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Interconnection – Muslims, Mexicans, California and Conquistadors

Recently, I have decided to call California home for the long term.  It has been difficult to let go of the possible return to life in Asia but using the techniques laid out in my post “Mind Control” I’ve been able to do so and am enjoying myself!  (I simply decided to become enthusiastic about it and so it was)

In order to to ease my mind in this mental transition, I have decided to turn inward and study the history of California.  At first, my aim was to discover local, historical places of interest for weekend jaunts.  But what I have quickly learned is that California has been a crossroads for all the major cultures I enjoy!  Further, in a way it connects my past with the present.

I spent six months studying in Spain while I was at University and am very familiar with the history.  I also spent three months in Mexico and learned quite a bit of their history.  However, in my mind, they remained two separate places and I really didn’t understand the connection.  Now, living in California it had not occurred to me that all three places are connected and if we start in Spain, continue through Mexico, pass through California, we can eventually arrive in Asia by following the path of the Spanish Conquistadors!

As I have lived in all of these places, you have to understand how excited I am to find such a direct connection which adds tremendously to my understanding of the past, present and gives me a glimpse of the future!  Further, as my mind continually wants to pull me back to Spain, Mexico and Asia, I find I can remain connected to all three by simply staying in California and studying history!

 

This enlightenment occurred to me last weekend when I downloaded the book “North to California: The Spanish Voyages of Discovery 1533 – 1603.” This is an excellent book and to my surprise, has taken me right back to Spain starting with La Reconquista.  La Reconquista refers to the retaking of the Spanish peninsula from the Moors over a period of 800 years.  This book taught me that the discovery of California has to start in Spain and thus has reconnected me with my past in that country!  What this book does is ‘connect the dots’ between my understanding of Spanish and Mexican history and my discoveries here in California.

Just as the opening credits of “The Tudors” explains, “You think you know a story, but you only know how it ends.  To get to the heart of the story, you have to go back to the beginning.” By studying the history I can be transported back to to time of Kings and Knights!

It all becomes so clear!!  I can understand the present much more by understanding the past!  This “enlightenment” has also enabled me to understand current political issues such as Mexican immigration and “Muslim Issues” by learning about the past and I cannot express clearly enough my discouragement when I hear our politicians simplify every issue.  They have no understanding of history!  Now, when I hear their debates, they seem almost like children to me!

How simple they all are!  By understanding history, we can easily see that we are all connected and there is no absolute good, no absolute evil, history moves along and will continue to change what many would wish to keep permanent.  Just as Buddha says “Nothing is permanent.”  If we wish things to remain the same forever then we will be eternally unhappy.

Instead, let us rejoice in change and let us understand how we came to be as we are.  Only then, can we more completely understand where we will be!

Now, I know that history lessons can be tedious and boring.  So instead of diving completely in to each period like a professor, I am going to skim over each period quickly while adding personal tidbits to keep things entertaining.

The point of this post is to pull out those golden nuggets from the drudgery of academia to help you achieve an understanding of the past and therefore more fully understand the present.

I. España (Spain)

As said in “The Tudors” opening credits, we have to get back to the beginning and a great place to start is “La Reconquista.”

Spain has always been a very important vanguard in protecting Western Europe from Muslim influence.  In the year 711, the Muslims entered Spain and continued conquering north for the next several hundred years.  The only place that was not under their control was the Kingdom of Asturias and Asturians today take great pride in this fact.  (I have a friend from there and he told me so – thanks Jose!)

From the year 716 the Christians start to push back and by 1492 the Reconquista is finally completed with Ferdinand and Isabelle retaking Granada.

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*Side Note:  Spain has not always been “Spain” but instead a collection of Kingdoms.  The most important of these were Castilla and Aragon.  Isabella I came from Castilla and Ferdinand II from Aragon.  This was quite a royal match as Ferdinand was very handsome, athletic and a great match for Isabella.  She had the opportunity to marry Alfonso V of Portugal but they had an age difference of 19 years so Ferdinand II was the better match for her.

Imagine if Isabella had married Alfonso, then the Kingdoms of Castilla and Portugal would have been united and the Iberian peninsula would look much different today.

Another tidbit I learned is that the name Castilla (which means Castle) came from the practice of building fortresses (or castles) on tops of the mountains during La Reconquista which provided protection and areas from which to launch attacks against the Moors.

—————

Now, what one has to understand is during these 800 years or so of reconquest, Muslims and Christians mixed and that is why Spaniards of today are darker than northern Europeans.  Further, if you look at many of their names, some may have “moorish” names attached.  There are also many Arabic words in Spanish such as the following:

1. azúcar – Sugar
2. barrio – Neighborhood
3. Algebra – Algebra
4. jarabe – Syrup

For a bigger list, click here.

Currently, some politicians would like to simplify history as Christians vs. Muslims, but in actuality it was pretty much everyone against everyone.  Christian kings fought Christian Kings, Muslim rulers fought Muslim rulers and within those Kingdoms there were rivalries amongst themselves.

Newt Gingrich has tried to portray the Cordoba mosque in Spain as an affront to the Christian world when it was much more a middle finger towards other Muslims who wanted to rule from Damascus.  Just read any book entitled “History of Spain” and this fact will most likely be pointed out.

Now, getting back to the Reconquista, we have to understand that this created a huge warrior class of hardened fighters.  As we know today, it can be difficult to re-assimilate these warriors back into society and for them to not cause trouble they must be kept busy.

As Cristobal Colon had recently discovered the “New World” this offered a perfect opportunity to send these warriors to conquer new lands.  Now, we have a very hardened “religious extremist” warrior class heading to the New World in search of riches and the natives had never encountered such a people.  Certainly there was going to be trouble.< /p>

 

But, before we get on the boats and head West, let us take a moment to speak about Toledo, Spain.  I had the great fortune to study here during university and it was here that set the course of my life for the next decade.  Religion, culture, language all became intensely interesting to me and it is all due to my experience in Toledo. In fact, I’ll write another post just on Toledo, but in this post, let us get to why it is important and fun facts.

1.  Muslims, Christians and Jews

*Note – I am going to go very fast through this and tell you some important points, politically correct or not.

– The current political climate is detestable concerning differing religions.  Toledo is a shining example (as well as a horrible example) of Muslims, Jews and Christians getting along as well as persecuting each other.  It was under Muslim rule that Christians and Jews were allowed to worship.  It was most likely that they were still second class citizens but to have all three religions be able to get along amicably, especially in the Middle Ages, is astounding.

