Saturday, April 13, 2013
The claw of integrity. It is a claw for it is long it in its length and sharp in its efficacy though equally sharp in its pungency. It is what breaks the child and makes the man. The claw of integrity is what allows the ancestry of man to calimb forward and defend the individual from the colossi of the crowd. The claw of integrity is what pushes Man into Manhood, what cuts through the obstacles. Testosterone is harnessed, it is no longer squandered. Relationships are optimized not wasted. Professional relationships become multilayered and faceted, as it is only through integrity that one can see the multidimensional relationships one forms simply by engaging with people in professional settings. The line between professionalism and friend is not clear, not blurred, but jagged. It is jagged because it cuts off at certain points and is juxtaposed next to another straight line, facing in another direction. One must accept, as a premise within life, that relationships are not hard, they are complex. Relationships are not challenging, they are multifaceted.
One never hates an individual or loves an individual, but forms an evaluation of their character only through observing multiple characteristics or facets of their personality (no differentiation between definition of character and personality established). Once such an evaluation is established, the evaluation is multifaceted.
An individual (only the rare few except this rule) cannot be quantified by a single dimension.
An individual (only the rare few except this rule) cannot be quantified by a single dimension.
In a similar vein:
The mind has the capacity to see greatness in anyone, and the ability to hide or cover blemishes that the mind does not want to see.
The mind has the capacity to see greatness in anyone, and the ability to hide or cover blemishes that the mind does not want to see.
Monday, April 8, 2013
When society gains something, does it also lose something? –emerson
Yes and no. it depends on what one determines as gaining. Gaining could be the gain of technology and the loss of more primitive forms of communication such as the stagecoach or mail by horseman. Gaining could be the gain of cars and the loss or decrease of initial typical ways of travel like traveling on foot. So society does gain something it also always loses something in the simplest of senses. To be investigated.
As society ages over time, its development increases. It becomes more intelligent as a domain of people are not only producing more goods, but are working with more intelligent tools which improve the output and in essence supply.
When a society expands, its resources are depleted unless large goods production is occurring. When a society gains a new tool or convenience, it loses what it has replaced. A stagecoach is lost and replaced by the car which in turn
The idea of society gaining something is not bad. It is good and it allows the society to progress continually forward. The idea of losing is for many a negative idea which people disagree with. But “losing” is good as it is a medium of measurement of value.
Cut and Sold Shackles of the 21st Century
“We will never be free without this,” and Sahr extended his palm.
Time sped up, flying through a tube of water, carrying the viewer to a beautiful horizon overlooking a distant shore. The image fanned out as time spilled into the clear, beautiful water, the home of eels, multi-colored fish, and underwater turtles. A man stood aboard a fishing boat, reeling in a net. After placing his catch in a small icebox, he returned to the cramped quarters of the boat. There slept Sahr.
“Morning, my sleepy friend. How are you today?”
Stretching, Sahr yawned and squinted his eyes. “Where the hell are we?”
“Somewhere you have not been—somewhere called the Atlantic Sea. We will stop at Spain—replenish our supplies—and continue to the Land of the Free.”
“The hell is that?”
The man knowingly understood. Sahr had not been anywhere but in the diamond mining camps since age five. He’d been lucky to have avoided the child soldier raids, and the radical transformation into bloodthirsty killers. His clothing was ragged, his feet were cut and bruised, and his skin was dark. He had every piece to the puzzle, except he wasn’t stereotypically cold and merciless. He was a man hungry for education, a daring African slave that represented not only every African slave’s struggle, but what it took to overcome that struggle. The man knew his struggle, and how close he had come to becoming that heartless bloodthirsty killer. He had lived in that situation for years. But something intuitive told him about Sahr, something that told him he had a heart that was the size of a grapefruit, one that had been broken by Africa. The bigger issue, he knew, was not learning to live with a broken heart, but learning how to fix it and improve it for the future.
“America is known as the Land of the Free, though many argue different. I know what it like to live in America, as I have been there many times. I have learned what it mean to be white, and what it mean to be African. I have tried many a time to learn their English, and to learn their way of living.” He sadly shook his head. “But I have yet to learn what it mean to be white.”
“Is America only white?”
He shook his head. “It has become more diverse, it has become much better since 60s. But still you feel the anger and tension between races like us and them bubble like hot water in the air.”
“What is Spain?”
“A place in Europe.”
Sahr rolled out of bed, and nearly fell. He didn’t have great sea legs, and the wake of the water rocked the boat, sending Sahr to the floor as he attempted to stand. “That is where I need to be.”
“In Spain? The diamond?”
Sahr nodded his head, remembering. “There is a place called Europe where you can sell it.” “My friend told me that Europe was the place to go—the place where diamonds can be sold for thousands of dollars.”
The man conceded. “Yes. It is a place where they can be traded for green. But where you need to go is New York, the United States of America, where deals are cut randomly and without watch. It is there you make lot of money, where you can make a life. Do not try in Spain, even though we will stop there.”
