My Review of the album ‘Tales from Topographic Oceans’ by YES

My Grading System:
S-tier (100): Mind Blowing. Phenomenal.
A+ (97-99): Awesome song. Brilliant.
A (93-96): Great song.
A- (90-92): It’s just good enough to sneak into the great category.
There are grades for B’s, C’s and D’s, but there won’t be any of that here.

‘YES’ just finished their most prolific album, ‘Close to the Edge’ which is considered by many to be the greatest Prog Rock album of all time. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it #445 of the top 500 greatest albums of all time, saying “‘Close to the Edge’ is the best of Yes’ many lineups at an absolute peak, with Jon Anderson’s sun-king vocals pouring out over new member Rick Wakeman’s dazzling keyboards. The title track, an 18-minute epic in four distinct parts, remains the most majestic moment in the prog-rock history.”

After ‘Close to the Edge’, Bill Bruford, my favorite drummer, left ‘YES’ and joined ‘King Crimson. He left for several reasons. He said he was tired of all the fighting and bickering about every little musical detail that went on within the group. He saw ‘King Crimson play and was blown away by them and greatly desired to play with them. He wanted to branch out and explore new and different styles of music. He said he was burned out, having pulled several all-nighters, because the music was so difficult, but my favorite reason is he said he felt that ‘Close to the Edge’ was the perfect album and he doubted they’d ever top it, so he quit and joined ‘King Crimson. A very gutsy move on his part, but it all worked out, for Bruford would go on to create some of the most interesting and phenomenal music, both jazz fusion and progressive rock, that’s ever been performed and Alan White got his dream job and would go on to perform some incredible and mind-blowing drumming on their next 3 albums, along with their many more albums that would come afterwards, starting with the most unique album ‘YES’ ever made; an album that received both high praise from fans and critics, along with criticism from fans and critics and even from their own members.

Tales from Topographic Oceans

Tales from Topographic Oceans (TfTO) is their 6th album and their 1st album with new drummer, Alan White. It features one of the most beautiful album covers I’ve ever seen, along with their next album ‘Relayer. ‘TfTO’ is a double album and the album cover opens up and forms 1 picture with the art on the back showing fish swimming in what seems like an ocean on land. Do a google image of the album cover to see how beautiful it is.

During the band’s 1973 Japanese tour Jon Anderson found himself “caught up in a lengthy footnote” in ‘Autobiography of a Yogi‘ (1946) by Indian yogi and guru Paramahansa Yogananda which described four bodies of Hindu texts, named shastras: the sruti’, ‘smriti’, ‘puranas’ and ‘tantras, that Yogananda described as “comprehensive treatises that cover every aspect of religious and social life, and the fields of law, medicine, architecture and art, that convey profound truths under a veil of detailed symbolism”. It absolutely fascinated Jon and after pitching the idea to guitarist Steve Howe, they started to develop the album’s themes and lyrics. Keyboard player Rick Wakeman disagreed with its structure and elaborate concept and felt unable to contribute much to the music that had been written. He was displeased with the “padding” that was added, as they wrote each piece to fit an entire album side.  Bass player Chris Squire recognized “a lot of substance” to the four tracks, but thought they lacked at times which resulted in an album that is “too varied and too scattered”. Despite the mixed opinions, Anderson wrote in the album’s liner notes that Squire, Wakeman, and White made “important contributions of their own” to the music.

‘Tales from Topographic Oceans’ is a concept album, featuring 4 EPICS, 1 Epic/album side, and each Epic “somewhat” centers around 1 of the musicians, but all 5 musicians are very much involved in all 4 pieces.

Following is my review and grade of each of these 4 pieces of music, followed by my overall grade of the album and my overall opinion of this music in general. I will also include a link to each piece with an amazing video by the YouTube channel called ‘vzqk50HD’, that fits the music beautifully.

Also, Ryan Reed wrote an article ranking all YES songs from his least favorite to favorite. I’ll post his rankings of these 4 pieces and what he said about them as well, just for comparison and contrast.
Here’s the link to his list: https://ultimateclassicrock.com/yes-songs-ranked/

The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn):
Length: 20:27 (extended version: 22:23) featuring the vocals of Jon Anderson
https://youtu.be/2-tnnbwIYys

For reasons I don’t understand the original intro was cut from the album, which is really sad because that intro perfectly sets the scene for Jon’s vocals to come in. On the album it just starts with Jon’s vocals. The yt video link above includes the original intro.

Here I envision God surveying His creation, as he hovers over the waters, as is described in the book of Genesis. The sounds are perfect, as though a storm is brewing, or possibly ending. Soft long notes are played, creating more atmosphere, as the scene is set. Near the 2 minute mark Jon’s voice comes in, in a style somewhat similar to a Gregorian-like chant that’s just beautiful and magical. There’s a great slow build, as the long soft tones continue underneath Jon’s beautiful angelic voice. His voice then takes on a slightly more powerful tone. You can just feel it all building to something and at 2:35 Jon speaks the words that would define the music of YES for me forever “Disjointed, but with Purpose”. What? Wait, what? Disjointed but with purpose? What are you saying Jon? Are you saying that life may ‘seem’ at times to be ‘disjointed’, but there’s a purpose to it, regardless of how it seems? Is that the message of YES? Is that the message of life? Is there a purpose, or are we just a grand cosmic accident?

I was going to go off on a tangent here, but I stopped myself. Phew 🙂

Near the 3 minute mark Rick’s synthesizer penetrates the atmosphere, while Chris’s bass and Alan’s drums dance quietly in the background. I assume Steve’s guitar is involved too (it’s hard for me to tell for sure). Everything slowly builds, slightly louder, slightly more penetrating. Chris and Steve’s backing vocals just fill the music beautifully. Then Alan comes in with a driving rhythm and the music plays and you’re just flooded with emotions, as the music feels like it’s all around you. Steve’s unique guitar playing is amazing and Rick blends his synths in perfectly with it. Near the 5 minute mark the music changes and goes into the next section with Steve’s beautiful guitar work. Jon begins the next melody. It sounds like a song I’ve heard before, but I’ve no clue what that song is. I just know it’s beautiful and I love it.

Then the chorus begins. “What happened to this song we once knew so well… I must have waited all my life for this (pause) moment”. The first time I heard this I was like “I was just thinking that. I said I’ve heard this song before. What is it?” but I couldn’t tell, yet I knew it. How did YES do that to me? How did Jon lure me in like that, but he did. The music felt like it was a part of me. I can’t explain it. He was talking about my life, my imagination, my joy of going to magical worlds in my mind. The adventure and magic of life was in this song and I was completely taken into Jon’s magical world and I didn’t want to leave.

Near the 9 minute mark, the music picks up the pace, like you just jumped onto a ride at an amusement park and now you’re flying, driving, and just flowing. Alan’s drums are just perfect here. You can “feel” the pounding yet still soft and beautiful energy. Then it all slows down again. Beautiful music sways and flows and eventually Jon comes back in, telling you there’s more here than we realize, than we see. “Getting over wars we do not mean, or so it seems so clearly”. Yes. I thought he said need, not mean, but both words work, don’t they. Who really desires war other than those who profit from it?

Around the 13 minute mark, the music kicks into a new gear. Rick’s piano, blended with Alan’s drums and Chris’s bass just drives and flows. This music is just magical. I’m back in a fantasy world and joy and magic are all around me. Then it kicks up more now, but now it’s chaotic ‘disjointed’ and the energy pounds, yet there’s still this beautiful serene quality about it. It’s pounding, yet soft and flowing and then it changes yet again. Now it’s softer, slower, quieter. Alan beautifully creates the atmosphere with his cymbals. Rick’s keyboards and Chris’s bass here are just beautiful. Near the 16 minute mark it changes again. How many times will this song change? Now Jon’s magical voice comes in and you know you’ve heard this melody before, but where? “The rhythm of moving slowly. Sent through the rhythm, work out the story”. His voice soars high, yet soft. The music flows softly, beautifully. I’m lost now. I’m lost in a magical world and I don’t want this to end. Can this music just keep going forever?

After a while, the energy changes. Back on that roller coaster, but this time the energy is high, but it quickly comes down fast and you’re just floating. Now Jon wants you to hear his message. “We’ve moved fast. We need love. A part we offer is our only freedom”. Rick Wakeman once said “Jon is the only person I know who’s trying to save this planet while living on another one”. God I love Rick.

And the music ends, similar to how it began, with Jon “chanting”, but also singing, kind of a blend of both now. “You seekers of the truth accepting that reasons will relive and breathe and hope and chase and love for you and you and you”.

My journey has come to an end. I didn’t want it to end, but apparently… all things come to an end. Why, I don’t know. Don’t you just wish that joy would continue… forever? I do.

Grade: This song is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard. I stand in awe of how people compose music like this. I’m trying to think of something to compare it to. I can’t. (100 – S-tier).

Ryan Reed’s ranking/comments: #35: Alan White was a pure rock drummer – much fonder of primal pound than the jazzy experimentation of Bill Bruford, whom he replaced for the band’s sixth LP. So, imagine being in his shoes, trying to sort out a role within the bizarre soundscapes of Tales From Topographic Oceans. But White found his niche immediately: His heavy tom fills and cymbal crashes highlight the album’s opening side, grounding the band’s spacey chants, synth spikes, and volume pedal swells. “What happened to this song we once knew so well?” Anderson sings. Many confused fans were probably asking themselves that same question. But, thanks in part to their new drummer, “The Revealing Science of God” is the record’s closest brush with classic Yes.

The Remembering (High the Memory):
Length: 20:38 featuring the keyboards of Rick Wakeman
https://youtu.be/kZXBmvRTG7U

It sounds like a small group of minstrels playing at the beginning. I must be at a Renaissance Faire, so I assume. A pause in the beautiful melody catches my attention. A beautiful pause and then the music continues. Jon comes in, similar to the first song, yet different. A mantric-like meter in his singing, as Rick plays his keyboards beautifully. Chris’s bass plays softly underneath it all, creating the perfect atmosphere. Here again, I am certain that I’ve heard this before and once again Jon tells me that I have “And I do think very well that the song might take you silently”. Jon “knows” you’ve heard this and yet that’s ‘why’ he’s singing it to you, cause he wants you to ‘hear it again’.

