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Sunday, April 7, 2013

"Bettered" - a new definition, a new outlook


Most understand that expression within a connotation of being "shown up"- or, in its next phase; "bested", or "beaten". 

"You have been bested", says the competitor....and scoffs.

"But", says my heart, "what if we were to redefine the word, and the sensibility, based on a REAL understanding of the word - and the language?"... And when I say "REAL", I mean the latest definition and understanding of God by a Cambridge Don, set on making "Presence" mean Itself: (i.e. "Here", and "Real" in everyday life - not difficult to understand, after a little careful thought, AT ALL.)

Calling out name after name, apparently, to check for "absence', he was struck, perhaps, by the answer: "Here." Every one who answered said, "I am here, Sir."

Do we do this with God? Is the answer the same? Where do we look for the response? Do we call and call, expecting an answer, when we should be responding, instead? Are you "here"? Are you "bettered"?Can we be, against seemingly impossible odds?

"Bettered". What do I possibly mean by examining one word with such precision?

How ELSE do we understand the word? When do we use it?

- when we truly FEEL, perhaps, but can't articulate "a sense of relief at improvement in our sensed condition"? answer to what? When are you "bettered?" Is "battered" much more than a typo? Who can be "battered"? Who can be "bettered"?

Let me make it clear, with both question, and answer, at least to my own mind.

Q: How do you feel?

A: Better.

Do we often ask "WHY?", or do we just respond, and know that it should promote immediate understanding? How is this different from "How are you?" "Fine"...when you are not?

How is this different from "Bettered", or "Bested", when it is not in a spirit of co-operation, but one of malice, and vice, and derision, and "being forgotten?"
Why in the world would we think to do this with God....."besting" Him? Why do we remove our promised Comfort from Ourselves, in removing Him, His Works, His Compassion....His Approach? Because it DEMANDS something of us, which CHALLENGES us?....and let's face it, some people like things just the way they are, thank you very much, with the least effort required - and the most damage, whether it's planning, achieving, progressing - or helping, while you reach for a different, and "better" life, yourself. Hands become even more important, then; hands, and hearts, and minds, and words.....and what we do with them - or not. Ankles crossed, hands demurely placed, eyes downcast: the picture of....what? Ourselves, or the ghost of what was once believed to be what we should be, as human beings, being bereft of joy, or determination, or an opportunity to exhibit skill and compassion in a world ruled by a too-long absence of both, because of fear of the loss of something, and someone, perhaps, so precious: understandable. But not "bettered": "bested". They're different.....and so are we. Like it or not, a broken spirit, or heart, or sensibility - through rape, or any act of domination and humiliation - is a show of weakness, not strength. It exhudes and exemplifies fear and ignorance - not strength, or confidence, or....respect in a modern world which can still espouse the best of its ethics in the way it insists we behave towards each other, as human beings, in the midst of regressed corners of our larger garden which tell us that they have suffered from our neglect?Something else has been at work there; there, where the bestial has suddenly become anything but LionHearted in Christ. 

"Those lines really start to add up to a lot of savings." Wow! A collection of fishermen suddenly understanding God!!! that what we meant? Are they in that equation, or important in that shape, structure, impetus, and pinnacle? Is the tip - which is really a sharp point, all joking aside, much like the one I'm trying to make - really supposed to be - like us - the tip of a pen, or a surgeon's tool: capable of MORE, empowered to achieve even MORE things, for MORE people - or a cap that needs a pom pom, and an attitude adjustment, (lest it forget itself, like the most beloved of clowns, set upon to lighten the hearts and the unhealthy....the forgotten.....the "bested"?), having been mocked into submission, yet again?  Have we deemed them unworthy, even now, as we set our "points" upon our heads, and bemoan the weight of the sorrow, and the responsibility?  Even Harry Potter new that his name spoke volumes about what could be done with clay, when the actions, and the instincts, were working for GOOD. When I think of all the poems an inked wand could have produced, given the dearth, and propensity, for rhyming couplets, it makes my breath surge with hope for literacy. After all, it even talks about potter's clay in the Bible.....and look what GOD did with it, when he breathed His breath into it......there we were, an amazing combination of spirit, and impetus, and longing, and carbon, all rolled into impulse, appetite, and ......"betterment": ourselves, realized....but not yet "bettered", I think.....

