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Horses and Getting Back On

Howdy, there Internet!

I would apologize for not writing more, but that would be a misrepresentation or a twisting of the facts. In truth, I haven’t PUBLISHED anything here, but I have been writing a lot – just not finishing much that feels right for this blog. That’s life, I guess.

I probably don’t have enough readers for it to matter, but publishing regularly is an important step to getting views and regular readers. Ergo, I can and will be focusing on improving my process and circumstances so that I publish more. One thing I am going to do is focus more on the inspiration of the moment – not getting bogged-down in the more abstract ideas that are really deep background, anyway. Just the spark of thought, in a cheerful, accessible way.

We all need a leg up to get where we’d rather be, and maybe some encouragement if we thought we were there before falling from our saddle. I know I have. Just this morning, I got some very upsetting and frustrating news: I am back in virtually the same place I was three years ago after spending hundreds of hours and hundreds of dollars to get past a certain point in my professional life. But that is life, you know?

The thing is, I’ve still learned a lot from my failures. I’ve learned the most about myself and how success is sustained. Part of success is defining it for yourself. The other major part is being in the right position to make that attainable and realistic. Turns out, I still haven’t quite found that for myself when it comes to that goal, but the key insight from my falling short may very well be that my heart was never in it for that because its really in other things that are equally important, maybe even more important given where the world is at today.

I know I want to be a happy, healthy member of a just community. Only a small sliver of remedial justice comes from courtrooms these days. Whereas, all justice is rooted in healthy human hearts and minds. That’s where the greater work is, and that’s where I want to be in my work.

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My “First” Blog Post

“Your eyes can fool you. Don’t trust them.” – Obi-wan Kenobi

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

Despite bitter claims to the contrary, I have been writing for myself for some time. It is past time that I begin to make something of it which I can share with the world. Truth is a funny thing – the more and more you pull at it, the more there is pull at. Yet, I find I never tire of the pursuit of truth, so long as I can find joy along the way. Truth be told, not all truths are joyous, but facing the pain in some truths leads to the pleasure and joy of the enlightenment we can gain from facing them.

I remain a very fallible person. In fact, as I get older I find it harder to tell whether I am even growing wiser or more foolish. I hope it a sign for the former that I increasing find the concern humorous, if not worthless. We each have one life to live, and I have always intended to live it. The challenge for me, rather, is that I realize now that our fallibility is no weakness. Human frailty is simply a matter of limitations which all life shares with us – likely for good reason. So I must make choices and accept that I may not do everything despite a certain boyish desire to do just that.

Perhaps that is why I keep coming back to writing: on the blank page anything is possible. Many lives may lived in excerpts of imagination. Problems may be posed and answers analyzed. Most of all, I find that it is in the crafting of ideas through language that I feel most myself, even as I play at being someone – or something – else entirely. I recently realized that the key for meaning in life may be in facing the assured hypothetical: what if this is it – all you ever do – and no one else cares: was it worth it?

Who doesn’t love my man Obi?

As it regards writing and a few other activities, I can answer an unequivocal “YESSSS!” because if nothing else I feel a little better as a being in this strange existence every time I even try regardless of the results.

Of course, then there are those wonderful moments when it becomes apparent that a connection to another mind has been made. These thought-sparks I am compelled to throw catch fire in the ready hearth of another mind previously less inclined. That is one of life’s greatest rewards by itself.

Where’s our Hedge Fund, Mr. Manchin?

Can a hedge fund get me to work or look after my elders? Those are the kinds of questions West Virginians should ask Senator Manchin this week and every week until the Senator gives us an answer. He risks sinking a just, once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment plan that puts the American People first over the corporate tax rate? Should we accept worse roads so the wolves of Wall Street can keep their bonuses from their shell games? I say Manchin is trying to play the Nation. I think he is attempting to con us into believing this boardroom “Democrat” working for Republican donors is the only reasonable person in his party or D.C.. Nothing could be further from the Truth. We all need the American Jobs Plan.

The vast majority of West Virginians hardly care about the corporate tax rate, except to know that it is too low. Between transportation, insurance, and rent in America, most of us don’t have substantial emergency savings, let alone capital assets. Yet the big businesses and money-men have been raking in record profits and building unheard of reserves of wealth for years as Americans struggle to get things like clean water and humane elder care. So who is Joe really representing here?

