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Monthly Archives: May 2014

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Lesson 2

Meditation is overrated…

TakenbyDes2

…at least it is in the rarified form that it is sold to us.  When I say the word, does it evoke images of sitting cross-legged on the floor with wrists resting upon your knees, palms turned up with thumbs gently pressing second fingers?  I think there are probably only a few thousand people across the entire planet who can actually sit that way in comfort for any period of time.  I might be dead wrong about that.  I’m dead wrong about most truths, as you are, and every other one of the human species is.  But I haven’t met very many who could…  But more to the point, whether you’re forcing yourself to maintain uncomfortable postures while you try to achieve a state of nothingness or not, the court stenographer of your life that resides in your brain will begin reading back the transcript as soon as there is nothing more tangible to distract you.  This is a process of the human mind.  It will not go away.  You’re stuck with it until you die.  With persistence, you can for moments overcome it, and achieve the stillness where something that might slightly enlighten you lives, maybe…  But a truly meditative state, where you have completely turned off all of your mental processes, and you are actually engaging in productive communion with your “inner voice,” or better still, the silence is rare, and highly unlikely. Read More →

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Pay Me, Part 2

Can’t Buy Me Love

               I can’t sell me any either…

There is a school in Santa Monica, California (Where else would it be?) that offers advanced degrees (advanced as far as they are concerned) in what they call Spiritual Psychology.  I sat with them for the better part of the first year of a two year program, again because the part of me that was satisfied with sitting at the Master’s feet was not, and could not be, on speaking terms with the part of me that wasn’t.  My brain and body needed something to refute.  For some serious money, I got that in spades.  This corporation of consciousness peddling sold class jewelry to augment its income to a student body many of whom were eager to buy both its brand of sensibility and symbology (yes, it’s a word, because I said so).  I suspect that to those who bought from the table of trinkets at a purported school of advanced spiritual study, the rings and pendants and things where tokens to commemorate their having been to that particular mountaintop, and having communed with the two latter day gurus that abided their.  And the gurus spoke their nostrums, codified and specific, from a raised platform to congregations of hundreds at a time, a great many of whom listened and fell in line with an almost cult-like obedience, regurgitating ideology in language verbatim.  Such, I think, are the manifestations of the raw panic that we are in, we body-bound, searching for any port in a storm.  I watched for the gurus to behave in ways contrary to what they perpetually espoused.  They did.  I knew they would.  After all, they were me, as were the four hundred or so seekers hoping for access to a higher truth, and hoping that higher truth would bring them a better boyfriend, or a bigger income.  Perhaps some found it.  Some must have.  But I had been hoping, in my need, that I would not find myself among them, that the peddlers speaking down from the dais at least, body-bound as they were, would actually be people more of Spirit than of flesh, and that when I watched and listened to them I would not see me.  But there I was, stamped all over their insecurity, and inauthenticity, and even in perhaps their lack of awareness that what they were about was anything but perfect.  Or was it my lack of awareness?  Were they not perfect as it related to me and my spiritual advance?  And was I not even a little bit enlightened if I realized just that much? Read More →

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Township Children

Township Children, Plettenberg Bay, SA, Fuji Velvia 100, December, 2001

Township Children, Plettenberg Bay, SA, Fuji Velvia 100, December, 2001

 

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Pay Me!!

I Know a Couple of Secrets That Would Make Your Life Better.Many  bundle of US 100 dollars bank notes        You wanna know’m?                                         Pay me!!

This dumb shit is as old as the scribes and Pharisees.  The truth is (and I give it to you for nothing, because it is worth nothing if I give it, but only worth something if you receive it, which might have something to do with why it is called “the received word,” and not “the delivered, dictated, or SOLD word”) most people who are possessed of any real knowledge are not looking to sell it to you.  In fact, the very act of putting a price tag on truth nearly guarantees that the peddler has none to sell you, and very little if any true awareness of his/her own.