When the Christians took over Toledo they not only expelled the Muslims but the Jews as well.  It was pretty much a reign of terror with the Inquisition and nobody was really safe.  However, you would have to think that after fighting for so long, this terror might not be so surprising as the Christians wanted to solidify their hold on the country through religion.  The pendulum is always swinging and after going to far in the Islamic direction it swung equally and forcefully back into the Christian domain.

Why were the Jews expelled?

Well, they were not Christians first of all and if you were not Christian at this time, you were in big trouble.  Secondly, the Jews have always been a very tight knit group.  They are very smart and many of them in the financial sector.  They would charge lower rates to other Jews and very high rates to everyone else.  This caused a huge amount of resentment and what is called “usury” is one reason this group has often gotten in to trouble.  Christians were pretty poor during this time and just like the Nazis, used the Jews as a scapegoat to redirect the populace anger towards a certain group of people.  Not good at all but this is a reason.

When I was in Toledo, I remember a story of a Jewish person coming back with a very old key that had been passed down in her family for generations.  And guess what!?  The key still worked.

Another interesting story was that Toledo is so old, when they make renovations, they often make discoveries.  At the church by my school, they knocked down a wall and found part of a mosque.

 

Toledo is important for many reasons, but in terms of conquering the “New World” one reason is they had “Toledo Steel.”  The natives did not have such armor and this is the reason a small group of Spaniards could win against a huge amount of natives.

If you go walking through Toledo today, you can find many shops as in the picture.  I personally bought one of those smaller knights and it has become a treasured piece of my collection.

II.  The New World

Before we sail off, I also want to mention Don Quixote.  As you probably already know, he is the crazy knight who attacked the windmills.  But he also helps us understand the mentality of the Conquistadors.

During the 1500s, there were many books published about this idea called “Chivalry,” and were very popular with the soldiers.  Basically, the stories were about some famous knight who upheld all the values of “good,” fought monsters, had a one true love, and always won.  Don Quixote is a satire against these “silly” books since as we know, Don Quixote is a feeble old man who thinks he can conquer the world by upholding the values of Chivalry.  He continually embarked and failed on adventures and really won over the hearts of Spaniards which is why this book is the most famous in Spain.  He is always referencing some famous Knight or another from the books of Chivalry.  There are many DQ books some with different translations, but most of them have Don Quixote reference Esplandian towards the beginning.

Who is Esplandian and why is he important?

The book is called “Las Sergas de Esplandian” and is important to us in this post because it is where the name “California” came from.

In the book, there is a fictional island named “California” ruled by a Queen Califa.  When the Spanish had made their way across Mexico, they crossed the gulf of California and found Baja California (Lower California).  They didn’t know it was a peninsula and thought it was an island.  As they had been reading Las Sergas de Esplandian they jokingly named it California.

Now why was the queen named Califa?  Califa sounds like Caliphate which is an Islamic word and refers to a system of governance.  Therefore, by naming the queen Califa, it gives her a bit of an ominous sound as the Spaniards are very anti-Islam.

But let us back up and arrive freshly in the New World.

The Spanish had first arrived in the Caribbean and launched their voyages to Mexico from there.  Hernan Cortez was the main protagonist here and with their use of Toledo steel were quickly able to establish a presence in Mexico.  However, this ragtag group of soldiers could not take over the entire populace just due to their weaponry.

Their real advantage was exploiting the divisions among the Indian tribes there.  The Aztecs, were the dominant group but did not refer to themselves as Aztecs, but instead “Mexica,” which is how we get the name Mexico.  Their religion involved a MASSIVE amount of human sacrifice provided by the less dominant tribes and this was very unpopular.  It was kind of like the “tax man” showing up and demanding a certain number of people for sacrifice.

Further, these “lesser” tribes had their own ritual sacrifices, many of which included babies.  Therefore, when the Spanish show up and are against human sacrifice their religion seems a bit better, especially when they show images of La Virgen Mary with the baby Jesus.

As Cortez could not communicate with the tribes, he found immense value in one small native girl who knew the language of the Mexica as well as the tribe helping Cortez.  To the Spanish, she is called Doña Marina (which is an honorific title) but to the Mexicans, she is called La Malinche and is the most hated woman in Mexico.

Linguistically, it is quite interesting that her name starts with “Mal” as this is the Spanish word for “Bad.”

Please take a look at the following video, because without it, you will not be able to understand the rest of this post.  It will explain the reasons why the Spanish were able to conquer as well as why the Spanish are so hat
ed.

WATCH THIS

Now, I’ll add the translation and a bit of commentary so you can better understand the story.

From the sea they saw them arrive
mi feathered brothers and sisters
they were the bearded men
of the awaited prophecy.

The prophecy is that of the God Quetzalcoatl who in legends speaks of a white skinned God who will come from the East to reclaim his kingdom.  This God was cast out by a stronger God in ancient times.  It makes me wonder if the natives didn’t have some contact with a white skinned person or perhaps a European who perhaps had sailed off course and then simply became legend?  Or maybe there were albinos in that time?  I don’t know and the academics even question if Montezuma (leader of the Mexica) believed him to be a God?

In any case, this is the prophecy the lyrics are talking about.

The voice of the monarch was heard (Montezuma)
saying that the god had arrived 
and we opened the door to them 
out of fear of the unknown

They were mounted on beasts (Horses)
like demons of evil
they carried fire in their hands
and they were covered with metal.

Only the valor of a few
put up any resistance to them
and when they saw the blood running
they were filled with shame.

(The Spaniards were a hardened bunch of fighters who often stuck for the face in order to induce fear among the natives.  These guys fought so many battles and were extremely scarred so the Spanish women didn’t really want to marry them)

Because gods don’t eat,
nor do they enjoy what they’ve stolen
and by the time we realized
everything was over.

(They just could not be defeated.  It seemed like their eyes were always open, always ready for an attack)

In that mistake we gave up
the greatness of the past
and in that mistake we became
slaves for 300 years.

(Spaniards came, conquered and did make slaves out of the natives)

The curse remained with us
of offering the stranger
our faith, our culture,
our bread, our money.

Today we continue exchanging with them
gold for glass beads
and we give up our wealth
for shiny mirrors.

(The Spaniards traded glass beads for gold because the natives thought they were very valuable)

Today, in the middle of the 20th century
blond people keep coming to us
and we open our homes to them
and we call them friends.

(A bit of resentment here against the Rubios, now called Gringos.  The term Gringo didn’t come until much later which means “Green Go” and refers to the green the American army wore)

But if there arrives an Indian,
tired of walking the mountains
we humiliate him and we see him
as a stranger in his own country.