Now Manchin can play hero without facing the costs of inhumane priorities. The GOP will happily maintain fraudulent opposition pandering to small-minded selfishness; blessing corporate profit and private grift. Thus Joe can keep money in his class’ collective pocket, possibly still enable a bill that will help all Americans, and be rewarded for it at the polls back home for looking tough and smart. Maybe some of my fellow Democrat voters are ok with games, but I am not. West Virginia should demand better.

Malcontent

What other Word but Malcontent

Captures the Seething Tone of the Time?

‘Twixt – or ‘Tween – the Tantrums Regulating Creative Destructions

The Teeming Masses Instead Team Toward Something More.

Freedom.

Freedom from Want, Demand, and Disrespect, or Petty Dominion

What other Word but Malcontent,

Captures the Humanity of Fighting for Freedom?

Flutter On

Flutter, flutter, flutter on my friend,

on, around, and down to the end.

Not but a whisper of patience,

a testament to peace and repose;

You flutter, flutter around

inexorably drawn to the ground.

Evocative of the spirit which lifts,

you demonstrate the drive to Earth which all living are wary.

So I watch you succumb

whether one or many

thinking not of falls but flight –

the possibilities uncanny.

Roles and Action!

Who are you? Or for that amtter, who am I? No, no . . . your name is not WHO YOU ARE. Your name is simply a label by which that person recognizes the recognition of other persons. Your name may not tell you anything about the answer to the question. Maybe it does, or maybe you aren’t sure what it says. All are ok. We all want to feel good about the answer to that question, and yet…the harder you think about it, the more difficult it can be to answer.

I’ll admit that I find myself in an unusual place in my life. I know I have a strong mind and body and I want to be … of use? A part of … something? I keep finding wholes in this sense. And it can suck. Especially when you aren’t sure where you are in the economy or society anymore (thanks, plague!). But I have also learned that that’s ok. Generally, we only run into this kind of issue it seems when something disrupts life enough to encourage us to look and we end up with enough time that we really get into the intellectual weeds. It feels disorienting to realize there is no solid ground beneath our sense of self that the ground literally below our bodies. In some ways the answer is clearest when we may otherwise feel most lost.

We are the interplay between our bodies and our environments stting atop this most amazing aparatus that is the rest of our minds and bodies. They are us, not really separate, but “I” within is the post which seems most plausibly apart. I’ve come to think that’s what it does: the ego is that which takes the myriad mingling minutia of existence at the human scale and does something few, if any, other certures do and tries to separate, and sort, and figure out that which is.

However, this is in some ways very illusory to experience. I am an intellectual – maybe neurotic – person myself. It is as much a hindrance as help sometimes. At this point in my life – when I am realizing that the career I thought I wanted may not really be right for me at all – I find all of this is as familiar as it is scary. I’ve been deconstructing my world and things in it since near the beginning. So if this finally gets me to see how what I have done has made a trap for my self, I can just as naturally go about unmaking it. I am not my choices so much as the actions those choices lead to. Choice may very well be part of that illusion of self. Actions, however, are only ever done once and those may add to a role I play in events bigger than myself. How can they not?

As the Bard said, “all the world’s a stage, and the men and women mere players” which is to say that we all are doing things – playing roles, if you will – all while none of us can really be sure we know at all what we are doing. If we are strict about it, we can be certain that we don’t really. At best we may do a role we have so prepared for that we may do so for a brief time with a grace worthy of applause and a bow at the end. That’s it. That’s all. Ourt greatest claim to identity is not “what” we think we are. It is what we do.

So you may be a drunk. Yet, tomorrow you may a drunk fighting for that first day of sobriety. Or you may be a student who even now is becoming a teacher amidst your fellow students. Likewise, the accountant may be a singer, or a poet a theoretical physicist. Who knows what the limits of the possibilities really are? Well, you do so long as you are present and honest. The real limits have nothing to do with this moment, but our will to commit to an action which is also a long series of actions building on one another. And then somewhere out of that you find a life and maybe even a legacy. No one alive has seen Beethoven, but most of us have heard him because he wrote some of the most enduring music in all humanity.

One final note: there is something about a role which satisfies in a way things never can.

Life: DQ’d

What’s that? Duh! Quarantined!