Several minutes in, the music moves into a new section, guided again by Rick’s beautiful keyboards and Chris’s beautiful bass sounds. Then Jon continues his mantric-like singing. There’s like a brokenness to this music and yet somehow it also flows. Oh yeah, ‘disjointed, but with purpose’. Of course. “The music sings of love you knew”. Jon is showing you all that’s going on. “We walk ‘around’ the story”. I feel like he’s telling me the story is going on, whether you see it or not, because you’re too busy walking around your own story, and you’re missing it even though it’s right in front of you and all around you.

Another wonderful change in the music near the 8 minute mark. It seems somewhat foreboding, and then Rick’s magical music fills the air lightly and sweetly and you’re dreaming again. Then, just like that, it gently kicks into a new gear and Steve’s acoustic guitar comes in and Jon sings a beautiful little tune. Now you can feel the singing and dancing all around you. The minstrels are having fun now. You think Alan’s drums are coming in with thunder, but it quiets right down, so you relax, but less than 10 seconds later and it kicks into gear and Steve’s guitar just drives the melody with his wonderful and beautiful disjointed guitar sounds that I can’t get enough of. It slows down again and feels like it’s building up to something… and then once again Steve’s acoustic guitar plays and Jon sings a lovely tune once more. The melody at around 12:30 just captivates me.

It kicks into gear again, but now it seems with a more driving disjointed and chaotic force with Steve’s guitar driving it. Rick’s keyboards come in and Chris’s bass just drives. All this energy, and yet the music still seems calm. Driving calm energy, if that makes sense. “Out in the city running free”. Around the 16 minute mark is my favorite part of this music. Rick’s beautiful sounds and Chris, once again playing his bass simply, yet so cool. This is the Rick Wakeman that I love. His music is so powerful, so enchanting. How could he take issue with this? This is glorious. “And I do think very well as the truth unfolds you silently”. Yes, the truth. It flows through you. You know it’s there. You can feel it. Everyone feels it, whether they’ll admit it or not. You know there’s a reason. How can there not be?

The music builds, but it builds slowly, softly, calmly, yet it builds and then Steve’s guitar comes in in ways that are hard for me to describe. It’s just so darn cool. Calm, passionate energy. Those are the words that came into my mind as I try to describe it.

Then, just like that, it fades… and it’s over. There’s just silence… and you’re in it.

Grade: This is another beautiful piece of music. I agree with the title, for this music, for whatever reason, calls to mind our feelings about things, life, etc. Jon seems to be saying ‘remember when you felt like this?’ and you find yourself saying ‘yeah… I remember’. (96 – A/A+)

Ryan Reed’s ranking/comments: #45: Vocal chants, disorienting bass harmonies, folky guitars – Yes had the ingredients of a classic piece here, but they just overloaded the recipe. “I didn’t understand where we were going as a band,” Rick Wakeman later reflected, noting his departure from the line-up after the Tales tour. “We adapted the music to fit four sides of an album. It didn’t naturally evolve. There are some great things, but an awful lot of padding. If the CD format was around then, it would have been a different album.”

The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun):
Length: 18:34 featuring the guitar of Steve Howe
https://youtu.be/cXUyrZBq3fM

I know this might sound confusing, but these next 2 are my favorites, even though they don’t have the highest grade. The reason for that is my grade isn’t necessarily the same as how much I like it. My grade is more about how amazing I think the piece of music is, how well it’s written. My favorites have mostly to do with how much I love listening to it. It’s a subtle difference and my opinion of music changes naturally with time, but then again so does my grade, lol. Yeah, ok, nevermind, lol 😜

With the first sounds, this piece immediately was my favorite the first time I heard it. I saw the title and said I just know this is gonna be good and it didn’t disappoint me. I was immediately taken far back in time, to a primitive primordial world and I was sucked in, and I was hooked. What dangers were here, I knew not. Then the rhythm kicks and pounds into my brain. Steve’s guitar hauntingly cries and moans at me. This primal music totally has me. I’m fixated. I’m its prisoner now. There’s nothing I can do. The disjointed rhythms and softly moaning guitar possess me. That rhythm, my god, so primitive and pulsating. I feel like I’m with mystical creatures of far off distant lands of thousands of years ago and they’re performing some kind of ritual. I can only hope they’re trying to heal me and not harm. “As one with the knowledge and magic of the source”. The Warlock (Jon) begins his chant. The spell begins. The ritual begins. I’m starting to sweat.

“Sol, Dhoop Sun Ilios”. I feel dizzy. Then that bizarre disjointed pounding ancient music shoots through me. What is this? Who writes music like this? What rock group has ever played such? It’s like a trance. I’m sucked in and cannot escape. Now Steve’s guitar takes me over. His playing seduces me. Alan’s primitive drum beats blended with Steve’s moaning guitar are just too much for me to handle. I no longer know where I am, what I am… why, I am.

Around the 11 minute mark the music seems to be finishing its spell on me. Now what? Nope, still going. Now you’re just playing with me Steve. Cut it out. Look man, I got it. You’re a powerful magical ancient mystic and there’s nothing I can do. Fine Steve. Do what you will. I let go and accept whatever happens next. The music quiets. I feel calm.

Steve now comes before me with the most beautiful acoustic guitar I’ve ever seen, unlike any acoustic guitar I’ve ever seen. He sits on a strangely shaped rock that’s next to me and begins playing while the other Warlock Jon puts his hand on my face. I feel like they’re about to sacrifice me to some ancient god. Jon begins his chant: “So the flowering creativity of life wove its web face to face with the shallow”. All of a sudden, I’m completely captivated. I start to shake. Goosebumps cover my body. Music like I’ve never heard. Beautiful subtle dissonance like I’ve never heard. The sounds pulsate through my body and mind and all of a sudden I’m no longer in my body. I’m just in bliss. Now Jon sings one of the most beautiful melodies I’ve ever heard and Steve puts me into a trance with his magical guitar playing. I’ve never felt this way before. I was so scared. For all I knew I thought you 2 might just slit my throat, but instead you reached inside of my soul and healed me. I start weeping. I don’t know who you 2 are, but all I want to do now is sit and listen to you play and sing and let all the creatures in this primal land rise up and dance.

Now you can call me a nut, a melodramatic loon, but that’s basically how I felt the first time I listened to ‘The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun)’ and listening to it now, as I type this while listening, was one of the most intense experiences I’ve ever felt, for when you type what the music makes you feel, while listening to it, you feel it even more deeply.

Grade: I was going to give this a 98 (A+), because I feel it’s an awesome, brilliant piece of music, but after what Steve and Jon just did to me, I have no choice. Blame them. (100 – S-tier)

Ryan Reed’s ranking/comments: #55: Do a quick Internet poll about Tales From Topographic Oceans and you’ll probably get two general responses: 1) It’s a bloated, misguided disaster that serves as a Spinal Tap-style parody of the entire prog movement, and 2) It’s one of the genre’s unsung masterpieces, with every passage of noodling and slow-motion ambience an essential part of the whole. As usual, both are wrong. “The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun),” which makes up the double-album’s third side, highlights both its strengths and weaknesses: All the individual elements are intriguing – White’s manic percussion approaching an electronic rumble, Howe’s dissonant pedal-steel lines, the closing classical guitar passages – but it’s probably eight minutes longer than necessary, and the seamless continuity of Close to the Edge has devolved into choppiness.

Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil):
Length: 21:35 featuring the drums of Alan White and the bass of Chris Squire
https://youtu.be/fJzzBUKTFQQ

And so the ‘Ritual’ begins, but just like that my phone alarm went off and I would be gone for over an hour. I didn’t realize what time it was. It seems I wasn’t quite yet ready for ‘the Ritual’, so I had to wait, but now… hopefully… I’m ready, but after I thought Steve and Jon were going to sacrifice me to the Ancient gods, I’m a little concerned now. My favorite drummer is Bill Bruford. How will Alan feel about that, and Chris Squire died in 2015. Should that concern me? I don’t know if I should be excited or scared to death. Sure, I’ve listened to this piece probably 10-20 times, but for whatever reason I can never remember most of it, other than the 3 minute part where the Ritual clearly is taking place, but even that isn’t clear in my mind. All I know is it’s intense, so with great anticipation and concern, I click on the video…

Ah yes, I remember this opening part. Such a cool groove. The music is uplifting, powerful… even magical. Steve’s guitar just sings and Alan’s drumming is great. Then the Ritual starts, but not really. It’s just an initial part, and then Jon sings basically a la la chant, but a very melodic la la chant. Now the drums and bass are just pounding, while Jon continues his chant. It’s just powerful. Then the music mostly stops and Jon keeps singing and back and forth it goes. So cool to hear the drums and bass drive the rhythms, which are becoming somewhat hypnotic.

Then everything changes and Chris Squire goes nuts on his bass, with Jon still singing in the background. Then the music fades and it becomes tranquil, almost surreal, while Chris flutters away on his bass and Steve plays a lick from Close to the Edge, which I thought was so cool. Steve just seems to be wandering around on his guitar, as though he’s out in the woods just noodling. I feel like I’m there with him, watching him playing in the woods, near a lake. Then it changes again and Jon comes in and the music is just entrancing. More changes and Jon sings a beautiful melody and it sounds like everyone is playing outside, running around, having fun. Jon’s voice is so calming and beautiful. If this is a Ritual, it must be a Ritual of calming and relaxation, to just let go and enjoy. That’s how it feels to me. “We receive all we venture to give”, Jon sings. Everything feels great. “Change we must as surely time does. Changes call the course”.

The music starts to pick up steam and it feels like it’s building to something, but then it all comes down and it’s mostly Chris and Alan playing with Rick on keyboards in the background.

Then it starts. Around the 12 minute mark the rhythm starts to pound. Chris is flying around his bass and Alan is drumming a pretty standard beat, but it sounds great. You know it’s building to something but you’re not sure what. Then Steve’s guitar comes in in that wonderful disjointed style of his and now the music starts to get crazy. Then it all just STOPS. 1 second later it starts right back up and then it happens. THE RITUAL BEGINS. Alan is now on fire. It sounds like someone is breathing heavily, as though they’re possessed and Alan is now pounding out a mantric rhythm. It’s powerful. It’s mysterious. You start to panic. It keeps building and building and then I hear the most incredible drum sounds I’ve ever heard. What in the world is Alan doing? How are they making these sounds? It’s like something is being summoned, but instead of a thunderous entrance, it all calms down with beautiful soothing sweet music and it drifts back to the beauty from before. Then Jon comes in with that voice of his and we’re back outside, playing, laughing, singing. Then it all slowly calms down and in the end, all goes quiet.

