We believe but do we listen?

Our beliefs are largely conditioned by our upbringing, it is as if we are born to follow our parents/family and indeed most of us do.  Political persuasion, for example, more often than not, runs in the family, once a Republican believer,  seldom a Democrat convert. Some belief systems are capable of change others run a good deal deeper, particularly religions.

Belief systems dictate the thinking and practice of lifestyle, and to a large extent define our prejudices. What is true in one belief system is not necessarily so in another. The idea of the non-believer is the epitome of conflict. It is here that the intolerance of ignorance, the refusal to listen to another viewpoint is inevitably entrenched.

The good news is that virtually all belief systems including religions are centrally tolerant, it is only the extremist who sees the non-believer as a threat. Those that see the alternative belief system as simply that, are those who the world needs.

There is,, of course, the view that beliefs if they are worth anything,  must be shared with those others outside the circle of belief.  The record of missionary exploits is not good and history shows that the extremists seem always to get the upper hand. History is littered with examples wildly extreme acts of desecration of human life and values. All in the pursuit of spreading beliefs of one sort or another.

How then are we to fight against the extremes? The answer is to learn, to listen and to tolerate those other belief systems, not necessarily to accept them. To be aware that they have a place in our world despite the prejudices of our own history.

Human horror. Shout for it to stop!

How bad does it have to get?  For the right to buy a machine gun the Americans are prepared to accept untold numbers of deaths.  It’s the Americans’ call.  However, the world watches as those poor Muslims from Myanmar are ethnically cleansed.  No one seems to give a damn.

I’ve already ranted on about the turncoat Aung Saan Suu Kyi, but I should also not forget those evil military leaders in Myanmar who actually carry out these atrocities.  The UN has called the issue ethnic cleansing but that hasn’t changed a thing on the ground.  Poor old Bangladesh which is one of the poorest nations on earth is doing its best to accommodate the massing refugee burden, and the poor refugees keep coming.

I feel like swearing in print, why weren’t we born as common flies surely we wouldn’t be so cruel and disgusting to our fellows.  The world is building aircraft carriers,  nuclear subs, nuclear warheads, sleeker aircraft and smart vacations spots for the rich and still the refugees march on through the miseries that are their lives.

Should we not be ashamed of our collective uselessness, our callous disregard for our fellow humans.  Shout!  Shout for it to stop.

Thick-skinned writers.

Let’s face it we’re not all great writers.  In fact very few of us are.  Nevertheless, we persevere and produce labours of love in whatever form we think we are good at.

When our major work, which has sometimes taken years to complete, is done there remains an almost universal desire to seek the approbation even admiration of our friends’ colleagues and readers. How then are we to react when our work is considered poor?

The reasons why our readers find it so are many and various, some deserved some perhaps not as valid as others.  Nevertheless,  criticism can hurt.  There’s no use denying it.

Is there a defense mechanism that can help us ward off the hurt?  Probably not, but what we can do, is go again.  Write some more, but when we do we should if possible take yesterdays’ criticism as tomorrow’s guideline, at least to some extent.  If we are to write anything worthwhile we have to believe that one day someone will read what we’ve written and say: “Hey, that was worth my time.” That’s possibly the greatest compliment of all, we filled their moments with words that exercised their minds and made them think,  enquire, cry, laugh or even be amazed. This is the challenge every writer faces and very few writers achieve.

I hear you say, that’s ‘baloney’.  I don’t think it is, but equally, I believe that the business of writing has become a very tough place to be.  The commercial mainstream demands excellence in well-trodden genres, yet there are still astonishing breakthroughs.  However, it remains true that the readers enjoy the hero rather than the anti-hero,  that readers have habits and areas of comfort where they are comfortable.  Do we, as writers, want to follow or lead. That is the question each one of us has to answer.

The thing is, we’re all storytellers, and some stories are better than others. It is the unpredictable that makes us tick, the ability to wander around in the frontier-less expanses of our minds.  No one has been there before, and no one but us can tell where the stories will lead. Good for us, let’s write another one. Somebody somewhere might like it.

How close to throwing it all away.

How close to throwing it all away,

How close to killing what keeps us alive

To closing down your shining eyes

To be deafened to your laughter chimes.

 

Love is blind but can be blinded

Locked out by selfish whim

But love is strong and fights her corner

Conquering even the blackest sin.

 

Let’s be thankful for what we share

Let’s enjoy each other’s gifts

Living and letting live

the spark that heals our rifts.

 

Touch me, let me feel you close to me

Stroke me and let my earthly heaven live on

Breathe with me and let me love you softly

Smile, light my days and warm my nights

 

Never mind the past, bad times

Just remember all the good;

The sweetest days, the tranquil nights

Your welcomes home; my harbor lights.