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JR has written 17 articles so far, you can find them below.


Gods With Anuses: A review of The Denial of Death

 

Here is a review I wrote about Becker’s Denial of Death. This was for a class on the sociology of death. I believe Becker was truly on to something and I feel TMT could be utilized to fix some things.

Gods With Anuses:  A review of The Denial of Death

“The road to creativity passes so close to the madhouse and often detours or ends there.”

― Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death

 


denial of deathThe Denial of Death is Ernest Becker’s treatise on what he believes to be the strongest driving force responsible for the human condition. The human unwillingness to accept the fear of death; to accept that people are actually biological animals; human is the near god, perhaps the only self-aware organism that also shits. Becker believed in the duality of the human animal. One side is the pure biological, an animal not particularly exceptional when compared to others in the animal kingdom. On the other side is the emotional, thinking animal that requires symbols in an attempt to create some semblance of meaning in his own existence. Becker tells us that the emotional side must lie and create an illusion as a defense in order to rise above the anxiety of being a biological animal that eventually dies.

The main crux of the lie was the need to attain the heroic. Becker theorizes that the human animal strives to attain immortality through the heroic, a way to be victorious against death. This need to be a hero remains hidden in the average man. Society also tends to view those who would seek to be a hero as narcissistic thus discouraging an open an honest quest to reach the status of hero.

In The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker develops his point by taking us through the details of various neuroses and disorders. At one end of Becker’s spectrum of disorders is the schizophrenic, a person that fails to develop the lie and therefore must face the reality of death without any type of defense. The schizophrenic is then forced to create his own illusion of reality that is so completely removed from that of society that he becomes split. On the other end is the clinically depressed, according to Becker the depressed are so bogged down by the threat of exposure of the life-lie that they give away their lives to death.

A major point is the defense of the great life lie. People will go to great lengths to defend their illusive version of reality. Their fear is increased and almost unbearable at the thought that someone else’s lie may disprove their own. This line of thinking may very well be an underlying cause of war, discrimination and many other crimes against humanity throughout the world. One might suggest that the elimination of organized religion would cure this problem; however, organized religion often becomes the scapegoat. As Becker points out any type of group belief system, such as society, is essentially a form of religion. They are belief systems that help people avoid the anxiety of death and any affront to these beliefs is akin to an act of war.

Throughout the book Becker refers to the work of Freud switching out Freud’s theories on sex anxiety with that of death anxiety. Becker also does a posthumous analysis of Freud in an attempt to show that his theory on death anxiety also applies to the father of psychoanalysis.

Becker seems to believe that a merger of religion and psychology may be able to solve the problems of death anxiety. Although typical ancient religion will not suffice post enlightenment, some form of belief in the metaphysical is possibly enough to relieve this anxiety from human so that they may be able to cope. Unfortunately I’m not confident that the average person will be able to grasp this and be accepting of the points of view of others. An example of this is the recent Boston bombings and the subsequent call for the annihilation of Czechoslovakia (a country that no longer even exists and was not related to the suspects in any way),

I learned a great deal from this book, perhaps more than I have yet fully absorbed. I am not suggesting that this book is necessarily a motivational tome but I feel that it has encouraged me to pursue my own immortality project without apology. I also learned that I possess a minutia of knowledge in reference to psychology. I look forward to reevaluating this book after reviewing the works of Freud and Rank.

In reading what others have said of The Denial of Death some reviewers have found a nihilist slant. In my understanding of nihilism this label simply does not fit. While Becker does essentially tell us reality is a lie, he also tells us it is a necessary lie. I don’t get any feeling of hopelessness from the book.

I should note that I have only read through this book one time thus far. I believe it is worthy of at least an additional critical reading and fairly certain that my opinions and understanding may change to some extent. I think Becker’s own immortality project has been quite successful.  I believe that Terror Management Theory, based On The Denial of Death, has the potential to alleviate a great deal of suffering in the world.

