About that time when (yesterday) a white supremacist crashed my gig and tried to behave but couldn’t hold back in the end… And moving past that.


So yesterday I had my first meeting for “The Progressive Left Think Tank” and we had one guy there who did not seem to understand that this was meant as a meeting for progressives to come up with ideas together and well… strategize and plan.

Instead, like they always do – he felt the need to invade our space and try to co-op the meeting over to “all the reasons libertarians are the real liberals and you progressives are wrong about everything.” You know… the usual way they behave.

You know… if you are one of them and reading this… I don’t go crashing your space to rant about horrible things like “people should have equal rights” and “black people have a right to be alive” and “women have brains” and “imagine if we made the planet a better place just because, no profit involved” and “respect is only something you can lose, but everyone starts with it.” You know… all of our horrible ideas and touchy feely stuff like wanting to have rights.

No.

I say that here. My space. And I say it in my groups and among my fellows. And we use the public space to argue it out over whether or not cops should be allowed to murder people without even giving them a trial.

But then again this argument is all about respect and rights… so… of course the side arguing that other people don’t deserve respect and rights will… invade the space of other people… because they don’t respect our rights.

To them I just have to say… history is a long road. And its moving my way.

So that person, well, we had him going in the group, up until… here, see for yourself:

[2017/03/01 20:29] Pussycat Catnap: I think one traditional notion for the progressive left is that it is the role of government to look after the welfare of the people.
[2017/03/01 20:29] [V]: It’s hard to organize when everybody’s poor and struggling to get by
[2017/03/01 20:30] [S-M]: Korben, I disagree
[2017/03/01 20:30] [V]: Yes, Pussycat
[2017/03/01 20:30] Pussycat Catnap: Government shouldn’t be weakened – it should be harnessed as the tool to empower equality.
[2017/03/01 20:32] [Z]: [V]…I think that’s a wonderful idea….but let’s not forget the role of government in this….in a perfect world, my neighbors would take care of me and vice versa….but government, as I see it….is simply a gigantic union whose members are it’s citizens…..Mangement in this case is any and all private interests….The Union is the Public Interest……as a Liberal (and i use that term to describe myself)…I get really tired of people who treat the Government as this evil, “other”……it is us writ large……and it’s about damn time it served it’s workers and not it’s casino players.
[2017/03/01 20:30] Korben Rage: But the founders disagree with you, they said as much
[2017/03/01 20:31] Pussycat Catnap: The founders were all basically men like Trump, but with better educations: rich land barons who used slavery and exploitation of the poor to empower themselves and their own social class. It’s an accident that the document they left behind has been put to better use than they intended.
[2017/03/01 20:34] Pussycat Catnap: If not for people who fought against the founder’s vision, I would be a slave – my African ancestry, not much of it in me, but it is there, was about 100% Nigerian in the early 1800s somewhere.
[2017/03/01 20:34] Korben Rage: The founders didn’t enslave anyone
[2017/03/01 20:34] Pussycat Catnap: That ancestor would not have mixed out and into the many ethnicities I have now, if they had remained slaves.
[2017/03/01 20:35] [S-M]: OMG Korben, listen to yourself
[2017/03/01 20:35] Korben Rage: it’s true, Slavery was a thing created by others BEFORE the USA existed
[2017/03/01 20:35] Korben Rage: And the 3/5 compromise was meant to end it
[2017/03/01 20:36] [S-M]: the founders bought slaves that others imported here, and enslaved themselves those slaves offspring
[2017/03/01 20:36] [V]: We are going to have to acknowledge that the US was founded on slavery and genocide, though; without the former to bolster the economy and the latter to clear the land, the US wouldn’t exist
[2017/03/01 20:36] Korben Rage: True, but they didn’t start the practice
[2017/03/01 20:36] Pussycat Catnap: This is basically the point – where the Libertarian and the Progressive/Liberal part ways: should the society use a collective method to empower equality (progressive), or leave it up to individual actors who will act in self-interest for the betterment of society (libertarian)
[2017/03/01 20:37] Korben Rage: how do you empower equality, sounds like an oxymoron to me?
[2017/03/01 20:37] [Z]: The founders owned slaves…the founders struck the Deal With The Devil (the 3/5ths compromise)……it’s a bit disingenous for a man who penned “all men are created equal” to be squarely behind this deal…..but he was……If I come upon stolen money and still choose to spend it….it doesn’t really matter morally whether I stole it or not.
[2017/03/01 20:37] [S-M]: so, any practice you did not, yourself, originate you are justified in perpetuating?
[2017/03/01 20:37] [V]: Unfortunately, we are a part of society…. If there’s a way to rip myself free and live as a fully autonomous job creator, show me the door πŸ™‚
[2017/03/01 20:38] Korben Rage: The US wouldn’t exist without that deal with the devil and couldn’t have ended slavery later
[2017/03/01 20:40] Pussycat Catnap: Well. I would rather not spend this time debating how we shouldn’t be progressives, but should be libertarians. Can we get back to Progressive definitions and thoughts on tactics?
[2017/03/01 20:40] [S-M]: but we did, at leas legally, end slavery. The question is what do we do NOW
[2017/03/01 20:40] [S-M]: thank you Pussycat
[2017/03/01 20:40] [V]: Continue dealing with the aftermath…. slavery ended eventually, but systemic racism has yet to…
[2017/03/01 20:41] Korben Rage: Pussycat but that’s why I ask, we aren’t that different, you have no hope of convincing a trump voter if you can’t convince me
[2017/03/01 20:41] Korben Rage: True systematic racism still exists, but it’s by the gov and against whites
[2017/03/01 20:41] Pussycat Catnap: I’m actually not holding this meeting to convince any Trump voters nor any libertarians.
[2017/03/01 20:42] Pussycat Catnap: Hmmm… yeah that one was my own personal nope – not going to let that line go.
[2017/03/01 20:42] Second Life: Avatar ejected.
…IMs:
[2017/03/01 20:43] Korben Rage: how typical, that’s why so few respect you
[2017/03/01 20:43] Pussycat Catnap: I didn’t hold this meeting to argue with people over how whites have been slaves for 500 years to the African.

Ok I got snarky there at the end. And yeah “I” might not be a slave today if the Civil War hadn’t happened – but somebody else who ended up descended from that ancestor would be. And me? I wouldn’t even exist. Many of you wouldn’t either.

But…
Now… If you happen to agree with this bloke, you do not belong in a gathering of Progressives, Leftists, or Liberals.

So… A few hours later I figured I should recheck this.

Make sure I was not over-reacting.

Let’s look at this guy’s profile and find out:

White Supremacist Group in Second Life – how do we AR them? by Pussycat Catnap, on Flickr

Yeah like… no…

Kinda doesn’t matter if I had originally over-reacted when I’m dealing with that. That is actually not the end of it. There’s more if you look through all the tabs at his picks and groups…

Still not convinced? If you really have no familiarity with, or are in denial about hate groups: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=white+supremacy+symbols&t=ffsb&iax=1&ia=images
– That symbol is pretty well known.