(In Mexican society there are whiter people *Spanish blood* who are the ruling class and rich.  The “natives” are darker and much more poor.  In the USA you will notice that many of the migrants are of a darker color and more likely to come in search of work.  Yet, there are white Mexicans if you take a look at their society.  The societal breakdown in Mexico is worth a post *hint hint.*

“In addition, the Mexican population consists approximately of 60% Mestizo (mixed indigenous-Spanish), 30% indigenous, 9% white, and 1% other. There is a definite racial hierarchy in Mexico that is easily observed, but seldom acknowledged.” –  Documented here.

You, hypocrite, you who appear
humble before the stranger
but become arrogant
with your peasant brothers.

Oh, Malinche’s curse,
sickness of the present,
when will you leave my land?
When will you make my people free?

Notice that this song is sung in the language of the oppressors.  The song also assumes that Mexicans are united.  If we look back at history, the varying tribes were at war with each other and nobody really liked the Mexica.  But, as the Spanish ran over the entire country it is easy to place the blame on the Spanish and conveniently forget that the native tribes really disliked each other.

This is very similar to the way Native Americans blame the “white man.”  Yes, the white man was terrible but it is also true that Native Americans (North America) were continually at war with each other.  And, if we go back to Europe, the “White Man” was also continually at war with each other.  It would seem that everyone was at war with everyone!

In any case, it is a very sad song and tells of the fall of a civilization which changed them forever.  It puts me in a very reflective mood every time I hear it.

III.  California

Now, let us get to California.

IT COULD HAVE BEEN, that the USA could be divided between Spanish and English speakers if the Spanish of this time period had decided to settle into what is now called the USA.  By why did they not?

a.)  The Sonoran Desert. –  This was simply too hard to cross with a large supply of animals, goods and so on.

b.) A Good Reason – The Spanish were looking for easy money and would rather conquer a civilization and take gold, not necessarily mine for it.  When Pizarro conquered the Incas, this sent some soldiers south in search of fortune.  Up in the present day USA there really were no civilizations as advanced as the Mexica and Incans so why even go?

c.)  Wind and Current

Notice that the currents run down the coast of California.  The wind also pushes South to East.  This makes sailing very difficult if you are going up the coast.  Therefore, if there is not a lot of easy money to be made, it is hard to get to, and you cannot get by land, California at that time was a very inaccessible area!  Very isolated!

d.)  Focus on Asia

– At that time, the Spanish monarchy became increasingly interested in Asia and “The Spice Islands.”  The Portuguese were making their presence known in Asia and the Spanish did not want to be left out of the action.  Therefore, they ordered Cortez to send expeditions there instead of concentrating on California.

If you would like a good movie about the Portuguese influence in Asia from the time of discovery I recommend “James Clavell’s Shogun

Some did make it however and the Spanish influences in California remain a subject of study for me.  Here are some interesting tidbits.

1.  Place Names

Most names in California are in Spanish.  Why?  Because when the Spanish made a new discovery they would name it after the Saints day on the Christian calendar in which it was discovered.

a. San Francisco – St. Francis – Was discovered on his day
b. San Diego
c. San Leandro

If the day it was discovered had no Saint attached to it
, there were plenty of other Christian things it could be named.

a. Santa Cruz – Holy Cross
b. Vera Cruz – True Cross

2. El Camino Real

– This is a main highway running up California and was the principal highway before freeways were constructed.  It means “King’s Highway.”

3. Missions in California

I don’t have much to say about these yet and am looking forward to more discoveries but what I can share is a picture.

This is a chair shown to me by an acquaintance.  It has been passed down in his family for generations and was acquired by his great grandfather from a mission he was hired to do work for.  We can see an image of a conquistador right there on the arm rest.  He told me that his grandparents had made a mistake in the 50s’ and had the chair reupholstered, which you’re not supposed to do on antique furniture! 

4. Conclusion

In conclusion, I am very much looking forward to making more discoveries here in California and have my work cut out for me.  This is something I enjoy and should I come across something interesting, I’ll be sure to share.

What I’d like to leave off with, is a political point concerning Mexican Immigrants and the whole Mosque brouhaha occurring right now.  Instead of sound bytes, I think it would do everyone better to learn about history and see how we are all tied together.  Wouldn’t an explanation like this be much more interesting than simply the nonsense spouted by our current politicians?  It would be much more fun to debate the following!

1.  If you’re related to the Spanish, you may have Moorish blood
2. A great part of the USA was once Mexico
3. The divisions within Mexican society
4. The USA could have been a Spanish speaking nation if the Spaniards would have crossed the Sonoran desert in greater numbers.  
5. Muslims let Jews and Christians worship freely in Toledo, Spain.  Couldn’t we replicate these ideals?  
6. Muslims invented Algebra and were great scientists in the past.  Some places have decayed but that is the fault of the leaders.  Islam just like any other religion has much to contribute.  
7. Everyone massacred everyone at some point.  There are no tribes or group of people that are pristine and free of awful actions.

Instead, let us learn from history and let us all get along!  It is impossible to keep things as they are as the world continually changes.  Embrace other people, learn from them and call them friends.  It is time to stop all the wars, the hatreds and blaming.

If we cannot do this, then we will just continue the atrocities of the past.  As the cliché says, “Those that cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  – George Santayana.

After so many millennia, you would think we would learn.  But instead of the quote by George Santaya, it seems like we would all prefer another quote:

 

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Astrological Signs and Blood Types

Tonight I feel like having a bit of fun.

I have been debating writing a post like this for some time and thought it over while on the elliptical at the gym.  To be honest, the elliptical is one place I can think clearly and come up with ideas for new posts.  I never turn on the T.V. turn up the music, stare out the window and start to daydream.  I sometimes become a little distracted by the TV the person next to me is using however and today they were watching the talking head pundits on CNN.

As I could not hear what they were saying, I thought about copying part of the broadcast and making my own dialogue like my friends and I used to do in High School.  I saw Wolf Blitzer (who comes up with a name like that, seriously!) and imagined him saying “You’ve been a very very naughty girl Nancy.  I should spank you.  I’m going to treat you like the Taliban Nancy, me and you, you are going to get some shock and awe baby. “

 

 

 

Then the T.V. panned to Nancy and her lips started to move.  “Yes Wolf, I am ANGRY, VERY VERY VERY VERY ANGRY.  I’ve been ANGRY my entire life!  If you come near me Wolf I’m going to bite you, I’m going to bite you VERY HARD.  I AM VERY ANGRY!”

But then, I thought no, a post about Astrological Signs, Blood Types and the Ying Yang would be much more fun.  I also started to wonder why in the hell was I thinking about doing something as juvenile as making my own dialogue to the monkeys on CNN?  Who thinks about stuff like that?