I would selectively recommend this book. I feel it would primarily be of interest to those with a more than passing interest in philosophy, psychology, sociology or theology. Although I do believe it could be of benefit to others if they were to read it with an open mind. I attempted to discuss the ideas presented with various people and was generally met with one of two responses. Either that it sounded like psychobabble mumbo-jumbo or it elicited a bit of anger from others. One person in particular was appalled at the idea that our fear of death was a driving psychological force in our lives. I’m not sure that everyone is willing to accept that at least part of reality for the human animal is a lie.

 

 

Another VC Grant Rant Presidential Pukery

Presidential Paltering

VC Grant

 

Please Please.

Ponder these phrases as

I pontificate at podium.

The Two Billion Dollar

pup and pony parade

perpetrated to

placate the peasant,

to pacify the poor

is nearing a finale.

Enough pleasantries

prolific promises and

pure palaver.

A perfect prediction,

our president will be

a pathetic plutocrat

rife with procrastination

with no care for nation.

Perhaps Palingenesis of the US

is the way to end this distress,

perhaps Pantisocracy.

Gore Vidal America’s Gay Anti-Hero.

I wrote this paper for a class last semester. With the passing of the legendary Gore Vidal I decided to post this.

From America’s noble beginnings all the way up until present day, people with an “alternative” sexual orientation have been stigmatized, gay men especially.   In America’s infancy gay men were forced to live in fear.  Louis Crompton states “in 1776 male homosexuals in the original 13 colonies were universally subject to the death penalty” (2).   This began a period of bigotry and misunderstanding that would plague America for many years.   Gay men lived false lives, while not being afforded the freedom America is known for.   Gay men were forced to either live a lie or face an early demise.  Gay men who chose to be themselves were forced to do so in hiding.  Society was free to invent their own stereotypes without any evidence to disprove them.

 

America was founded on a principal of freedom, yet many groups faced horrible intolerance and persecution.  History books educate us on the problems that many minority groups faced; however, the persecution of the gay man has not made it into the books yet.  In literature gay men were represented as effeminate, immoral and mentally ill.  Most stories of gay men were told as cautionary tales that ended badly for any gay character.  These representations served to reinforce stereotypes and encourage mistreatment.  Most stereotypes are a product of ignorance.  The Arts are a great forum to educate the masses.  In “Stereotypes And Identity Reflected In Literature” Caroline Carvill tells us “Literature reflects the preconceptions, perceptions, and misperceptions of its time, its authors, and its readers.” Authors who are willing to take risks and provide the reader with an alternative view can create change.

 

The American people continued to retain a close-minded attitude toward gay men in the nineteen-forties.   America had an-out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality when it came to queers and queens and fags, as they were commonly referred to.  Due to the nature of society many gay men found their way to what was known as the gay underground, an equivalent to living on the “down low” today.   Prior to novels such as the City and The Pillar most of America was clueless as to what a gay man really was. Gore Vidal risked his own happiness to expose America to the “normal” gay man.

 

 

Vidal discusses his views on homosexuality by saying:

Actually, there is no such thing as a homosexual person, any more than there is such a thing as a heterosexual person.   The words are adjectives describing sexual acts, not people.   The sexual acts are entirely normal; if they were not, no one would perform them(Vidal, Relax…).

 

Gore Vidal has led an interesting life.  Eugene Luther Vidal was born in 1925 to an affluent family.   Vidal grew up in his grandfather’s mansion, sheltered from the problems that plagued America at the time.  Thomas P.  Gore, Vidal’s grandfather was a blind United States Senator.  Gore recruited his grandson to read for him, giving Vidal complete access an extensive library.  Inspired by his grandfather, Vidal took the name Gore.  Vidal went on to attend the exclusive St. Alban’s School.  It was at St Albans that a young Vidal met the only man he ever loved, Jimmie Trimble.  Vidal joined the army at seventeen. While in the army he wrote Williwaw and In the Yellow Wood.  Critics lauded Vidal as a great young author.  While working as an editor Vidal penned The City and the Pillar(Pemberton…).

