The Myth Of Unity


It is the clarion call of politicians: Life in America would be ideal if only we would all come together as one people and be unified and united, preferably under their all-embracing leadership.

If there is anything that marks the distinctive identity of life in America, it is the freedom we all enjoy from not being unified and united. The battlefield of our differences produces compromise, which allows our society to experiment with ideas, to push forward in one direction or another without resorting to the kind of extremes that total unity would command.


Yes, total unity would be commanded, by an authoritarian government that no longer tolerated dissent and by a politically correct media turned into an enforcer of unity, of “the common good,” a mainstream media castigating anyone who would dare express an unpopular opinion.

We have already had a taste of this, haven’t we?

Why do we applaud when politicians promise national unity? Is it because each person who applauds believes his or her vision of “the truth” will become manifest under such national unity? Is it because we are so sure that our particular religion, our particular political philosophy, our general sense of what is right and what is wrong will surely prevail in a perfect world?

This country was formed by generations of political refugees escaping the kind of national unity that strangles freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to criticize and change one’s own government. The refugees are coming still and the great work continues.

Our government works because we are a diverse people, full of opposing ideas, forced to compromise. And compromise means that many opposing ideas must be taken seriously when policies and laws are made. If Americans are anywhere near being united at all, it is in the belief that each of us has the right to fight for an idea, to oppose an idea, to be taken seriously. This is the check and balance of American democracy, this freedom to amend or replace a flawed idea with a better idea. America is a birthplace and battleground of ideas.

Yet politicians and media pundits shake their heads and bemoan how “polarized” the American people have become. Our polarization, our fierce differences of opinion are evidence of a free society in which we all are emboldened, empowered and encouraged to express our opinions vociferously, knowing our opinions matter.

The day we are truly unified and united will be the day we are no longer free.



~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Photo by Keith Weller
© All Rights Reserved

# 31:

Listen to your imagination.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 245:

Time is born of a singularity,
tied to the temporal “before and after.”
The cosmological constant is the eternal “now.”



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved





I Am Born




W hen did I start? What is my first conscious memory? You might as well ask when Being burst out of Nothing and became Something. Who knows?


I was warm, living in a dream. There was sound but not much light. There were thoughts and images without meaning. There was no passage of time, no wanting, just being.

There surely must have been some kind of struggle at the time of my emergence, but this I do not remember. I remember being removed from my cave into a bright blinding light. I remember crying, but it was more like listening to myself cry from a distance, rather than feeling any personal, emotional impulse to cry.

I was wrapped in cloth and put in what I now believe was the white metal cradle of a scale to measure my weight. I fell asleep, trying to fall back into that place from where I came.

I don’t remember anything else until thirteen months later, the day my mother left me at the orphan’s home and never came back.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Who created this artwork?
© All Rights Reserved

# 100:

So many writers with nothing to say,
who nevertheless say it very well.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 30:

If you wish to bring joy and love to others,
you must be full of joy and love.
You cannot give what you do not possess.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 17:

Question everything
and perpetuate what is good.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 82:

Consider how your vision of the world
is created by your emotions.

Then, set your emotions aside
and take another look.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Somewhere There Is A Boy



















Somewhere there is a boy
Dreaming of a horse,
A horse of his own,
A part of his soul,
A horse he would ride
Through fields and meadows,
Through shadowed woods,
A horse he would greet each morning,
Spend all day with,
Kiss goodnight.

Somewhere there is a boy
Dreaming of horse,
A horse like the one I see here,
Standing in a muddy pen,
Looking wistfully out at me
As I walk by,
This horse,
Alone all day long,
Dreaming of a boy.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Painting by Jessica McMahon
© All Rights Reserved

# 93:

People want the security of knowing
and so spend their lives
cementing their beliefs into place,
constructing the impenetrable wall of self.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 239:

I cannot prove angels exist.
It would hurt their feelings if I tried.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 207:

Eternity will solve everything.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 54:

We are knee-deep in mousetraps.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 28:

To be in heaven
and not know you are in heaven
is one of life’s great tragedies.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved





Incarnation















D o I believe in reincarnation?

Well, does reincarnation depend on whether I believe in it or not? I definitely believe in Incarnation, because I’m here on this planet writing the inconsequential story of my life, aren’t I? College philosophy aside, yes, I am here. I was incarnated. And if I had prior lifetimes I cannot remember them, which is just fine with me considering how painful it is at my age to remember the more inglorious episodes of this particular incarnation.