Perhaps I could find some answers with my astrological sign or perhaps my blood type.

Before I dive into it, you are probably understand the significance of astrological signs but are wondering about the blood type.  In the Japanese culture, it is believed that your blood type determines your character.  I’ll explain more about that when we come to it later on.

I.  My sign:  Gemini

To be honest, I have never really given much thought to astrological signs but in the interest of fun and entertaining myself let’s see if we can find some answers.  I looked up the description of a Gemini on astrology.com .  Let’s break this up into pieces.

1.  “Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac, and those born under this sign will be quick to tell you all about it. That’s because they love to talk! It’s not just idle chatter with these folks, either. The driving force behind a Gemini’s conversation is their mind. The Gemini-born are intellectually inclined, forever probing people and places in search of information. The more information a Gemini collects, the better. Sharing that information later on with those they love is also a lot of fun, for Geminis are supremely interested in developing their relationships. Dalliances with these folks are always enjoyable, since Geminis are bright, quick-witted and the proverbial life of the party. Even though their intellectual minds can rationalize forever and a day, Geminis also have a surplus of imagination waiting to be tapped. Can a Gemini be boring? Never!”

– Well, I’ll be damned, it looks like they’ve got my number.  Here I am sharing a post with all of you while I learn about what it means to be a Gemini.  Perhaps there is some truth to this astrological stuff.  It is true I like to develop my relationships for I’ve always thought that life is just no fun if you do not have anyone to share your experiences with.

I’m not sure exactly what “dalliance” means so I had to look it up.

– Dalliance:

  • the deliberate act of delaying and playing instead of working
  • flirt: playful behavior intended to arouse sexual interest

:biggrin: Wow, as I’m not sure who is going to be reading this I think I am not going to comment further on this point.  Let’s continue on.

2. “Since Geminis are a mix of the yin and the yang, they are represented perfectly by the Twins. The Gemini-born can easily see both sides of an issue, a wonderfully practical quality. Less practical is the fact that you’re not sure which Twin will show up half the time. Geminis may not know who’s showing up either, which can prompt others to consider them fickle and restless.”

Again, we have a perfect match.  In the blog a “Global Citizen” we are constantly trying to see both sides of the issue and combat the nonsense put forth by Wolf and Nancy.  I not only want to understand both sides but write on a blog to share it all.  Again, there seems to be some truth to astrological signs here.

I like the comparison with the Ying and Yang.  As you can see in my previous posts, some are light hearted and fun while others a bit dark.  I’m not even sure which twin is going to show up from day to day and sometimes there can be quite an internal struggle!

3. They can be wishy-washy, too, changing their mood on a simple whim. It’s this characteristic which readily suggests the Mutable Quality assigned to this sign.

Wishy washy??  I don’t know if that is the right description but I can agree with changing my mood on a simple whim.  I wrote about this in Mind Control , it’s not really hard to do, you just decide to be happy and presto.  The down side is you can also decide to be a moody b*tch as well which brings us back to the struggle as demonstrated by Luke and Darth.  LOL.

4. Geminis are both curious and clever, which is why they are such a hit at cocktail parties. Although they talk a great game, they also love to listen and learn. With any kind of luck, the Twins will find themselves in interesting company, because if they don’t, they are likely to get bored and start fidgeting.

So that is the reason I start twitching when watching Fox News and damn near went into epilepsy when I found myself at that Tea Party a while back.  I never woulda thunk it!

5. Any social setting is a good one for a Gemini, however, since these folks are charming, congenial and love to share themselves with their friends.

I’m down for a party anytime, anywhere.  I’ll bring the wine.

6. Geminis are playful, flirtatious and endless fun.

Ok, I like my sign A LOT.

But being the flighty Gemini I am, I’ve tired of all the examples of what it means to be a Gemini.  Let’s move along to blood types.

II.  Blood Types

In Japan, they do not use astrological signs but rather blood types as the determinant of personality.  In fact, during WWII the Japanese army actually arranged their battalions around blood types so the group would be more effective!

I am a B blood type which unfortunately is considered “difficult” in Japan.  Being both serious and flighty can cause issues in a relationship.  One minute we are paying full attention and the next minute we are flying across the ocean on a jet ski only to be returned to the present by “Are you li
stening to me????”

In fact, it shares quite a few characteristics with the Gemini!

Here is the complete list provided by Issendai.com

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Every Japanese celebrity writeup and every anime character description with any claim to authority gives the person’s (or character’s) blood type. Why? Because, thanks to a remarkable bit of Science! by a gentleman named Furukawa Takeji, the Japanese believe that a person’s blood type affects their personality.

Each blood type has a personality profile. These profiles—which I took from a site whose location is long since lost in the mists of time, my apologies—are:

Type A

People with blood type A have a deep-rooted strength that helps them stay calm in a crisis when everyone else is panicking. However, they tend to avoid confrontation, and feel very uncomfortable around people. A types are shy and sometimes withdrawn. They seek harmony and are very polite, but all the same feel that they never really fit in with others. A types are very responsible. If there is a job to be done, they prefer to take care of it themselves. These people crave success and are perfectionists. They are also very creative, and the most artistic of all the blood types, most likely because of their sensitivity.

People with blood type A are also likely to be considered classic “type A’s”: stressed and conscientious. In anime, people like Hotohori are type A’s.

The Third Hokage, Haruno Sakura, Hotohori, Heero Yui, Keiko (Kayko) Yukimura

Type B

People with blood type B are the most practical of the blood groups. They are specialists in what they do. When they start a project, they spend extra time understanding and trying to follow directions than others might. When they are doing something, all of their attention is focused on it. They tend to stick to a goal and follow it through to the end, even if it seems impossible. They tend to be less than cooperative, as they like to follow their own rules and their own ideas. They are individualists. B type people pay attention to their thoughts a little more than their feelings, and therefore can sometimes seem cold and serious.

People with blood type B are often considered more relaxed, freewheeling, and unconventional than other types, although not necessarily to an unacceptable degree. In anime, the genki, off-the-wall types are type B, along with any kind of well-intended character who’s ruled by their impulses.

Naruto, Duo Maxwell, Miaka, Nuriko, Tasuki, Sagara Sanosuke

Type O

People with blood type O people are outgoing, energetic and social. They are the most flexible of the blood types. They easily start up projects but often have trouble following through because they give up easily. They are flighty and not too dependable. O types always say what’s on their mind. They value the opinion of others and like to be the center of attention. Also, people with O blood are extremely self-confident.

