Saturday, December 7, 2013

The metamorphoses of December

There are historic events which affect us personally even though we were not directly part of them. Today, December 7, is the anniversary of one such event: In 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor on Oahu, Hawaii, to bring the United States into World War II. The worn, bent "Remember Pearl Harbor" pin with the artificial pearl in the photograph belonged to my mother. She wore it as a school girl. The bayonet (long blade) was brought home by a soldier who fought in Europe during WW II. The KA-BAR Marine Corps combat knife (short blade) was made in 1943, carried by a Marine during the battle of Okinawa during WW II and again during the Korean War. (It also has been a few places with its second owner.) The pistol, a .45 caliber Colt Model 1911, is of later vintage (made in 1963), but ones like it were the official side arm of the U.S. military for more than half a century. The "clip" of ammo is .30 caliber armor piercing (black tip) for the M1 Garand, the primary U.S. military rifle during WW II and Korea. Yesterday's enemies often become today's allies, but the memory of both the good and the bad of a nation's history should never be forgotten. From my biased viewpoint, the most important area of study for young students is history. Study of the past reveals the answers to most questions, whether by or about an individual or the civilization of which he is a part.

Metamorphosis ....

Franz Kafka was thirty-two years old when "The Metamorphosis" was published. It took me a few years beyond that age, but I think I finally have realized what he had experienced and what he meant. What I am saying is that I think this short work of fiction is not all fiction, but an account of an event which occurred within his mind, if not actually to his body. Not all of us, but some of us, undergo a metamorphosis during our lifetimes -- perhaps, more than one.

It is tantalizing to imagine where our minds might carry us should we find ways to cut the societal bonds which encase them and to block out the constrictions which our bodies place upon them. In terms of metamorphosis, I looked at a photograph of a high school football team a few days ago. I recognized no one, not even myself. Everyone, including myself, was a stranger.

Of course, I am speaking more in a figurative sense than a literal one. I still recognize the smiling face as my face, but I do not know who he was and have a difficult time accepting that he ever was me. It is like seeing a photograph of someone I once knew, but have not encountered for years and remember only vaguely. Do you understand? Probably not. We shall leave it at that ....

Religion ....

The cruelty of this world is that we eventually have to say goodbye to everyone and to everything we love and hold precious in our lives. For this reason, it is easy to understand how religion entered our thought patterns as a primitive species. But, there are those like me who use that same fact as a reason not to accept a de facto god or an organized religion. That said, we should allow everyone who wants organized religion to have it without suffering secular ridicule from we, who are incapable of finding religious faith.

I am among those who do believe religion, in particular, Christianity, is under attack by any number of sources in the United States and around the world. In some countries, Egypt, Pakistan and North Korea, for instance, Christians have been imprisoned and even killed. At the risk (he says with a smile) of being labeled an infidel and a Crusader, I feel obligated to defend organized religion although I, personally, do not believe in it. This is my position because, unlike the current resident of the White House and some members of Congress, I do believe in the rights and responsibilities outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

For many, religion was and is a way to accept the harshness and difficulties we face in life. Living life today for most of us -- at least those of us who live in counties with relative economic and political stability -- is simple, easy and without much threat or danger. We are the lucky ones among those who have inhabited the earth to this point in time, and luckier still are those who genuinely possess religious faith to help them through the rough times.

Whatever ....

The third part of this had been meant to be about the dishonesty and corruption among politicians, in particular on the part of the one occupying the White House. But, I suppose I am not quite ready to print that yet. It is coming. I will wait for our megalomaniac president to mire himself even deeper in the quicksand of his own deceitful words and actions. I think it has been three or four years since I first pointed out Barack Obama is a habitual liar -- very possibly, even a pathological one -- but it takes time for "true believers" to actually see beyond the counterfeit smile of their idol. Some never will because his failure is their failure in selecting him.

So, instead of continuing down that path, I will mention that December 7 also is the anniversary of my argument with wife No. 2 -- the quarrel which eventually led to our divorce. I finally am getting used to living alone, and I need to write about that. Sometime. Not now. This post is getting very long just as it is. But, I do wonder how others living alone feel about it. Tell me, if you would, please.

And, in a few days, on December 10, it will be sixteen years since I quit smoking. Talk about a metamorphosis: Cold turkey from a few decades of three to four packs a day of Salems and Camel straights to absolute zero. I do expect to resume smoking at some point in time. I miss it, especially the cigar with brandy after a meal.