I had considered Transcendental Meditation for a brief while.  It felt to me like something proactive to do, something besides just sit there.  Nothing wrong with just sitting per se, one of my most favorite things.  Most fair weather mystics will sit and search in more or less equal measure on the path to transcendence, which comes eventually whether they chose to do either, or neither, but only makes you feel like you’ve earned your enlightenment in any egoistic sense if you get up off your ass.  The funny thing here is that if you need to feel as if you’ve earned your enlightenment, you are still more or less wholly ego-influenced, which means you haven’t been enlightened at all.  Ya gotta laugh at this shit!  Anyway, the sitting, as I expressed, particularly if you sit in anticipation of revelation, can, in the least case, strain patience, or, in more acute manifestations become boring to the point of madness where one gets up and runs screaming into the arms of the for-profit gurus simply to break up the monotony, which is more or less what I did on any number of occasions.  Frightened by visions of having sat there forever and breathing my last unenlightened breath to the sound of The Master’s derisive laughter, I undertook to “learn” something. Read More →

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Lesson 1: Ego

Nothing on this Earthly Plain really matters…

…but that doesn’t mean that you get to be an asshole…   FateSignweb                                                                                      Well…                                                                                        Maybe it does.

I’m nothing but a guru in training, so don’t sweat me on this stuff.

But the fact is everything on this physical plain requires the “I Am” for it to be on this physical plain.  As in, “I am a man, who is forty, with a car, and a job, who can count, who has read ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,’ with a wife and two children, who is vacationing in the Grand Canyon, upon whom it is raining, whose taxes are rising, whose savings are shrinking, who experiences occasional erectile dysfunction, who is hungry, whose house is blue, though I would have preferred brown…”

All these “awarenesses” require this man to perceive himself as something other than he is.  The ego, as tool, makes “sense” of things here respective to the individual.  Spirit, on the other hand, couldn’t care less.  In fact, “care,” one way or the other is a concept for which we created a word while we were busy defining everything on this physical plain, good bad, right wrong, respective to ourselves.

I suspect God’s vocabulary consists in its totality of the equivalent of “I Am.”  But there an end… or an eternity… Read More →

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Fair Weather Mysticism

Where to begin?

The fact is you’ve begun and there’s not a thing you can do about it.  Keep doing what you’re doing and try not to be a dick.

FriendshipSignweb

I am forever seated at the feet of The Master.  It is a perpetual circumstance.  Something like being mentally retarded and not possessing enough proper brain function to wonder, much less deduce why.  My supplication at The Master’s feet is not, as many of the bookstore adepts would suggest, an awe-inspiring journey of wonder and discovery.  In fact, the awe that it seems to inspire is most often a fascination with how endlessly uninspiring it all is. Read More →

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It Will Be A Miracle…

…If You Can Read A Course in Miracles

You will never buy a book written by a truly enlightened person.  The closest you may come is a transcript of a talk he/she was giving to someone, or group of someones for free.  You will sit, or walk about, and wander through this human experience alone making what use you might of The Master’s presence, or perhaps having no awareness of it at all.  But each of ours is a singular experience, and you are “right” just by making a choice, even if your choice is divining how everyone else is “wrong.”

At that Santa Monica school, they were fond of asking, “Would you rather be right, or in the Love?”  Since I sit at the feet of The Master, a captive audience of sorts, I figure I am always in the Love.  Being that that’s taken care of, I’d like to be right.  I am right.  But I don’t plan on making a case of it, or changing anybody for it.

According to all of the books and DVD’s all the new-thoughters are selling on quantum theory for dummies, we can power-of-positive-think ourselves right into anything we want.  So why then should any of them need to slang books and DVD’s?  Well, the argument goes, for those mystics feeling argumentative, “This is a mode to disseminate this information, which is as intrinsic to the creative vision as anything that I have prayed up for myself.  What serves all serves me, and visa versa.”  I’ll buy that.  Though, You-too-can-have-anything-you-desire schemes for the masses are probably a bad bet.  The masses never really want world peace, generally speaking.  They want a boat.  I know I do.  There is no cumulative consciousness towards transcendence because there are very few individual ones.  Bodies prevent that mostly, which is probably why The Master feeds us this stuff through an eyedropper over multiple lifetimes.