Type O, the most “average” blood type, is considered the best type in Japan.

Quatre, Sailor Moon, Saito Hajime, Kamiya Kaoru, Tamahome

Type AB

People with blood type AB are hard to categorize. They can have characteristics on both ends of the spectrum at the same time. For instance, they are both shy and outgoing. They easily switch from one opposite to another. AB people are trustworthy and responsible, but can’t handle it when too much is asked of them. They don’t mind doing favors or helping out, as long as its on their own conditions. People with this blood type are interested in art and metaphysics.

AB is considered the worst blood type. In predictability-loving Japan, they’re loose cannons. They also like to set their own conditions and reserve the right to drop out when things don’t meet their expectations. They’re known to be sensitive and considerate—at times—but it just isn’t enough to balance out the flaws in this blood type. For a while, some companies tried dividing their employees into work groups based on blood type, and no one wanted to work with the AB group. Anime villains are likely to be type AB.

Uchiha Sasuke, Hongo Yui, Tomo, Trowa Barton, Kenshin

A is most compatible with A and AB.

B is most compatible with B and AB.

AB is most compatible with AB, B, A, and O.

O is most compatible with O and AB.

————————————–

If you ever need to break the ice with a Japanese person just start talking about blood types and I can assure you the conversation will last for an hour!  I’ve personally had this discussion with my Japanese friends on several occasions and it has NEVER gotten old.

After reading the above I’m pretty surprised that a B is most compatible with another B.  If I imagined myself with a B type, I’m quite sure we would either have insane amounts of fun or absolutely kill each other.  As the description says, we can be both serious and freewheeling but not at the same time.  This is just as with the Gemini in that we are not sure which twin is going to show up!  From the video above, if Luke wins in both people, then fun will be had, but beware if Darth Vader decides to make a presence in either individual,,, it will not be a good time.  🙁

So, if you examine yourself, would you agree that your personality matches your astrological description?  Your Blood Type Description?  Or is it all just a bunch of hooey?

I for one believe my astrological sign and blood type descriptions match up pretty well!

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America and Religion

Yesterday, across all networks the story was repeated over and over that 24% of Americans believe Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Upon reading this I really had to fight the urge to bash my head into my keyboard.  I usually try to refrain from causing myself bodily harm but the onslaught of stupid news is causing me tremendous mental damage.  It looks like I will have to go re-read my previous post “Mind Control” in order to remain sane.

I have so many thoughts about this that this post is practically jumping from my fingertips and the keyboard struggling to respond to the furious typing.  It may be difficult to write a clean, neat post with all the ends tied up so I’ll promise you this.  I won’t even try.  It is going to be more of an opinion dump but I’ll do my best to keep things clear.  So, let’s start simple.

1. Separation of Church and State

– In theory, it really shouldn’t matter what the religion of the president is as we have separation of Church and State in this country.  However, that is a pipe dream.

We all very well know that the public expects the President to be “Christian” and it would be impossible to win the presidency unless the contender explicitly promises the public that he in fact is.  The caveat is, he must make his decisions independently from any religious institution as the power he holds is supposed to come from the people and not any specific institution.

But why is this and what is it that people fear from religious institutions.  Now, that is a pretty good question for a Ph. D candidate and I would love to read a dissertation on the matter.  But I am no Ph. D but believe I have a general idea.

I think it all relates back to England and the split from the Roman Catholic Church during Henry V’s reign.  Henry did not like being told what to do from the man in the pointy hat who resides in Rome.  So, he made himself the head of the Church of England and everyone had to follow the king.  As the founders of America were English, they too had no mind to give any power what-so-ever back to Rome.

But according to Wikipedia, The Church of England considers itself to be both Catholic and Reformed (Protestant).  As both of these religious groups share many of the same ideas it’s not a huge deal to try and find the differences except for one.  That difference is the powerful “reformists” prefer to not grant any authority to the Pope.

So, fast forward from then until now, we have always had “WASP” Presidents (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Males) except for one, JFK.  The fact that JFK was a Catholic caused quite a stir as many Americans were afraid the Pope would gain more influence in the USA with Kennedy.  Looking at the state of religion in Latin America (where the Pope does retain influence) the elite members of society were pretty concerned.

And look what happened to JFK (Enter conspiracy theories).  Then we return to the WASPS for a while until President Obama.  Given his exotic childhood people have their concerns and he does not fit the lock-tight WASP model.  Can you guess which letter does not apply to Obama?

However, Obama attended a “Christian” church and professed his faith very clearly a couple of times but many Americans still have their doubts.  This leads me to my next point “What is a Christian?”

*Side Note: Imagine how we feel when we hear that the country is an “Islamic Country.”  Most Americans would then get on their high horse and point out that we have separation of Church and State, and how “advanced” we are.  But when it comes to our own President, he better well be Christian.  If we look at “Islamic” countries with distrust, I wonder if citizens of those countries would feel the same way towards America in terms of religion.  After all, we do demand that the President be Christian, so to say that there is a separation is a bit silly.

2.  What is a Christian?

There was a decent article in USA Today called “Who, exactly, is a ‘Christian’?  Obama?  You?

They point out some interesting facts in that all of us “Christians” think the other “Christians” may not actually be a “Christian” or have got it all wrong!

If I were to ask a normal American “Christian” what they thought of the Eastern Orthodox Religion, I wonder what kind of answers I would get.  I’m sure I would be met with a blank stare.  I would half expect them to call the priests in this picture Muslims!

In fact, that might not be a bad idea.  Let’s release this picture to the general public and take a poll.  I’m quite certain that 35% of Americans would identify them as Muslims.  This is just to point out how I feel about polls and the opinions of a third of the population.

So what exactly is a Christian?  Do all “Christians” believe other sects, denominations etc are equally as “Christian as them?  The answer to that is probably a resounding no, or a very weak yes.

For example, if we compare Evangelicals and Catholics, I’m certain that Catholics would feel superior due to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelicals would think the Catholics to be mindless sheep who really do not feel passion when worshiping God.

The Catholics would look at the Evangelical and believe them to be in complete disarray with no direction, simply homegrown countryside bumpkins who like to shout and jump around in Church.  Where is the ORDER people!?  You can’t just construct a building, call it “House of Holy Salvation of the Divine Angel” and get any respect!

Then the Evangelical would look at the Catholics and disapprove of their boring, repetitious way of worship and think that is no way to really feel the joy that Jesus is supposed to bring.  The would see a kind of corporation directing their “flock” to the grinding mill every Sunday and see no passion in that service at all!