“How long will the journey be?”
The fisherman scratched his head. “My name is Chatuluka. Yours?”
“Sahr. Thank you for your kindness.”
Chatuluka smiled. “It is no problem. I see something different in you than the others.”
Sahr frowned, his previous query forgotten. “And what is that?”
“I know that you will not sell that diamond.”
There was a pregnant pause where the smell of slippery fish and the sound of water slapping against the boat could only be sensed. Both men looked at each other.
“What the hell do you mean by that?”
“Man, my name is Chatuluka, meaning the departure. You are departing for a new life, as that diamond will depart from you.”
“Do not play games with me,” Sahr said dangerously.
“No game is played when the truth is spoken. I have taken many blood diamond carriers—all of them look just like you—but not a single one of them has the same spirit like you. They, in turn, sold their diamonds and are most likely living rich today. All of which got me in trouble…all of which are dead today because their sins came back to haunt them. They ceded to the diamond’s demands.”
“It means to give up.”
“Right. Where did you learn to speak like these white people you speak of?”
“You will learn as time will pass in New York. That is where I learned—from New York and books. My grammar will never be good as white peoples, but man, they have good grammar! But first you must eat much protein and nutrients to keep you alive. We will be getting to know each other very well during the next months.”
Sahr’s eyes widened. “The **** are you talking about? How far away is Sane and this United States?”
Chatuluka laughed. He almost looked sad, pitying Sahr’s ignorance and isolation from the world for so long. “Miles upon miles…miles that will take months to travel. You cannot hope to get there any other way, and you cannot hope to depart Africa through any way apart from this fishing boat. It will become your home, if you like.”
“If I like?”
“If you choose, you could, of course, leave at Spain and hope to sell your diamond. You will be scammed, if not killed, or could fail without even selling it. There are organizations like Waterford Crystal and other diamond buyers and makers that will make your every dream come alive.” The man looked at him, watching Sahr’s eyes light. This one could not wait to depart his old life and embark upon a new one, Chatuluka thought.
Sahr sat back and thought for minutes at a time, and Chatuluka left him alone to think. Ideas were racing through his head about this mysterious place called New York, this organization called Waterford Crystal, the diamond still clutched in his hand, and the life he could have. He imagined calling servants to his side, like those Abubakarr had in Africa, those attractive female ones that were always pretty. He wouldn’t force them to, like Abubakarr had, and would treat them well. He’d treat each of them like they were special, and could have everything in the world, because he believed they could, and should. They’d be employed if their heart desired, and maybe, he might have a wife. Maybe two. Or three. Who knew what America would be like?
He stretched, and smelled himself. He smelled like the jungle in which he’d spent days camped in, waiting for a way out. The scent of leaves, dirt, odor, and that outside smell were all scents he experienced. His shirt smelled like cold iron and so he took it off. He walked to Chatuluka, who was repairing a net.
“Listen, I need to bathe myself. Do you have”—
Chatuluka handed him a hose with a bar of soap, but didn’t say anything.
Still no response.
Sahr took his cue and left Chatuluka alone, and cleansed his body as far from Chatuluka as he could. There were times where men should be left alone, Sahr had learned. He started at his head, his head that was currently covered by slightly dirty and unkempt hair. It had grown out during his time in the jungle into a small covering of hair, and had collected bramble and dirt. He closed his eyes, and let cold water rinse him off, the sun drying him.
It wasn’t rain, but a cleansing. His first cleansing since Africa, where his head and body were thrust into small bodies of water, nude, in public areas. He shuddered at the thought, but felt it all wash away…he felt a new commencement.
The water traveled down his body, the soap soft and caring to his skin. He didn’t care what he smelled like, but knew Chatuluka would—it wasn’t about hygiene, but about consideration. He owed the man his life. The water continued to pour, now becoming soap water as it gathered at his feet on the boat’s floor. It drained off the back.
He breathed, and stretched once again. Instead of utilizing a towel he perceived just a few feet away, he lay out in the sun, and relaxed. The sun was hot enough to dry him in half an hour. He laid there until dark. Even though he was asleep, his fist remained tightly curled around the diamond.
Sahr felt as though he’d accomplished something not many had, something that was unique, something hardly attainable. He didn’t know what, or how, but there was something that he had represented, something that not even he knew what it was.
Time twirled itself like a baton once again, causing the image to blur and blacken. The hours on Earth’s clock quickened, and settled on nine p.m., where night had fallen, its impenetrable darkness flooding the water and fisherman boat. The only light seen for miles was the small lantern hanging above the two men inside the boat, both of who were eating and conversing.
Sahr was no longer on the upper level, but in the cabin room with Chatuluka. He was consuming fish, fruit, and a beer, food he scarcely had in Africa. He generally had rations of beans and rice, causing most of the camp—he included—to become malnourished.