That… is not the way to approach life.


You gotta be better than that kind of path.


We’re going to keep on trodding this path. We’ve got a plan for another meeting next week. The topic will be, more or less:

Topic for next week: The Indivisibility paper:
https://www.indivisibleguide.com/download-the-guide
We will discuss our thoughts on it, and how we can take action based on how it inspires or otherwise guides us.
See also: http://thesixtyfive.org/home
And the general website: https://www.indivisibleguide.com

If you’re a Progressive, a Liberal, a Leftist, or somewhere in the range of those notions… If you understand how that is not a Libertarian…Β  come on by and we can work on that together.

But I’ve no patience for racists or libertarians (they seem to go hand in hand very often. I know all of one libertarian that I would say is not racist – a good friend in real life btw… frustrates me, but without the racism I can at least find other things to have in common without feeling a sense of danger).

I’m not holding debates. I’m holding gatherings to work ideas.

So… in moments like this, I turn to music. Music is my prayer.

Intro:
In this time you know, its not easy getting around. For Droop Lion representing to the fullness in
this time y’all.
Verse 1
When the barrel cracks and the smoke smell
Mama sing a prayer for me
She put her arms around me and say this place gonna set us free
Early morning Black Maria come and take my black brothers on a jail ride
But if they taking us all to hell center
Don’t you know some of us won’t reach alive
Chorus
I’m taking the freeway
The freeway way, right away
The freeway, o my brothers and sisters
They will be seeing me trodding up the King’s highway (repeat)
Verse 2
See the smoke rise above Earth surface
While the mountains come to the sea
Building blocks is burning, is burning,
On the news someone crying help
Thunder roll and lightning strikes
See the sun comes with all its might
Plantation field, it is burning
Setting the way for us to be free
Chorus (repeat)
Verse 3
Wheel is tough but me got to turn it
O father God, o help me on this journey
Walk through the fire and the flames don’t burn me
Walk through the tornado and the wind don’t turn me
Live ‘mongst eden, them can’t hurt me
Run with the swiftest, none of them don’t splurt me
I never do no wrong fi Babylon come girth me
I know my God … salvation
Chorus (repeat)

Ya’ll should listen to this one too:

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They named a Kink & D/s sim for my Real Life religion – offensive?

RastaSim.png

Location of this pic:

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rasta/116/99/22

Consider this analogy:

Says it is D/s inspired. If I got a sim and named it ‘Jew’ and made it a place for Southern Biker gang RP, would that be offensive? Yes. But would it be offensive enough to get pulled? Think on that.

I use that analogy because ‘Southern Biker Gang RP’ is not offensive by itself. D/s and Kink people are perfectly legitimate roleplays in Second Life. I don’t get them or agree with them, but I accept them and accept that people should have a space to self explore themes of importance to them as long as it is not hateful to others.

It is the mix I am trying to get across in that analogy… If you took a theme that is way out of step with a real world faith community, and named it after that community… isn’t that crossing a line?

Let alone that if you names a sim ‘Jew’ or ‘Muslim’ or ‘Catholic’ it would and should get heightened scrutiny…

How should I act over this. I know how I feel over it.

This is not what Rasta is about. In fact its pretty much in opposition to what Rasta is.

Now for contrast look at this sim:

RastasSim_001
Not only do I not mind this one, I kind of want to get a Linden Home here. Except it turns out this is just a park sim and the homes in the background there are all just across the sim border.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rastas/96/38/41

Why the difference? This second place is neutral in tone. No reference to any theme in the sim itself. And as a park sim, a place that is named for a real world religious community cannot get ‘messed with’ by people with bad intent or lack of knowledge.

I could actually feel a sense of comfort if I won the Linden Home lottery and got a spot bordering there.

 

And yes I know that as I am a sometimes SL Nudist people will wonder why I am objecting to a sim with the above mixed themes. But again I’m not objecting to the themes – I’m objecting to them being placed within the specific context of a sim named for my religion.

PS: Comments from random bigots pointing out how they could ‘find anything to get offended about’ will be deleted for the bigoted spam that they are…

Changes over the years… Journeying through myself.

How has your look changed over the years? What does this mean for you, and what has driven the choices you’ve made in expressing yourself in Second Life?

For me this has all been about a journey through sensuality, spirituality, and self-identity.

I went looking, and found some of the first images I took of my avatar in Second Life. I’ve put one here next to an image I took over the weekend of my avatar on a new spot of land I’ve got:
2009to2016
I am actually still wearing one item in common in both of these… fangs. I’m probably the only neko that wears fangs, and one of the few that uses whiskers. And as far as I know… it is still the same pair of them after all these years. Just about everything else has changed though.

Originally I wanted dark skin for my avatar, like I now have. But in 2009 the shade you see on the left was the darkest tone I could find, as a newbie.

Self identity changes over time, and I find it very interesting to look back at the journey of self exploration.

I’m a very introspective person – I self analyze a lot. For me that is a big part of being alive. But its also something I’ve been tossed into by the nature of my existence as a multi-racial person born before that was common or acceptable in the USA. My parents where married the same year as the Loving v. Virginia case and my eldest sibling was born right after the decision in that case came down. There actually was a judicial action to prevent my parents from being together on the grounds of miscegenation (race mixing), and I very much owe my existence to the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr‘s civil right’s movement – which had changed the minds of the right people, including those who helped my parents overcome the challenge that was actually brought by my grandparents…

So thinking on who and what I am has been critical to my sense of self from the beginning.

As is known, I am not ‘African American’, yet my avatar is African. But there is a funny footnote to this because I recently found through DNA that I am in fact part African. Yet I grew up under the perception that I was an Asian / Amazon Indian / Caucasian / Cherokee mix. In place of Cherokee, I instead have a number of things from West and North Africa, and the Caucasian turned out to be different parts of Europe than family history had said. So one side of my family has a complete falsehood for every aspect of its ancestry.

Genealogical exploration is a pretty common thing for Americans to get into. We often find surprises. So that’s not the real trigger for me in being introspective. Rather being what Americans consider mixed-race has been the trigger.

I belong to no ethnic group.

When you don’t belong to any of them, all of their various members are very keen to point this out to you on many occasions in your life. It one thing to be the ‘other’ from that other tribe… but when you are the racial equivalent of a ‘stateless‘ person – you have no place to ‘escape back to’. There is no tribe standing around waiting to help me form an identity… I had to carve it out myself through some very rough experiences – some as recent as experiences I have had in some Second Life forum communities. No matter what I state as my ethnicity, I can be called out as a Rachel Dolezal – and I’ve been getting that accusation since I was 5 years old and my mother was trying to put me in Kindergarten… Every action, every thought, every preference gets judged by hostile mono-ethnic people seeking to hold on to their territory.

I am an eternal fake, and because of this I have to get very real.