And why a lifetime at all; a body-bound lifetime of reactions and erroneous ideas?  Course in Miracles says we made it all up.  It says it about ten million times embedded in page after page of obtuse prose, supposedly the channeled voice of Christ, or the Christ Consciousness.  And why not?  I read the book.  It had to be too hard to write that shit for some fair weather mystic like me to have done it.  But anyway, it says we created this illusion of separation from God that we cling to; that our self-imposed sense of separation is as good as actually being separate…  The good news is it’s only a sense, and as soon as we chose to stop sensing it we will no longer be separate, but since we sense it, we’re pretty much fucked, because the sense that we’re sensing was being sensed before we were born, so that this is now the cumulative reality, rather than the still and unthreatening Oneness with Spirit that we might have if we weren’t so busy not having it. No one’s fault.  Just the unfortunate situation wherein we discover ourselves to have created ourselves with no clue as to how we did it, or how to undo it.  See how silly this stuff gets from the get-go?  It posits that we are, in fact, One with The Divine, but are too crazy to be aware of it, which is not to say that it will necessarily be any easier to be aware of our oneness once we stop being crazy.  In fact, the chances of stopping being crazy are quite slim, and so it might be better to get cozy with the idea that, no matter how One you are, you’re never gonna much experience it in it’s nirvanaesque beatitude.  I would suggest that the relative truth of that, if you follow the breadcrumbs, would also make me way too crazy, or practical, to spend the next five or six years trying to digest the impossible and repetitively obscure scribblings in that way too big book when the upshot is that we remain forever at The Master’s feet, probably by design.  Didn’t I say that?  I said that, didn’t I?

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An Aquarius Full Moon

It’s an Aquarius Full Moon tonight.
Somebody told me that’s what it was, and I saw it, hanging
Bold and unapologizing in the sky, when I let out the dog to do his last of the evening thing.
Being an Aquarius, I suspected that
Ought to have meant something to me.  In fact,
I was sure it did.  I Googled it and found a lot about it having to do with compassion and
Service and selflessness, yadadayadadayadada.  But
For all that,
All I could think of was that
We looked up at it the other night, you and I, and decided that
It wasn’t quite there yet.  And that
Later I reached across the cab of the truck and took your hand.  Or was it before?

SaturnMoonweb

“Does Saturn Have an Aquarius Full Moon?” Acrylic on wood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Either way,
It was like a boy.  And
You held my hand, simply, but
Held it,
As if maybe you know a little something
Of boys, and how they’ll
Sometimes reach across the cabs of trucks on warm nights when
The moon is nearly full,
Putting every one of their fears, frustrations, and doubts into the hope that
There’s just a little love over there.  And how they’ll wanna
Weep when they find it; wanna
Hide in it, that
Hand they’re holding, but
They’ve been acting like men too long.  Tonight,
It’s an Aquarius Full Moon.  I wondered
If you saw it.  Then
I wondered where you were.

© 2007 Keith Hamilton Cobb
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The Fair Weather Mystic: Another Introduction

I think somewhere (and when I say “somewhere” I mean in some state of awareness) there must be a place, a place and means, to play perpetually. Now some will maintain that we do play perpetually, “…dancing on this Earth for a short while” was what Cat Stevens called it, and may still, though the wandering marabout in him has since taken him searching in unexpected directions. But already I digress. The fair weather mystic is even peripatetic in his thoughts. Sorry. But, a place to play, perpetually, where all of one’s giving to this world, to life, is only the totality of one’s living; of one’s isness. This is more than a simple notion, even though it may very well be the true nature of life on Earth. For we are generally taught that more is expected of us than to simply live fully, and there are many interpretations of what “a full life” actually means. Or perhaps we are taught that life is a struggle, that no one owes us anything, and that we should expect to need to work for anything that we ever get or achieve. Make hay while the sun shines. Soon you’ll be dead. Many a mystic, particularly those of the fair weather variety have heard these admonitions, and, though they strive, cannot quite disbelieve them. And if they can’t, how shall I expect all of greedy corporate America, or you, or the world, to do any better?

