Nov 16

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness *

Some people think this is what the document looks like

Some people think this is what the document looks like

We Americans are in love with the documents that spell out the foundation of our country.  You know what documents I’m talking about. The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Those documents are as important to us as really any other document out there. Some people would tell you that the only “document” more important would be the bible. I, am not one of those people.

I’m not one of those people who will try and tell you that this country was founded by Christians, on Christian principles. I won’t tell you that the founders were all god fearing men. I wont tell you this, because those commonly held ideas are absolutely not true. Sure, there were a few “God fearing Christians”, but there also happened to be at least one atheist, a few deists, and a freemason. This isn’t a shocking development. This isn’t “STUNNING NEW INFORMATION!” It’s just not a very popular opinion with a very vocal part of the population. (Notice I did not call that part of the population the majority.)

On the other hand, the founding fathers do have a few impressive quotes floating in history regarding religion, but they don’t paint a glowing endorsement of using religion as a basis of government. In fact, if you go though and look at those documents, you will see that they actually went out of their way to make sure that they didn’t lay the framework for a theocracy. And make no mistake, when you start having a conversation about how religion should  be used as the basis for law, interpretation of the law, or for how a government views its citizens? A theocracy is exactly what you are talking about. Which brings us to the title of this posting. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness *. The asterisk is important there.

That asterisk, isn’t it the original document. Go ahead, go take a look. We can wait.

[insert the Jeopardy music here]

Oh hey! You’re back. You didn’t see an asterisk right? Did you see a qualifier of some kind? A footnote? Anything? No? Just a hyphen right? So one last question. Does the Declaration of Independence say:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness as long as you have the same beliefs as I do.”

I mean, it’s entirely possible that I’ve gone too long without glasses, and my eyes are now capable of missing and entire sentence fragment, because I don’t see anything after happiness except that hyphen. (which bugs me, I don’t know why, but it does) You don’t see it either? So it’s not there. The unalienable rights endowed by “their Creator” (pretty vague words for a group of guys that are purportedly bible thumping God guys right?) have no qualifier to them. All are created equal. All have the right to the pursuit of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

And that right there is my issue. We, the American people have decided that we are hellbent on inhibiting the rights of our fellow man with government regulation, because they don’t believe the same way we do. At times, we are even willing to give up rights to make sure that people we don’t agree with can’t have access to those rights.

We watch as a vocal group of religious entities throw a temper tantrum because people want to get married. We watch as a public school board cowardly removes religious holidays from a calendar. They did this, so that they wouldn’t have Islamic holidays gracing the pages of their calendar next to more “acceptable” holidays. We watch as for profit corporations sue the Executive Branch of our government, claiming that they have a religious obligation to deny their female employees drugs made by the companies that they invests their employee’s retirements in.

But, let’s not just keep this pointed at religion. I’ve watched as Atheists / agnostics / non believers shoot back, and call religious people “crazy”, or worse. I’ve watched so much vile hatred tossed back and forth, that I feel like I’m stuck at a terrible zoo in South Carolina that thought it was a good idea to put the monkeys on islands around the food court. (That’s a story for another time)

Poo flinging. That’s what we are doing. And we wont be happy until we have covered “the other guys” in enough shit that a doctor from Jurassic Park wants to get elbow deep in it.

We do this, because we have decided that people who believe differently than us don’t have the right to be different. We want the government to step in and make sure that those who don’t share our ideologies are oppressed. And we don’t mean sort of oppressed. We want their rights taken away, or barred from having the rights to begin with. We want them to be our lesser. We want them to know that they are less of an American than we are.

Take a step back and think about that last paragraph. That’s the world that we live in right now. How does that make you feel? Are you proud of that version of America? That’s not the America I want to leave as a legacy for the next generation. We need to find it within ourselves to be OK with someone having faith, and living their life according to their faith. We need those of faith to understand that not everyone is going to be interested in their faith. And that doesn’t make either of them wrong. It just makes them different.

And in that, we need to understand, that there are going to be things that each side is going to be allowed to do, that the other side doesn’t agree with. Yes. That means that gay couples are going to end up having the right to marry. Yes. That means that the faithful, at last in a non profit sense, should be allowed to stick to their faith.

And the sooner we get to a point where both sides understand this, the better this country will be.

I’ve typed your eyes tired. Just bear with me for just a moment longer. Over in the about section, I said I didn’t know what the long answer to what this place is. If you keep coming back, you’ll probably see a lot of this type of talk. You’ll see photos, maybe a chance to hear some of my songs, maybe a few digital art pieces, but the words, will probably be a lot like this.

Nov 15

Darkfield Illumination

Darkfield Illumination still life

Darkfield Illumination still life

This photo is quite possible one of my most favorite things I have ever created. While in college, I took a photography class, and was fascinated by the technique. When we went to open lab, I spent the entire time working on darkfield illumination techniques, trying to find one that really hit me the way the examples from the lecture did.

Towards the end of the lab, I had just about given up, when I found this fluorescent light cover sitting in the corner of the studio. I started messing around with it, and this old PAR cannon lamp that wasn’t being used, and realized that I FREAKING LOVED the way the light came through it. So, I grabbed the Harmony balls I had packed to shoot with, and started setting them up. 5 minutes of trial and error later, and BAM! this was the result. Sitting here and staring at it, I can lose myself in the reflection on the harmony balls, the vastness created in such a small space, the cold I feel in such a sparse environment, and even a sort of “Tron” vibe.

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