Most people take for granted the vast bulk of their identity, cultural, belief system, even appearance. I have no such luxury. A person gets very introspective very fast in this situation.

So Second Life has been a blessing for me as a place where I can literally put on a skin, and explore an identity. Through that I learn so much about myself. I find where I stand on issues, how I can shape my sense of sense, and I can stake out an identity that people cannot take away from me and tell me I don’t have a right to because I’m not enough of their kind or another kind of blood for their liking.

And it has been a long and well worthwhile ride.

I didn’t come to Second Life to explore myself. I actually came here to get some goodies for the Poser 7 Launch event, and found out to my disappointment that the goodies were just goodies for a Second Life avatar. That is why my first attempt at Second Life only lasted 2 days in 2006.

One day in 2009 I was bored, and I was browsing or reading something that mentioned Second Life. So I wondered if it would load on my then computer. I looked through my files and found my old avatar’s name, guessed the password (or the forget password stuff, I don’t remember) and logged in. I spent a few days wandering around.

About_Day_3_in_SL.png

Close to day 3 of my return to SL. I got by, barely. I think its funny that I had a newbie prop on down below… Even back then I was keenly aware of how lacking the SL Avatar is.

The 2009 image above is actually my 2006 avatar and not Pussycat. Pussycat was born about 10 days later, because I very strongly didn’t like the avatar name I had.

On coming back in, I had randomly clicked something and found myself wearing a Neko avatar. It was a very crude free one – but it clicked right away.

I had found myself. Now I needed to name myself. I tried a dozen variations on neko, cat, pussy (erm…), kitty, catnip, calico, even koyangi (Korean for cat) and gato (yeah, gato made it into my mind but not as far as they keyboard because that is just way too manly), kittylicious (yeah… /fail) and yes, pussycat.

Somehow even though Pussycat was taken with a few other last names, it was not taken yet with ‘Catnap’… So off I went. I’m glad I ended up with this name… its very fitting for how my personality in SL wavers in different directions. Saying just parts of my name, or where you put the emphasis, can lead to very different meanings. Some people like to just call me ‘PC’ or ‘Cat’ because typing it all out makes them a little nervous I guess. Actually its a handy name for seeing how someone else is seeing you…

So I began in 2009 in SL looking for the sensual side of things. The image I used to start this blog was not the first one I took, the first one was a bit more… intense and unclothed. The 2016 image I used is unclothed, but is a normal pose.

Dancing_SexyNudeBeach

You can see the beginnings of some of my current style. There are my teeth, my eye color, and a lighter shade of red hair. And the face is actually not far off from the dials I use now. I used to love that little video game remote, and kept it on every outfit for a good year.

I spent a few months exploring that scene. I think a lot of people who come to SL have to go through that and they either stay with it or move on. I more or less moved on. But in the journey I also realized that I really like the idea of being clothes free, minus the weird politics of naturists.

I even tried exploring the adult erotic side of Second Life. But I quickly learned this was not me. In part due to encounters with S/m people. It took me some time to be able to relate to people from the S/m community because I am very militant about Equal Rights and even a roleplayed expression of submission or dominance bothers me. That has not changed, and will not change. What changed for me over time was learning that these people truly feel their relations are equal, so I accept them for themselves while recognizing that I am on a very different path.

However a major break for me on the erotic side of Second Life was just realizing I found these little cartoons engaged in ‘the act’ to be comedy, while others were trying to truly express themselves or have an experience in those moments. I felt it would be rude of me to be laughing while the others were feeling something more.

After a time I started to try and expand my perspective. I think finding the shop Bare Rose was key here – it was and is a Cosplay place, so there were all kinds of outfits in radically different styles, and they were cheap. At the time usually 150-250L for a full outfit. So each time I bought one, I could put it on, run around, and see if it felt like I’d found a new me. After I went premium most of my weekly money went to this shop throughout much of 2009.

Proportionstesting

Here you can see that even by July 15, 2009 I was already obsessed with fixing the bad proportions of the SL avatar.

I went premium about a month and a half back into SL. That really changes things. Premium is a commitment. Its not just renting a spot somewhere, once you’re premium you can see the bank statement, you’ve “subscribed” to this “free to play MMO” and there’s some land out there somewhere that you now have the privilege to buy, and once you… you’ve got to make sure you got your money’s worth out of it. So once you have your own land you end up spending a lot of time on it, and that time is often alone.

FirstSLHome_July21

I didn’t know at the time that it was my own trees there that caused this home to be super laggy at ground level. This was taken on July 21, 2009. Probably a few days into owning the place. I remember being so proud of my build, and that I had managed to find a rare roadside spot. Back then not much land was abandoned… The unpaved road is actually the bottom right corner of the top image – diagonally butting up against where I put plants.

Wandering through various Second Life clubs led me down the path of a spiritual awakening. Reading a random notecard left outside a Reggae Club got me curious. It was a card about Rastafarians, but it wasn’t very thorough. When you’re introspective the simple answers never work for you – so I went off to read more, and came back realizing I was always Rasta. Now Rasta is very much a leftist movement, not a liberal one. There is a marked difference that many people don’t understand. But it is also militantly non-violent, unlike your usual leftist movement – and that can lead many to mistake it for a liberal movement.

But I’m not exactly on the same page as the Rastafari in every aspect. I’m more fond of the sensual, and I take the Equal Rights and Justice angle to mean such for everyone. So as Apple Gabriel says, Give them Love.

Rasta is not a unified doctrine, unlike many organized religions. Each of us finds our path within that core concept of Equal Rights and Justice and the recognition of Yeshua Christ, Ras Tafari (Haile Selassie), and the holy land of Ethiopia – home of the oldest branch of Christianity, that predates the Catholics.

ExploringFurry

I didn’t start with cats for Furry. No, I made an alt just to get a furry look, and started with this.

After a journey through ‘am a furry’, I moved away from nudity. This was some time after finding Rasta, but before I was openly talking Rasta everywhere I went in Second Life.

Furry is interesting to me, in that I see the spiritual nature of an anthropomorphic self. A sort of ‘totem animal spirit’ if you will. In that regard I enjoy furry avatars a lot. But I’m not a part of furry culture at all. It baffles me, and I humor it. No opinions either negative or positive though.

Furries are very often gender ambiguous though (hermaphrodite avatars), and that is something I don’t relate well to at all. It is a common theme in Second Life, and I am accustomed to accepting it, but I don’t relate to it. I’m a leftist, but I’m not exactly a liberal.

PussycatCatnap_Egyptian

Now there’s a riot of themes.

I tried using Second Life to explore Rasta. I made a club, I wandered through events and other clubs, I made groups, and so on. Nothing really ever clicked here. There are a lot of people wandering around in SL with Rasta themes lightly in their look or venue – but they’re closer to what Rasta calls a Rentafari. A Rentafari is a male prostitute with dreadlocks who services white tourist women…

So yeah, that is an insult. What I found in SL was a bunch of people who equated Rasta with a black version of Cheech and Chong, for white people. Go to Reggae clubs, and they are usually run by white women, or Rentafari men.
8217840671_7b97ff4a48_o

So I kinda pulled back a bit from Second Life as my journey through Rasta kicked off.