HopeSignweb

There is a breed of mystic, the pure ascetic, the 24/7 sadhu that walks through the world with nothing, and, in essence, attempting to be nothing, egoless, an empty vessel.  And one of the many things that he, in his life-long practice, has emptied from his vessel of being is fear.  The pure ascetic is unconcerned, not that nothing could harm him, but rather what could it matter in the least if something did… However, while this is an attractive state of mind, I think he may also be incapable of appreciating, for instance, the beauty in the work of his own hands. I doubt he would derive any pleasure from the sexual admiration of another seeking his company. For such things as these require some ego.

For each wrung below him on the spiritual ladder I suspect we must take upon us some concern. Worry… I am a fair weather mystic. I want to know with certainty that all is well, and provided for, including me, if not me primarily. But I will not step into nothing to see. It requires too much of me. I am not that disciplined. My bliss remains preconceived. It is of something that I already recognize. To hold and defend those preconceptions is of the ego; of my ability to say what is. I needn’t defend them. In fact, I know they are the height of bullshit. Yet I have them. To have them is probably of ego too, but could it be of less ego?  Could I be slightly enlightened to know that all I act from is human, because I AM?

I am a fair weather mystic. I know that doing what I do and seeing what I see is not all that I could do or could see, and yet I know as well that it is me (there’s that ego!) and being me, a perfect imperfection, that it is no less a perfect contribution into this earthly everything than the sadhu’s nothing.

Try to get this.  There will be a quiz.

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Shakespeare in Sable

Black Actor Backstage, The Globe Theatre, West Hollywood, CA, 1999  (I love this photo.  Can't remember how I shot it.)

Black Actor Backstage, The Globe Theatre, West Hollywood, CA, 1999
I love this photo. Actor: Marc Ewing

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The Ancestors’ Breath: Whispers in the Void

I got an email today from a man in Colorado.  He was writing to tell me that he and his son had somehow just discovered Andromeda, and that they had both been moved by the actions and intentions of the character, Tyr.  It’s always touching to get such attention so long after the fact.  It compelled me to throw these writings up here one more time.  There are still other places you can see them, but they have endured, for some, like the character, and I thought they should have a permanent home.
Ancestors' Breath ImageThese “journal entries” from the perspective of the character, Tyr, were written as an exercise meant to hopefully provide dimension to a character who was far more complex in my mind than he was for the exigencies of production.  It’s far easier to produce content about facile characters, but they are equally that much less interesting or fun to play.  I cannot speak for the viewership, but my sense was that such characters are never particularly interesting to watch either…  I had endeavored, in The Ancestors’ Breath, to explore the depth of the character’s actions and intentions as informed by his back story; his heritage, his changing life circumstance, and a whole lot of stuff that I just simply made up regarding how I assumed such a species (genetically engineered super-human) would most realistically behave.  They were a help to me, creating psychology and sensibility where, for the sake of the camera, there were only general ideas.

For the fans of the character, I suppose that these writings amounted to little more than fan fiction from the horse’s mouth.  And that’s fine…  Who better, in fact, to write it?

For those interested in perhaps a slightly more insightful, less fictional take there is an interview here for an online magazine called Rebublibot.  It’s the last interview that I did on the subject of Andromeda, acting, and Sci-fi.  It’s actually quite comprehensive.