I consider myself quarantined. It is twelve minutes before three o’clock in the afternoon on the seventeenth of March, 2020 as I begin writing this. What is weird is that I am physically isolating despite my doctor’s current belief that I show no clear Covid-19 symptoms. Yet, I am determined to isolate because the lead argument for general isolation and social distancing is the belief that a significant portion of the infected in this pandemic have and will prove asymptomatic i.e. they show little or no clear signs of illness, even while contagious (they can pass the virus to others in amounts enough to infect them), for part or all of their infection .

I am limited to my anecdotal description of the course of my possible illness. Saturday: Woke to throbbing headache, strqange sensations low in the throat, and slightest loss of equilibrium. Medications: Ceterizine and Aleve. Actions: Copious water, food, and bed rest. Sunday: Further throat irritation, fatigue, some nasal/sinus discharges. Copious water, food, and entertainment indoors. Monday: minor chest/back discomfort, sore throat, fatigue. Medications continued. Tuesday: Sore throat, chest discomfort, and finally a mild fever. That’s four days. I had interactions with at least three recently ill individuals with unconfirmed diagnoses between Friday the week before and last Tuesday. Everything I have experienced is plausibly consistent with mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 according to my understanding. My doctor has taken samples for testing for other ailments.

Therefore, because my father is a physician with many high-risk patients and my mother works in his office, I have to act within my ability to protect even them despite being told the chances are low that I am ill with the novel corona virus responsible for Covid-19 and its complicating conditions. It’s like a drill for working more closely with the illness, but under more difficult circumstances. We won’t use true masks. I am using a bandanna, regularly washed. We may cut some corners with full sanitation. We may not always remain sufficiently distant (two arms and a hand!). The bleach solutions may be weak.

Part of the challenge, if my parents and other elders I know are any indication, is that older generations are going to be slower to think creatively with tools at there disposal, especially for direct communication over distances. If there is time, call. If the message is specific and time-sensitive, then text. If the issue is important enough to put to paper, but too complex for a text or two, then email or call. The advantages of text and voice are mutually exclusive. Text can wait; voices can converse. Both have their place. Ours is to use them wisely and diligently to better contain pathogens and meet essential needs.

We are an interconnected people. Physical separation has never been less limiting to our connectivity. What is the internet for, if not times like these? And there are other ways to limit the risks throughout life long enough to make the differences we need to make to prevent disaster. We just need to play our parts as presented. Cheer up. Even those of us at home can and should have plenty we can do if we are thoughtful. Enjoying yourself with less physical proximity is one of your responsibilities now – health status doesn’t matter for at least two weeks.

I should be honest. I would rather help deliver and select food or care for children missing school whose parents must work outside the home than be at home cleaning after myself and trying to take care of myself as much as possible while presumptively ill. If I can be cleared of the infection of concern, then I will probably volunteer to do so. Until then, my place is at home, learning from my own experience as many practices and ideas as I can to help contribute to an effective community response. Whether I further help through communication or through direct assistance, time and symptoms will tell.

While I write this, I retook my temperature: 99.4. I will be retesting…

and … 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit!

See you all in at least two weeks, fam.

Acquittal; No Quit

Acquittal. On Wednesday, February 5, 2020, the federal government lurched further towards illegitimacy when all but one Senator of the “Republican” party voted to vote down charges that Donald J. Trump – current dictator and supposed President of the United States – of the following charges:

In the land of the blind…

Abusing his power by illegally extorting an ally nation out of legally-obligated military aid while they are in a very real war with Russia;

Obstructing Congress’ constitutional obligation to oversee the Executive Branch and investigate these alleged illegal acts when he refused any and all cooperation on the matter for the entire Executive Branch.

All of this despite public acknowledgment of the facts and fear of political consequences by the very Senators who voted to acquit.

Like many Americans, I felt an all too familiar set of feelings. I felt that drop in the stomach and rising static in the ears. I felt a certain fuzziness of being. In other words, I began to experience a stress response. Though not physically under attack, I understood implicitly that this event marks a dangerous escalation of action for this country and therefore myself. However, I remind myself that this event was predicted – as bad as it is – and that I remain physically safe at this moment. The stress then has no place within me but moving me forward into this new world. It is a world where it must be assumed the American regime can and will do what it wants, only to be rubber-stamped by congressional enablers and hostages or resisted by the American people on their own volition and by their own means.

