Wednesday, August 05, 2015


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Today's Considerations


Stop with all of the religious / spiritual / SELF-centered workaholism; relax; rest in the cool blue shade and take it easy for a change.

Stop adding to the workload by making a second job out of living and by engaging in all sorts of religious, spiritual, or Inquiry work.

Ask, “How sane is it to work ceaselessly to mimic and parrot those from the past who came up with concepts which were rooted in abject ignorance (or by those in the present who are being driven by abject ignorance and wretched insanity)?


Consider how insane any needless work really is:

On a recent trip to central Louisiana, it was observed that the cotton seen growing in the numerous fields along the highway are reaching a point where it will soon be time to harvest this year’s crop.

At one time, all cotton in the U.S. was picked by slaves:

When mechanical pickers began coming onto the market, cheap labor was still retained because the earliest mechanical pickers were often unreliable.

In 1928, at the age of twelve, my father sought employment after his father died from a ruptured appendix. At harvest time, he found work on some of the small, rural cotton farms in East Texas and in West Louisiana where he hand-picked cotton from daylight to dark for a few cents total in order to earn some of the money needed for Grandmother's large family to survive.

On the next trip through Louisiana in a few weeks, it is likely that such machines as this will be seen in the fields, gathering the cotton quite efficiently: 

Also seen will be huge bails of machine-picked cotton which will be placed alongside the roads to await transport to a mill.

Wouldn’t it be nonsensical to decide that machine-picking should not happen and that all picking should once again be done by hand? Why overwork when things can happen in a much easier manner?


As a pre-teen, we lived in a house which was adjacent to a huge field. When the weeds and grass from that field encroached onto our property, it was my task to use a sickle like this one to cut it back:

It was quite a treat when dad worked a double shift at his tank welding job and used part of the extra pay to come home with a swing blade which I could use while standing more erect, a method which was much easier on my back. What a treat:

During the months spent at Grandmother’s cabin, she provided me with a scythe to use to cut grass. Between her cabin and her one-acre garden, there was a large field of grass which had to be cut regularly. On the right, another large field of grass between the cabin and the forest had to be tended. Same in the back as well as in parts of the front.

At fourteen, I spoke with my father about using the push mover which I used to cut the grass in our yard in order to earn some money:

I informed him that I had talked with some neighbors and many were willing to pay anywhere from $1.00 to $2.00 each to have their own yards mowed. Dad explained that if I wanted to go into business for myself, I needed to run the business like a business. That did not involve borrowing other people’s equipment for free, he explained.

Then, he made an offer: “You keep cutting our yard and forgo the 25 cents a week allowance you're getting for completing your chores. Let’s call that ‘interest’ on the loan I’m going to make to you to buy your own push mower. Then, for every yard you cut, you give me half of what you earn until you have repaid me in full for the cost of the mower. After that, it’s yours. I’ll also loan you enough to buy some lubricating oil and some steel files to keep the blades sharp. After you repay me for all that, then whatever the neighbors pay will be all yours. What do you say?”

In an instant, I answered: “Deal!”

The mowing was tough in the south Louisiana heat in the summertime, and my tasks were complicated by the fact that most of the customers were so cheap that they would only pay to have their yards cut every other week. Soon, though, I had enough customers that I could get rid of the $1 per yard customers and earn $2 each for the fifteen yards I was cutting every week. To go from 25 cents a week allowance to earning $30 a week made a naïve kid start thinking about how soon I could buy a car with that kind of income! 

As it turned out, after expenses were paid and after I began putting back a certain percentage of my money into a saving account - which dad helped me open in the one bank in town and which he demanded I put back - I was only able to afford a small transistor radio and a huge stock of batteries which were required because I usually fell asleep every night listening to music and would not turn the radio off until I woke the next morning.

At night, often exhausted from a day's work of mowing, I heard Brenda Lee crying “I’m Sorry” and was reminded of my first girlfriend who broke up with me when our family moved from north to south Louisiana. (Yeah! Dang right! Sing it to me, woman! You should be sorry!) There was also a song about some guys who had been arrested and who were now singing while working on their “Chain Gang."

My imagination was grateful for being sparked by a fellow who sang about girl walking around in an “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie” bikini. Some new guy on the block was heard singing about a “Hound Dog” and singing to some girl about being “Stuck on You.” The Everly Brothers were bemoaning the fact that they had been turned into “Cathy’s Clown.”

Chubby Checker was singing something called “The Twist” and soon there was a movie entitled “Twist Around the Clock” which showed in the little town’s one theater. Very early into the movie, we moved from our seats and into the aisles and started trying to do "The Twist" right along with Chubby up on the big screen, until the manager called in the local gendarmes, stopped the projector, turned on the lights, and had the local Barney Fife-types clear his theater of “the vulgar, gyratin' heathens who had evidently lost their damn minds!” In answer to "What in the heck is the damn world comin' to, anyway?!" the rent-a-cops answered: "Done gone to hell, that air is fur dang shore."