And, again, I will mention the music. In my last post, I included Jon Bon Jovi and his song, "It's My Life." It is a great song, I think. With this post, I include the same song, but this time with Bon Jovi performing it as a ballad rather than as the hard rock rendition which made it popular worldwide. The entire album, "This Left Feels Right," is on YouTube. Try it. I will bet big bucks you like it. I guess this just goes to show the accuracy of the cliché, "You cannot judge a book by its cover."

Hmmmm .... I guess that applies to politicians as well as to books and to music.


ANITA said...

Nice post Fram!and thank you for your kind words at my place❀✽.¸¸.•*`*I wish for you..A nice weekend❀✽.¸¸.•*`*Greetings Norway❀✽.¸¸.•*`*
I will come back later and read it more carfully..your post❀✽.¸¸.•*`*

Fram Actual said...

Well, hi there, Anita. Since you are a student of war, World War II in particular, I assume there is a point or two in the post which would be of interest to you.

Thank you, for stopping by, and I hope you do return.

ANITA said...

wow Fram!an argument caused you divorce??Wow!!!
I think you didnt know each other properly..or you did not fit togehter!A hot conversation should be like a every day thing and laugh about it afterwards and learn from it..If we dont fit togehter..we canchange to be better companions..but i think there is 5 points that is nesecarry in a relationship..wheter it will last or not..
Likee the same things-
Have a deep good affetcion to each other.
Solving problems togehther.
Repect the others personality.
and last..give the other one..FREEDOM to be what he she is wanting to be in this life..

I love thos war things.That long knife seems frightening!think of all the material it has touched!Scary!Also that remebering pin is just great!It awsome you have such collections.
The korean war and attack by the japanese at Pearl Habour is very bad--think i am going to look at a movie from that time from the japanese view..The movie Yamato..The last battle..
Noth Korea is very bad.They have consentration camps likely to Holocaust..Its very bad in the year of 2013.

About to be alone..i write in norwegian.
Å være alene men ikke ensom er noe man velger eller er blitt valgt for.
Man kan finne seg i det eller stadig jakte på den perfekte kjærligheten som jeg personlig tror ikke fins.
Jeg har jo en sønn.Så livet mitt er stadig fylt med all slags overaskelser og gjøremål.Men det er jo ett mor barn kjælighets forhold.
Noen ganger savner jeg en mann og krype inn til..ha nærhet med og de lille tingene bare kjærestepar kan ha.Men tiden får se.Jeg har ennå ikke funnet en som passer inn med meg og som jeg liker.Ikke har jeg tid til det heller.
Wish for you a happy happy sunday!Greetings Norway

Smareis said...

Curiosa essa imagem...
A guerra é muito triste e espalha dores profunda entre as família dos soldados. Realmente o que você disse é pura verdade a memória de ambos os bons e os maus da história de uma nação, não deve nunca ser esquecido. O estudo da história em importante , é sempre bom estar aprendendo sobre a história de cada Países.

Sobre a religião,
Acredito também, que a religião é maneira de aceitar mais as dificuldades e ter coragem e força pra seguir em frente diante de tantas desigualdade no mundo... Acho muito triste cristãos ser mortos e presos por querer seguir uma crença diferente do outro.

Adoro o Bon Jovi, e estava te lendo, e ouvindo essa música.
Gosto mais desse estilo do que essa musica em estilo Rock.
A letra é bem curiosa.
"Esta não é uma canção para os de coração partido.
Nem uma oração silenciosa para os que perderam a fé.
Eu não serei apenas um rosto na multidão
Vocês vão ouvir minha voz
Quando eu gritar isso bem alto".

Linda essa música! E Bon Jovi fica melhor em estilo mais lento, essa vós é tudo de bom...

Vou dar uma olhadinha no álbum inteiro, nem precisa apostar eu já gosto risos. Frase certíssima, não podemo julgar apenas o livro pela capa. O interior sempre guarda as melhores obras.

Escreveu com muita sabedoria essa postagem As Metamorfoses de Dezembro.
Abraço e ótima semana Fram.

A Cuban In London said...

A very good and thoughtful post. Those keepsakes have a significance beyond price or value. Thanks for sharing them with us.

I re-read Metamorphoses last year after purchasing it in a secondhand bookshop. A beautiful edition, I must say, and a very enjoyable read. I'd forgot how funny it was. And I don't mean Gregorio's transformation, but his family's reaction.