These are increasingly dangerous times. Fascism is undeniably on the rise in America. An unarmed American has to pass through metal detectors at every state capital, school, and public event, but masked gunmen can walk around at will with government protection in “protest” of those who would defy their whims. Government efforts, meanwhile, focus on making civil disobedience a felony when it comes to the all-mighty pipelines!

For this American, these events have been the greatest challenge imaginable. The refusal to deny what is happening or be complicit in it has quite likely cost me any satisfying legal career for the foreseeable future. I am perhaps the most educated poor person in America – seven years, three programs, almost six figures of debt, and four-figure wages so far to show for it. Full disclosure: this has been very hard for me because I was one of those “talented” kids whose early accolades for barely anything almost ruined my sense of value – almost. That said, I can’t apologize for not running the rat-race required to rise above the sycophantic, status-driven avarice required for most lawyers to find a real place. This in a world where there are no lawyers really able to explain the functions of local governments for ordinary residents.

That said, the disinformation era has been a time of great emotional turbulence for me and many others for a host of personal factors. Only because I have learned to face my challenges and accept who I am and why, can I watch my country try to end itself and not follow suit. America still is a great place with many great people weighed down by a ton of bad habits and issues with some truly awful people to support those patterns.

Something needs to be done; we all have a role to play in doing it. We all need to maintain our health, but what is health in hell? No amount of mental fortitude will stop a bullet. Only a mass uprising can overthrow a regime. Only a relatively peaceful one can do so with legitimacy in a country which still believes itself a democracy.

So we each must care for ourselves, but how is that done? Well, in order to learn how we must become students of life itself. Forget all the clever categories and follow only the ebbs and flows of various moments of life. Just be. Then you can be who you need to be – who the world needs you to be.

Perhaps, like me, you are often anxious on some level. Maybe only a little; maybe a lot. Either way, that is how you feel. It is not the wind or rain, or the political opposition. You alone hold that feeling. In time, you will notice that this feeling doesn’t fill you completely. It is not all feeling, but one of many. With anxiety, we can intuit that we are afraid of something. What are we afraid of? Is it something near or far away?

This is the truth we learn as children and then forget as soon as possible: there are no monsters we do not create for ourselves. This is just as true of political disaster as shadows in a closet. Certainly, there are facts to support the arguments that Trump is an unusually morally reprehensible person, generally, and a disastrous political leader specifically. But is he the real danger? I’m sorry, but as large as he is and energetic as he can seem, he is more laughable than frightening by himself.

In my case, at least, what I am really afraid of is the lone gunman who believes these malicious lies about me or others as enemies of “real Americans” or the destruction of the drinking water in my community. I fear abject poverty in a wealthy country. But all of these fears remain abstract possibilities, not current facts. And in that very thought, the anxiety has already begun to melt like the Greenland glaciers.

This is not the true end of anything, but neither was there ever a clear beginning. What matters is the new ability to move forward, if only a little, towards something better. Isn’t that what America’s always really been about?

Let’s do the thing!

Introducing….

This is my version of a bio.

My Name is Warren Hilsbos of Fairmont, West Virginia. I have lived here most of my life. I am a product of my parents’ working-class/professional lifestyle and the unique dynamics of the highlands of what most call “The Rust Belt.”

What’s there to know about me?

  • I have always been a thinker. Even as a very small child I remember actively analyzing whatever was in front of me.
  • I also live to do. My learning has always been about growing my abilities. You can ask my mom about the cliff and my Panda truck – every challenge is an opportunity to learn.

This way of living has caused me to learn a great deal about many topics. I was explaining evolution at 7, rockets at 12, constitutional theory at 16, and so on. I now hold degrees in Philosophy and Law from West Virginia University.

To further orient you, new reader, here are answers to a few basic questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
    • Because internal dialogues get boring! As fun as the world is to engage, human beings are the most interesting part of it.
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
    • This one is tough. In short, whatever inspires me most in a time or place. Sometimes I like to summarize vast stretches. Other times I want to dig deep into minute details. I especially enjoy finding unexpected connections between things. For example, music and narrative.
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
    • My people are those who live to love, fight to protect the vulnerable, bless the good around them, and set the best example they can for others.
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?
    • By this time in 2021, I hope to have found a core readership and a clear voice which I can deliver regularly.

So, I will twiddle and twattle in the vain hope of not sounding too dumb. I hope you find something in my play which points you toward a better way of your own creation.