MICAH Chapter 4 Verse 8

"....And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion, the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem."

 "Bettered", indeed.  Not that I would EVER be allegorically heavy handed. It's just that it's HOPEFUL...and clear. For a woman, a kingdom working in her - even if it is sudden, clear "understanding", rather than, or maybe as the result of, a floating city of dreams in space, even in concept, is very different from what we have been told to expect of ourselves. Choices are scary - and so is someone who wants to know why in the world you would want to eat Christ's elbows. The explanation is daunting.

Not REALLY, you say....besides; I never saw him leaning on them, perplexed, in "artist's concepts". Does that mean they weren't inspired? Or was no one around but God when he laid down for a while in the boat, when no one was looking? Why did it take a storm to wake him up? That is WORK FATIGUE....
Maybe that's why they call it "dead to the world."

Physician, heal thyself.

It takes a "better man" -(i.e. and by this, I mean "woman", too, as well as "good", "bettering", "better and recovered, themselves" - as opposed to, perhaps, necessarily more scholarly: or proven to be, capably learned, perhaps, but more apt to get at the issue causing the problem, as a result of a probing intellect and a genuine desire, combined WITH the intellect, rather than the mistaken belief that they are morally SUPERIOR) to make a better man - and we're not talking about just carbon here: of that I am quite certain....for we are NOT just carbon; we are all the qualities that speak of possibility: we are sorrow and joy, striving and resting; caring and withdrawing, in order to allow for progress of the other, WITHOUT crutch, where one is not needed, and which might only, instead, simply remind one of how INEPT, instead of CAPABLE and indepent, we can really be, as human beings. I guess it's easier - but for whom?

Plus, being treated like you are four years old also means the inherent possibility of never having to stop acting like that. Alas; when you're forty it becomes exceedingly unhelpful, (and unattractive, frankly) when a nation of people are in need of schooling, housing, a sense of "better" - both in themselves, and in the world around them - and the ability to stop "besting" each other into the oblivion which we so obviously started out with, before the "sparks" were "spoken to", and banged into each other with purpose, for a change. Well, as they say, that reaction had to come from somewhere.....and the arguing begins. Meanwhile, space waits, and the day's, and planet's supplies, are running out, due to lack of creativity and an inherent inability to make it reasonably profitable to make another choice. So much for the MBA graduates making a real impression. So much for the poor guy who expected anything but peer jealousy, upon retirement, and the loss of any kind of security, to actually perhaps ENJOY some of it. So much for the rhetoric of "honest reward". When did that concept become a lie, for some people? When did "wanting the best for those you love" mean having someone else steal it all away, because you have a right to (mistakenly) ....distort, exploit, abuse, and steal away, a desire to keep safe someone who has already been harmed, or exhausted from, a lifetime, and a work and rest-filled life of hope and striving?

AGF and the greed heaped upon bereft pensioners whose only crime was not wanting to be a burden on society, in seeking reparation for the abuse and loss of their whole life savings, amidst million dollar bonuses being paid out, in an onslaught of excess and the most vile examples of greed, while clerical workers struggled to manage the ebb and flow of daily transactions within the same environments, in an obscenity of employee abuse, and a continuation of the surety of being able to find someone who you could abuse more easily, whose past exploitation assured their complicit acceptance of it as a workplace norm, while being praised for being "far less lazy", instead of "suitably and culturally groomed to accept the abuse as normal, is success?" How can we make these people more accountable while they continue to imprision us with the burdens of excessive greed? With a loss of community, has come a loss of the importance of the little guy with a dream of finding something that someone needs, and the way, and the tools, with which to accomplish that: the community banker was a big part of that. Strangled by the million dollar bonuses, he becomes a pawn in a frightening machinery of the "removed from reality". He, too, is victimized by it, even as the need for his or her personal integrity increases; for their capacity and compassion, their knowledge and understanding of both those they supposedly serve, and those whose hope depends upon that encouragement and mutual reliablity, is eroded by the "removed and unaffected." The world is a place, for them, troubled by the need for coexistence and mutual striving - not renwed by it. 