Some might see me as appropriating by having a black avatar, or even in that my religion is Rastafari. But you should look to a person’s intentions, words, and deeds before going down that path. Snoop Lion is a black man who has been rightfully called out as appropriating Black Culture, while Jah Sun is a white man who is very real in where he stands.

When I go down a path, I go deep. As an introspective person I can’t just grab the surface of something. The Rentafari experience will not do for me because I see it as fake and that spoils it. I may love running around as a naked avatar, but I also have a very deep sense of the spiritual – and using religion to sell sex rubs me wrong. Even if I at the same time embrace the sensual in the spiritual.

Its a bit like the difference between Leftist and Liberal (think Malcolm X vs. Martin Luther King Jr). You might not see it, but its there, and pretty concrete. The sensual and spiritual go together naturally, but to use one to sell the other is a perversion of both.

So when I came back around to being active with Second Life, I started toning myself down a bit. That’s more or less where my break with nudity first occurred. In part also driven by the virulent racism I encountered on the SLU forums. I decided to stop engaging in some circles, and to alter my image a bit.

MeditationBuild

That’s about when I started calling my supposed shop in SL ‘Zion Kitty’, as a way to announce that I was looking at things spiritually now.

Rastafari Building in SeconfLife
Not too long after I even put up a Rasta ‘Church’ build based on a temple in Ethiopia. Churches as a building / location is not a Rasta thing, and that is why I eventually took that place down. People should gather anywhere to be spiritual, and without leaders. Pastors, Rabbis, Imams, and Priests are all mankind’s method of stealing spirituality from one in order to give political power to another.
8226725942_2d15d04855_o

That is something I’ve always known, and had to remind myself of.

Second Life has been a very useful tool for me in exploring identities, and in finding my spiritual self. It has also re-affirmed for me the notion that the spiritual is not in conflict with the sensual unless one is used to sell the other.
8208240128_ebbe60ee70_o

And that is a bit of why I have returned to being openly nude in Second Life. I see nothing wrong with this and my spiritual side. And whereas I have a lifetime of people challenging me for my mere existence in my real life, in my SL I can stand up and say that and hold to it. It is me, it is how I genuinely intuit my reality.

Reggae_SpiritualandSensual

As I recently noted in my post about Nudity in Second Life:

For me, nudity, even public nudity, is a spiritual thing. I suspect that confuses a lot of people. We are born nude, we are created nude, we return to a natural state when this life ends.
. . .
For me, the nude form is a spiritual form. Yes it is also a sensual, in fact erotic form. And these are all by intent, by design. By Jah will. We are made to love each other, to strive for community, caring, and an appreciation of the beauty of life and the beauty within each other and ourselves.

And while that is not necessarily something I learned in Second Life, it is something I hold firm to. And it is something that Second Life is perfectly suited for letting me express.

Fake non-person with no ‘branded identity’ who belongs to none of your ethnicities that I am, I come here to get real.

This is a part of my journey.


So where are you headed?

 

 

 

About Rastafari – a notecard now available in SL

EDIT: The build mentioned below is long gone. But the card is now here:
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bay%20City%20-%20Morton/33/115/26


I put together a notecard in Second Life on Rastafari, and have placed it into all of the many Rasta and Haile Selassie Posters I have there. It is available at this church here:
Rastafari church in second life
Ethiopian Rastafarian Church in Second Life
In the Lion of Judah sign above the entrance, and on a Selassie painting inside the door. Just click on either of them to get it. Or read below:


ORIGINS:

The Rastafari movement, or Rasta, is a spiritual movement that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica, out of the teachings and prophesy of Marcus Garvey.

Rastafari adherents revere Haile Selassie I, 225th in the line of King Solomon, King of Kings and Lion of Judah, Emperor of Ethiopia (ruled 1930–1974), as Yeshua incarnate, the Second Advent, or the reincarnation of Yeshua Christ.

Members of the Rastafari movement are known as Rastas, or Rastafari. The movement is sometimes referred to as “Rastafarianism”, but this term is considered derogatory and offensive by some Rastas, who, being highly critical of “isms” (which they see as a typical part of “Babylon culture”), dislike being labelled as an “ism” themselves.

The name Rastafari is taken from Ras Tafari, the pre-regnal title of Haile Selassie I, composed of Amharic Ras (literally “Head”, an Ethiopian title equivalent to Duke), and Haile Selassie’s pre-regnal given name, Tafari. Rastafari are generally distinguished for asserting the doctrine that Haile Selassie I, the former and final Emperor of Ethiopia, is another incarnation of the Christian God, called Jah. Most see Haile Selassie I as Jah or Jah Rastafari, who is the second coming of Yeshua Christ onto the earth, but to others he is simply Jah’s chosen king on earth.

Many elements of Rastafari reflect its origins in Jamaica, a country with a predominantly Christian culture where 98% of the people were the black African descendants of slaves.

TENETS:

In line with the teachings of the Kebra Negast, telling the story of the removal of the Ark of the covenant from Jerusalem to Ethiopia (where it still resides today) by the Ethiopian King Menelik I, son of King Solomon and Makeda (The Queen of Sheba); Rastas sometimes refer to themselves and Ethiopians as the true Israelites.

Rastafari rejects western society, called Babylon (from the metaphorical Babylon of the Christian New Testament), for its false prophets and materialistic deception, preferring to look back to the Bible to find the true teachings of Yeshua Christ.

Rastafari proclaims Africa (also “Zion”) as the original birthplace of mankind, and from the beginning of the movement the call to repatriation to Africa for the descendants of those slaves forced into exile in the West by the Atlantic slave trade has been a central theme. Rasta also embraces various Afrocentric and Pan-African social and political aspirations, such as the sociopolitical views and teachings of Jamaican publicist, organizer, and black nationalist Marcus Garvey (also often regarded as a prophet).

However Per Haile Selassie’s consistent lifelong message, Rastas are firm adherents to the proposition that in the eyes of Jah, all men and women deserve equal and just rights, treatment and respect. With both King Alpha and his Queen Omega as shining examples, Rasta bredren and sistren (collectively idren) seek to emulate kings and queens according mutual respect and dignity. It is this belief in equality among Rastas that allows race to be overlooked. Simply because one is white does not mean it can not be a Rasta. All people are equal, regardless of race, because all people are children of Jah. In upholding this, Rastas often refer to themselves as African royalty, using honorifics such as Prince or King, Princess or Empress, in order to give royalty to their names.

Rastafari is not a highly organized religion; it is a movement and an ideology. Many Rastas say that it is not a “religion” at all, but a “Way of Life”. Many Rastas do not claim any sect or denomination, and thus encourage one another to find faith and inspiration within themselves.