For any others, those who remain, or those who are newly interested, here, in eight separate posts, are all eight entries to The Ancestor’s Breath: Reflections and Reminiscences of Barbarossa’s Son. Read More →

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The Fair Weather Mystic: An Introduction

CIMG0030

In our meandering through life we are sometimes lucky enough to stumble upon another who seems to hear us when we speak, and we are drawn, almost entranced at times to listen when they speak to us.  And so, we engage the discussion, sometimes most fervently, because at last it feels as though more of what we say is being heard, and more of what is being said to us we can truly, clearly, immediately understand.

After months of our conversations; nights upon days upon nights of discourse – long, heated, tearful, impassioned discussions, not the dissertations of armchair adepts, parable laden, obtuse and riddling, but an unconditional airing of truths as I had never heard them – I asked Mr. Jones to tell me the meaning of life, to which he promptly retorted, “How the fuck would I know!”  It was then that I first realized that he was truly enlightened.

Immediately upon the realization, I asked to follow him, to which he responded, “Follow me?  I don’t go anywhere.”

Realizing this was true, I asked if he would at least write down all that he knew so that I could read it, and spread his wisdom where ever I went.  He said, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

I said, “Wait a minute!  I know that song!  You didn’t write that…”

“Oh, alright then,” he said.  You take dictation?…  Gimme a beer and a turkey sandwich, and let’s get goin’.”

These then are some of the things he told me… Read More →

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As This Thing Is (The Thing Itself)

Mixed media on wood, painted circa 2005

“Be Still and Know” mixed media on wood, painted circa 2005

This Thing, It would not speak to me.

It has no words, nor, as I see,

no iconography that will suffice

to depict clearly Its device.

It takes no rise from words or deeds,

but, being, oddly, It concedes

an insouciant assurance

of Its perpetual occurrence.

This thing, it seems…It Is…volition.

And that’s the whole of Its condition.

 

With ceaseless verbal diarrhea

I’ve been to war with that idea.

Demanding that This Thing respect

the shock troops of my intellect,

I took that huge unquantifiable

to blows with my sure and reliable

self-conceit…without requite.

This Thing just was…It would not fight.

I, rhetoric weary, acquiesced.

In my submission, It expressed

That farts in breezes mean as much

if I with language hope to touch

divinity, or would advance,

with my corporeal arrogance,

to some more conscious point of view.

And yet…This Thing, should it imbue

all my relentless diatribing,

and like endeavors towards describing

what It is…with Its own essence,

then It’s expressed in my incessance.

And so It is…And so I Am,

accidentally if at all prophetic,

But grateful, and, as This Thing is,

divinely unapologetic.

 

© 2005 Keith Hamilton Cobb
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Savoy Brown and Nehru

dogcomp

Fujichrome Provia 400… I think… Digital composite Iris print on water color paper. (Of course, you’re only seeing the digital file, but that’s what it ended up being…)

 

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American Moor: An Overview

AmMoor-TestamonialsWeb4

This project, the play, “American Moor,” began as most creative endeavors in my life do: as resistance.  I had always resisted the idea of doing a solo show.  It seemed to be the sort of thing that came up in discussion every time an actor was talking about the things that weren’t going on in his/her career.  Someone would inevitably say, “Why don’t you write a solo show?”  And I always thought that having nothing better to do was never a good reason to do anything.  Many of the solo shows that I had seen were one of two things, either extremely self-indulgent, or dependent upon the type of strong character work that was not my skill set (think Anna Deavere Smith).  I didn’t think that I had a strong shot at creating one of either variety and being happy with myself.  And what was more, I just didn’t want to do one.  Acting had always been an ensemble endeavor.  One did it in conjunction with others, in a scene, whether on film or on a stage.  And for me, acting stories still abound about creative interactions with others, some joyous, others not so much, that paint the portrait of my professional life.  Standing up there alone seemed to scream “Look at me!  Please!!  Just look at me!”  I don’t think I ever entered into the industry to have people look at me, although that is sometimes how it turned out.  If this thing we do is, as Shakespeare says, about “holding the mirror up to nature,” and if nature is more a series of interactions than a look at any one being unto themselves, then I feel as though I’ve always been there as a piece of some larger ensemble, and not really a value alone without the other elements conspiring with me to present a living moment.  This is heady shit, I know.  I’ll just move on.