After swallowing a mouthful of fish, he said, “so tell me how you got out.”
Chatuluka, who had not talked to Sahr since he’d talked with him about their voyage, said, “You mentioned earlier of being free because of dee diamond. But what it will do is imprison you, just like Africa has. You have broken free from dee jungles, except until you discard that diamond, Africa will never leave you, and you will never truly leave Africa. You say that you will be free. But what you have done is place a dependency upon an object that carries dee memories you hate the most.”
“Look man, I’ve gotten enough from you for one day. It will build a new life for me.”
“And it will tear it down just as it builds you one.”
“I don’t know what you’re saying, but you’re wrong.”
Chatuluka shook his head sadly, dusting off his a book he carried on white people’s vocabulary. “Maybe one day you will understand.”
“If you think they’re so bad, why do people take blood diamonds?”
“Because they’re tax-free, and they make more money for white people’s buildings and structures. So why don’t you tell me how your story?”
Sahr toyed with his food, and pushed it around his plate. He sighed, exhaling before starting his story. He opened his mouth, and it all spilled out, starting with the mining camp, starting with him conversing with his friend.
Once he started, he couldn’t stop—it just ran out of his mouth, detail after detail. He traveled from his conversations with his friend to what his friend had told him about the diamond, and him placing it in between Sahr’s toes. He stood up, and the whistle was blown.
Sahr sniffed; he tried as hard as he could to not be overwhelmed. The memories were ones that had been burned into his body, ones that he felt he couldn’t erase. “Africa will never leave you, and you will never truly leave Africa.”
Sahr remembered the humid heat, the humid atmosphere, and the imminent danger encircling him continually. He remembered his hands shaking as his friend placed the diamond in between his toes, fear clutching his every organ like claws. He watched the bastard Abubakarr blast his friend away after refusing to collect the diamond, which his friend had lied, claiming it was in the water. His body twitched like he suffered from epilepsy, the bullets running through his body like a track runner running a 100 meter. They opened the skin easily, wounds sprouting like undesired weeds. There was nothing pretty about it, no romanticism as twenty-five black holes spewed red blood, blood that had wet the sand for centuries. Blood that would wet the sand for centuries to come.
Sahr was no longer explaining his story, but reliving it; reliving it to the tiniest detail. The chamber clicked, A sound that reverberated in his head, the sounds of tintinnabulation ringing in his head like bells. The click of the chamber became louder, louder until he was asked by Abubakarr to locate the diamond. Sahr’s pulse increased, his eyes widened, his fists curled and—Sahr lunged, knocking Abubakarr to the ground, disarming him, and beheaded the man, justice having been served—
Sahr pulled out of his narration, and looked around. He had a knife in his left hand, Chatuluka’s head in the other. Holding his head by the scalp, Sahr saw just how close the blade was to his throat. His body shook, making Sahr shake. They both starting quivering, both afraid of the other. Chatuluka did not move; he was shaking, but did not move.
Sahr felt a tear escape out of his eye, and run down his dark cheek. “You see what Africa has done to us? We are savages.”
Chatuluka stood, and brushed the knife away pacifically. “We are not savages. We are the savages people portray us as. We will always be strong, so continue with your story.”
Sahr finished his story, culminating with him hiding in the jungle before approaching the docks. His words slowed, time fazing the mind and tongue. The image blurred, just like before, to viewing a calendar, where days began to speed into weeks, which sped into months, which transformed into over half a year, the calendar pages eventually finished with no more room for time to pass. An image broke out of the calendar, an image that grew quickly, its size increasing, the shape being a perfect rhombus, four equal sides growing continually until it swallowed the entire picture. The image swiveled.
“But since I made it here…I can make it anywhere…yeah, they love me everywhere…”
“Cruising down Eighth Street, all white Lexus…”
“Now I live on the billboard…”
“Man, I could trip a referee, you can tell by my attitude that I am most definitely in”—
“These lights will inspire you, because you’re in”—
Sahr had stepped off the boat and onto the soil of the United States of America. He’d been to Spain, he’d crossed the Atlantic. He’d spent days being lectured by Chatuluka about the dangers and shams diamond buyers pulled. “Check the money…” “Count dee money…” “If he’s a white man, be extra-cautious…” Sahr had so many things to remember. Chatuluka recommended a diamond buyer that represented Waterford Crystal, one that other diamond sellers he knew had done business with.
New York was simply amazing, the “city that never sleeps.” He’d never imagined for there to be such beauty in such a city with so much grey and white. People wore suits, and looked like grey boxes on feet. They walked from Destination A to Destination B. They went from their mobile box to their office box, and then went home to live in a box. Then they woke up, and walked around in boxes.
The beauty was seen in the multi-colored lights, the street lights, the season (apparently white people celebrated ‘Christmas’), and so much more. Sahr was dumbfounded by New York and white people, and how people could love living in boxes. On the other hand, he couldn’t love it more for its structure.