This view is more in line with first century Christianity and the Apostolic teachings – which strove against central leadership, had no priesthood nor pastors, and found the church as a body of equal people, all of whom had equal status to speak in gatherings, rather than a building or temple. In this way, Rastafari comes closer to original Christianity.

But some do identify strongly with one of the “mansions of Rastafari” β€” the three most prominent of these being the Nyahbinghi, the Bobo Ashanti and the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Today, awareness of the Rastafari movement has spread throughout much of the world, largely through interest generated by reggae music, especially the major international success of Jamaican singer/songwriter Bob Marley (1945–1981). By 1997, there were, according to one estimate, around one million Rastafari faithful worldwide. In the 2001 Jamaican census, 24,020 individuals (less than 1 percent of the population) identified themselves as Rastafarians. Other sources have estimated that in the 2000s they formed “about 5 percent of the population” of Jamaica, or have conjectured that “there are perhaps as many as 100,000 Rastafarians in Jamaica”.

SYMBOLISM:

Rastas assert that their original African languages were stolen from them when they were taken into captivity as part of the slave trade, and that English is an imposed colonial language. Their remedy has been the creation of a modified vocabulary and dialect known as “Iyaric”, reflecting their desire to take language forward and to confront the society they call Babylon. To this effect, Rastas revere Patwas, the indigenous dialect of Jamaica, and have incorporated into it a number of terms of a spiritual and or protest nature.

The wearing of dreadlocks is very closely associated with the movement, though not universal among, nor exclusive to, its adherents. Rastas maintain that locks are supported by Leviticus 21:5 (“They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in the flesh.”) and the Nazirite vow in Numbers 6:5 (“All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.”).

The Rastafarian colors of green, gold and red (sometimes also including black) are very commonly sported on Rastafarian flag, badges, posters etc. The green, gold and red are the colors of the Ethiopian flag and show the loyalty Rastafari feel towards the Ethiopian state in the reign of King Selassie. The red, black and green were the colors used to represent Africa by the Marcus Garvey movement. Red is said to signify the blood of martyrs, green the vegetation and beauty of Ethiopia, and gold the wealth of Africa.

The Lion of Judah is an important symbol to Rastas, for several reasons. The lion appears on the Imperial Ethiopian flag, used in Haile Selassie I’s Ethiopia. In addition, the Ge’ez title Mo’a Anbesa Ze’imnegede Yihuda (“Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah”) has been applied to Ethiopian Emperors since time immemorial, traditionally beginning with Menelik I, said to be the son of king Solomon (c. 980 BC). The Lion of Judah is also mentioned in the Book of Revelation 5:5, in reference to the returned Messiah.

Rastafari make regular use of the colors, the Lion of Judah, and representations of Haile Selassie in their art and identifying imagery. The colors as well as images of hemp have often been appropriated by outside elements for commercial representations of reggae.

DIET:

Many Rastas eat limited types of meat in accordance with the dietary Laws of the Old Testament; they do not eat shellfish or pork. Others abstain from all meat and flesh whatsoever, asserting that to touch meat is to touch death, and is therefore a violation of the Nazirite vow. Many Rastafari maintain a vegan or vegetarian diet all of the time. Food approved for Rastafari is called ital.

Usage of drugs and alcohol is also highly condemned as unhealthy to the Rastafari way of life, partly because it is seen as a tool of Babylon to confuse people, and partly because placing something that is pickled and fermented within oneself is felt to be much like turning the body (the Temple) into a “cemetery”.

The Rastafari movement encompasses the spiritual use of cannabis (Revelation 22:2, Genesis 1:29, Psalms 104:14, Proverbs 15:17), the first plant to grow on King Solomon’s grave.

For Rastas, smoking cannabis, usually known as herb, weed, sinsemilla (Spanish for ‘without seeds’), or ganja (from the Sanskrit word ganjika, used in ancient India), is a spiritual act, often accompanied by Bible study; they consider it a sacrament that cleans the body and mind, heals the soul, exalts the consciousness, facilitates peacefulness, brings pleasure, and brings them closer to Jah. They often burn the herb when in need of insight from Jah.

According to many Rastas, the illegality of cannabis in many nations is evidence that persecution of Rastafari is a reality. They are not surprised that it is illegal, seeing it as a powerful substance that opens people’s minds to the truth β€” something the Babylon system, they reason, clearly does not want. They contrast it to alcohol and other drugs, which they feel destroy the mind. This said, it is not necessary to smoke the herb to be Rasta, though it is unusual not to. This blog’s author, Pussycat Catnap, does not use the herb for personal familial reasons.

MUSIC:

Music has long played an integral role in Rastafari, and the connection between the movement and various kinds of music has become well known, due to the international fame of reggae musicians such as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

Nyabinghi chants are played at worship ceremonies called grounations, that include drumming, chanting and dancing, along with prayer and ritual smoking of cannabis. The name Nyabinghi comes from an East African movement from the 1850s to the 1950s that was led by people who militarily opposed European imperialism. This form of Nyabinghi was centered around Muhumusa, a healing woman from Uganda who organized resistance against German colonialists. In Jamaica, the concepts of Nyabinghi were appropriated for similar anti-colonial efforts, and it is often danced to invoke the power of Jah against an oppressor.

African music survived slavery because many slaveowners encouraged it as a method of keeping morale high. Afro-Caribbean music arose with the influx of influences from the native peoples of Jamaica, as well as the European slaveowners.

Another style of Rastafari music is called burru drumming, first played in the Parish of Clarendon, Jamaica, and then in West Kingston. Burru was later introduced to the burgeoning Rasta community in Kingston by a Jamaican musician named Count Ossie. He mentored many influential Jamaican ska, rock steady, and reggae musicians. Through his tutelage, they began combining New Orleans R&B, folk mento, jonkanoo, kumina, and revival zion into a unique sound. The burru style, which centers on three drums β€” the bass, the alto fundeh, and the repeater β€” would later be copied by hip hop DJs.

Reggae was born amidst poor blacks in Trenchtown, the main ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica, who listened to radio stations from the United States. Jamaican musicians, many of them Rastas, soon blended traditional Jamaican folk music and drumming with American R&B, and jazz into ska, that later developed into reggae under the influence of soul.

Reggae began to enter international consciousness in the early 1970s, and Rastafari mushroomed in popularity internationally, largely due to the fame of Bob Marley, who actively and devoutly preached Rastafari, incorporating Nyabinghi and Rastafarian chanting into his music, lyrics and album covers. Songs like “Rastaman Chant” led to the movement and reggae music being seen as closely intertwined in the consciousness of audiences across the world. Other famous reggae musicians with strong Rastafarian elements in their music include Peter Tosh, Freddie McGregor, Toots & the Maytals, Burning Spear, Black Uhuru, Prince Lincoln Thompson, Bunny Wailer, Prince Far I, Israel Vibration, The Congos, Adrian Nones, Cornell Campbell, Dennis Brown, Snoop Lion and hundreds more.