 Like the immigration officer in bargain Birkinstock knockoffs, because neither of us could yet afford the real ones, but still "having a dream"(which looked alot like mine) who gave me a work visa in record time on a Friday afternoon in the Korean visa office in Fukuoka, Japan......when the paper lines up, your gut responds, and the only hotel room in fifty miles has just been given up for you by one of two Mexican strippers who both agreed to share one, so you could have a place to sleep, until your plane leaves on Sunday afternoon......the world is sometimes filled with unlikely angelic inspiration. Sometimes you just have to do the right thing, man.....even though later you're not too sure just instantly know it was good.

No wonder the pot guys are rolling their eyes - and their little white papers. We might well appear deeply retarded to an alien species looking in on us; particularly when regarding the arms caches. Talk about a waste of, oh, so many ways!!!! Still, with the spark...sigh. How annoying for the REAL, that we are arguing over particle reaction, and making petrie dishes instead of water purifiers, while we figure out how to visit Cousin Zorb in the planet Zorkon, properly dispose of our nuclear waste, before creating more....or at least the remains of where he was last week: Zorb, that is, as opposed to the nuclear waste. Maybe Zorb could figure it out, if only we figure out a way to escape the bloody awful mess we've made....

Well, it was last week for Him, wasn't it? It's not his fault if we can't keep up, dammit. We're too busy beating each other over the head and blowing smoke up each other's asses. Why would they WANT to talk to us, frankly? I mean, we killed the Son of God! Would you be whipping out the sponge cake and whizzing on in  to the nearest airport?

No wonder He went back; the carbon experience alone must have been totally exasperating, as well as mortally wounding. So much for the carbon- bound: luckily, He saved us having to test it in SAVED. "Forgive them, Father; they know not what they do." He could have added....."please, dearest God; have Patience. I, too, am Yours." Carbon, ego, appetite, and "besting"...including the "a" in the wrong place, perhaps, except at Easter and Thanksgiving, and "battered" having nothing to do with really good tollhouse versions.

Impetus, group dissatisfaction, and finding a common source for our own incompetence - much like Hitler and his government, for instance, when faced with the reality of their complete lack of creativity in order to revive and encourage a renewed economy, in the face of thrift, ingenuity, and the astounding ability to "just keep showing up until the job was done" had a lot to do with that mess.  That experiment in "diversionary bullying to hide one's own administrative and governmental incompetence at problem solving" destroyed six million examples of what they feared, loathed, and envied most: industriousness and success, creativity and compassion. When they couldn't do it themselves, they made sure the "new norm" became so because of what it lacked: sanity,and real examples of it.....I have not forgotten that Jesus was a Jew. Many Christians did then, however. My grandfathers did not - or my grandmothers. I am here, as a result. At risk to their sense of soul, they braved the most vile example of human beings being abused and violated, in order to reaffirm what was expected of REAL MEN - of REAL PEOPLE, in a modern world of compassion and a dwindling sense of, yes, the dreaded word! CHRISTIAN SENSIBILITY: the bravery required when facing the daunting viciousness of a bully who has played into the psyche of the dissatisfied, and convinced them that nothing is required but their avarice, in order to achieve a new low, in the history of our species. He could have been anyone; his victims, the result of an unquestioning, uncaring, and terrorized phalanx of the equally brutalized, who can only be safe when they are on the other end of the gun, in their own some things never change!     

Talk about "regression"....why in the world does every nation not have proper healthcare - or at least the roadways, mapways, highways - real and esoteric - to make this possible? And why do we keep telling each other it must be one kind or the other? Have we forgotten about our carbon? God didn't. He just advised that we would have to temper it with the guidelines, and sensibilities - read WE ONLY USE 10 PERCENT brain capacity - with renewed vigour, and sudden understanding, here - set out in his example in Christ.