Time became another blur, from him carrying his diamond to checking into his hotel to him eventually sitting in the Soup Nazi’s restaurant. Sahr had showered, loving the availability of water for bathing, but he began to sweat from his forehead to his palms. This is it, he thought. He could have hundreds of thousands of dollars in just a few hours. His nerves were shot; what was the dealer going to look like?
A man stepped in, the door to the restaurant jingling. He was wearing a cloak, a hat, and a tailored Armani suit and pants. He walked to a waiter, and whispered in his ear. He looked at Sahr, and walked forward.
He sat down at the table, a seemingly complacent man with the richness to do anything in the world. “So, Sahr. I have heard plenty about you. How do you do?”
Time twirled…and perspectives changed. The image portrayed by time caught up to a man crossing a street who was wearing a long cloak. He entered the Soup Kitchen, and walked to a waiter.
“Excuse me sir, but have you seen a dark African in here by any chance?”
The man pointed, and hastily walked away. The mysterious man could not even thank him.
He walked up to the dark man sitting at the table, watching his every move as he nervously drummed his right hand on the table. He sat down opposite Sahr.
“So, Sahr. I have heard plenty about you. How do you do?” He asked in a smooth English accent.
“Good. I want to deal now.”
“But wait just a few! I have not even introduced myself. The name is Charles.”
Sahr raised his eyebrows. “Charles?”
Charles smiled. “Nothing more.” Charles looked Sahr over innocently, looking more interested than critical. Right hand quivering, left under table. Potentially holding a weapon, or the diamond itself. Shirt torn and dotted lightly with water—perhaps perspiration. Forehead glistening with sweat limited hair in dire need of cutting. Clearly arrived by boat. Voice slightly shaky. Extremely nervous and paranoid. Current projected success:5 percent. Connection and trust need to be gained immediately.
“So…how was your trip?”
“It was fine. Where is the money?” Sahr’s teeth were yellow and cracked. He looked slightly hungry, his build lean and slightly malnourished but muscular. Clearly someone’s been feeding him. Malnourishment due to camps, perhaps. He seems more money-oriented than food-oriented at the moment, which is typical of first-time diamond sellers. His questions should not be answered at the moment. Trust must be gained before anything else.
“Listen, I know you are extraordinarily hungry for money, and I understand that. But frankly, I’ve had an exponentially long day, and would love dipping into some clam chowder. How about it?”
Charles watched Sahr subconsciously glance at a chef walking by with a fish tank of fish. And then at the soup bar. His eyes finally rested on Charles. C’mon…you know you want some clam chowder…
“Gotcha! I knew you would be ameanable,” Charles beamed at Sahr, but watched Sahr’s eyes narrow slightly. Charles stopped smiling immediately. Well, this one’s a little smarter than the others. Note: sincerity can’t be proven through physical means. All attempts must be verbal before money is presented. The time is currently 5:53 p.m. Still running on schedule; forty minutes to departure.
Sahr yawned, his wide black lips stretching to reveal a dirty mouth. Different time zone; recent diamond mining camps have been found in Sierra Leone. The current time is close to two a.m. in most of Western Africa. Probably immigrated illegally with the help of a good friend via boat. Extremely jet-lagged, tired, and paranoid. This could be more difficult than anticipated, though something is to note that he scheduled a deal just a few hours after he arrived.
The two men continued to sit there, both drinking clam chowder in a diplomatic fashion, though not being diplomatic at all. Neither trusted the other; both were paranoid and expecting the worst. They worked their way through three soups and a dessert. Conversation was continually created, becoming more flowered by the minute. Sahr’s trust in Charles, however minimal, had increased by a tenfold. The food is the key source here…keeping him fed, like anyone else, improves one’s mood and lessens his or her paranoia. Brilliant—I only need ten more minutes of this to reach a predictably positive outcome.
Twenty minutes had passed. Charles put down his spoon, but didn’t look Sahr in the eyes. Not yet, don’t indicate interest in pausing. Just ten more minutes of conversation and we’ll be on even ground.
But Sahr had misinterpreted his lowering of the spoon. He lowered his as well. “So, to business.”
Charles knew he couldn’t suppress it any longer. “To business,” he agreed. “Allow me to view the diamond, please.”
Sahr hesitated. Inexperience in negotiations. “Let me see the money.”
“Why don’t we do it at the same time,” Charles said rhetorically, and didn’t expect an answer. He took out his concealed briefcase, which was attached to the inside of his cloak. It wasn’t heavy. He waved it at Sahr slowly. “The diamond.”
Sahr raised his left hand from under the table, which had remained there ever since he’d entered the Soup Kitchen. Latter guess was correct; he was holding the diamond. This African is no less armed than he is intelligent.
Sahr extended his palm. “We will never be free without this.”
Charles obtained permission to examine the diamond, and looked at it in closer detail. He pulled out a magnifier, and then threw it against the ground.
