The ancient Roman philosopher and statesman Lucius Seneca dedicated an entire series of letters to his friend Paulinus on the subject of the brevity of Life. The collection, in the modern era is sometimes called “On the Shortness of Life” or “On the Shortness of Time.”
In the collection, Seneca outlines the various ways in which we waste the only resource we truly command – time. But perhaps the most meaningful passage to me comes from his third letter:
Men do not suffer anyone to seize their estates, and they rush to stones and arms if there is even the slightest dispute about the limit of their lands, yet they allow others to trespass upon their life – nay, they even lead in those times who will eventually possess it. No one is found who is willing to distribute his money, yet among how many does each one of us distribute his life.
We give our time to football games that we watch alone in the privacy of our homes – to what end? We seldom spend more than a few seconds discussing the highlights with friends, but we’ve dedicated hours to the watching. We’ve done no self-improvement, we’ve done nothing to support, protect, or aid our fellow man.
We give our time (often as unpaid overtime) to our employers, when there is nothing returned to us except a moment on our death bed when we realize that we worked too much while we laughed and loved too little.
No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time on my business.’ – Arnold Zack, as quoted by Paul Tsongas in his Memoir “Heading Home”
Our time is the only resource we have – and we don’t know how much of it is available for us to use for ourselves and our families or offer to the world. It is such a small amount of time too! A man is only allotted about three score and ten years. Beyond that only the Creator grants additional time, and He can take us into the Celestial Lodge above at any moment before that. Would He approve of the ways we leveraged the use of our twenty-four-inch gauge during the time He permitted us to work in His quarries?
I’ve been asked many times in the past several weeks whether or not our withdrawal from Afghanistan has caused me any emotional distress.
I gave many years of my life to the United States’ failed attempts at nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, so it is probably natural that people might feel that I might be distressed, or need help. I don’t. For reasons which I won’t go into in this post, I have no problem with these failures. I pretty much can in all seriousness say: I have always seen this coming.
But there are many of my brothers and sisters in uniform, who gave so much more than I during the past many years who very well might need help.
For you, I would ask that if you’re feeling down, or alone, or depressed, or anything else negative about Afghanistan – don’t be part of the horrible Veteran Suicide statistic. Please.
Call and get help.
In November of 2017 I was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason at Scottsdale Lodge #43, F&AM, in Scottsdale (I know, obvious, right?), Arizona. For those who understand the following, these are the relevant items:
- I: October 19, 2017
- P: October 26, 2017
- R: November 9, 2017
Since then, in 2019 I became a 32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Mason, Royal Arch Mason, Cryptic Council Mason, and York Rite Knight Templar, as well as a Noble of the Ancient Accepted Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriner for short).
This post is a starting point for me to try and provide education, as much for myself as anyone else, about Masonry. There are things which are secret, which I will not discuss or reveal, but they are underwhelming at best, and some might even say silly (as my wife often does when she tries to figure out the modes of recognition). I’m sure I’ll make mistakes along the way. I’m sure someone will think I’ve revealed something I shouldn’t. Let’s just see where it all takes us.
To be clear, I do not speak for Freemasonry. No one does. The words I may say on this blog on the topic of Freemasonry are my own, or borrowed and attributed, but do not necessarily represent the opinions or truths of Freemasonry to any other person other than myself.
The first iteration of Dave’s Not Here… was a livejournal.com website. Then I ever so briefly moved things over to typepad.com and then to movabletype. When I decided to self-host I moved it to WordPress, and I was a fairly regular blogger for a few years.
What ended all of that was a decision that the Social Media policy of my then-employer changed to be so draconian that I was fearful of termination and decided to quit blogging.
With the rise of Social Media and Facebook, Twitter, and other sites I’d occasionally put something out here on Dave’s Not Here… but it wasn’t always the best representation of me, as can be seen in some of the posts below.
I also saw the near complete end of what I was doing here – because for some reason I was arrogant enough to believe that readership was the goal.
I never should have cared if you, or anyone else read this blog. I should only have cared about the blog being here for me. My hubris over the value of my utterances turned into a sort of depression about losing readers to social media.