 

The City and the Pillar featured a protagonist who was far from the assumed version of gay in America.    Jim Willard was an athlete and an overall average and normal guy.    The book traces his life as he yearns to reconnect with his best friend Bob with whom he shared a single night of passion.  The night was shared just before Bob departed for the Navy.  As Jim goes along his journey we are introduced to characters of the gay underground, a counterculture movement that many were forced to live in in order to be free.  The underground featured a cast of characters who were wide and diverse.  Many are represented in The City and the Pillar.  Jim discovers his own sexuality through his interactions over an eight year span.  All of Jim’s trials are in an effort to reconnect with his long lost love.  The City and the Pillar gave us a glimpse of the futility of living in the past; a theme that very often rings true for people of any sexual orientation.  The City and the Pillar showed us that ultimately gay men face many of the same problems that straight men face; that gay men are not different than “normal” men; that the tragedy of love can exist in all relationships, no matter the gender of the participants.   This was a wakeup call for most of America.

 

The City and the Pillar caused great fallout for Vidal.  Critics were very harsh.   Vidal’s career was completely jeopardized.   In The City and the Pillar Revised Vidal tells us “The New York Times refused to take advertising for the book, and most of the reviews were hostile” (156) The Times daily reviewer refused to even review the book and put a ban on any of Vidal’s future work(Vidal. Point 52)..  Vidal became a victim of the prejudice he was fighting against. His next few novels were ignored and this left him with financial problems

Fred Willard did What

Dude seriously, Fred Willard got busted for allegedly masturbating in a porn theater. That’s excellent. If it’s true he should be busted for stupidity. I mean surely he has some loot, I don’t care that he jerked off in an XXX theater, I would imagine that is what happens at those places. I just don’t understand why. Surely he could have called a professional to relieve any tension that may have built up. I mean is it some kind of thrill that people get from this sort of act. I really don’t get it. If it is about the public thing wouldn’t it be more fun to have a partner in public. It just seems odd, to each his own. By the way I could definitely see the thrill of the public thing with a partner, that’s kind of hot and actually sounds like fun. Hmmm… Anybody want to…? Never mind. Lol

Inspired by Gram

R. eally A.lready
By
I.M. Not Jimbo

Sometimes I look at my hands, fingers jutting from knuckle like branches from a corkscrew willow. As they bend like a rusty hinge that never saw the glory of 3 in 1.

I can’t help but think of Gram. Her hands and fingers so twisted and swollen that just the sight of them conjured a brilliant phantom of pain in my own green hands. Yet after nearly ninety decades she would still get down on her knees and yank those persistent weeds from the garden, an enemy that she could see a fight that she still could fight.

Her sore exhausted hips sounding off as firecrackers as she struggled to the ground. by then she was ripping out prized irises and other beautiful plants convinced they were weeds but nonetheless she still fought through the pain to do what she was driven to. I’ve been facing this, on and off for nearly thirty years. Only as this level has been reached can I begin to grasp the amount of pain that poor amazing woman must have felt. A feeling akin to someone drilling directly into my knees with the dullest of drill bits. Waking to realize that some bitter hobgoblin had individually pressed each digit to anvil and struck down with hammer as I fitfully slept. The click finally came, that aha moment.

My inspiration to fight is strengthened by several but none more so than that 5 feet of fight that could conquer nearly anything.

More of my Poems the Original


This is probably the first poem I ever wrote for someone. I was a shy fat kid and to this day she is still the coolest chick I have ever known. She helped me find myself at a very difficult time in my life. I have met very few people with that much heart. I’ll always be grateful for that. She may or may not be the inspiration for the “Raven” from some of the other poems. I guess there are some people you will meet in life that you just can’t forget no matter how hard you try. It’s kind of a shame she’ll probably never get to read any of it.