As an atheist, I detest what's happening to some religious people. It's the opposite of the society I want to live in. Paradoxically, we're creating martyrs.

Bonjovi should be a guilty pleasure, but I said many years ago that I didn't have any. Because, guess what, it's my life. :-)

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

The divorce did not come until a few years after this argument, Anita. The argument was like a snowball that began rolling down the side of a mountain, collecting more and more snow as it went along until it had become so large nothing could stop it.

Your observations about why a relationship either succeeds or fails are very accurate. We had known each other only three months when we were married, but, I think you are right in the sense that we simply did not fit together well. I also think your five points are exactly right.

I recall that a year or two ago you were watching the television miniseries, "The Pacific," and found it interesting. Episode nine of the series is about the battle on Okinawa, the island on which the combat knife in the photograph was carried by a Marine. If you are in the mood for reading, you should consider, "With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa," by Eugene Sledge. I believe it might be the best book written about actual Marine Corps combat during World War II.

You seem to be reconciled to being alone in terms of a companion. You have your son right now, but that is not the same as having a companion, of course, and in only a few years he will be going off to live his own life. As I have said about myself, I am beginning to like living alone, but I do not enjoy traveling or going out places by myself. Going out to eat or to a concert or to a film or for a walk is best when there are two people to enjoy each other as well as the activity.

Thank you, for your detailed and thoughtful comment, Anita. It was nice to "talk" with you about all these things.

Fram Actual said...

My first thought was to take a close-up photograph of the pin alone, Smareis, and, maybe, that would have been best. But, I decided to add some implements of war because that is what the day is all about -- remembering the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor and the bloody war that began that day. The day symbolizes understanding that war is ever-present in the world, knowing that war might find you at any moment and accepting that you had best be prepared for it.

The history of many countries is the history of war itself. There always are those whose greed and selfishness or those whose political or religious beliefs seem to compel them to attempt to subjugate others by force. How many military and civilian deaths and traumatic injuries have there been in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria during recent years, and to what ends?

I am glad you like the music. I have argued that many of the rock lyricists are the primary poets of today, and that many of the melodies are exceedingly beautiful. Some people have interpreted the words to "It's My Life" as meaning a person should live his life the way he wants, not the way other people might want or expect him to live it. My own view is that the words are more of an expression of living life to its fullest and an expression of personal strength.

It also is interesting to see the album covers as they move along in the video, to see the progression of Jon Bon Jovi and the band from a group of long-haired kids to more mature men. But .... hmmmm .... possibly, I am judging this book too much by its cover. To watch a Bon Jovi concert video is to pretty much see a band that remains forever young, a band whose members merely have cut their hair a bit shorter. I am pleased you will listen to the entire album.

I am glad you liked the post, Smareis. I think I might try to write some pieces which create a little laughter and a few smiles. At least, my music often is happy.

Fram Actual said...

I was on a bit of a tear when I wrote the post, CiL. My mood has been bitter and agitated recently. It is not unusual for me to be that way in the autumn because my mind focuses on the approach of winter -- which I dread. But, my pessimistic feelings have been magnified this autumn because I am essentially unhappy with life and my plans are constantly being interrupted by things beyond my control, such as the work being done on this house.

Yes, I value the items in the photograph, and they have been retired to safekeeping for some time.

I assume I am not the only person the tales of Franz Kafka have an eerie (for lack of a better word) affect upon, and it has been that way since I first "met" them. In a sense, they own part of me. I have a copy of a Modern Library edition of the "Selected Stories of Franz Kafka" that I have kept physically close to me since I obtained it in college. It always is within reach of where I have my work table. It always is in my bag when I travel. It is like a charm or amulet for me. I might not open it for a few years at a time, but it is there with me in case I "feel a need" to read a story or two.

I echo your thoughts, your sentiments, about oppression and aggression toward those who carry religion in their minds and hearts. I have mentioned this before, but to say it again: I have not been inside of a church except as a literal tourist or for weddings or for funerals since I was age fourteen. I would have left sooner, but I made a pact with my mother to attend until I had completed the confirmation process. And, to this day, I remain an agnostic because I cannot deny the existence of something which I cannot see any more than I can accept its existence.

Clever, witty, sneaky. I think those words probably describe you very well in terms of "guilty pleasures," CiL. Thank you, for sharing your time and your words.

Something special ....