Who wants to remember what it was like to have a diaper full of poo? And believe me, that was not worst of it. How deep I go and how much I tell about my life will be tested by this exercise, but at least I’ll have something left for my descendants to ponder, aside from the typical diary which so often disappoints:

June 13, 1776: Had dinner with the Jones tonight. A little rain. Going to fix the wagon tomorrow.

Yes, memory of prior reincarnations would be way too much for me to handle emotionally. So, whether I was Mozart, Hitler or a cocker spaniel in a past life, I just can’t say.

I do remember being born, however, whatever, and can you believe it? Now I’m not saying that it’s a real memory, a true memory. It may very well be a manufactured memory, part of my anarchistic imagination which has been so influential in inspiring me to be no one in particular all these years.

Here’s what WebMD.com has to say about how much newborns can see:

Babies are born with a full visual capacity to see objects and colors. However, newborns are extremely nearsighted. Far away objects are blurry. Newborns can see objects about 8-15 inches away quite sharply. Newborns prefer to look at faces over other shapes and objects and at round shapes with light and dark borders.

So whether or not my memory is based on any truth at all, I cannot say, but I will tell you all about it.




~ Text and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 179:

Criticism may be necessary,
but it’s more profound to construct
than criticize.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 164:

There is no greater gift
than the gift of a new day,
along with the health, sanity
and freedom to make use of it.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 84:

We are the “what if” animals.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 67:

If you want help from the angels,
you must listen very carefully,
for they speak softer than sound.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 23:

Too much work strips everyday life
of love and serendipitous happenstance,
oh yeah!



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 78:

Most artists are starving,
if not for money,
if not for love,
if not for transcendence,
then at least for attention.

It’s hunger that propels them.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved





I Slapped My Father, Hard






















I  slapped my father hard, a clean open-fisted slap that sent his bifocals skidding across the kitchen floor.

It was the culmination of my accumulated rage against that man. It was a reaffirmation of the difference between us, of the vow I’d made to never, ever become anything at all like him. It was complete rejection, without hesitation.

It was a vow often repeated but first intoned when I was eight years old, the morning after "The Dream." It was a dream that would both instruct and haunt me for the rest of my life. In "The Dream," I saw my parents as I’d often seen them late in the evening, from behind a canvas shade pulled down to cover the glass-paneled door that separated my tiny bedroom from the family room where they spent their evenings watching television. My makeshift bedroom was originally a den. Although their house was built by an architect, it was not designed for two children. I was the second child.

By curling the edge of the shade back a bit with my thumb and forefinger, I could watch television shows that were on past my bedtime, and I could watch my parents. I discovered my mother smoked. She had never, ever smoked in front of me or my older sister, and especially not in front of her parents who lived next door, who would have been horrified. I also saw my parents drink. Sometimes they filled the house with strangers who talked loud and drank and talked louder and drank more and filled the house with smoke and loud frightening laughter surrounding and invading my tiny dark room.

My parents acted gracious and kind when observed by others, but alone at home they were troubled and angry. I was often jolted out of sleep in the middle of the night by the sobbing and screaming of my mother, by the anger and accusations shouted by my father. I knew this meant I would be severely disciplined the next day for the smallest transgression. I would be hit. It might be a slap across the face, a spanking or repeated blows during the frenzy of unharnessed rage.

I spent most of my younger years assuming guilt, wondering why I was such a bad child, deserving of so much punishment. But as I grew older, I developed a growing awareness I was not really the cause of their anger, just the excuse.


THE DREAM:


I was standing next to the glass-paneled door in the dark of my room and pulled back the shade just enough to see my parents turning off the television. They began pulling at their hair until finally, with great effort, they pulled off their human masks, revealing their true faces—the faces of wolves. After removing their clothing, they were fully transformed. They snarled and snickered as they walked on four legs toward their bedroom and out of my sight, malevolently amused at their success in hiding their true identities.


The next morning I vowed I would never give in to these wild beasts, these devourers. I would fight them. I would defend myself. I knew their secret.





~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Artwork by Kevin Hensels
© All Rights Reserved

# 96:

God is another name for the will to live.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 75:

You may call it fiction,
but if you drop a large novel
on your foot,
your toe will hurt.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 36:

Hate is a disease of the heart.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 35:

Home is a place in the heart.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 5:

I will make a better memory than a man.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Mindings