That percussion section was about 3 minutes of the most intense sounds I’ve ever heard and I loved it.

Grade: At first ‘The Ancient’ was my favorite piece. Then Ritual became my favorite, because of that incredible percussion section, but now I’m back to liking ‘The Ancient’ the best. Lets just say that of the 4 pieces, ‘The Ancient’ “affected” me the most. Of course, possessing me and making me think I’m about to be sacrificed to some ancient god might of had something to do with it too 😎 (98 – A+)

Ryan Reed’s ranking/comments: #36: “We love when we play,” Anderson sings. And do they ever play. Electric sitars, dancing hi-hat patterns, tumbling congas, wordless vocal chants: Yes summarize the full scope of their astral travels on Topographic Ocean’s fourth and final side, ending with a touch more zeal and poignancy than the album’s more rambling middle section.

Here’s my breakdown of each piece, from my favorite to least favorite:

The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun): 100 (S-tier)
The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn): 100 (S-tier)
Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil): 98 (A+)
The Remembering (High the Memory): 96 (A/A+)

Album Grade: 98.5 (A+)

Final Thoughts:

I find Ryan Reed’s criticisms to be odd, but in another sense I kind of understand them, but then again not really. If YES were young and I was good friends with all of them, this is what I would tell them to do. Guys, this album is amazing, but since Rick didn’t like it and others criticized it for similar reasons, I think this is what you guys should do. Make a single album of these 4 songs. That should satisfy all of the critics, including Rick, but then… do this… Make a QUADRUPLE ALBUM. Hear me out. Remember what Jethro Tull did with Thick as a Brick? Well do that with all 4. 1 album per piece of music. Extend them just like Tull did. Make them glorious. That way you’ll satisfy everyone. Everyone will have their favorite; the shorter version, the middle version and the super long version. Has anyone ever made a quadruple album? I don’t know.

I’m totally serious. That’s what I’d tell them to do. I so want to hear 40 minute versions of these 4 pieces. YES!

Alan White definitely made his mark and boldly proclaimed that he is now the drummer for YES and I don’t see how anyone can argue after this incredible performance. I think all 4 pieces are brilliant and magical. Too long by purposefully making it to fit an album side? Ok, fair enough, but I still think it worked and I love that they made the music to fit an album side. As Keith Emerson once said “what you call pretentious, I call ambitious”. Tales from Topographic Oceans is one of the most iconic albums ever made. In fact, I think all the controversy with the album only adds to its greatness.

It’s as though this was all meant to be. Disjointed… but with purpose.

So that’s my review. What did you think of it? I welcome any and all comments. The more the merrier.

Regarding my opinion of this music vs your opinion:
It will not bother me in the slightest if you completely disagree with me and hate this music. All music is subjective. You are not wrong if you think this music is the worst music you’ve ever heard, the best music you’ve ever heard, or anywhere in-between those 2 extremes, so if you have an opinion please feel free to share. I enjoy hearing what others think of music, regardless of the music and regardless of your opinion.

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Democrats vs Republicans: An Experiment

Which party do you believe is the best?
What do you base that on?

While I am a Progressive Democratic Socialist, I’ve taken the time to listen to the pros and cons of both parties, from both parties point of view, so I’m fairly well versed in the politics of both. I’m mostly just a casual observer, but I think I could probably do a decent job of defending either parties points of view, if I had to.

So here’s an experiment that I came up with that I think would show very clearly how good or bad both parties are, and I’m curious if anyone agrees with me. The logistics might be tricky, but the concept is simple.

Here’s my Experiment:

Lets give each party 100% control of 1 state for 4 years.
Each party chooses which state is theirs.
Obviously Republicans and Democrats live in every state, but that’s not a problem. No one has to move, but I’m sure plenty would.
By 100% control, I mean every government position would be held by 1 party.

What do you think would happen in 4 years with 1 state totally controlled by the Republican Party and another state totally controlled by the Democratic Party?
Wouldn’t you like to actually see what both parties would actually do with total control and no opposition? I would. I want see how both parties would govern, let alone how the people would fare in each state.

Here’s what I predict would happen:

I believe both parties would not do a very good job and “we the people” would wake up from our delusions of believing that “it’s the Democrats fault” and “it’s the Republicans fault”. I believe both parties would wake us all up to the reality that neither party actually cares about “we the people” and that as a result “we the people” would form our own party and put an end to the 2 Corporate Parties that are currently running America.

Do I think 1 party would do a better job? Yes I do, and obviously that would be the Democrats, but that’s not the point. If I were to grade both parties right now, I’d give the Democrats a D and the Republicans an F. The only reason the Democrats get a slightly better grade is they still sometimes vote for and against the right things, while Republicans almost never do, which makes me shake my head that poor and middle class Conservatives still vote for Republicans. Why do you vote for people who vote against your own best interests? That boggles my mind to no end, but the Democrats now vote against our own best interests more often than they used to, yet many poor and middle class Liberals still vote for them.

Put both parties 100% in charge of 1 state each.
Then watch them fail the people miserably.

Then maybe “the people” will “finally” wake up and stop voting for these horrible people who only serve Corporations and don’t care one bit about you.

So, what do you think?

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My Review of Van der Graaf Generator’s Debut Album ‘The Aerosol Grey Machine’


I hope you enjoy reading my review of this album, and I would love it if you would leave a comment, letting me know what you think.

Please refer to my post “My Review of Yes’ Self-Titled Debut Album” (see link below) for information about why and how I’m doing this, but I’ll re-post my grading system here, for clarity.
https://lightmane321.wordpress.com/2020/08/17/my-review-of-yess-first-album-titled-yes/

The Grades:
S-tier (100) Perfect Score. Mind Blowing. Phenomenal.  Super fun to listen to.
A+ (97-99) Awesome song. Brilliant.
A (93-96) Great song.
A- (90-92) It’s just good enough to sneak into the great category : )
B+ (87-89) Really good.  I like it a lot.
B (83-86) Good. Solid fun song. Enjoyable. I like it.
B- (80-82) It’s good. Maybe some aspects I didn’t particularly care for, but I still liked it.
C+ (77-79)  It’s good, but not “good”. It’s pretty good. Decent.
C (73-76)  Average. It’s ok. Nothing special, but not bad.
C- (70-72)  Eh…
D+  (67-69)  Not good.
D  (63-66)  Pretty bad.
D-  (60-62)  Really bad.
F  (59-)  Terrible

Note:  It’s possible I’ll say something in my review like “it’s nothing special” but give it a grade higher, or lower, than a C (this is just one example).

Now lets break down the # grades even more, so you can see why I’m using both a # and letter grade:

Grade:
100 – S-tier
97-99  A+ (97 is trending down, so A+/A. 99 is trending up, so A+/S-tier. 98 is a solid A+)
93-96  A (93 is trending down, so A/A-. 96 is trending up, so A/A+. 94-95 is a solid A)
90-92  A- (90 is trending down, so A-/B+. 92 is trending up, so A-/A. 91 is a solid A-)
Apply the same for B, C & D grades

1 last thing.  All grades are subjective, meaning whether you agree with me completely (and think I’m awesome, hah hah) or disagree completely and think I’m an idiot, is irrelevant.  Being subjective also means that my grades can change over time, since music is something we like one day and like more or less another day, so this is simply how I’m feeling “today” about said song/piece of music, so if you completely disagree, or agree with me, feel free to comment and let me know why, but lets have fun.  You can “playfully” call me an idiot, but maybe a “goof” would be a better word to use  : )

Note about Van der Graaf Generator’s first album:

I know very little about Van der Graaf and I don’t believe I’ve heard anything from this album. I’ve only heard a few of their songs.

From Google: What is a Van der Graaff Generator? A Van de Graaff generator is an electrostatic generator which uses a moving belt to accumulate electric charge on a hollow metal globe on the top of an insulated column, creating very high electric potentials. It produces very high voltage direct current (DC) electricity at low current levels.
Can a Van de Graaff generator kill you? The voltage never kills you. The thing that kill’s you is the amps.

So now I wanna know why the band spelled Graaff with 1 f and not 2. Things I think about : )

So here’s my Review of the Van der Graaf Generator’s debut album ‘The Aerosol Grey Machine’ from 1969

Lineup:
Peter Hammill – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Hugh Banton – Farfisa organ, backing vocals, piano, percussion
Keith Ellis – bass
Guy Evans – drums, percussion

Tracks:

Afterwards: Length 4:55

So their first track is telling me they’re a mellow band with a nice psychedelic folk vibe to them. The few songs that I’ve heard by them I heard on JustJP’s reaction channel on YouTube. I like what I’m hearing here, but I’m not blown away by it, but it’s nice. This reminds me of a certain type of music, but once again I can’t place it. This is just a very nice mellow song and I like the vocals. I assume that’s Peter singing. Nice voice.

Grade:  85 (B)

Orthenthian St (Parts I & II): Length 6:18

More mellow music. I wonder why it’s called Orthenthian St. What does that mean, let alone why parts I & II? No clue, but the music is interesting. I find this music interesting but not amazing. Just as I say that the energy pics up with the drumming, while the piano pounds some chords over and over and then it fades out. I just am not sure what to make of this music. It’s different and therefore unique. At least to me.

Grade: 86 (B/B+)

Running Back: Length 6:35

How to describe this music. How about this… Avant-Garde Medieval Folk Prog. That’s kind of how it sounds to me. The singer almost sounds like they’re singing a different song, like they don’t totally go together, and yet somehow they do. I find it all very strange, but beautifully different. Still nothing blows me away, yet I still find myself kind of liking it, but not entirely sure why.