Sahr lurched out his seat, his eyes wide and mouth aghast. “What the hell have you done?!”
Charles’ own heart had accelerated, and knew he had to calm Sahr immediately. “Calm, Sahr, calm down. Diamonds are the hardest element in the entire world. A real diamond doesn’t break, just like this one didn’t,” Charles acknowledged Sahr’s genuine diamond with a nod and smile as he picked it up.
Their fish had arrived, which were apparently compliments from the chef. Sahr was distracted by more food, but looked at the fish, scrutinizing it. A frown appeared, and he itched his ankle. Booger, mate! What the hell is going on?
Sahr placed his right index finger pointing upwards, and rested his head with his thumb below his chin and his middle finger covering his lips. Oh shit, critical evaluation look. Alright, I have to go loud. He’s backing out of the deal. Something’s wrong here…something’s very wrong.
Sahr asked to look at the money, and Charles permitted him to do so. “Where’s the rest?” Sahr had opened the briefcase and had poked through the first layer of cash.
It was now Charles’ turn to perspire. He retracted his hands, and wiped his palms with a handkerchief. Breathing, he said, “Well, Sahr, if you’d like, you’re welcome to count it. But those hundred dollar bills—the ones with Benjamin Franklin on it—add to two hundred thousand dollars. You have heard of Benjamin Franklin, I’m presuming? He’s from the United States.”
Charles was using a dirty move, one that relied solely upon Sahr’s lack of education. Of course he couldn’t count, of course he didn’t even know what a hundred dollar bill was. He was only told that his diamond could be sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. He’d never heard of Benjamin Franklin, and this ignorant white man seemed to think he came from the soil in which he sat. It was offensive, inflammatory, and distracting—it made Sahr mad inside that he didn’t know, that he hadn’t brushed up on his studies of America while on the fishing boat. It antagonized him to the point where his blood was rushing to his head, where he was not only mad, but distracted.
“I do not come from here,” Sahr said angrily, his face slightly red.
Charles feigned ignorance. “To what do you refer? I thought you lived just down the block, and Chatuluka—a great friend of mine—had met you in the neighborhood!”
But something was happening. It was backfiring upon Charles, his whole plot had backfired—he’d pushed Sahr beyond the limit, and made him feel stupid and, more importantly, vulnerable. He should’ve picked up on Sahr’s critical evaluation look faster, showing skepticism and negative thoughts, but he took a risky, desperate last move and stabbed Sahr in the side by pointing out Sahr’s lack of education and illiteracy. Sahr looked at the briefcase, and then the fish. He put two and two together, and snatched the diamond.
“You son a bitch. You never were going to pay me, you arrogant white man. You think because I’m African I’m that stupid to fall for plot? Is that why you had me come alone, so that I couldn’t read that these are ten dollar bills, instead of one hundred dollar bills?” Sahr quivered with anger; his fists had clenched as fast as his jaw had. His face became even darker as blood rushed to his head in his anger. “I came to help myself, to help my people, to make a difference in my life, not a difference in yours! I did not come here to make you rich!”
Goddamn niggers. Charles’ suave style, voice, and clothing all changed. His voice became hostile, he packed up his briefcase, secured it in his jacket, and put it on. He stiffened, and his fists too curled. “Let me bring you a small newsflash, you African ape. No one gives a shit about you, Sahr. No one travels thousands of miles to buy you! No one pays hundreds of millions of dollars for you, you ignorant twat! None of this has to do with you”—
“Oh I see, so you don’t care about us! I understand it all now! It’s just about the money, isn’t it? You never gave a hair about me, this lunch, or my story! I thought you cared”—
“You seem to think that I actually rat’s ass about Africa and your people. We used to bring you niggers by shipload into where you stand now, you ape! People like Conrad put you back in line, and described you for what you are, a bloody savage!”
“We—are—not—savages. You are a controlling white cracker, one who deserves to die in the hole in which you grew out of.”
“And your insolent behavior forces me to castigate you, just like we did in 1600s. It’ll be old style, Pekkie Ou…it’ll be old style. Just like when we had you people under control.” He opened his cloak, and a magnum rested above his pubic area.
Sahr looked from the magnum to the briefcase and to the fish, their eyes dead in their sockets. Their bodies were half-open, reminding him of shrapnel…reminding him of Africa. It saddened and angered him concurrently. But more importantly, he was reminded of the situation at hand.
Chatuluka signaled for Sahr to run, and walked into the now-shocked restaurant. The fight had become so loud that even the cooks were peering over the counter to see what was going on. Sahr’s eyes traveled from the fish to a six-round magnum staring at him mischievously, as though a child was holding it, knowing he was acting naughtily. Its chamber stared at him with the darkness to swallow the room, the darkness to swallow a calendar. As soon as that trigger was pulled, his calendar was at an end. The gun would swallow him just like the rhombus swallowed the calendar.