In the 21st century, Rastafari sentiments are spread through roots reggae and dancehall, subgroups of reggae music, with many of their most important proponents promoting the Rastafari religion, such as Capleton, Sizzla, Anthony B, Barrington Levy, Jah Mason, Pressure, Midnite, Natural Black, Luciano, Cocoa Tea, Jah Cure and Richie Spice. Several of these acts have gained mainstream success and frequently appear on the popular music charts. Most recently artists such as Damian Marley (son of Bob Marley), Alborosie and Million Stylez have blended hip-hop with reggae to re-energize classic Rastafari issues such as social injustice, revolution and the honor and responsibility of parenthood using contemporary musical style.

More reading:
Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey
Selected Speeches of Haile Selassie
The Rastafarians
The Abridged Kebra Negast, with stories of Jamaica added.
The Kebra Negast in full, translated into English
The Autobiography of Hailie Selassie, volume 1. or online

Rastafarian.net – the questions and answers on the first page are great

Why Jah? (why that word)

Today’s post is -NOT- about Second Life, but about how Rastafarians refer to the most high; Jah.

This is no scholarly article, just my insights. In fact this is pretty far from scholarly. :p

You will often see Western Christians make judgmental statements such as “there is only one God and his name is God, there is only one Christ and his name is Jesus.”

– As if English was the language of the Bible.

It wasn’t. “Jesus” didn’t grow up in Jersey, he came from Galilee.

Both of these words are translations. One of them is even a pagan word.

Yet I have lost count of the many times that I have heard people accuse Rastafarians and Jehovah’s Witnesses of not being followers of the faith because we (the both of us), use the words ‘Jah’ and ‘Yeshua’ rather than the modern western-Christian English words.

Look up the etymology of the word god. It refers to pagan germanic dieties. Think about that when you use that word.

So why Jah? Why do Rastafarians (and often Jehovah’s Witnesses as well) use the word Jah?

In short, its the Hebrew word – somewhat. The etymology entry is rather brief. Wikipedia will give you a bit more information.

The spelling started with a ‘Y’ instead of ‘J’ – with the Hebrew Bible using ‘J’ some 50 times. The Hebrew letter for ‘J’ being only about 500 years old. But that doesn’t mean that, lacking a letter for ‘J’, we can just toss in any old word…

‘J’ or ‘Y’, there is importance to this word. Its tradition, its in there in that book, and it pops up over and over again for a reason. We don’t call the Lord ‘Thor’ or ‘Zeus’, or ‘Mars’ for a -reason-. We probably shouldn’t be using the title of those guys either.


As to the other comment, ‘Jesus’ – this is an improper translation. It should be Yeshua. This is not as bad as the above example. The goal here was to say ‘Yeshua’, and in old enough versions of English, you would pronounce ‘Jesus’ somewhat closer to the ‘Yeh-Shu-Ah’ that it is supposed to sound like.

Wikipedia’s entry on Yeshua is not very illuminating.
– Just has a tiny note at the top and a link to a page that only refers to him by the English name save for in footnotes.

This is more insightful:
http://jesusisajew.org/YESHUA.php
(if that URL offends you because you don’t think he was actually from Israel but from Liverpool or Brooklyn or something… just read the article anyway please…)
Various Wikipedia articles on Jesus cover the name transliteration history. But they quickly then go back to the English word.

The name Jesus is a transliteration of the Greek transliteration, that over time has lost its proper pronunciation as the English language went through significant changes in the last 2000 years at the hands of illiterate people, who, on finding Bibles and learning to reading – had to guess based on the language they spoke at what their forebears had written.

Yeshua though, is a very specific word with a very particular meaning in Hebrew:
Salvation from the Lord.

While it was not a unique name, despite that meaning… perhaps its important that we pay some respect to Christ having been given that name rather than say “Frank” or “Bubba”.

Someone might have been trying to get a bit of a message across in using that name…

Disaster in Wisconsin – prelude to the end of the USA as a first world nation

Today’s blog is -NOT- about Second Life. This blog is usually a “Second Life” commentary and fan blog, but not today. If you got here from some source outside of Second Life, you can probably ignore the posts after this one. This one relates to real world recent political events, with an historical perspective on why I feel these events are a prelude to disaster.

People have no sense of history. So they doom themselves to repeat its worst excesses.

We’re rolling ourselves back to the Robber Barons of the 1890s. No… we’ve already done that.

Two facts that have shaken America to its core on an economic level;

  1. The ruling that corporations can spend in unlimited amounts on elections. In the USA, a corporation is considered a human being. Well, not really; it has more rights than a human being. Human beings can only spend in limited amounts. Human beings can be imprisoned. Human beings can be put to death. Corps are immune to all of these sanctions. Human beings have free speech. Corps have extra free speech. Corps are allowed to speak for others – using their money against their will to spend on behalf of the corps owners. Corps can blacklist human beings that work for them and have dissenting opinions…
  2. Unions used to have these same powers. That gave people the ability to organize and gain an ability to speak back. Unions have been getting rapidly stripped of said powers. Wisconsin is now leading the charge in stripping unions down into nothing – in an effort to remove the voice of the middle and working classes.

We are back to union busting. Every American who has graduated high school should know this story… Of the days when Pinkerton guards were sent out in death squads to kill unionists. Wait… that’s what’s going on today among farm workers. But they’re migrants so no one cares…

We need to remember the late 19th century here. Well, we need to remember the entire Industrial Revolution, right up until the end of WWII.

It was a time of mass exploitation. A time when the North moved past the South because paying people -less- than a living wage for more profitable than keeping slaves. Gains were made for some, but at great costs to others – a process that led right into the Great Depression. All because the ‘job creator’ class was let lose to exploit and steal from the rest of us. They don’t make jobs; they destroy opportunity. We need to remember that America was -NOT- a first world power in those days. It was a wannabe nation, the lesser to its betters in Europe, Japan, and Ethiopia.

It was only when Europe tore itself apart over these same concerns that America had its chance. With exploitation in Europe reaching to the same levels as the US, revolutions and wars ripped the continent apart. America’s robber barons only got involved in these messes when they had to. In both of the great wars of that age; we had to be pushed into action.

America’s rise to greatness came out of World War II’s end, but our middle class, and the stability we got from them; came as a direct result of empowering unions and the GI Bill so that the working class; the exploited classes, could rise up rather than revolt. Unions saved us from following Russia’s path of revolution. Look back to that era, and radical movements of communists were very active. The elites, Babylon; feared unions – and tried very hard to bust them on a claim that they were somehow communist.

But what is a union? Its an exercise of people coming together to say that a person should be fairly paid for their work, have proper representation in the machine of their labor, and be well off enough to be able to participate as consumers in the marketplace.

Unions are the most Capitalist thing you can think of.