Grade: 86 (B/B+)

Into a Game: Length 6:57

If Running Back and Into a Game were 1 song, I wouldn’t think they were 2. The music all just seems to blend together, regardless. Is that a good thing? Maybe. And it picks up and someone in the comments said it reminds them of Pinball Wizard. Well, maybe for about 5 seconds, lol. And we’re back to it again. Yes, it’s somewhat like Pinball Wizard, for a little bit. I’m liking this piece a little more than the others. The middle section has a very interesting rhythm going on. It’s a little driving and a little mysterious. The piano sounds a little hypnotic with some interesting backing vocals in the background, and it just fades out. Yet another different sounding piece of music, that started very similarly to how the last one ended, or maybe that’s just what I heard.

Grade: 87 (B+/B)

Aerosol Grey Machine: Length 0:47

Well alrighty then. Van der Graaf Generator is just being silly. Ok. That’s fun. There’s no grade for this. They’re just having fun.

Grade: -/-

Black Smoke Yen: Length 1:26

I LIKE THIS. Drums, to bass, to keyboards, to some nice dissonance. It’s a great hypnotic rhythm and then an acoustic guitar starts playing as the music fades and then it just stops. It sounds like it’s going into the next song. I’ll see, but this was cool.

Grade: 88 (B+)

Aquarian: Length 8:22

Yep, it flows right into this piece. Ok, cool. Loving the intro. Good vibe. A little funky, a little avant-garde and I like the way it flows. His singing really is a little disjointed, but I still like it. It’s like he’s singing around the song. Part of me doesn’t like his voice though, and I think that’s part of my issue with them, yet I also find his voice interesting, different, etc.. Just love the piano here, along with the soft but driving rhythm. At around the 4 minute mark I had to go back to 3:53 to hear that again. I almost started to laugh. It sounds kind of silly the way he sings here, but ok. Lets go on. Once again I find this music just odd. Interesting and kind of cool because it’s different, but still odd. It just doesn’t totally work for me, yet I still like it in an odd sort of way, lol. I thought this one might get into the A grades, but it just didn’t do it for me, overall.

Grade: 88 (B+)

Necromancer: Length 3:30

Loved the intro. Now we’re talking. Strange sounds followed by a marching drum, with eerie and different sounds continuing, into an interesting rhythm and the singer comes in and it sounds like it fits the music better, but I guess that’s because this time the music seems strange, where his singing kind of fits it well, I think. The chant ‘I am the Necromancer’ was just ok but the singing with just an organ sound in the background was very cool. The only thing I didn’t care for was the ‘I am the Necromancer’ chant. I would’ve preferred it to be more bizarre and creepy sounding, like the music was, but other than that, this is my favorite on the album, so far.

Grade: 90 (A-/B+)

Octopus: Length 8:00

Nice intro. Love the keyboards. So is this music better, or am I just starting to get used to their sound? That’s the question, cause now I’m liking the sound of his interesting and different voice here. Maybe it’s a little of both. The keyboard playing is wild. It’s dissonant and all over the place, and I like it. The drumming adds to the energy here. Now there’s just the keyboards playing chords, like you’re in Church almost, but it’s eerie sounding. I’m picturing watching an Octopus move through the water as I listen to this. I don’t know if that’s the intent or that I’m just doing it because it’s called Octopus, but this music is weird and cool. I totally give Van der Graaf an A+ for originality and unique sound. Octopus is very cool.

Grade: 92 (A-/A)

So here’s my breakdown of each song, from my favorite to least favorite:

Octopus: 92 (A-/A)
Necromancer: 90 (A-/B+)
Black Smoke Yen/Aquarian: 88 (B+)
Into a Game: Grade: 87 (B+/B)
Running Back: 86 (B/B+)
Orthenthian St (Parts I & II): 86 (B/B+)
Afterwards: 85 (B)
Aerosol Grey Machine: -/-

Album Grade:   87.71 (B+)

Final Thoughts:

This album was definitely different for me and took some getting used to, but overall it’s a really good album with very interesting music. Nothing blew me away, but for the most part I enjoyed listening to it.

Next up on my list of debut Prog Rock albums… Nektar

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The Solution to All of Our Problems

I don’t care about being successful.
I care about ending needless suffering.

Needless suffering is horrible and it’s absurd that we allow so much of it when we have the means now to end it, but I’m not referring to ending all suffering. Suffering is good. It builds character and makes you into a better person. That’s what real success is; going through the hard times and not quitting, but rather enduring and working through it. Without suffering we’d never really grow.

A sailor will never become a great sailor by sailing only in calm waters.

I’ve unfortunately never been good at dealing with suffering, because life was too easy for me growing up. Once I became an adult, I wasn’t ready for the challenges that life would throw at me, which it throws at everybody, which is why being a good parent is so important. My parents were good parents in many ways. Life was wonderful, growing up. In this they did a great job, but they weren’t very good at preparing me for life as an adult.

“I’m just trying to live my life”, I’d say, “but life keeps getting in the way”.

People liked that quote of mine, cause it resonated with them too, but life keeps ‘getting in the way’ for a reason; to teach you, to train you, to bring you suffering to strengthen you, but I was never any good at dealing with that suffering. It only angered me and drove me insane.

Now at 58, I’ve been going through my own “spiritual awakening” for the past couple years and thanks to people like Wim Hof, Neville Goddard, Florence Scovel Shinn, Gregg Breden, Bruce Lipton, Joe Dispenza, Eckhart Tolle, Aaron Abke and others, I’m slowly learning about what life really is about, why we’re here, etc..

Now you can call me crazy if you want to, but I believe that we are all here, going through this journey, to discover that we are all connected, but not only to each other, but to everything and that everything we do matters, but it’s even more than that. Everything we think and say matters and our life is the way it is because of the thoughts we think and the words we say and not just the things we do, though our thoughts and words are also why we do the things we do.

I believe we are here to learn and we learn through all the experiences we go through, so evil and good are both necessary here, for what would we know if everything was only good or evil? The contrast creates our understanding. Fire causes pain, but it also causes comfort. Cold causes pain, but it too brings comfort, but you’ll have to watch Wim Hof to understand that one : )

But here’s the thing… we’ve experienced the effects of good and evil and we’ve now experienced the blessings and curses of technology. We’ve witnessed extreme wealth and poverty, war and peace, pain and pleasure, in all its various forms. We’ve experience what violence brings and why it happens. We’ve experienced it all and thanks to technology we are now all able to communicate with each other, all over the entire planet, which totally changes the game. 100+ years ago there really wasn’t anything ‘we all’ could do about all the suffering and evil that was happening all over the world, every single day. Without the technology we now have, all we could do was live our life as best we could and hope we lived a long and happy life, but most weren’t so lucky and today most still aren’t lucky, which is insane since we now have the means to end all of the needless suffering.

We all desire basically the same thing. We all want to live in a world of peace and prosperity, but we’re too busy climbing the ladder of success (worrying about ourselves) to see the problems with the world and the obvious solutions that are right in front of us. The problems of our world are vast, but the solutions are very simple and obvious.

If everyone had food, no one would be hungry. That’s it.

Yes, that is the simple solution to all of our problems. This simple logic applies to everything. Try it and see for yourself. No one wants to live in a world where there is war, poverty, violence, hate. Everyone wants to live in a world where there’s peace, love and joy, but how can we ever create such a world if we don’t care about every single person?

Do all lives really matter, or what? Well if they do, then why don’t we provide all lives with all the basic necessities of life?

How about we try this. How about we help each other, share with each other, encourage each other, teach each other, love each other, care for each other, strengthen each other, lift up each other, cry out for each other, stand for each other, work for the benefit of each other?

You’d help out your family member if they needed help, right? You wouldn’t let a family member live in poverty if you had the means to help them, right?

For over 40 years now we’ve had the technology and resources to provide everyone on the planet all the basic necessities of life, including education and healthcare, which if everyone had all those things the world would be transformed in less than a generation.

All we have to do is come together and decide to make this world the way we all want it to be. Ah, but that means we’d “all have to come together and decide to make this world the way we all want it to be”, but we’re too busy ‘fighting with each other’ to realize that “we’re the solution”.

The solutions to all of our problems are simple and obvious, but the problem is ‘us’. We’re in our own way. We’re the ones preventing our world from becoming what we all want it to be, but it goes even deeper than that. We’re also the ones preventing ourselves from becoming what ‘we’ want to be.

We are both the problem and the solution to what ails us, both collectively and individually, and that’s why we’re not coming together. We’re too busy fighting our own demons.

Your outer world is nothing more than a reflection of your inner world.

That was a hard pill for me to swallow. I’ve been ranting and raving about the evils of the world all my adult life, when all this time I should’ve been focused on the evils that are within ‘me’.

Our world is only a reflection of ‘our inner world’. Our thoughts and our words are the reason for all that happens in our world.

The only problem with our world is us.
The only solution to our world is us.

“The Kingdom of God is within you.”
— Luke 17:21

All my life I’ve been trying to change my outer world. That’s what we humans do. We rant and rave and fight to improve life on the planet, but in fact all of our problems, and solutions, lie within. It’s why our world is the way it is, and we are the only ones who can change it, but to do that we all have to look within ourselves for both the problems and the solutions.

That’s where I’m at now, on my “spiritual journey”. Kind of wondering where it’ll lead me 😎

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He came from 3120

Before you read this, please read part 1 titled ‘The Kingdom of God: The Way the World Will Be’. Here is the link: https://lightmane321.wordpress.com/2020/12/06/the-kingdom-of-god-the-way-the-world-will-be/

There I was, living in the year 2120, having travelled 100 years into the future. My Time Machine that I had built sat in a Museum and there it would stay, as far as I was concerned. I had found the Paradise that I had looked for my entire life. There was no reason for me to travel through time any further. I had found the world that I wanted to live in. Life was beautiful, wonderful, amazing, magical. There was nothing more I needed; nothing more I wanted. I was content with all that was.

Then one day a man just appeared out of nowhere, sitting in my Time Machine. He asked for me. He knew my name, so I went to see him. He looked very happy to see me. I was confused and wondered if I knew him, let alone where he came from and how he got her in the manner that he did. My Time Machine no longer worked. I made sure of that, and no one else desired to travel through time either, for the exact same reasons that I no longer desired to. Where would we go and why bother? We were all very content and happy with the world we all lived in, but here he was and he smiled when he saw me.

“It is an honor to meet you sir.” he said as he reached to shake my hand.

“It’s an honor to meet me? Why? Because I built a Time Machine?”