Now, let’s go deeper into the Catholic Religion.  This is worth a complete library of research but for lack of time let’s just get to the point.  The Catholic Church has its own divisions.  It has: Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, Benedictines and so on and so on.  In fact, there are well over 300 according to Wikipedia and I’m sure that is not even close to a complete list.  So, I ask, which one is the right one to belong to?  Is there a right one?  Are they all equal or do some look down on others?

Now, coming back out of the Catholic Church, we have all different types of “Christians” – Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, Shakers, Quakers, Lutherans, Methodists etcetera etcetera.

Well, I’ve bored myself with all the different divisions in Christianity, but I can tell you that each one will not believe they are equally “Christian” as the other denominations.  In short, their denomination is right and all the others are wrong.

The answer to what is a “Christian” is simply one who follows Christ.  (Christ – ian).  That’s it!

So, if Obama “follows Christ” then he is a Christian.  The issue is that a small portion of Americans do not believe him.  And even if they did, he is probably not following the right one, unless it is considered “Protestant.”  Then we will have all the divisions with those that call themselves “Protestant” and none of the denominations will satisfy this small portion of Americans.

3. Are you a “good” Christian?

What a
question!  This might be very hard to answer in that if you do not belong to the ‘right’ denomination then you can still be a Christian but just in the wrong group.  Which is the correct group?  Well, the one I’m in,,,, unless of course I’m you, then it is the one you are in.  But I’m not you, I’m me, ergo, you are wrong.

How stupid, how mundane!  If we were to really ask this question of the population, they may try to dodge the question unless we really pin them down on scripture.  Then they would refer to their denomination’s “authorized” scripture and repeat from that.  Which would make all the others wrong, strictly speaking.  Then they would feel uncomfortable and not want to discuss it anymore.

Since we are uncomfortable confronting each other, let’s just confront ourselves for fun.  Do we really even know that much about our own religion?  This brings me to my next point along with a personal story.

4.  How well do we know our own Religion?

To start off, I’ll give you the answer; Not very well.

I had the pleasure of taking a trip to Ireland with my family.  I was under the assumption that it was simply a vacation but I was mislead!  In fact, it was a PILGRIMAGE!!!  My family knew I would have reservations with hanging out in Ireland with a bunch of old church ladies so they conveniently skipped that detail.  Yet, it turned out to be wonderful and I learned a lot.

I would say the best thing I got out of that trip were discussions with a very intelligent priest.  At that time, I had read too much and had a lot of questions.  I was also starting to break free from the authority of priests and starting to think for myself.  As I was developing into an adult, I had started to think of many priests (not all – some were good) as almost adolescent, undeveloped aberration of men.  I started to see them from the eyes of an adult and saw how incomplete they were.  Yet, they asked me to call them “Father!”  (I’ll return to language and it’s usage later on)  In fact, quite a few had been suspected of pedophilia and had left the church.  So, my opinion of priests was not good at this time to say the least.

But, the priest who was directing this pilgrimage, was very intelligent and I respected him for a number of reasons.

1. He spoke Gaelic
2. He played the SPOONS!
3. He had no problems drinking a few pints with me
4. He was an academic.  No more of “It’s a mystery” nonsense, this guy had actual answers!
5.  He did not try to duck any of my questions and we could be open.
6. He became frustrated with some members in that they really didn’t know much about the faith they adhered to.  He said “Study your faith people!”  To me, this was refreshing in that the history and theology of the Catholic Church really is fascinating, but unfortunately, church is often filled with the same old boring readings and absolutely NO academic inquiry.  Just a blind following of whatever happened to be uttered from the priests mouth.

On one of the first nights, I was very surprised that he agreed to come to the bar with us and seemed enthusiastic about it.   There was a band and after ordering our pints of Guiness we sat down to listen.  He pulled out his spoons and was just itching to get up and play with the band.  And get up and play he did!!  This was a priest unlike any other I had ever met!

Afterwards we were walking back we started to get into a religious discussion.  I forget all the points but about halfway in I decided to blow this conversation wide open.

Me: Father, why are you Catholic?
Father:  It is what I believe (this was the standard answer I was used to getting)
Me: Father (I hate using that word, but out of respect I stuck with the standard)  Did you go to a Catholic grade school?
Father: Yes
Me: Did you go to a Catholic High School?
Father: Yes
Me: I would venture to say you even went to a Catholic College
Father: Yes, I went to (insert, I forgot the name)
Me:  Then Father, how did you think you would turn out?  Buddhist?  You were told your whole life to be Catholic and that is what you became!  How can you be so certain that it is the correct religion when that is the path the majority of people will take?  They will simply follow the religion that their parents and grandparents were!?  You ask a lot of interesting questions about your own faith, but are stuck within these parameters and have never even given a though to venturing outside them!

Enter alcohol infused haze and I cannot recall how the rest of the conversation went.  I was just pretty amazed at myself for having asked such a question when up until that point, I would never have dared to.  The only other thing I can remember is I asked him about the Masonic Order and what he knew, but he really didn’t have any information that I didn’t already know.

The point of all this is here was a priest that was not afraid to reach into the depths of Catholicism and explore as far as it will go.  Again, I had never met a priest as academic as he was.  He left an impression which left me wanting more information.

5. Diving into Christianity

Again, how well do we know our own faith?  I’d like to share with you a few examples that were very eye opening for me and provide some answers.  These are not answers that will solve the ultimate mystery but they are fascinating none the less.

I’ve met very few people who actually question their own religion.  They are told x is representative of y and ask no questions.  As for me, I ask questions, I want to know!  I’m not sure how I came to discover these things but I’m sure it was a mix of my travels and readings.  As for books, I can’t quite recall which book I read but I’m sure it was something like this (Religions of the World: Illustrated Guide To Origins, Beliefs, Traditions and Festivals).  I’m not sure how many examples I can come up with but lets give it a shot.

a.) The Cross is More Powerful Than the Sun

One of the most interesting things I learned is that the ancient religions always worshiped the Sun.  As Christianity spread the duty of the priests was to convert the locals.  To help with this, they placed their religious symbols in front of the sun.

If you have ever seen a Celtic cross, you will notice a circle around the cross.  This symbolizes the cross being in front of the sun and therefore the cross is more powerful than the sun.

Therefore, it conveyed to the locals that the priest’s religious imagery was more powerful than their own.  Make a symbol, put your own in front of the local symbol and automatically it is more powerful.

In Mexico, the most powerful image is La Virgen de Gua
dalupe.  Again, we can see that Mary has been placed in front of the sun.  But why is this?  The truth is the Spanish were very merciless with the natives and killed so many.  To win them over a miracle was necessary.