“You don’t represent Africa, you nigger. You’ll never get help.”
“And you don’t represent buyers. You’ll never get this diamond.”
“Put dee weapon down, Charles. Your time is at an end.”
Charles didn’t even turn, but rolled his eyes. “It’s the famous Chatuluka, who lets diamond sellers immigrate to the United States by the shitload illegally. Oh yes, I don’t think I will,” and Charles spun on the spot.
Sahr turned and ran. He did not stop, not even to avoid people, but simply barreled his way through. He leapt through a window, glass shattering everywhere like tintinnabulation of the click of an AK-47, signaling him to run. He sprinted down an alley, and didn’t stop—he ran all the way through a park, down an apartment block, and around another corner. His heart hammered, telling him to never stop, to never stop running. He knew he could never escape the gunshots, as they still rang as loudly as police sirens, wailing their way down the street.
Sahr leaned over, wheezing as he was out of breath. He couldn’t believe it. He cursed the day’s events. How would he feed himself? He had a few dollars left from Chatuluka and Leone money, virtually useless. He couldn’t even buy food, much less an actual home. All he had was that diamond. It was a drug; intoxicating him with excitement while making him go into withradrawl…if only he could become independent of it.
He looked at a diamond cutter store, then at the trash can, at a distant alley. So many ways to destroy it. He looked at a “fast cash” dealer, a family walking across the street with a young boy hopping along with his mother, a lollipop falling out of his mouth. He looked at the sadness the boy was experiencing. The mother pulled him along. And yet there were so many reasons to keep it.
“Until you discard that diamond, Africa will never leave you, and you will never truly leave Africa.”
Sahr thought about Charles. He muttered, “fucking crackers.”
Bleeding out and resisting arrest, Charles thought about Sahr. “fucking niggers.”
“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.” (Carl Jung)
A leader at sixteen, Alexander was raised to be legend. His father nurtured his ruthless love for violence and Olympia his self-discipline and endurance. Alexander was a strong willed boy who Phillip raised—albeit distantly. Alexander’s independence and characteristic leadership would contribute to Phillip’s demise. Their relationship was complex in its depth and deadly in its progression partly due to Phillip’s parenting style.
Alexander’s relationship with his father was positive when he was younger. Alexander was given a horse by the name of Bucephalas, which was initially a “vicious [and] unbroken animal.” Phillip regarded the animal as unfit for his son, but Alexander managed to tame the animal and ride it. Phillip was overjoyed by Alexander’s success and marked talent. His father “wept for joy and kissed [Alexander],” demonstrating his evident affection for the boy. He said that Alexander’s potential was boundless, and that he should in time shed the shackles of Mesopotamia to pursue greater opportunities. “…you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambitions [Alexander],” he said.
Such opportunities could be easily pursued with the education Alexander received through his father’s altruism and care. Philip decided that his son should have the best education possible and turned to none other than Aristotle. Alexander learned of the art of poetry, the guidance of philosophy, the passion of drama, the complexities of politics, and more. Aristotle became his inlet to intelligence, a versatile characteristic that would shine in later years. He absorbed education with relish, particularly an annotated copy of the Iliad. Alexander’s attachment to learning also carried to his instructor.
This is seemingly obvious, but has a deeper meaning given Alexander’s view on his father and teacher. “One,” he said, “had given him life,” but “the other had taught him how to live it well.” Intuitively, Philip did not teach his son how to live life. Parental guidance to a path—the cherishing nature in which a parent coaxes a child to live life through particular steps—was nonexistent. Philip may have lauded his son at times similar to when Alexander tamed the horse Bucephalas, but gave few indications of love and care for Alexander’s life and future welfare. As a result, there was a missing link in their relationship that otherwise would have brought them closer. This disconnect compounded an already distant relationship Alexander held with his parents. When Alexander was young, he was trained to abide by principles of masculinity, leadership, and strength. Characteristics or gestures that did not fit within such parameters were not tolerated, such as effusive love. Leonadis, Alexander’s mentor, prevented Alexander from possessing auxiliary items. Alexander was raised within a sphere of minimal love and restricted privileges. As Alexander conveyed, Aristotle had taught him how to live life—not Phillip. Phillip’s overall distant parenting style had far-reaching consequences.
His caretaking (or lack thereof) was one of many contributors to the decline of their relationship. At Phillip’s wedding, Attalus called for a toast at the wedding banquet. His words caused Alexander to throw a cup at Attalus’ head. Attalus had insulted Alexander by saying “may we now have a legitimate heir to the throne.” Alexander replied by saying “villain do you take me for a bastard then” and throwing the cup. A fight immediately broke out. It was not between Attalus and Alexander, however. An inebriated Phillip drew his sword and charged at Alexander, though failed as the alcohol sent him cascading to the ground. This was the most visible indicator of the depreciation of their relationship. In response to Phillip’s violence, Alexander moved his mother away from his father and lived with the Irylian tribe, the members of which were Phillip’s enemies. Alexander’s “retaliation” to Phillip’s action was distancing at worst and nonviolent at best. Alexander may not have drawn his sword and responded in kind, but he caused the relationship to continue to thin—consciously, as well.