But the high quality of Brenda Lee’s crying notwithstanding, nothing compared to the first time the announcer introduced a fellow named Roy Orbison who sang, “Only the Lonely.” Oh how he made me miss that girlfriend left behind in north Louisiana.

But a man called “Fats” would inspire some mental strollin’ when he started singing about “Walking to New Orleans.” Ah, what great joy came from the fruits of those early labors which accompanied the joy of owning my own business. (Later, as an adult, after over-expansion was followed by an economic crash, I would learn that the joys of owning one’s own business can often be overrated.)

Soon, I would be enjoying more and more radio time. How did that extra time for relaxing and listening to music become available? As the business expanded and more and more customers were contacting me to mow their yards for $2.00 each per week, an opportunity presented itself and a decision had to be made; thus, to accompany the growth in my client base, I used some of the funds in the savings account to make a major investment. I bought an electric mover. Man oh man, was life simplified! Man of man was life becoming really sweet!

More customers! No more pushing! “Maybe there really is a god!” (Followed by, “Nah.”) Eventually, I would increase my per yard price by 25 cents if a client wanted to pay for edging the walks and driveway and curbs around the house:

 Next, I would hire a friend to help with the workload and later add a second friend to the crew. I began to slowly raise the price per yard and was able to get rid of the last of the cheapos. Not only was I was in business; I was running a successful business! (Or, as I came to call that sort of thing later, “Busy-ness”).

Nowadays, cardiovascular issues require that Julio and his crew come once a week and tend to the mowing and edging and blowing of the yard. He rides around the yard on this:

And his crew uses mowers like this in the small back yard areas:

And he edges and “weed eats” with this:

What could have been accomplished in the ole days with such equipment?! Today, Julio’s crew cuts scores of yards each day at $25 a pop, six days a week. That would have bought a lot of transistor radios and 9-volt batteries in the ole days.

But what if someone said, "Let's add on more work than is really necessary. Let's return to hand-pushed equipment. Let's live life in a busier, more difficult way." First, neither he nor his crew members could afford to live on what they could make if they were to return to the days of hand pushed movers and edgers. Secondly, they would actually have no life at all that was really worth living.

But for a kid in the early 1960’s who went from a push mover to an electric mower, the quality of life and the enjoyment of life soared. I was not as tired at the end of the day. I was able to finish earlier and go home and go into my room and turn on my transistor radio during the day rather than only at bedtime when I had typically been completely exhausted from my labors.

Not anymore. I could sit back and relax and listen to the one station I could pick up with decent reception and I heard Elvis add another tune to his repertoire as he started reminding us that “It’s Now or Never.” Marty Robbins sang about his adventure when he went to a Texas town called “El Paso.”

Paul Anka sang about the “Puppy Love” which I was also experiencing now that I had a south Louisiana girlfriend that I could take to the local theater on Saturdays. I agreed with the Everly Brothers’ request: “Let It Be Me.” When I looked at her, I thought about hearing Marv Johnson report that “You’ve Got What It Takes” and Hank Logan confessing, “Please Help Me, I’m Falling.” Indeed. 

I listened to Bobby Rydell sing “Volare” and I made a promise to myself to go to Italy someday and hear a singer there belt that song out in his original Italian. (Bucket list item: visit Italy. Check. That happened.)

When things began to turn way south in the relationship with that south Louisiana girlfriend, Bobby Vee and Paul Anka showed up to help me through that sad spell, singing about “Devil or Angel” and “It’s Time to Cry.” Guy Mitchell dang sure knew what I was going through, made clear when he sang, “Heartaches by the Number," but it was Sam Cooke who helped changed my perspective and brought me back to the happy present with “Wonderful World.”


None of that could have been experienced and enjoyed if I had still been doing all kinds of needless work when there was a chance to have a far more enjoyable life, a life with far more free time, a life with far less going and doing and zooming. That applies to this day.

Eventually, when restored to sanity and freedom and peace, all sorts of workaholism subsided, but nothing freed me up like eventually being free of the workaholism involved with religious work and spiritual exercises and SELF-Inquiry exercises.

Once it was understood that all is energy / matter, that neither energy nor matter can be created or destroyed, that both have always been and shall always be, that nothing was created so there could never have been a “Creator,” ah, what peace came. What a reduction in activity came.

There was no more taking on a second job each day after completing my employment responsibilities which paid for the basics. There was no more following up Job One with Job Two and doing all sorts of religious or spiritual or Inquiry work which - it became clear - was never necessary at all.

Ah, peace. Calm. Relaxing in the cool blues shade. (Okay, actually in the cool air conditioning since it’s going to hit 100-degrees Fahrenheit here today on the lake at Walden.)

The invitation: You might try giving up all unnecessary work, too. You might try abandoning your false religious and spiritual and Noumenal identities and thereafter be free of all of the workaholism they generate. Or not, of course. There is never anything offered here except considerations and suggestions and invitations.
To be continued.

Please enter the silence of contemplation.

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