“Well yes, um, no. Well you see sir it’s more than that. I’ve come from the future. A thousand years into the future, because I thought you’d like to see what has happened to the world. We thought it would be fitting to travel back on the thousandth anniversary of your historic trip through time to meet the person who first invented the Time Machine, to show you all that has happened since. Kind of a nostalgic thing really. Thought you might enjoy seeing all that has transpired.”

Weird that I hadn’t realized that eventually others would figure out how to travel through Time. I guess it was inevitable. If I figured it out and was no one special, then clearly others would too.

“Ok, so you’ve travelled back through time from a thousand years into the future to meet me to say hello? Thanks for building a Time Machine? I don’t get it. Why?”

“I just told you. To show you all that’s happened to the world. We thought you’d like to see what the world and humanity has become. I’m here to bring you to my time. Kind of like for a visit.”

“Wait, you want me to travel 1000 years into the future to show me your world? Well gee thanks, but I’m sure you know that I’m completely happy here, living my life in 2120. I’m sure 3120 is great and all, but things are great here too, so I have no reason or desire to travel through time anymore, as I’m sure you know, since I wrote all about it and since you know who I am and where I live, you must know my feelings on the matter.”

“Correct. I know exactly how you feel and totally understand, but I also know you invented this beautiful thing here and only an adventurer would endeavor in such an undertaking. You can easily travel back to this time anytime you want, as you well know. I’m here to bring you to the year 3120, so that you can see what has transpired. If I didn’t know you’d love what I’m going to show you, I wouldn’t have bothered to come. Surely you know that.”

Ugh, I thought to myself. He was right, obviously. Already the juices were flowing, which on one hand really surprised me, since I no longer desired to travel through time, yet here I stood ‘wondering’ what he had to show me. How could I resist ‘seeing’ what the future held, now that a man from the future traveled back in time to show it to me.

“I take it I’m really going to like this” I said.

“Well let me just say it like this. You just might wanna stay.” he said with a big smile on his face.

“How about if I love what you’re about to show me that instead of staying I’ll just come visit as often as I want.”

“I think it’s more likely that you’ll come visit 2120… as often as you want.”

“Oh boy, I said with a sigh. Ok. Alright. Lets go. Show me 3120.”

“Really? Just like that?”

“Well yeah. You came all this way and I’m fairly certain you’re not dangerous and that I can totally trust you. I seriously doubt things are ‘worse’ in 3120, so show me what you want to show me. Lets go.”

“Wow!” he said. “I should’ve known you’d respond in such a manner. Get in then. Lets go.”

“So it works now? Oh wait. Of course it works. Yeah, nevermind me. Lets go. So what’s changed?”

“You’ll see”

Of course I will, I thought to myself. Adrenaline was pumping again, just like the first time I travelled through time to test my Time Machine, to make sure it worked. I started sweating. Goosebumps. Jeez.

When we arrived everything looked basically the same. He explained that the Museum was kept intact, for obvious reasons. The world outside also looked basically the same, though the landscape had clearly changed, but in general it still looked like the world I lived in. Many people came to greet me and shook my hand and said they were glad I decided to come see the future. Just like the world I lived in, everyone was friendly. Everyone looked happy & healthy. Not much different.

“So did you bring me here to show me that nothing’s really changed? That the world, having finally worked through all of its problems, continued to live in peace and harmony with their fellow humans?”

“Oh, well sure, but that’s not the main reason I brought you here. I think you’ll really enjoy what I’m going to show you.”

Ok then… show me.

He took me to a very large building, and by large I mean enormous, in length, width. I’d never seen any building even close to its size. The place was amazing. Everything you could think of was here. He told me that this building had everything anyone needed and wanted, except of course nature, but nature was everywhere. Everything else was in this building. He told me that buildings like this were all over the entire world and it’s where everyone came for everything, but that’s not exactly why he brought me here. It was one thing, but what he then showed me blew my mind.

We went to many places in this building and in each place he demonstrated for me just how talented he was at many things. He knew how to fight, in a variety of styles. He knew how to play basketball, tennis, and other sports. He was a skilled surgeon, an artist, a musician of many instruments, a math expert, a historian, a writer, an actor, and on and on it went. He told me that he currently was highly skilled in over 100 things. I thought to myself, how is it possible that he has so many talents? He was a young man. He looked about 30.

“How old do you think I am?” he asked.

“Um, maybe 30?” I said. He laughed.

“I’m 502 years old” he said with a straight face.

I can’t really describe the look on my face, but I’m sure it’s probably similar to the look on your face right now, as you’re reading this.

“Huh? How is that possible? What, are you all immortal now?”

“Yep” he said. More shocked facial expressions from me.

“About a hundred years after you died, someone figured out how to stop the aging process. Now, we don’t just live in peace and enjoy life like you do. Now we all strive to achieve all that we can, because we have all the time in the world to do it, so we all truly live life to the fullest, in every sense of the word.”

“So everyone is immortal”

“Correct”

“So you figured I’d stay here in 3120 and just visit 2120 sometimes, because I have everything here that I had there, but now with immortality, so how could I possibly refuse, right?”

“Correct again” he said, again with a big smile on his face.

“Well sure” I said, “Of course I’m going to stay, but I’m confused. Why did you bring me here to offer me immortality? Why me? Cause I built a Time Machine?”

“Well, there’s one more reason why I brought you here. Yes, because you built the Time Machine, but we decided that since it was you who built it, that you should be the first person we brought here from the past”.

I didn’t quite understand the magnitude of what he just said, at first… “Wait. Hold on, wait a second”. I really had to think about what he just said. “Are you telling me that you’re now going to travel back through time and bring everyone here?… So that they too will live forever?”

“You got it. It became quite clear who should be the first person we brought here from the past. Kind of obvious, really, if you think about it.”

My mind started racing with thoughts. He waited patiently as he saw me deep in thought. “So… is ‘this’ what the bible meant by ‘The Resurrection of the Dead’?”

“Well… why not? We are basically “resurrecting” the dead, aren’t we?”

“Well I’m not dead yet” I said with a smile on my face, to which he laughed.

“Well we can send you back and after you die, we can come back here and do this again, if you prefer, but since what we’re doing involves your Time Machine, it just seemed like you should be the first one we brought back.”

I realized how silly I was being now. “Oh yeah, cause everyone else you bring here will obviously be alive, cause you’ll travel back to a time… yeah, got it. Wow, this is crazy.” I couldn’t believe what was happening, but then it hit me like a ton of bricks. “Wait a second… once I’m immortal, I can travel through my Time Machine forever, visiting anyone I want, as often as I want. I can literally go anywhere, as often and as long as I want.”

“Now you’re getting it. ‘Now’ you’re starting to see the real Big Picture.”

“But what about the Paradox of traveling into the past; which by the way is why I chose to travel into the future. I didn’t even know if it was possible to travel back in time, because of the Paradox problem.”

His answer confused me, but kind of made sense too. “Once everyone throughout history is brought here, it won’t matter what you do in the past. Everyone is here, in the present. Visiting the past will be no different than visiting your friends or your parents.” he said with a wink in his eye.

“Wow, really? It won’t cause any problems?” And then it finally hit me. “Wait a second. My parents. I can go visit my parents, right? I can do that. I can go see them.”

“Well yes, but first we need to bring them here. The Paradox won’t apply, once they’re here.”

“How do you know that?”

“Well, we’ve been studying this for a LONG TIME. You’ll just have to trust me that it works.”

“I’m sorry, one last question. How long is it going to take to travel back through time and bring everyone who has died back here to 3120? Won’t that take millions of years?”

He took me to another large room. It was loaded with Time Machines.

“Every building has this many Time Machines. It won’t take long at all. You’re the first person brought here from the past. Are you ready to go get all your family and friends?” he asked, with yet another big smile on his face.

I started shaking. I was so confused, perplexed, yet a sudden burst of joy shot through my entire body and both laughter and tears started pouring out of me. I couldn’t believe what I was about to do. Humanity had finally achieved immortality, and with Time travel, all would be “raised from the dead”.

I thought I had found the Paradise I had been looking for all my life, in 2120. Missed it by just 1000 years : )

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Life is So Hard to Figure Out, isn’t it?

Life is so hard to figure out, isn’t it?
I mean, just look at this list:

PROBLEM: Billions of people are hungry and drink dirty water and live in abject poverty.
What can we do?
SOLUTION: Feed them. Clothe them. Give them clean water to drink.

PROBLEM: Billions of people all over the world are very poorly educated.
What can we do?
SOLUTION: Educate them.

PROBLEM: Billions have no healthcare and many die every year because they can’t afford a doctor.
What can we do?
SOLUTION: Give them all the healthcare they need.

PROBLEM: Billions of people are homeless. In America there are more EMPTY HOUSES than there are HOMELESS PEOPLE.
What can we do?
SOLUTION: Ooh, this is a tricky one. I have no ide OH WAIT. Build homes for those who have no homes and put all the homeless people in America IN ALL THE EMPTY HOUSES IN AMERICA.

Their response to my ‘solutions’: Now wait just a second! Are you saying that the solution to all these horrible problems that have left BILLIONS homeless with nothing is to GIVE THEM FREE STUFF???
WHY THAT’S SOCIALISM!!! Why, if we did that we’d all end up poor and standing in breadlines!
You’re crazy! You can’t just GIVE PEOPLE FREE STUFF, because if you do THEY’LL ALL BECOME DEPENDENT ON YOU AND THEY’LL BECOME LAZY AND THEY’LL JUST LIE AROUND ALL DAY DOING NOTHING!!!

Me: I’m sorry… what???

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Magic the Gathering is Out of Control

I love the Collectible Card Game (CCG) called Magic the Gathering (Mtg). I started playing casually with friends when Invasion came out. Invasion was the name of the newest set of cards at that time. Years later I tried going to an FNM (Friday Night Magic), and that’s where I learned how to actually play the game. There was so much I didn’t understand about the strategies, but playing casually with friends, even though we didn’t really know what we were doing, was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. We’d look up Constructed Standard Decks in Scrye Magazine and wondered how people could afford such expensive decks. Who spends so much money on a card game? It all just seemed nuts, but once I started playing competitively, it wasn’t that long before I was able to construct a decent deck, but I’ve never spent the kind of money others did and I seriously wondered about the people who did. It’s really nuts how much money some people spend on cards.