A second act would soon occur and further disconnect the two, which Alexander would also cause. Alexander had been trained to follow ambition not entrust love to carve his path in the world. Alexander identified a threat to his future—Ahhrideus was to marry Pixadorous’s daughter, potentially endangering his position at court and in succession. Alexander hired an actor who cunningly rearranged the marriage between Alexander and Pixadorous. Phillip was enraged by such insubordinate action. The very idea that Alexander had the nerve to discreetly scheme an event in his favor and to also disregard his father’s standing was offensive. He publicly chastised Alexander and exiled four of his closest friends who Phillip regarded as bad influences. Alexander’s action was inflammatory in its nature and challenging of Phillip’s status. He no longer believed Phillip was someone deserving of only respect. Alexander’s relationship progressed insofar as he was unwilling to challenge authority; previously he had simply moved away when Phillip had attempted to kill him. Now, he schemed to have an event play out in his favor. Alexander’s relationship with his father would concurrently deteriorate as his ambition grew.
Phillip was perhaps too narcissistic to recognize close family as threats to the throne. His general blindness or unwillingness to evaluate potential threats to himself was his eventual downfall. He ordered a God-like statue to be made of himself and put on public display. His personal body guard Pausinus stabbed him in the chest while he was following his statue which was being presented. Phillip had refused to punish Attalus who orchestrated a plan for men to gang-rape Pausinus. Pausinus developed a subsequent grudge against Phillip, another distanced relationship that Phillip failed to bridge. Though this was not the most significant contributor to his death. In a conversation with Alexander, Pausinus complained about Phillip’s inaction in respect to Attalus. Alexander quoted from Euripides Media, saying that “the father, the bride and bridegroom all at once,” implying that to be avenged Pausinus needed to kill Phillip, Cleopatra, and Attalus. Certainly, Olympia had provided escape horses for Pausinus. Thus it stands to reason that Alexander was aware of the planned assassination. He may not have directly caused Phillip to die, but he took no proactive action to prevent his death. Given his awareness, Alexander could have intervened to stop the assassination of his father. Phillip had, however, drawn a sword on him, exiled four of his friends, publicly humiliated him, and more. Alexander had no motive to help his father—or at least, the motives were outweighed by the expected outcome of the assassination.
Alexander certainly regarded his father as an inept king and had strong ambitions for succession. Such was evinced when he plotted the rearrangement of Ahhrideus’s marriage to prevent potential competition for becoming king. Phillip failed to recognize the dangers of Alexander’s ambition in terms of regicide. As king, Phillip’s relationship with Alexander was complex and also distant. Phillip trained him to hold the qualities of a ruthless conqueror, but failed to protect his own interests. Among Alexander’s negative comments about his father he regarded Phillip as “forestall[ing] us…” resulting in there being “nothing of value left for us to achieve.” Alexander was driven by ambition, not love. Indeed, Phillip identified Alexander as an ambitious boy, one who needed to “find a kingdom big enough for [his] ambitions.” However, he failed to recognize the significant implications of a distanced young adult capable of rearranging marriages and leading armies, an individual who was already tracking to become king.
When one builds a skyscraper, you must start at the bottom.
Though once it is built, one has constructed a building at the highest of Earth's atmosphere.
The beauty of intellect is that it stands as the pinnacle of achievement.
Mcdonald’s. One of the largest conglomerate companies in the world. Hardly can you go into a country, travel via plane into China go halfway around the world to Europe or into the midlands of Texas and Virginia without finding the large, golden M standing in pride of a business that has provided meals for hundreds upon thousands—no, millions—of peopl.
McDonald’s is a business, a provider of trade, the only equitable form of exchange in the world.
There is trade and force. The only two mechanisms for exchange in this world.
Charity falls under the category of trade, the trade of perceived value.
The brilliance of money is that it is the best medium of exchange of goods.
The M represents the power of innovation. It carries an M as the upside down W in power. It has managed to expand across multiple continents and has provided food—easily made, easily consumed, low-priced, and philanthropic in that regard.
Skyscrapers are brilliant. They are like the germination of an idea as it reaches its apex.
Man has achieved many things. One is the control of fire in one’s hands—a cigarette.
He has designed ways to transport himself quickly over distances with little to no energy expenditure.
He has also learned to defy the laws of gravity.
Man has created the process in which he can create synthetic foods.
Rand’s use of Howard Roark as an architect is particularly effective as architecture is the field or practice of creation of things, of a city, of an idea rising above others.