A tool to convert workers from ‘workers’ into market actors by… giving them the power to make money off of their labor. This is why in every communist revolution, the first thing they do is seize control over these organizations and make them arms of the state – left alone, Unions will subvert, devour, and destroy Communist systems by creating individual wealth among the workers.

They do that simply because empowering common people destroys -ANY- tool of power and exploitation.

Including Babylon’s; the Robber Barons, Bankers, the 1%ers.

We need to recall how after WWII, when unions became as common as Wonder Bread and Saturday morning cartoons – incomes rose. Common working class people once content to live in barios and work in harsh factories gained the power to own homes, buy goods, get educated, and move -UP-.

And that led to the rise of America as a power to be taken seriously. The so-called American century.

Destroy the unions, and you break the back of the “common man”.

The ripping apart of Unions by such forces of Babylon as Governor Walker is directly aimed at removing the voice of the masses. Follow the trendline. Empowering corporate speech – unlimited funding into political sources, because these demonic things with no corporeal body are somehow ‘people’… coupled with removing the rights of people to organize on their own, because their barely living wage is somehow too high… well those organization the people make… they are made to give them political voice. Voice that will fall silent.

That’s a path right into darkness. Back to an age when the people exist for no purpose other than to be exploited by the wealthy. Its a fool’s journey, even for those 1%. They too quickly forget how well they have benefited from empowering their ‘peasants’. Our wealth, our labor, our inventiveness; has been trickling -UP- to them for half a century to give them amazing benefits. But they are greedy, shallow, empty creatures. Like the scorpion crossing the river on the frog’s back; they are willing to kill everything for just another $1 of greed.

And the fools in Wisconsin have fallen for it… empowered them further by keeping this hydra of Babylon in place. Given a chance to remove the monster, they have instead chosen to fall over and destroy their futures for him. Sooner or later though, people are going to find themselves in utter desperation again.

I come out of the ghetto; I know what happens when people have nowhere to turn, no chances, and sense no future. They get violent… destructive… ruinous…

We should know this. We only have to look at how high crime rates used to be in harder times…

Is this the way they want us to live?

Yes… it is…

Go back to your Robber Baron era again… they used to even speak openly about this. Creating violent ghettos kept the people distracted from paying attention to the real problems. The only problem was a fear of those masses having enough free time to start talking to each other. Opposition to unions began there. As did opposition to shorter work days, birth control, and easy education. If the peasants got too smart, if they could control their families, if they had free time… they’d surely revolt rather than live in such conditions.
– And today we see pushes to ramp up production and hours, remove family planning, strip education, and kill organizing…

But you know… everything has a breaking point.

The last time we went down this path, while half the world went into revolution, the USA had a change of heart and stopped busting unions, and managed to keep things cool. But everywhere else…

well…

Do we really want to go there?

I hope not, but I can’t help thinking of that everytime I think of those occupy folks… Sooner or later, its going to get rough:

(watch the footage and the 2nd interview that cuts in at 2:00, moreso than the song.)

In times like this, we could really use some leaders, some inspiration; to stop these folks.

Rastafari is very much an answer for many, on a personal level; to this exploitation of politricks. Its a rejection of Babylon’s game through spirituality and biblical wisdom; after all Jesus came from the suferah class, and was very much opposed to the exploitation of common people by the wealthy. But its a hard path, to get Babylon to see sense.

The alternative is a nation wracked by internal strife as the 1% isolate themselves into walled off camps and force the rest of us to struggle in ghettos and prey upon each other. If you think that’s fanciful, you have only to look at what the elites in Jamaica – the former slave holding plantation class – did there after the British crown left, and to the situation in much of central America. That’s where Walker and the Tea Party types will take us.

So, a final comment:

Do no evil.

When you hit rock bottom – every direction looks like up, but not all are.


Another relative passed away recently.

I’ve mentioned some violent deaths among my kin and friends of kin before. But this one is significant. Perhaps the most important. Yet I feel very little over it.

My maternal Grandfather. He passed away peacefully, at a ripe old age, in his own home, on his own terms.

He is also the sole reason that my mother was the only person in her entire family who was not a junkie. Or perhaps I should flip that to give you a better idea of things: He is the sole reason everyone in my mother’s family -IS- a junkie. My mother’s escape was quite literal: she ran away and grew up in jail after every attempt to place her somewhere resulted in yet another flight.

And I thank Jah very often that my mother grew up in jail.

This all began, as a number of my blogs do, as a comment in somebody else’s blog. But I’m holding that comment back because it really took their article in the wrong direction.

Lets just say than when you hit rock bottom – any direction appears to be up.

The topic of the day on the blog in question was about ‘negging’ as a come-on strategy. The sort who walk up to you and just demand the action, with little else to say – and often with some derogation against you included in the demand.

It reminded of a roommate from the 90s, and I had made this comment:

“Or is this the phenomenon known as “negging”, where members of what’s called the “pick-up artist community” disparage women until their self-esteem is eroded until they will sleep with, well, pick-up artists?”

Had a male roommate in the early 90s whose RL pickup lines were like that. Sort of a ‘b—-! come s— my c—‘…
(a line I saw him use and succeed with on a complete stranger outside the ‘stop and rob’ near the apartment one afternoon).

Shockingly… he was amazingly successful, and there was a different woman on his arm almost daily. Tried to chat with one waiting in our living room one night, as he was still busy with the one in line before her… and it was like speaking to a Martian… She was also one of the few I saw who I could not see signs of being ‘strung out’ on, thus my attempt at conversation…

(I did talk her into walking out the door rather than waiting, via a polite ‘WTF are doing here?’)

Was only a roommate for about 2 months though… was not a scene I wanted to be around, and he was severely unstable… It was one of those sudden “Crap, I need to make rent, anybody got somebody willing to take a room?” situations.

That made me want to reflect more deeply, and expound on what sort of world this reality exists in. How I come to have been in such a place, and what sort of people are in that place… ties directly to that relative’s path through my family.

But first to the “negging” scene. The thing with the “strung out” crowd is that many ‘mind enhancing substances’ drive up the libido to the point of self-injury. And not talking just emotional self injury or risky conduct; but people who will ‘screw’ till they bleed…
– Plenty of easy action to be had outside a crack den…

I’ve been to the bottom, I was born there, and raised one precarious step above it (as I said above, momma was the -only- person in her family -not- a junkie solely because she grew up in a jail cell as a runaway).

But I kept the “substances” away, which let me figure out which of those directions actually was up. However I’ve met the “type” as a result. People who think ‘negging’ works – often skip over the details of the scene in which it works (do you REALLY want to get your action at a crack den? Think about it). Try that “negging” out of that scene and you’re not a welcome presence.

(Try it in that scene and you are aiming straight for the direction labeled “down”. And we all know how gravity works: very easy to go down, once you start falling.)