The story goes, that a native “Mexican” Juan Diego actually saw Mary and she spoke with him.  There are different versions to the story but some say he healed Juan’s uncle and at other another time presented him with roses to prove he was not lying (Roses did not grow in Winter, when she appeared).  In short, his uncle got better and local priests believed Mary had appeared due to the roses he presented them with.  Now, let’s pay attention to what she said:

“I shall be there to listen to your cries, your sadness.  I shall be there to cure your grievances, Your misery, your sufferings.”

But we have to ask ourselves, who was causing these “sufferings.”  Well, it was the Spanish who just happened to be the same people who brought the Catholic religion to Mexico!  So, the same people that were causing these horrible sufferings also brought the solution with the Virgin Mary and converted an entire empire.

Also, we notice an “aura” around the Virgin Mary.  The Aztecs worshiped the sun and again we follow the same formula of putting a Christian symbol directly in front of the sun to make it more powerful.  It would not do well to put the cross in front of the sun because that is the symbol the Spanish used and they were the ones killing everybody!  Therefore, it is much better to put a delicate, caring “mother” which would take care of the people that her religion was directly responsible for killing the locals!

To make matters more interesting, those humongous cathedrals you will find in Spain were directly financed by gold plundered from “The New World.”  That is to say, they were funded by exterminating a group of people and taking their gold to build something religious.  How is that for irony?

People are praying in a building funded by the blood of native Americans and praying for peace!!

b.) Festivals

How well do we know our own festivals?  Why is it that Christmas falls directly on the Winter Solstice?  The dates are both on December 25th.  Then, we have Easter falling directly on the Spring Equinox!  And why is it that we use Easter bunnies to also commemorate this holiday?  The reason is the ancient people saw the rabbit as a sign of fertility.  So, killing two birds with one stone, it is very convenient to have Jesus rise at the same time of the Spring Equinox.  Then, mixing traditions we throw in the Easter Bunny.

In fact, use any “Christian Holiday” and you will find it has replaced a more ancient holiday.  Why is this?  Because the local population was used to celebrating at that time and to encourage them to convert, Christianity had to create a holiday at the exact same time.  This made things easy.

Now, does any of this matter?

For many, the answer is no.  They were simply taught to believe in Christianity because their parents and their parents before them did so.  They work themselves into a tizzy with no understanding of why things are the way they are.  For some, the euphoria of telling yourself something is true and getting yourself excited about it is enough!

c.) The Cult of Osiris

This is going to be a very long post and for those of you looking for parallels between Christianity and other religions, it would do you well to take a look at the Egyptian, “Cult of Osiris.”  Osiris also rose from the dead and there are many other similarities.  In the tradition of replacing old religions with the Christian teaching we cannot fail to examine this one.  It seems Christ wasn’t the only one to rise from the dead.

6. Language

The language of Christianity has been refined over many centuries.  If we were to truly understand, then we would have to study Aramaic which was the language of Jesus.  But instead, most of us only have English to go on and therefore that is what we use.

One aspect that has always irked me is the submissive nature of the language of the church.  We are expected to refer to priests as “Father” and he refers to the rest of us as his “flock.”  In the language alone, we submit to the priest’s authority.

Why is this?

In the past, the priest was the learned, the one who could read.  He was more intelligent then the rest of the population and a leader.  Now, that a good part of the population have attended University and perhaps studied more than the priest, this use of language might not fit so well.  I highly doubt the priest calling a layman “father” since it is only supposed to work one way.

The priest often refers to his subordinate as his “son.”  As I mentioned earlier I have no use for these dysfunctional, shells of men referring to me as their son.  We can have an intelligent discussion if we are on equal ground and respect can still (sometimes) be due but let’s dispense with this “Father/Son” nonsense.

The reason people still use it is because that is how they were taught.  They were told not to question and that the priest is the authority.  No questions.

Further, to add a bit of “sanctity” to the language, some still speak with terms such as “Thou, thee, thine,” such as “Thine is the Kingdom of God.”  This does nothing more than create a false sense of “holiness” to the language, as though it is superior than speaking in the common tongue!

Most people do not use those types of words, and therefore, if one is able to use it, it might seem superior to the less educated and thus more powerful.  The truth is, it does absolutely nothing than make the speaker sound silly.

7. The Usefulness of Christianity

Academics and those that study history always take the fun out of the party.  They deflate what people have taught themselves to believe.  But does this mean their passion does not serve a purpose?  The answer is no.

We as humans are not very good at taking care of each other.  We look to our own needs first and to be honest treat each other very poorly.  The fact is we need a guide to tell us to behave because the truth is we are not very good at doing it on our own!

Religion fills a void, it provides a road map on how to behave and treat one another.  The instruction is very clear which is simply “Love Each Other.”  Yet, even with a very clear teaching, we still have trouble doing this!!  We look to the scripture to find reasons to kill and hate.

Going back to Barack Obama, what those people are looking for is a reason to dislike the President and hate!  We humans are very good at twisting very simple teachings and the reason that people are calling Barack Obama a Muslim is they want to find a reason to dislike him, I daresay to HATE him!

Therefore, they use religion which tries to teach us to love and being a typical human use it in a perverse way and to hate.  How despicable!  How low and base!!  Only human beings could take something so simple and turn it completely on it’s head!

With the lessons above about the origins above, the fact is, they really do not matter.  Sure they are good things to know, but they have absolutely no influence on the core teaching which is simply to love.  I used the examples above to prove to people how little they know about religion and to provoke a bit of shame.  How dare they use religion, which they know very little about, to provoke hate, which is the exact opposite of the main point religion is trying to co
nvey!!!!  How stupid, how silly and how shameful!

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, reading a new article stating that a third of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim is simply stupid.  These are people that are looking for a reason to hate and by turning Obama into something he is not gives them this right.  The irony is their own religion teaches them to love yet, the purposefully seek out a reason do the opposite.

 

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Graveyards and The Meaning of Life

I wish to share with you a story.  Actually, I’m not sure if it is a story or not but rather an idea.  This idea I had while visiting an abandoned graveyard not far outside Killarney, Ireland.

I. The Graveyards

Irish Country GraveyardEnh (2)

I decided to rent a bicycle and travel outside the town.  I had gone not more than 3 miles and saw that the city disappears rather quickly and was replaced by those beautiful green fields that Ireland is known for.  Not far from the town I came upon a very old, overgrown graveyard and decided that I should stop and read the inscriptions on the gravestones.