Measure a man by the content of his ideas not by the color of his skin.—Anonymous
Ideas are skyscrapers because they reach the limit of man’s mechanisms. Everything is done via an idea. Every height of greatness every
I grow angry at the idea of writing for any audience for I know my writing is too good to be observed by the common, public eye. Like dominque francon had a painting in her apartment and determinedly threw it away so that the common average eye would not see it I have concealed my inner talent for years for resistance of exposing it. And now it shines upon the pages of a blog for now.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Divergent culture was the obstacle to an opportune welcome by the Chinese. The diplomatic introduction went poorly. A letter was sent to King George saying, “You, O King, live beyond the confines of many seas, nevertheless, impelled by your humble desire to partake of the benefits of our civilization, you have dispatched a mission respectfully bearing your memorial.” At the time, China’s GDP had far surpassed Britain’s, its military prowess incongruent to such a lead, however. The emperor failed to recognize Britain’s naval fortitude and capability of clearing China of any agriculture, economy, or industry, to leave it in its ancient state eternally. Macartney’s request to become ambassador in Bejiing was a campaign, not a request. Thus began laborious negotiations—Sino-style. The game Wei-Oi began.
Later, a new Chinese ambassador was appointed. Li Hongzhang was an ambassador whose role was to balance the encroachment—the Chinese would say arrogation—of Chinese territory with the culture of Chinese superiority as a nation. This would lead to a challenging career, though a markedly successful one. Li was known for his dexterity in negotiations, which served him well and led the wake of fame reputing him. Li stood as a marker for a savior in front of a large puzzle, aligned for disintegration. As Kissinger says, he was positioned in a classic dilemma of the defeated: can a society maintain coheision while seeming to adapt to the conqueror—and how to build up the capacity to reverse the unfavorable balance of forces?
His credentials are most illuminated by his role in China’s midcentury insurrections. Jiangsu, one of the wealthy provinces in China (eastern), was being assaulted and assimilated by Taiping rebels: Western armies however, proving the historical grip of the Europeans on China, had secured the city to manage and control their commercial goods. Li worked with the Western armies to cogently eliminate a mutual threat. This was the cover under which Li actually controlled the Western armies to quell the rebellions and restore order to the region. In 1864, the fighting ended, marking the commencement of Li’s career.
The nature of China’s governance is unsustainable. It relies solely on the patience of its people in conflict. It harnesses its people to help guide its policy. It is a game of attrition that is alleged for external threats, but actually affects the internal polities of the nation. The sovereignty of China was progressively, and recessively, allegedly controlled, not by concise, clear governmental action and industrial fortitude, but by the whims of culture and the capricious nature of the general citizenry of China. It used manipulation in lack of power. China manipulated the chessboard of the balance of powers, vaguely conscious of the tinder they would build. The objective question was if they saw the fire it brewed, or if the fire was accepted as present, not as a looming threat.
China has dominated the manufacturing sector. It has historically been one of the imperial superpowers of the ancient world as well as a rich apparatus of culture. Its government was rooted in Confucianism, the key thread to the Communist foundation of its government. It also had ties—not threads, but ties—to Sun Tzu’s book Art of War. For centuries it had practiced a restrained, manipulative, if not deceitful manner of practicing foreign relations. In this world contrastingly are two civilizations: the West and the East; the east practicing “Wei Qi” whereas the West practices “chess” in foreign relations.
The differentiating factor is the characteristic maxims of each governing hemisphere. The West is direct, and goes for total victory, emphasizes the tenet of glory, or the tenet of mettle in battle. The East is principled in the “Eastern style.” Its character espouses attrition, deviation, which are the tinder for a humane fire, or war. The Art of War states, “anger can turn to pleasure, Spite can turn to Joy. But a nation destroyed Cannot be put back together again; A dead man cannot be brought back to life.” When a fire is lit, it should be short, quick, and effective in its end. The means of course should be aimed with humane as the driven axiom.
One of the let downs of Confucianism as the root of governance is that it attributes food production to the source of industrialization. This is not the case, as Germany would show in the late 1800s, or Britain even earlier with its navy and supreme dominance of the sea in the mid 1700s. Indeed, China’s rule as the Middle Kingdom and center of Earth would apex. Its decline would begin with the explorative inquisitions of the British in the 1700s. Growing steadily, it intended to expand its power and trade—the wo inextricably linked-in the Eastern hemisphere. Macartney was an ambassador sent by King George II.
The primary purpose of his journey was the provocation of Sino interest. The British wanted to ostensibly open trade relations with China. He brought with him a composite of Britain’s finest goods and displayed—through commerce—the apparatus of British value and industrial strength. Diamond watches, weapons like mortars, and even a hot air balloon alleged to be tested through Beijiin did not impress the Chinese. Rather, they condescended the goods as foreign and barbaric by the (temporally relative) Chinese maxim that Europeans were barbaric. A plethora of racial slurs developed, a resultant due to the presence of European traders ensuing Macartney’s arrival. Macartney.