 

It started simply.  I was auditioning for the role of Oberon in a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” a casting that makes perfect sense if you know anything about the play or me.  The young director on the other side of the table had no shortage of things to say about his concept, and what he wanted to see in the role of Oberon, the faerie king, and his interaction with Titania, the faerie queen.  But he had cut nearly everything out of the audition material that would have allowed me to show him any of what he had said he wanted to see. Oh, and what was more, the reader enacting the role of Titania was a 60 plus year old man!  The director didn’t know me.  He didn’t know my work.  I stood in the middle of that studio floor a complete unknown tasked with showing a complete stranger that I was who he wanted, what he wanted, and all with about three minutes or less to do it in…  There’s more to that story, but why wallow in the absurdity?

1st reading of "American Moor," Manhattan Apartment of the director, March, 2013

1st reading of “American Moor,” Manhattan Apartment of the Director, March, 2013

Audience / 1st Reading, New York, March 2013

Audience / 1st Reading, New York, March 2013

Moor Reading March 2013 C

 

The upshot is that in the wake of that audition I began to think about how we are all always auditioning for the role of ourselves, or for the role that someone expects of us.  So much of American culture is predicated on the idea of selling one’s self.  And what if the role that one expects you to play is neither remotely who you are, nor who someone’s erroneous notions seek to make you?  What if you can’t be seen because the person looking is far too busy trying to picture you as who they would most like you to be for their purpose?

So, when I began to write, it was this interaction that I was writing about.  In that respect, I guess I didn’t really write a solo show at all, but a two person play with the second, unseen person representing everyone else; the omnipresent voice of the culture (replete with all its cultural expectations) that we have all made some tacit agreement to answer to whether we are aware that we made it or not.  ”American Moor” has evolved from there.  My colleague, New York director/producer/filmmaker Brent Buell, urged me to begin this project, and it was in creative collaboration with him, and under his direction that it had its first reading in March of 2013.  Since then, it seems to have taken on relevances impacting a much more diverse audience than I had originally imagined it might.  I suppose this speaks to the commonality of this human dilemma, if that’s not blowing my own horn too much…

AmMoor-Testamonials2Web4

My note in the program for the second public performance said the following, and I think it is still at the root of the play:

“I had always thought that no one saw me.  But, as I have regularly been admonished over these older years, “Everything is not all about you.”  This is a difficult realization for an actor to make.  But I think it is equally difficult for humans as well.  I hope that this will not be the extent of my maturing awareness.  But it’s a place to start.”

Funny, I think, that a guy who was resisting saying “Look at me!” would write a piece about needing to be seen…

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Beth and Roman

MorningShoesweb

           ”Roman lay sprawled on his face about the bed, half dreaming, less than half awake, reached for her, his fingers finding, feeling the contour of an uncovered hip, his touch her stirring, turning from him, a long, irregular breath, exhaling, pressing her back against him, and he wishing he could be outside of himself on mornings like these; outside of himself, invisible, and watching the two of them together, waking, and behaving like two do when their only acquaintance has been made by the trial and error of an unplanned, first time tryst; when the light of the morning reveals that they are beautiful.”

Excerpted from the short story, “Beth and Roman” from the collection, “The Odd Purgatory of My Personal Perception”
©Keith Hamilton Cobb
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Arrogance, Ignorance, and a little innocence, and Reports of a Fella’s Homosexuality can end up being GREATLY Exaggerated

KeithActorLobbyOrlando

Lobby, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Orlando, Florida, 2012

When I was an acting student at NYU’s Tisch School back in the mid 80’s they did not teach a class for this…  There was nothing that taught us how to deal with the public, odd and so often irresponsible child that it is, in the unlikely event of popular “success,” whatever that really means.  My perception of most of my classmates was that they had stars in their eyes; visions of media stardom, wealth, and prestige.  I suspect that they assumed that they would deal with the vicissitudes of fame as they arose.  For most, they never did.  Me, I had always considered myself first and foremost a stage actor.  My media aspirations were always, for me, a means to that end.

