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 ....
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.
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.