When in fact, I shouldn’t have cared. I’m not writing this for you.
I’m writing this for me.
So, I’ll write what I want, and I’ll write it for me, and I won’t impose on myself a goal, or a genre, or a direction – all of these have had the opposite effect and led to the end of content.
I have more to say than that. But I only have it to say to myself. If you like it, certainly, contribute to the discussion. If you hate it, certainly, try to change my mind. I’m open to dialogue. I find that I’m more often wrong than right.
Sometimes it can be erased.
Sometimes it can be white-washed.
Sometimes it can be forgotten.
But it is indelibly part of the present.
Someone, somewhere, has copies, or screenshots of some of my most embarrassing posts here on Daves-not-here, and while I can wish them away, I can’t make them disappear forever.
They are a part of me.
For those of you who read them, they are a part of you, at least partially integrated into you.
For those of you who preserved them, they are fully integrated into you because you found either a positive or negative future value in them. I am a part of you. You can never remove me from yourself.
When your death arrives, as it will, the part of me that you integrated into yourself will be passed on to your children.
In this sense, we are both immortal and will live forever through your children.
Thank you for your part in making me, and whatever ideas I have had, and their influence on you, immortal.
- October 19, 2017
- October 26, 2017
- November 9, 2017
Because of the circumstances of my raising, I delivered all of my long form examinations in Lodge on March 15, 2018. Beware the Ides of March!
The 2016 Presidential election will go down in history as one of the worst elections in US history. Americans were confronted with a choice between an immeasurably untrustworthy, and not at all liked candidate, who by many accounts was (arguably, and definitely not in my view) the most qualified candidate for the Oval Office in US history, and a candidate who almost half of America (and the rest of the world) feels is a racist, misogynist, narcissistic tax-cheating bully.
Out of approximately 325,000,000 people, these two candidates were the best our current two-party system had to offer? Really, it’s pathetic.
As a result of the election of one of these absolutely awful candidates, Donald Trump, I have been doing a lot of thinking and reading concerning how this could have happened. Make no mistake, I’d have been doing the same if Hillary Clinton had won the election as well, since I feel deep down inside that the Democrats and the Republicans have nothing left to offer the average American in terms of actual leadership or new ideas.
While listening to my back-catalog of podcasts today I heard this wonderful exchange from Dave Rubin (of the Rubin Report) and Don Watkins (of the Ayn Rand Institute)
Rubin: Now you realize that a certain amount of them that are watching this right now are going, ‘Wait a minute, he’s a white, cis-gendered, able-bodied male…can’t listen to anything that he says’
Watkins: You know, I don’t feel guilty for anything that is not the result of my choice. I don’t think that a person should be judged on anything that is not the product of his choice, certainly not a moral judgement. And I certainly don’t think that my right to speak, to have ideas, and to argue is contingent upon being born in a so-called…you know…victimized category. I think that is a complete corruption and anybody who apologizes for it or tries to, you know, prove that they’re not racist or….you know…uh, like….what am I supposed to do? In order to speak should I basically throw out my money, like have my skin died, or chop off a limb? Like that is…
Rubin: A certain amount of people would say yes to that.
Watkins: Yeah, and that reveals how insane and bankrupt their view is. That is not an argument. It is not a real concern with helping the oppressed…to try to dismiss the ideas of people because of their skin color or because of their sex. That is an attempt to silence debate because you cannot win a real debate.
Food for thought, folks.
White privilege, white guilt, white culture shaming…
All of these are intrinsically the same kind of Marxist / Leninist / Stalinist / Maoist / National Socialist group identity guilt that led to pogroms and murder in Germany, Russia, China, Cambodia, and every other country that used them as a social justice weapon to raise one group up and set up some sort of equity or supremacy for another group. The Regressive Left has to realize eventually that the politics of social justice lend themselves naturally to hate.
What social justice will there be when one group kills another to remove their advantage so their own protected group may succeed?
Don’t say it can’t happen here. That’s what you used to say before Donald Trump was elected President.
Social Justice group identity guilt is a disease of the Regressive Left and needs to end.