And it's a rough hoe not to belt someone back, instead of putting them in a calm, non-damaging restraint, while talking calmly to them, until they recover self-balance: ask any martial artist tempted by those who would manipulate great expertise, in order to do great harm. There is a reason hours and hours of discipline are designed to create selfcontrol and wisdom, compassion, and a desire to "better'. "Bettering" creates a new reality. "Worse" creates ...profit in healthcare? Is a national system of healthcare designed to make a profit for a nation - or only for its caregivers, so that they might continue to both better themselves and others? Is this, then - and finally - why it is so important that government should be handling, and controlling their careful and compassionate complexity, having been charged with the sacred trust of caring for a nation and its people, along with professionals and practitioners? How does this keep in balance the concept of a perpetuation of malady for profit? Is "better" the model, or "malady" the conveyor belt approach to healing? Do you wish to have someone approach your ills as if you were hamburger example b, requiring cut and stitch , like that outlined in pattern type B for a Barbie Dress, using a stolen kidney infected with parasites? I understand it was CHEAPER for someone's bottom line. But then, they were blue collar; plenty where they came from....and important that they stay there, too. One of them might prove to be brilliant AND practical. Seriously; do you really want to CURE anything? Then they'd be BETTER, and beginning to achieve GOALS....perhaps even with a renewed sense, and sensibility, about how achievement changes, when we have used abilities, like our Creator, to renew, and restore, and ....remember. Remember what?

"Remember Me", he said. "Do this, in remembrance of me". He knew all about carbon and spirit; appetite and selfcontrol; the frailties of the human condition, and the maladies and weaknesses of the human ego, the failings of hope, and the frustrations and temptations of the striving. Like the carbon renewed, temporal and temporary vigour gained by consumption of a bit of strong corporeal spirit, the analogy, like the understanding, was both complex, and clear, at one and the same moment, in these days of DNA and electron. "Impetus", "inspiration", the "will of the Spirit", the "Desire of Ages"...that hope, and Wordsworth's "still small, voice" that we know as, in moments, our God, moving in us, that is not of us, but of Him; these things move carbon. Dawkins, sadly, thinks only in terms of appetite and reaction, bound by the corporeal: sensibility cannot provide the same concrete explanation, and so he would deny its existence, even while yearning and searching for proof of it, amidst his notably wistful scoffing:he "wishes" it were so....

Reaction is the corporeal result - something Einstein knew well, when he warned of the responsibilities of the learned to understand the concept of "misuse", and the idea of "power and betterment". Lives, ultimately, had to be about another Example, when Hope was at stake, and it must keep pace with what we "Can do." Should be pause, first, and consider? Perhaps, then, "Yes we Can", would have even greater Meaning.

Moments had to be taken, sometimes, to ensure that this was, indeed, about "our better selves", not just "more." Success, repressed, meant an inability to do more good, too.....and what was absent, in the equation, was the "better man" in the bettered man'....or woman. Preventing success limits and inhibits a whole nation - indeed, in this day, a whole world:ask an incest survivor. Their horrifying breach of trust has created a fierce independence in the healling examples of it; a determination that they WILL be relied upon; that they will ensure that ideals are NOT mocked as something unattainable, or unreal. They begin to "make it so", in a way that needed example, and made it REAL, in themselves. 

This leadership quality has been absent, and the suffering shows within its lofty temporaries: they are still carbon, and the world might still remember them, within that BETTER example. Whether it remains a treasured goal separates one species from another; one world from another; one success from a life well-lived, having realized, beyond one's wildest imagination, the REAL numbers of "Bettered", having "bested" none. The Best, for a moment in space in time, having followed another approach.....and leaving behind.....what? More pain, more debt, more hardship, more violence, more evil, more destruction, more.....evidence of love? What have we done with our garbage, for starters? How have we shown love? Would Dawkins care? If God is the "remembrance, enlivened, even in the continuance of example, which, in the doing, incorporates that same Spirit, within the corporeal, at that instant", then why would he deny God, and impetus, in Man? Why would he, frankly, LIMIT man to the corporeal, aside from, perhaps, a genuine desire to reascertain a "source to end" approach to industrial manufacturing, in a world of unrecycled plastic bottles littering a beach so thickly, that the country's rich are "moved" to build, and live, high above it, instead of incorporating "having it cleaned up" as part of the "new wealth" which created the obscenity in the first place? Millions in slum tents await the consideration....and the moved spirit within a REAL sense of leadership.....     