Well the reason I’m writing this ‘article’ is because I feel that the game creators have kind of lost their minds and this is just some of my own ideas about what the game needs today. Basically, they’ve made the game way too powerful. Not as bad as it was when magic was first created obviously, but nevertheless the game has gotten pretty silly and has frustrated a LOT of players. I’m just an average player, though I’ve made Mythic 3 times in a row now on Arena. I took a month off, cause I was really tired of the game, but started playing again this month and made Mythic again, so technically 3 out of 4 months. Also, I’ve only spent $100 on Arena. I had to make a new deck after rotation and did it without spending a dime. I have no desire to spend a lot of money on this game ever again, but if I get rich one day… then maybe : )

Basically what has been happening recently is they’re creating cards that are just way too powerful and then they end up banning cards from certain tournaments, because people complained because the game wasn’t fun to play anymore, but is banning cards really the best solution? Imagine that you’ve just spent a few hundred dollars, building what is considered to be one of the best decks, only to have a card or 2 banned; cards that you might’ve spent $20 on, or maybe even $200, if not more. So now what are you supposed to do? Your deck is no longer considered one of the best, so now you’ve got to build a new deck, based on what is now considered one of the best decks? Well what if they ban cards from that deck next? See the problem? Why spend so much money building a deck, only to no longer be able to play it? How come many aren’t screaming about this, or are they and I’m just not aware of it? (Here I’m referring to paper magic more so than Arena, but I’m sure this is a problem on Arena too, but not for me, hah hah : )

Following is what I feel are some of the problems with the game currently and what I feel are some possible solutions:

How about instead of banning cards, they just change them and make them more balanced? If you don’t want to buy the new updated card you can just play the original, but with the new changes. Wouldn’t that make more sense?

Here’s another idea. If a card is too powerful, why not just make another card that deals with that problem? Seriously, how hard could that be? (Yes, I know they do this at times) In both examples no one spent money for nothing. New cards are always being added to the game, so changes are to be expected, which requires the player to seek out new strategies or cards to better compete with, but at least now you can continue to play the cards that you spent so much money on. To me, that just makes way more sense.

Here are some examples of how I believe they could ‘fix’ some of these overpowered cards, followed by what I feel are some needed rule changes to the game (see below). I could be wrong, but I feel some of the rules are, well… nuts, lol.

I’ll put a link to the card and then show how I’d modify them. Let me know if you agree with any of my ideas.

Here’s some of those cards that I feel are ridiculous:

I wanna know the person who designed this card and the people who said “yeah, lets go with that”, lol. Yikes!

How about this?
Get rid of the cost reduction ability and just make it 4GG or 5GG, or maybe say it costs 1 less to play for each creature you have in play, but no lower than 3GG.
Maybe also get rid of the tap ability.
Whenever my opponent plays this card, if I don’t have an answer for it on my next turn, the game usually ends, because they just take over the game and there’s nothing I can do about it. Being able to put this card into play for GG to 2GG is stupid.
One other possible change would be that you have to discard a card after you draw one.
Just some ideas.

Seriously, what were they thinking when they made this ridiculous card? So if you attack with 4 creatures you can flash this in for just RR, AND attach it to one of your creatures that’s attacking. Translation: You just lost the game, most likely. I’m really not entirely sure how to ‘fix’ this card, but I’ll try.

How about this?
Just like The Great Henge, how about we get rid of the cost reduction and make it cost 3RR. I’d even accept 2RR, but maybe say something like ‘this card costs 1 less to cast, if you’re attacking with 4 or more creatures’. That’s one possible solution.
Another possible solution would be to get rid of either the +1/+1 or Trample, but I’m going to deal with the problem with Trample below.

Talk about a messed up card. It’s bad enough having this in standard right now with Landfall, but coming into play untapped just causes a lot of problems. All I can think of with Fabled Passage is to change the word ‘four’ to five or six. Who wouldn’t still play this card with that change?

Whenever my opponent played this, I usually lost, because the power of this card, combined with many other cards, is just ridiculous.

How about this?
Add 1 more to the mana cost.
And/or lower it’s toughness to 4.
And/or limit the # of permanents it can affect, to say 3 or 4.
If you don’t like raising the mana cost, how about making it a 3/3 instead of a 4/5, or even a 3/2. Also, I have no clue why Yorion isn’t Mythic. It’s one of the most powerful cards in the game.

When I saw this card I was shocked. What in the world were they thinking making such a ridiculously overpowered card? The design is one of the worst I’ve ever seen, and I think most of their card designs are incredible. It blows my mind how they keep coming up with unique and amazing ideas to keep this game fresh and interesting, so it’s not like I’m always being negative. I praise this company often, but lately… not so much.

How about this? (any or some of these changes)

Add 1 mana to the cost.
Make the effect happen only once, regardless of how many non-Humans are attacking.
Take away the indestructible.
Make Winota a 3/4 or 4/3, or maybe even a 3/3.

There are probably 10-20 more cards in standard that I have serious problems with, but I just wanted to show some possible changes to some of them, to see what others think. So now let me address some of the rules that I feel need to be changed, to make this game much more enjoyable, both in casual and competitive, both in limited and constructed environments.

Here are some of the rule changes I feel might make the game better. There’s probably more rules I take issue with, but I just came up with these off the top of my head. I’d love to hear your thoughts, regardless of whether you think I’m a genius, an idiot, or somewhere in-between 😛

25 or 30 life: The game has gotten so powerful that I’ve lost games without playing a single card other than lands. That’s just silly.

Trample: I love Trample, but tell me how this makes any sense. You attack me with your 5/5 Green creature with Trample and I block with my 1/1 who has protection from Green. So your creature deals ZERO DAMAGE to my creature, but hits me for 5. Huh??? Why did it hit me? How did it “trample over” and do damage to me, when it can’t hurt the creature that “BLOCKED IT!”? It didn’t “go through” my creature. It would have to be unblockable to do that. This rule makes no sense and I cannot tell you how many times I lost to some ridiculous huge creature, because it had Trample, because there was nothing I could do to stop it. That makes no sense. There needs to be a way to deal with creatures with Trample, other than just killing them.

+1/+1 Counters: I’ve seen creatures with so many +1/+1 counters on them (mine too sometimes) that their power and toughness were OVER 200!!! I did this with a creature with flying and lifelink. Sure it was fun for me, but how does this make any sense at all. If a 7/7 creature in the game is drawn as a Humongous Beast, then what in the world is a 200/200 creature, LOL. I feel that no creature should be allowed to have more than 3 +1/+1 counters on them. Maybe 4. The only exceptions I’d consider would be creatures that come into play with X counters on them, but even then I think they should be limited. 5-10 maybe? It really makes no sense to me that creatures can become so huge.

Counterspells: I understand that counterspells are an integral part of the game, but why not limit the # of counterspells you can put in your deck? I think this is a good ‘optional or house’ rule, when you want to limit them. Of course another way to limit them is don’t put so many of them in a set. That would easily solve this problem.

Powerful 1 & 2 mana cards: I thought the less mana a card cost, the “weaker” it’s supposed to be. So why then do they keep making “powerful” cards that only cost 1 or 2 mana? I don’t get it. They stopped making ‘Birds of Paradise’ (a 0/1 flyer that cost 1 green mana that can tap for 1 mana of any color), because they saw how powerful it was. Then they made one that cost 1G that could tap for mana, but had hexproof as long as it was untapped. This card also caused some problems and frustrated many players quite often. The mutate deck with it was just absurd. Mutate is a great idea, but a poorly designed ability (see below). There’s a long list of overpowered 1 & 2 mana cards. How about make them legendary, or raise their mana cost by 1, or both? That would help, I think.

Mutate: I LOVE the mechanic. That is I love the concept, but the way it works right now doesn’t make much sense to me. WHY OH WHY can a creature mutate TWICE onto another creature?
Example: “I just mutated into Auspicious Starrix. Oh look, I just mutated into Auspicious Starrix AGAIN!” Huh? HOW?
Auspicious Starrix is one of the worst designed Mutate cards. It’s THE REASON my Mutate deck won as often as it did. Cards that can trigger powerful effects like this should not be allowed, because it’s not fun when your opponent causes many Creatures &/or Planeswalkers to enter the battlefield from one effect. It makes no sense.

Hexproof: This ability has caused so many problems that I’m shocked they still make cards with hexproof. I like their new idea, which is hexproof to a certain color. That’s good. How about this too? How about “Magic Resistance” instead of hexproof to all spells? With Magic Resistance, you’re not immune to magic, just resistant to it, which they’ve done on some cards and it seems to work really well, since you can still target the card, just not as easily as others, so for me it would work by assigning a # to their magic resistance, so for example, MR5 would mean it costs 5 more mana to target this card with a spell. Obviously MR5 is very strong magic resistance. MR1 would be weak, but still better than 0. I think Magic Resistance would be a great mechanic.

Abilities triggering more than once: When an ability triggers, it’s awesome. We all love triggering abilities on cards. It’s FUN, but when my opponent causes an ability to trigger multiple times, I’m no longer having fun. Yes, if a card effect causes an ability to trigger more than once, I think that’s fine, but even then I’d limit it to twice. Also, if you have multiples of a card in play that can trigger an ability, I don’t think both abilities should trigger. Why? Because that’s when the game becomes silly and overpowered. Let me show you an example of a card that we all hated to see in multiples. Talk about a card that should’ve been legendary to prevent this.

Indestructible: Here’s an issue I have with “indestructible”. Indestructible means it can’t be destroyed, but if I put Mire’s Grasp on an indestructible 3/3 creature, that creatures gets -3/-3 AND DIES! WHAT??? It’s indestructible. How did it die? Now don’t get me wrong. I’m glad this kills it, but that doesn’t change the fact that I just destroyed an indestructible creature due to a word rules technicality, lol. I’m just pointing this out, because I find some of these ‘rules’ to be just weird.

Creatures that kill each other in battle: Just think about this logically, for a second. My 2/2 creature attacks you and you block with your 2/2 creature. If neither of us have any effects, both creatures kill each other. This always happens, under these circumstances, but how does that make any sense? Why is it that if 2 creatures would both die in battle, due to their power and toughness, that they will ALWAYS die, let alone that both would ever die. Shouldn’t it always be that only ONE WINS? Wouldn’t it make more sense to assign, in some manner, a variable for such circumstances? Also, why does a 2/2 ALWAYS lose to a 3/3 in battle? Why doesn’t the 2/2 creature have a chance? Yes, if you have a combat trick, then it can win, but then why doesn’t the other creature have a chance? Why is it that in magic that if 2 creatures fight each other, with no other effects, that the result is only one possibility?