But how, in the world of television and film, to remain just an actor?…  How to be not Cruise nor Costner nor Clooney, but yet to have shown up visibly in places and in ways that generate interest, that make a splash, that foster a healthy, or unhealthy curiosity, but then to return to being just an actor again, not nearly as present on the popular radar, leaving those who rose to celebrate my presence in wonderment over where I disappeared to, and why?

One must be flattered by the attention of others, even if those bestowing it are unwholesome in what’s prompting their focus.  For an actor, for just an actor, attention from others suggests that you are doing something right.  We must remember that the term, “celebrity,” originally pertained to an individual who was being celebrated; one who was honored with the attention of the public because they were worthy of it.  But it is simply sensation that we honor today; the sensation of being arrested blind drunk with a half a pound of cocaine in the trunk, or for being taped having sex in a hotel room.  The culture that has arisen of people who have found a living in making of their own lives a sideshow, putting all of their business, whether real or made-up on public view for a dividend, is worlds removed from that of being just an actor.  And these “celebrities” are not wholly to blame.  We, the audience, are a culture as well.  We are a culture of watchers, looking for escape from frightening lives of our own, with puerile interests and morbid curiosities.  “Why?” is a question that we hardly have the time to ask of ourselves anymore for fear we might miss the start of the next episode of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”  We can barely step away long enough to look all around, and at ourselves, and observe how very ugly, and empty, it has made us.

Who is this petty, pathetic, and ignorant beast that gathers around the TV to watch the “reality” of the latest train wreck?  It is all of us together, unhappy and afraid, who just acquiesce, setting our standards so low, accepting these sordid trivialities as entertainment.  Individually we know better.  Individually, we love better.  Individually, the better angels of our nature say to us, “There is a better way for you to be.”  Individually, sometimes, we listen.  Read More →

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Ayana Nebula

Ayana Nebula

mixed media on wood

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On the Train

I heard the old man on the train talking about his new hip replacement
In explanation of why
He got up so carefully, slowly,
Graciously exchanging seats with the waiting family of five.
I asked,
“How long have you had it?” and
The man began to speak to me about it as if no one had asked in a long time,
Or ever.
He said, wide-eyed, almost hopefully,
“You know about hips?” and
I told the man, smiling, almost apologetic,
“Well… not that kind…”  I was just asking.
The man told me –
He seemed eager to continue the conversation –
He thought I might be a doctor the way I inquired,
Which got me thinking,
While the old man spoke,
What would now be different if I had, in fact, been
A physician sitting on the train reading my book
Who had gone to school for nine years to become one, and
Then had practiced for several more, and married, and
Made babies
(Like the couple with the two children and grandma in the next seats over,
All looking quite content on their way to the baseball game) and
Now I was indeed inquiring,
Asking about the man’s new hip
Because I knew all about them, and
I genuinely cared about others, and
My heart was huge, and
Open?

© 2014 Keith Hamilton Cobb
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The Relativity of Ethics

My father was quite fond of reading and quoting a Nietzschean  supremacist poet who called himself King Darius, or “The King”.  He wrote, “Glorious son, go up from the nightside and look down on us. / Where the lights shine brightest, there! There are we. / Where darkness alone resides, yet there are peoples whose one resource is wishing. / Go up because you can. / It will remind you of who you are. / And of who you shall not ever be again.”   King Darius’ writings reflected upon Nietzschean world scenarios that existed ten to twelve generations prior to his words ever reaching my father’s eyes.  Subjugation of inferiors, or “primitives” as is perhaps the more accurate term, was commonplace, and necessary to ensure economic development.  His works enjoyed a resurgence of popularity during my childhood among Nietzschean slavers and those who refused to either denounce or condone their practices.  My father was one of the latter. Read More →

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