Irish Country GraveyardEnh (1)

The tombstones were well worn and many could not be read.  Some had completely fallen over and were cracked.  There were many gravestones, close together, all of them weather stained and the grass had grown to where it would grow no more having reached their full height.  I read the inscriptions and found something similar to the following:

1.  Where you are now, I once stood.
– This is actually a famous (now forgotten) inscription on William Caldwell’s Grave who was a revolutionary war veteran.  It reads:

“Remember me as you pass by/As you are now so once was I/As I am now so you must be/Prepare for death and follow me.”

2. In memory of our beloved (Insert Name)

3. Here lies (name), good father, loving husband.

After reading the first inscription “Where you are now, I once stood,” had a profound impact on me . The second inscription also let me know that this person had a family, was once loved and did love.  Yet, the grave stone had fallen over and the grass was untended.  What occurred to me was that this person had a place in this world but over time was soon forgotten by his/her descendants.

This lead me to recall the famous poem “In Flanders Fields.”  Please watch this and listen to the words.

I read these inscriptions carefully and wondered to myself why had the graveyard been so severely overgrown?  Was there no one there to tend it?  They must have lived nearby and been part of a community.  Perhaps their community was small  and disappeared completely or was swallowed as Killarney expanded?  I wondered to myself where their descendants might have gone.  Did they even remember that their ancestors were buried here?  How could an entire graveyard be forgotten about?  Did it have something to do with the potato famine and mass migration to other countries?

Whoever these people were, they most likely had been entirely forgotten about.

Simply writing the sentence above puts me in a very reflective frame of mind.  These people belonged to communities, had families, accomplished, did all the normal things we all do.  But now, they are long forgotten, time continues and the memory of these people being further washed away with each  passing summer storm.

This sentiment is captured in the Irish Ballad “Danny Boy” which has different interpretations.  One is that a man’s son “Danny Boy,” goes off to war, or, he is part of the Irish diaspora.  Should he eventually return he might find the father has passed away and the father is asking him if that is the case, please say a prayer and remember him.  Yet, life goes on and it is simply true that some will be forgotten as those who rest below me most likely had.  In this case, “Danny Boy” did not come back.  It was a very moving experience.

This lead me to thinking about my own life.  Does it really matter what I accomplish or what I do?  Will I even be remembered after a few generations?

The people lying in the ground below most likely had children, and their children probably had children.  They spawned others, many of which will have no idea where they now lie.  These people had feelings, drank at the pub like you and I, were sent to battle and eventually died as we all will.  Yet, their graves remained in front of me, untended and broken.

Irish Graveyard

The picture you see to the right is at a famous tourist attraction and would have been the nobility of society.  Therefore, they are well tended. Yet, it is no surprise that most of the graves would be un-attended if they even had graves at all.

So, I spent a while in that graveyard, carefully examining the inscriptions and letting my mind be swept away with images of these long departed people, wondering about their lives, breathing in the fresh country air and letting this peaceful, quiet countryside carry my thoughts away.

I then got back on the bike and took a detour into a national park which I love to visit every time I find myself back in Ireland.  I take the same path every time not only because I know it to be a beautiful path but also to bring back old memories of my previous trips.  The first time I visited this place I was on a tour of Europe during a break from studying in Spain.  So it is not only the memories of Ireland I’m bringing back, but my first experience living in Europe which carries vivid, almost magical thoughts of a time in my own life gone by.

Again, I started to think about how quickly life passes and when I come upon this ruined monastery  with the graveyard out front it puts me to thinking about the impermanence of everything.  Will people remember who we are, what we did?  Does it even really matter?

This question resurfaced with vigor when I visited Karl Marx’s grave in Highgate Cemetery in London.

As most of us are aware, the ideas of Karl Marx changed a very large part of the world and the lives of millions of people.  His inscription reads:

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways—the point however is to change it”

Change the world he certainly did and I had expected this place to be busy with tourists.

There was not a single soul in the entire cemetery and this place is as spooky as a graveyard could possibly be.  There are many gravestones, fallen over and partially buried in the mud, some coffin parts sticking out of the ground having been pushed up by tree roots, and weathered stone angels peer menacingly down at you as if they too might fall over at any time.

It was exactly like the graveyard in the movie “Interview with the Vampire” and I half expected the eyes of the stone angels to start following me.

As for Karl Marx, I was amazed that as important and influential as this man was, there was absolutely nobody there.  If we look at the impact a man has on the world, there can be few who reach the heights of Karl Marx.  His ideas spread throughout the world but even he will eventually be forgotten and one day his grave will tip over and crumble as well.

It is a very sobering thought that we all will eventually be forgotten.  I had thought for a minute that perhaps the internet could change all this and perhaps even this post will live forever.  But, the net is a vastly expanding monster full of websites.  Servers fry, accounts become deleted and even if some things do remain it is only the ideas such as Karl Marx with the details and memories of the actual author quickly dying away.

Even memories of great men such as kings and conquerors do not live forever.  How many Kings of England can we name, let alone what they did?  Can we even say what our very own great-great grandfather did or even remember his name?  They are all swept away with the passage of time or pushed away into some obscure reference that nobody has read in centuries.

II.  The Meaning of Life

After my experiences with these broken down graveyards I began to think about the meaning of life.  Here in the USA in school and work we are pushed to continually achieve, “move forward” if you will.  We become wrapped up in our individual worlds and the minutia of daily life.  But how often do we reflect on the mark we will leave in the world and if we are working towards our ultimate purpose?  What is the meaning of our lives?

As I have a lot of experience dealing with business people some might believe that the purpose is to make money, to acquire goods.  I look at executives of major companies which sell trinkets, soda water, fatty foods and wonder if this is something they would put on their gravestones?  Is their work what they would like to be remembered for?

Other industries I really admire.  Those that work for peace, heal the sick, explore space and really add something to humanity.  These things have real meaning unlike the selling of soda water or simply trying to make more money off fellow human beings.

After thinking about this for a long while, the only real conclusion I come to concerning the meaning of life is simply taking care of fellow human beings.  Working for peace, helping those in need and simply living a good life.  As long as we are working for the greater good then I think a good life has been lived even though society tells us differently.

As morbid as it may sound, spending time in a graveyard is a great way to really remember what is important in life.  Suddenly, trifles such as wearing fashionable clothing, acquiring more than the neighbors or even being  a King suddenly seem not very important.  Grave inscriptions that read “Helped others,” or “loving father,” seem so much more important than “was the CEO of a fast food chain.”  In fact, I cannot recall ever seeing such an inscription.

Why is it that in death, we suddenly recall what is most important in life?

No matter what you do for a living, how much money you make, none of it matters in the end.  If you are kind to others, appreciate being alive and strive to live a good life then it can be said you lived a wonderful life.