How about this?
When 2 creatures are in battle, the bigger creature has the advantage, but could still lose? How about somehow putting a variable into combat (like roll a d4-2 and add that # to your creatures power &/or toughness, or roll 2 dice; 1 for power and 1 for toughness). Yes, I might be complicating the game here, but I like having a chance that my 2/2 “can” beat your 3/3. In the case of a tie why do they both die? I say only 1 should die. I’m pretty sure that it’s not hard to come up with a game mechanic for these scenarios, and I think it would make combat a lot more fun too, despite the further complication of the game.

Card Draw: We all love drawing cards, but again the game has gotten totally out of control. Let me just show you 2 cards that when combined make the game completely stupid. There are other horribly designed cards like this too, but these 2 basically say it all.

Going First: In a limited format at an FNM one time, my opponent chose to be on the draw. I was like, OK! lol. He was behind the entire game and might’ve won, had he chosen to go first. Of all the games I’ve played, I’ve NEVER chosen to be on the draw and almost never did my opponent choose it either. Yes, there are a tiny few formats where it can be better to be on the draw (being on the draw means your opponent plays first and the player who goes first doesn’t get to draw a card on their first turn), but it’s very rare, because you’re almost always at a disadvantage on the draw. I cannot tell you how many times I lost game 1 because my opponent won the die roll, then won game 2, because now I’m on the play, then lost game 3, because my opponent got to go first again. I felt like I was an above average player on the play and a below average player on the draw, and from what I can tell, this is how most people feel, hence why we always choose to “be on the play” and not the draw.

How about this?
The person who’s on the draw gets 2 or 3 life, or some other minor effect, or come up with 2 or more minor effects and let the person on the draw choose which minor effect they want, which could create some interesting strategies for games 2 & 3, depending on the deck your opponent playing. I think the game would be much better if being on the draw wasn’t almost always a disadvantage, or at least less of a disadvantage.

Planeswalkers: How many Planeswalkers are/were considered some of the best cards in standard? Most, I believe, saw standard play. Why? Because they’re extremely powerful and unfortunately, I feel, were sometimes too powerful. In the beginning there were no cards that “destroyed or exiled” planeswalkers. Now there’s tons, so clearly there was a problem initially, I assume. How about making them completely unique to the game, so that you can only have 1 of each planeswalker in your deck and only so many total in your deck? After all, there’s only 1 of ‘you’ in existence. That’s basically my point. These aren’t “creature types”, like Bears or Birds. These are unique personalities, so when I kill your Garruk, how then are you able to play Garruk again? I just killed him. See my point? Wouldn’t this also make them even more special and unique to the game? One could say the same for all legendary cards too, or at least legendary creatures possibly. Also, if I have a certain Planeswalker in play, my opponent should not be able to play that same Planeswalker. How can a Planeswalker be in 2 places at once?

These are just some of the rules that I feel need to be examined. Magic is a phenomenal card game that is unlike any other card game I’ve ever seen. All other card games were developed because of Magic, but when you can win the game with just one mana in play (I’ve both done it and had it done to me), or win on turn 3 (same), it kind of makes playing the game pointless (I’m not talking about Vintage or Legacy, etc.). I like to PLAY Magic, when I sit down against an opponent. I like actually playing, where it takes at least 6 turns, but preferably 10+, where we go back and forth and appear to be winning at times and then losing at other times and there’s drama and it’s intense and no one is certain who’s going to win. Those are the games of Magic that I LOVE.

So what do you all think? I’d love to hear from you.

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We are Literally Living in The Twilight Zone

We are Literally Living in The Twilight Zone

The right fully believes that Trump is an intelligent honest loyal man and a good moral Christian who was a great President, despite all the evidence that he’s a pathological liar, a narcissist, a crook and a traitor and is not nearly as intelligent as they think and was, by far, the worst President we’ve ever had, along with the most incompetent and most corrupt. It’s not even close. They are convinced that Democrats are all Socialists or Communists and that Liberals are stupid clueless morons, while also believing that Reagan was a great President and that reaganomics made America great, and that then Obama came along and gutted the military (he didn’t) and destroyed America, but Trump made it great again.

The delusions of the right are beyond understanding, but the left is nuts too, for they believe that Obama was a great President who fought for the rights of we the people. They don’t realize that he wasn’t much different from a Republican. He was pro war, pro fracking, pro TPP, pro outsourcing of American jobs overseas, while claiming he was going to stop it, along with Bush’s illegal wars, but instead he expanded them. He did more terrible things too, but it takes a little research to learn these truths.

Also, many on the left believe that Bernie is ‘too radical’ (when in fact all of his views are mainstream) and that Biden is the solution and is going to fix things, but Biden is in fact no different from Obama or Clinton or Republicans. Biden is nothing more than a Corrupt Corporate-Owned Politician (just like the Republicans). He’s not “as bad” as a Republican, but pretty close.

The Republican Party has convinced their base that all social programs are horrible and wrong because they’re Socialism and that Socialism will destroy America and leave us all in bread lines, when in fact Capitalism literally has done just that, while Socialism, blended with Capitalism, literally helped make America the greatest nation the world had ever seen (1950’s). The Republican party has been conning Americans for decades and republican economics is nothing more than a made up economic system which literally makes no sense (Yes, they literally made up reaganomics, which is why Bush Senior called it Voodoo economics; because that’s exactly what it is. Reaganomics wrecked the economy in 1987. Bush wrecked it in 2007. Republican Presidents did this in the 1920’s and caused the great depression of 1929, while Liberal economics, under FDR, created the greatest economy (1950’s) the world had ever seen.

The ONLY solution is to end the reign of Corporate America and put “we the people” back in charge of “our government”, but this may never happen since both parties serve Corporate America and have been keeping us divided for many decades, convincing each side that ‘the other side’ is destroying America, when in fact both parties serve their Corporate Masters. Neither Conservatism or Liberalism or Socialism or Libertarianism is the problem. All of these isms have problems and they all have merit. The problem is Corporate America OWNS America. They own our government, our media, our food, our entertainment, our healthcare. Neither party will ever fix America. Only “we the people” can fix it, but to do that we’ll ALL have to put aside our differences and come together and stand united against our common enemy.

If enough of us ever wake up and realize this, it just might happen one day.

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A Dream I Had

So I had a short weird dream a few days ago. All my adult life I’ve been unhappy inside, mostly because I’ve felt trapped. Trapped in a reality that didn’t allow me to live life the way I wanted to live life, because ‘life’ kept getting in the way. The way of how I wanted to live, and my inability to create the life that I wanted, both for me and my wife and kids, after I got married and had kids, frustrated me to no end (Yeah, sometimes I write long weird sentences).

Growing up with a father who suffered from depression and mood swings didn’t help. I’m sure, in fact, that it greatly contributed to my frustrations, for my father always got frustrated whenever things didn’t go right. He’d often get mad at things, break things, because things didn’t always work right. You know, smoothly and easily. Stuff breaks. Stuff happens, and it constantly frustrated him to no end. He had very little patience, both for things and people, so when things didn’t go right he’d throw a fit and when people didn’t go right he’d yell at them, or throw them out of his house.

My dad was no good at dealing with things, or people, yet he was a handy man who turned his unfinished basement into a great rec room. He installed paneling, electric outlets. You name it, he did it. He was a phenomenal artist (Google Tristan Meinecke and see for yourself) who created hundreds of amazing pieces of art, some as tall as 13′; huge monstrosities that amazed people when they saw them. He did tons of yard work, planted vegetables and fruit (strawberries, tomatoes) and even had apple trees in his backyard. He built a huge outdoor speaker system so he could listen to music outside in his yard. He somehow managed to create the life that he wanted to live (at least in part he did). Despite his depression though, he was a real Renaissance Man, who even taught himself architecture and ran a successful architectural business for over 10 years, yet his entire life he felt like a failure; that he never amounted to anything and often would go into his bedroom, close the door, and just stay there all day; sometimes until morning. He felt the less his children (my brother and me) saw him depressed, the better it would be for us. He feared that his depression would affect us.

Sadly he was right, for I ‘inherited’ his state of depression and mood swings and it cost me big time, in ways that I won’t describe here. Lets just say I’m no longer married and live alone, and it’s mostly my own fault. I just couldn’t handle things not working, but what I hated the most was that I ‘had’ to ‘work a job’ that I wouldn’t have done if I didn’t ‘need the money’ to live. People kept accusing me of being lazy, which was partly true, but it wasn’t the ‘work’ that I hated doing (Ask anyone who worked with me and they’ll all tell you I did a good job wherever I worked. A clothing company I worked at made me the Production Manager and when I worked at Peapod, I got a job as the Assistant Manager and the people there threw a party for me when I left, because they loved working with me. I got praise like this all the time, about what a good person I was, what a great job I did, etc.). It wasn’t so much that I was lazy. It was the fact that I ‘had’ to do it in order to live, pay bills, etc.. I wasn’t working a job because I ‘wanted’ to do it. I did it because if I didn’t, I couldn’t live – pay rent, put food on the table, etc.. That ‘reality’ just rubbed me the wrong way, so all day long, from Sunday night until Friday when I’d get home, I wasn’t ‘happy’. I lived each day for the day to end, so that I could go home and enjoy an evening with my family; free from ‘having’ to work a job that I wouldn’t work, if I didn’t have to work it, but when Sunday evening came I was depressed again, knowing that tomorrow I ‘had’ to go work at a job that I wouldn’t work at, if I didn’t ‘have’ to work at it. Ugh!