Where is the creativity which suggests that we CAN get from here to there without poisoning, destroying, bankrupting, disrupting, and starving ourselves, each other, and everyone else, to death? Has no one considered "transitional development", industry-wise, or is the concept, idealization, and impetus which once meant innovation, and REAL progress for the average, modestly incomed person "too hard?" Besides, the word is "difficult": a wall, like a concrete noun, is "hard". A test is "difficult"; a pencil is "hard". When in the world are we going to get that right? Too busy texting, I expect...and it's so much WORK to write it down....sigh. Besides; then I have to read it. Maybe even aloud....eegads! Was THAT how they used the phone way back when????? (Think how their thumbs could be stretched beyond their imagined digital possibilities...the joke of the modern "opposing thumbs", texting away like mad, digitally impaired and squinting aliens.....instead of putting the numbers on the side where you don't hit them with your chin, so that you cut out any semblance of conversation, for one really wants to hear you, anyway. It's all for show, and practicality in design....sigh. Do they expect us to move our chin to suit the design model, or learn to speak through our noses?)

Anyway, if we "morph" the expression into "it takes a better man to make a better man", we get all kinds of wonderful derivations: "it takes a better person to make a better person"; "you have to be better to make better" (I know a few Great Women smiling here, I think, and some Truly Wonderful Men, at the thought, having done so, with or without singing the Rose - but who probably would have been cheerier, had they had the opportunity to do so, a few times, because no one else would do the dishes, while they made the bread to go along with it...); "suddenly, I feel better"; .....but not, "better him than me".

That last is not wishing ANYONE fact, it means the OPPOSITE, doesn't it? We don't have the guts to say what we really mean, perhaps: "there, but for the Grace of God, go I"....too archaic. Too much reading. Too scary....too accurate, perhaps. Or maybe we really DO wish him ill.....unlike the old days, when compassion was an actual part of the language we thought to speak. Even the manner in which it was crafted spoke volumes about the importance we placed on being very CLEAR about what it was we meant, when we said something.......very precise. It was important to understand, back then. "Could mean" became the evidence, and the fog of surety suggested by a pictograph, or a heiroglyph, which suggested all manner of understanding: "difficult" was precise.

I have been difficult; both for God, towards God, and both for, and towards, at times, other people. Sometimes it was because I wanted "betterment". Sometimes it was because I could do nothing, except make known my bewilderment, my fear, and my grief. Sometimes I was afraid because in the devolution of people you trust, your world begins to slowly fall apart, and this is very disconcerting, when they expect you to keep it all together. It's unsettling when the supposedly competent tell you that you're THEIR example, just by refusing to stop simply showing up, day after day. That suddenly becomes a strength, again - and in a time when we really need it.  Rliability does not make you a freak, after all...
Sometimes it was because I was frustrated, hurting, bereft, feeling incapable, stretched beyond the limits of a considerable, and carefully nurtured, capacity for patience; sometimes it was because I longed to be four again, just to have the security, and surety, of both carbon, and compassionate, comfort, which at that time in my life, I knew, in my loving, and wonderful, parents, as everpresent, evercaring, evervigilant, everstriving, and exceedingly humble. I think I always knew them both as underestimated, and undervalued, but I never understood "disadvantaged" and "unrealized potential" until I understood "need" and "humility" - and the stubbornness of refusing to abandon ship.

We have work to do, until it is time. Time for "what" is food for thought, and hope....and we had "better" get to it. Thankfully, we still have it: time, that is. That...and some much-needed rest....until the next time.  We cannot do one, without the other, and we MUST have that, to continue doing the other, with any skill, zeal, or renewed vigour:carbon, and spirit, sanity, and appetite. No wonder they call it a "sense" of humour. How else could you possibly explain it?

....I'll wafer that you will try. Wink. I'll be here, too.....for a while.


Sleepy...pensive....and then ...a song to help!