could have cured others of whatever they suffered. But not always. Sometimes I wish they had simply employed their pain for their own advantage.

As for me, and seemingly contrary to modern man in general, I think it is mostly (not always, but mostly) a grave mistake to view pain as an enemy to overcome, rather than a valuable Friend and Ally to beneficially exploit.

Pain, well used, is treasured gain.

Hence, the ultimate folly of, The Easy Pain.
Note: this poem is unfished as of yet. This is just a first draft and it is in part at least fragmented. I wrote down as much as I could compose and remember before having to go downstairs and tend my animals and start breakfast for the family. I’ll correct, edit, and finish it later.

 

THE EASY PAIN

The easy pain is nothing, the harder pain is true
Numb your pain with medicines, it dulls the things you do

Exploit you pain with action, suffer for your aim
Give your anguish meaning; give your pain a name

Modern men think hardship something to escape
A prison cell of torment, an inconvenience they do hate

So remedies attempt them, with surgeries and drugs
To treat their pain relentless, or kill it like a thug

Yet still pain hammers on them, but tempers not their soul
The longer they do flee it the weaker that they grow

Agony is iron-dust if suffered not in Truth
Corrupt the ore is broken, not forged to better use – yet,

When men make their anguish the raw drive of their life
And consume it like ambrosia it feeds them in their strife

When they shape and craft their pain into their sword and tool
They shape themselves in better ways, Grow Wise, and not a fool

Anger righteous is no vice, Justice is a christ
And pain is not a fearsome foe, but a Holy Geist

Man you flee your sacred pain, and to what avail?
Meant to grow you into gods, you’ve made it into hell

One day you should thank the God who made you suffer such
If only you might use your pain to make yourself as much…
End of fragment…

PAY ME NOW OR PAIN ME LATER

I am a writer and an inventor and a businessman as well. I love being those things; each one is a part of my nature. I love reading, I love researching, I love conducting scientific experiments, I love inventing, and I even love writing. But all of those things share one over-riding and pathetic defect. They are primarily sedentary pursuits. And I detest sedentary pursuits and our modern sedentary society.

That is to say that reading, researching, putting together business-projects, experimenting, writing, and even inventing to some greater or lesser degree (at least when you are writing up your invention) requires you to be bound to a particular spot, either sitting or standing in place while you conduct and execute your work.

I despise that necessity.

By nature I am a man who likes to be moving. I’m built that way, it is my nature. I much prefer to be in motion. If I could research and read and experiment and especially write and invent (I can create most easily while in motion – it’s the writing everything up I hate) then believe me I would do so. And believe me on this as well, I am working on inventing devices that allow one to do whatever work one desires while on the move. But that is for a future day, for now the sedentary requirements of what I do – well, let’s just say again, I detest those aspects of my work. Entirely detest.

Now if I had my druthers, and could get away with it, I’d spend all of my time and every day walking through the woods, running cross country, chopping wood and clearing land, hiking, riding horseback, and exploring the countryside. I wouldn’t get any real work done that way but it’s what I’d like to spend most all of my time doing, and the way I’d like to do it. I’ve often thought as I age that if I had to do my life over again I’d probably very much like to be a farmer, rancher, or maybe even a cowboy. Physically I’m cut that way.

Mentally, however, and probably psychologically as well, there are deep impulses in me to create, invent, to study, and to write. I just absolutely hate the sedentary parts of all of that.

My only real solutions to this dilemma are to dream of the day when I can transfer my thoughts straight to some device so that I can write a novel as I chop wood and clear land, or invent as I explore, or simply to endure the pain (and sometimes it is real agony due to the various injuries I’ve received over the course of my life by not being sedentary) of sitting in a chair or standing around in one spot while I disgustedly screw with some modern input method, like a keyboard or microphone set. Sitting in one spot is a real pain in my ass, no pun intended, and standing in one spot is a pain in my back and neck. One way or another it hurts to be still. So I’m still looking for a real solution.

Well, actually, there is one more solution. I go out and exercise and train for about an hour to two hours each day. Engage in really strenuous exercise, not only to recover from the strain of sedentary work, but just because I can’t really stomach being sedentary. Not physically, not mentally, not emotionally, not psychologically, not spiritually. And yes such strenuous almost daily exercise does hurt me, and often greatly so (sometimes because of my prior injuries), but if I don’t do it then I suffer both physically and mentally from that lack of exercise and motion.

When I am not active or allow work to consume all of my time I wake each morning stiff and my back is killing me (where I once broke it), my knees ache and overall I feel terrible. When I do exercise strenuously, and I have recently started experimenting with doing so about 4:00 in the afternoon right before dinner, then I hurt during that time and while eating dinner and while recuperating, but by the next morning I awake feeling fluid and loose and warm. I rise and move easily, and generally I just feel great. So, it’s pay me now or pain me later. Or pay me in pain so I get paid later. Take your pick.

Yet, either way, I still wish that I could do what I want without all the sitting around. I absolutely hate all the sitting around.

WHEN FRESH WE ARE

This morning I had an experience that I thought might lead to my death. I still ache, a lot, which for me is saying something as I have a high tolerance for pain, but it is better. But for some time I could neither breathe nor speak. Luckily my wife was there to help me.

Whether I was really dying or not I cannot say. But it felt like it, the most I’ve felt like it in years and years and years. This wasn’t just pain, it was the bite of mortality. I am pretty sure now it is something mechanical, not organ-related, like a heart attack. Nevertheless it was tremendously painful. I had to take pain killers (that should show you something right there when it comes to me) and sleep. When I got up about 1:30 both my mortality and my youth were fresh on my mind.

So I wrote this.

_____________________________________________

WHEN FRESH WE ARE

When fresh we are and happily made
No misplaced hope may yet dismay
The whole bright world is but our star
The Other Side not very far

Our breath is sweet, our wonder wide
Our hapless faith our ceaseless pride
All scent is sharp, all sights are bright
The days are clear, full moons at night

No pain is long, all sounds are songs
Two rights for every minor wrong
Countless friends, the lands are vast
Adventures first and labors last

Death is but a whispered dream
Ghost tales are told but never seen
The grave is but some plot of earth
Freshly plowed to sprout new birth

When happily made and new in form
Our limbs are smooth, our face unworn
Our breath is deep, we run for joy
Our very lives our favorite toy

No Frontier is too great to cross
No day of travel ever lost
No place so old it is not new
No final shore to bid adieu

No man has ever proved his no
Anguish is a word unknown
No thought to ever count the cost
No markers dark engraved with loss

God still walks in every field
No sickness ever goes unhealed
No injury will linger hard
To cripple you with small regard

Your thirst is deep, you hunger much
You quickly calm with but a touch
Tomorrow is another day
To prove yourself in reckless play

Blood is but the sap of cuts
You laugh at it, ignored as such
You’ve never seen a man bled dry
You’ve never wept and never cried

When newly made and happ’ly all
You know not then what will befall
Though give it time my little friend
The world is ripe with brutal sins

It is not right, it is not just
In better things we all should trust
Yet mortal man’s a mortal thing
And with him comes the end he brings…