What I ‘wanted’ was to work a job that I wanted to work at, but what I wanted to do I couldn’t do, because either I wasn’t good enough (play trumpet, piano, sing) &/or there was no money in it, or it just wasn’t realistic (own and operate my own game store or my own company), so I was ‘forced’ to work a job I wouldn’t have otherwise worked, and that drove me insane, which ultimately cost me my family and my life. Now, alone, with nothing, and feeling nothing but emptiness inside, I just wanted to die. I was done with life. I blamed my father. I blamed my x-wife. I blamed the system. I blamed the world. I blamed god, but I never ‘fully’ blamed myself. Oh sure, I took ‘some’ responsibility, but I always was certain that the ‘only reason’ I was angry and depressed and insane was because of the circumstances of my life that made me that way (I still partly believe that and in fact it ‘is’ partially true). However, in truth what was really happening was that I refused to take full responsibility for my own actions, which caused me to lose everything that actually mattered to me – my wife and children.

Now, almost 9 years later (how I survived without my wife and kids, I have no clue) and after a few bad relationships, I finally started ‘looking within’. I think it was mostly due to the last relationship I was in, which I will not get into, partly because you wouldn’t believe me if I told you and because it would be wrong for me to engage in such negativity. However, what I need to tell you is through that ‘relationship’ I got to experience LSD. We did LSD maybe 5-6 times in the couple of years that we were together and one time a reality hit me like a ton of bricks. As I was tripping I blurted out “Oh my god I’m 100% responsible for everything that’s happened to me”. The reality of this realization shocked me to my core. I just sat there and couldn’t get that fact out of my head. I was responsible. No one else. Just me. I was wrong, regardless of the circumstances, no matter how many there were, to blame anyone else but myself. I couldn’t believe that was true. How could it be? How could no one but me be responsible for all that happened to me? There’s NO WAY that could be true, but somehow I KNEW that it was. I couldn’t make any sense of it. It shook me to my core. My dad wasn’t at least partly responsible? Well sure, but what I didn’t get, until now, was “that didn’t matter”. Blaming others for “my actions”, “my decisions”, was bullshit. I kept blaming “my circumstances”, which is nothing more than what an immature insecure whiny little child does. That cold hard reality stared back at me relentlessly. You’re responsible Scott. You. No one else but you. Now why don’t you just shut the fuck up, quit whining like the immature insecure spoiled little child that you are and ask yourself this… what are you going to do about it?

Why am I even writing this? Am I really going to publish this? Why? To make myself feel better about myself? Poor me. Poor Scott. Life has been hard for him. See all that I’ve had to endure? See how I’m ‘now’ taking responsibility? No. That’s not it. I’m writing this because I need to, for whatever reason. Think what you want. Say what you want. This was just going to be about this short weird dream that I had a few days ago and instead I wrote all that I just wrote and I don’t know fully why, so take it any way you want.

Now, finally on my own again and fully aware, for the first time in my life, that “I” caused everything in my life to happen to me the way it happened to me, I was determined to figure out why, let alone what to do about it. I knew what I wanted. I’ve always known what I wanted, but now I had to seriously face myself and ask myself what do I ‘really’ want. So I asked myself honestly, if money wasn’t an option, how would I live. The answers came quickly and easily, but I won’t get into any of the details here. Suffice it to say I KNOW EXACTLY what I want. I know exactly how I want my life to be, so I started looking within myself for the answers.

This ‘journey’ has led me to the following: Meditation, Neville Goddard, Eckhart Tolle, Joe Dispenza, Gregg Breden, Bruce Lipton, Aaron Abke and other ‘spiritual teachers’. Then Wim Hof, Sapien Medicine and finally Florence Scovel Shinn. I’m now trying to implement what I’ve learned from these people, mostly Meditation, Wim Hof, Florence and Neville. Those are my 4 main influences, but trying to implement what they teach and make it work isn’t easy. It appears I’m my own worst enemy. I’m now engaged in a battle ‘with myself’ in my attempt to become the person that I desire/want to be. “You’re the operant power” said Neville. Great, ‘shaking my head’. Isn’t there some drug I can take that will just ‘make me’ into the person I desire to be? Well, in one sense, yes. “You’re the Alchemist” said Wim. sigh

Those statements (I’m the operant power and the alchemist) are both empowering and kind of scary too, let alone not what I wanted to hear, but clearly needed to hear, but it’s really simple. It’s up to me. It’s not up to anything or anyone else, but me. Eckhart Tolle once said that the universe will challenge you, but it will also show you the way, if you ask to be shown the way (that whole ‘seek and you will find’ stuff). Someone somewhere (I think it was Florence) said something to the effect that our subconscious mind will communicate with us in different ways, one of which is through our dreams, but these ‘messages’ are often cryptic and its takes time and practice to learn what it’s trying to show you (what you’re trying to tell yourself).

So about that dream I had the other day.

I was in my car, but the road was totally ripped up and a huge pipe ran across the road in front of me, blocking my way. I was parked and couldn’t back up either, for something was blocking me from behind, so I had no choice but to carefully pull out and turn the car around. As I turned around the road all around me looked terrible, but there was a clear path to the left, so I started to turn left, but just as I was doing that a construction worker was waving me to continue to drive forward. I hesitated, for the road was rough and narrow and weaved to the left and right, back and forth, and it fell off a cliff on both sides probably 10′ down and workers were everywhere beyond him, both on the road and on either side, down below with large machines digging up stuff. I tried to point that I wanted to go left, but he assured me, as he kept waving his hand back over his head, that “this was the way I needed to go”. I was like, why would I go that way. It looks dangerous, but he assured me I needed to go that way. So I reluctantly pulled forward, but as I started down this broken crooked path there was a worker with a wheel barrel moving toward me on my left, leaving me almost no room to get by him, but I had to drive past him. I had no choice, so I “slowly” drove by. As I drove by I heard the workers say “don’t knock him over” “be careful”. “I’m being careful”, I said. “I won’t hit him”. Why would I hit him, I thought to myself, as I just barely fit, scared that my car was going to fall off to the right.

Right then and there I woke up…

Really? That’s your message for me? God damn you. Yeah, I got it. Message heard loud and clear. Well, I guess that was about as clear a message as my subconscious mind was capable of sending/showing me.

I guess.

Damn

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The Kingdom of God: The Way the World Will Be

Somehow, someway, I finally figured out how to build a Time Machine and headed off for the future, to see how the world would turn out. I decided to go ahead 100 years at a time, to see how the world would change over time, so I set my Time Machine to the year 2120 and headed out.

What I found was what I had been looking for my whole life. In just 100 years humanity had completely transformed their world. The ruling class had finally come to an end. Instead, in every community, all over the planet, groups of people, put in place by people, were put in charge of the community, to see to it that everyone in the community had all of their needs met. No one went without. Everyone was provided with all the basic necessities for a good healthy life. The concept of “checks and balances” from the founding principles of government in America was applied to every community, everywhere, all over the world.

Everyone came together and served everyone in their community and communicated with everyone all over the world, for the greater good. The Christian principles of love and service to others were applied to everyone, regardless of their political or religious affiliation. The concept was simple; by serving and helping and sharing with each other, everyone benefitted. Over time, selfishness and greed slowly dissolved, as the fruits of such actions became clearer and clearer to everyone.

The plan was simple. Provide everyone on the planet with high quality ‘food’ ‘clothing’ ‘shelter’ ‘education’ and ‘healthcare’. By doing this “almost everyone” would become self sufficient, fully capable of taking care of themselves. Those who couldn’t (due to physical or mental disabilities) were well cared for and kept from harming themselves or others.

All forms of crime and violence were handled in a rehabilitative manner, with the purpose of punishing them justly for their actions, but with the intention of helping them to take full responsibility for their actions, to where they would eventually vow to change and become a better person. Sentences such as ‘life in prison’ or ‘the death penalty’ were gone. Finally, ALL LIVES actually mattered. Therefore, all violent actions committed were dealt with the way you’d deal with them if your son or daughter committed them. You’d punish them with the purpose of teaching them a lesson, in the hopes that they’d come to realize their mistakes and change their behavior, at which point you would naturally welcome them back into the family and forgive them and restore them back into society fully.

All the leaders in their communities were held accountable by all in the community and the principles of promoting positive energy, instead of negative energy, was taught and practiced regularly by all. Humans finally came to understand that their thoughts and words mattered just as much as their actions, for it’s their thoughts and words which mostly caused said actions, so positive energy was taught regularly. Love was promoted everywhere. Through education and community, the people came together and healed and forgave each other and all worked to make their community a better community, because with a better community came a better life for all in the community, which naturally brought crime and violence to an end, over time.

As poverty went away, lots of negative thoughts and words and actions also went away. Through sharing and caring for each other, serving and helping each other, instead of indulging themselves in selfish and greedy thoughts and words, the people healed and over time all came to be filled with love joy and peace in their souls, which emanated outwards from them, providing a better life for all within said community.

The moment one community began to thrive, this ‘positive energy’ that was being created in that community spread to other communities. Slowly, over time, peoples hearts turned inward and their anger and fear and negative energy slowly dissipated, which brought healing to everyone.

The first 10-20 years was rough. Lots of emotions and inner turmoil erupted within their hearts, as many battled their ‘inner demons’. In time though, the pain and suffering that many endured would slowly heal and turn to love, joy and peace.

Finally, the world had come together in unity and purpose. Driven by the simple and plain understanding that together we stand, divided we fall. The principles that used to be just slogans designed to give the masses ‘false hope’, became the battle cries of the masses, which led to peace throughout the land, and with peace came prosperity and abundance, and once poverty was eradicated and the masses were well educated, the plain and simple reality that living for the benefit of each other benefitted themselves far greater than living just for themselves ever could. Once this ‘concept’ was ‘experienced’ by the masses, the natural result was everyone came together, for the benefit of everyone.

The concept was so simple, it amazed everyone how they never realized it before and wondered why it took humanity so many thousands of years to realize this simple and obvious truth.

Positive energy (thoughts, words and deeds) will ‘never’ hurt anyone.
Negative energy (thoughts, words and deeds) will ‘never’ help anyone.

I turned off my Time Machine and put it in a Museum. I didn’t need to travel any further. I had found the world that I had always wanted to live in. Finally, I was at peace.

The Kingdom of God had finally come to Earth.

“And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
Isaiah 2:4

“The way of peace they have not known, And there is no justice in their ways; They have made themselves crooked paths; Whoever takes that way shall not know peace.
Isaiah 59:8

“Behold, I make all things new”
Revelation 21:4

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”
Revelation 21:3

Here is part 2 https://lightmane321.wordpress.com/2020/12/21/he-came-from-3120/

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