I’m pretty sensitive to these types in Second Life as well (oh yes, this is a Second Life blog article after all, not just a bio one).
– but not because I find them rude and annoying.
– because they remind of a certain world I’ve been to – and when I meet them they feel like the sorts of people who try to ‘drag you back’ when you become visibly one of the ones able to escape.

Babylon doesn’t like people finding the keys to the gate.

Seeing the scene play out, even in Second Life; one just wants to yell back:
“Buddy… you have no idea what kind of scene you’re playing with there… I’d get over that kind of thinking fast, because if you carry it into your real life, you’re headed for a world of hurt.”

Roleplay has its place, and its too far excesses. But we’re not even talking about the roleplayers here.

We’re talking about the sorts mentioned in this blog, and this one (the second blog is the example used in the first blog to explain one among many motivations for a curious -other- scene that blogger commented on – namely why so many straight folks end up in a woman only Second Life scene).

This is a sort of people who come in to Second Life with a very negative set of behavioral patterns. This is not just the narcissistic ‘me first’ ‘liberty over equal rights’ crowd… this is the sort who seek harmful conduct. They seek others to use and abuse.

There are always folks at the bottom who feel the way to stay off the floor is to feed off of those already there. But if you conduct yourself like a scumbag, you’re going to fill up with scum…

There are even more of these folks at the top of the heap on a material scale, about be-it often below the bottom in other ways.

But enough about the predators.

What about those people my once roommate was able to catch with such amazing lines as he had… “Negging” works, but on whom and why – and what’s that got to do with Second Life?

We always hear the saying that, when you’re at the top, there’s nowhere left to go but down, and conversely; when you hit rock bottom, you can only go up.

But if you’ve ever been to the bottom… and kept your wits while there…

Not every direction is up.

Its a great analogy that you can only go North from the South Pole, but the truth is, its even easier to go “Souther”. When any direction looks like up, because it just seems to be that bad – desperation can lead to very bad choices. Self esteem can come crashing down. And what might have sounded insane before, can sound almost kind and helpful in a world full of hurt.

Been there, seen the scene. Nibbled a little on the poisoned offers – everyone has their dark moments in desperation. But I’m here now because I didn’t take the full bite.

I suppose its a little like this for the abusers as well. When you hit that bottom, your sense of things gets altered. Your notions of what is right get off. You might lose the sensitivity that makes you realize the harm of your conduct. You might lose the ability to take happiness in creating happiness among those around you. That’s the point of utter desperation.

As long as you are still a victim – as long as you can still feel – you are still alive, and you can find the direction in the mess which is up. The real bottom, the real south from which there is no other path – that’s not where the victim lies. Its where those who have lost empathy stand.

In addiction therapy, those programs with all their steps, it often begins with the whole ‘higher power’ lesson. There are many ways to look at that – and in truth as a person from a background rooted among ‘subjugated people’ that lesson has always felt like ‘make yourself a slave to become redeemed.’

And here’s an Second Life connection for you. So many in Second Life seek relationships about power – submitting oneself to another as a form of shelter, protection, so-called love.

And now I’m going to get a little preachy on folks.

There is no love between a master and a slave. Only power.

That way is a path of abuse. Love is not about control. Love has no ranks. Love is about freedom, equality, empowerment.

The master and submissive dynamic fulfills a sense of stability, give each party the sensation of having one who cares for them. Either you have a submissive devoted to meeting all of your needs, or you have a master giving you a strong guiding hand. But each is a constrained soul using a distraction to feed a need. Like a drug that hits your pleasure center – you seem to be happy, but lack fulfillment and lack any of the gains that would naturally trigger that pleasure.

Compare that drug to exercise – athletes get that same rush to the pleasure center from working their bodies into a peak of fitness. They get it naturally – its a “reward” for doing those things that will help them to live a longer, more fit and enabling life. Any one of them could skip all that hard work and hit the crack house for the same thrill of pleasure… (and some who fall do) but without any of the gains of good health.

The master and submissive are getting their ‘relationship endorphin’ – without the gains of a true loving bond. No empowerment, no partnership to push a pair twice as far as an individual, no real trust.

Trust is the most common thing they will claim to have – but they have the trust that limits set up will not be crossed. I’ve known this trust before. Its like the trust in a gang; these people won’t knife you, and will knife anyone who does. That’s a false trust. It isn’t really looking out for everyone’s best interests. You’re trusting that person to not take you further down; hurt me to a limit, but no more – a false trust. Not trusting in the whole to move up.

I think this happens so much in Second Life because it often is a lonely hearts club around here. So many of Second Life’s users are people seeking companionship. And like the crack house – a relationship built on power dynamics is very easy to define and ‘sign on to’. Roles are clear, terms are clear, parties can enter into it on a very “deep” level before even knowing each other – and the rush is so easy to obtain that it can seem meaningful in an instant.


What I learned to see when I was at the bottom, was that that higher power was not about submitting myself to a master, but about learning to find the strength within that Jah puts in all of us. You find that strength – you learn to see the beauty of creation while under the foot of Babylon, and you can lift your head up high, stand up, become empowered in spirit and walk with the most high. At that point, you will begin to find the way up.

Told you I’d get a little preachy. πŸ™‚

Good, caring, loving paths in life are always about empowerment. Empower yourself, empower others – rise up all of Jah Jah’s children.

Jah “leads” by showing us how to walk the path and enrich each other. That leadership is about loving your brethren and bringing peace to all you can.

The amazing thing about empowering someone, is how much it empowers oneself – and that ‘rush of pleasure’ one can get from seeing a smile on another, or seeing another achieve what they had only dreamed of.

That’s the higher power you seek out when at the bottom. The higher power of Jah’s love within – to become Stronger in soul, so you can find a path to walk.

The direction that really is up, you find the guidance within for that from a ‘higher power’; Jah if you will – by finding your centered strength of self. Putting yourself in a position of dependency, or dominance, victim, or abuser – these are not paths ‘up’. They are not way to enlightenment. They are roads into darkness.

The ‘Negging’ culture works, because in that darkness, many will seek any shadowy corner for shelter, lost and confused in self doubt about where and how to proceed, they’ll let a cold skeletal hand take them on a journey sooner than standing up and shining a light from within. That light from within is a hard path to trod.

In the famous Christian poem where a man asks why, in the darkess of times, he only saw one pair of feet in the sand – that is Jah coming within the person to help him find his way in the darkness. Helping him trod that path with determination, on the road up out of darkness.

I feel I’ve been moving through several different points here. What drives a certain few scenes – how when someone would feel ok using such abusive conduct, another might accept it. But more importantly – how there are paths out, but one has to look within to one’s connection to a higher power to find them.

Now I’m reminded of another Christian parable, the sone “Shine your light on me” – that’s close. We all have that light within us. Jah puts that strength there. You can feel it in moments of insight and joy. It can guide you in moments of darkness.

My path out, from a very wretched state in my youth – was a long and soulful journey to discover this in a desperation to not fall into the path of my kin.

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