Joyfully Laughingly
Jim Scott

Strands of hair darker than night
Bright Brown orbs of brilliant light
Prettiest smile ever known
Seeds of friendship rightly sown

Jade shade of that flight
Razor shredded heart when we fight
Do anything at all I can
Always be your fan
Tales of vampires read with delight
Crash of pool balls hit by white
Visions of arms locked so tight
When it was time to say goodnight
I know that things right now are bad
Hope this doesn’t make you mad
I really just wish you weren’t so sad

My life is all turmoil and plight
meeting you made my world alright

This is bad and kind of cheesy, full of abstractions and bad rhyme. But I was about 17 or 18 and a high school dropout at the time. I wrote it to cheer up a very good friend of mine that was sad. Of course I never showed it to her. I swore I’d never let anyone see these but hey it’s a new dawn it’s a new day bla bla bla and I wrote it. Plus I was inspired to look at some of my old stuff. Unedited in all its glory. Lol Feel free to mock, flame or make fun, but remember when I read it I go back to being a thin-skinned sensitive teenager not much has changed in 17 or so years. LOL

Found another weak one from about ten years ago.

Just Point Less

By James R. Scott

More than five years have passed
\since I saw you last
\since you went to follow your dreams
\many years you’ve been gone
\many things seen and done
\but fear there are none that affect me like thee
\so on this day when I see you again
\and ask this and that about how you have been
\from the depths of my heart shall I plea
\let it not be so long til I can sing song
\of reunion for you and for me

A Poem or Two

Some poems from a lesser known poet that I really enjoy.

“How in the world could it be.
The most miserable in life.
Have seen the least strife.
And can’t even spell empathy.”
V.C. Grant

“Coumadin ”

V.C. Grant

Was Ernie right just open a vein,
He couldn’t escape the pain.
What is the price of a soul laid bare.
Is it worth any amount of fortune or fame.

Would a million cauterize crimson brilliance.
Afford a chance to once again dance,
Without problem or care.
Is he shackled to bitter circumstance.

Perhaps twould help to show despair
And shed one last tear, on bosom once held dear.
Is it even worth any chance.
For one who does not even care.

Perhaps the answer is to rejoin with those he did play.
The liars and thieves with hearts full of decay.
To reclaim pathetic indifferent stance.
And once again congregate with those who betray.

Shall he just return to his cave,
Or seek unfindable solace in nave.
Hidden away and left to decay.
A heart full of beauty, no one can save.

Adding some of my own poetry

I’m going to add some more of my poetry here. Some of it I’ve put on Facebook already. It’s more a hobby than anything.

How Many Care?

How Many Care?

The scene on the South Side was a blood bath. As he lay dying so few were crying, the mob called for his blood. Had they not remembered when he found a doctor to fix Joe’s cleft palate or had talked Jane down from the ledge? What about when he sat with Grandma Dorothy and comforted her as she left the world? This was just a sampling of all he had done.

“Those are all things that any man can do, if you’re indeed an angel then grant me riches or make me young again.”

They would not understand he could not deviate from God’s plan. He could not reveal his powers or even fight back, he had to sit and take the vicious attack.

“Come on mister angel show us your might. If you are what they say make me famous tonight.”

The mob did not get it, they could not understand. They missed the small miracles that were part of God’s plan. They kept attacking with vicious delight, kicking and clawing and stabbing. The man had done nothing but help where he could. The greediness would not let them see all that he had done good. When the mob thought they had achieved their goal of ending the life of this apparent fraud, something strange happened.

Suddenly a glow emanated from the man’s back. Wings emerged from the blood and the scars. As he took flight a voice came from the heavens.

“My servant was sent to teach you a lesson. Yet so few of you opened your eyes to this blessing. Miracles happen when you help one another. This is something that many of you have lost sight of. He has done his job, he will now depart may all that has happened lift the darkness from your heart.”

Would this occurrence renew compassion? Would these people live in a different fashion? Most of us knew what the answer would be, “me help you, what’s in it for me?”

A Poem I wrote

I wrote this for class and to get some things off my chest. It has gotten some pretty good responses.
Juxtaposition of Pleasure and Lament

I miss her

 

Juxtaposition of Pleasure and Lament
By
J.R. Scott

The raven returns to the city once rotten,
Seeking the one who’d thought she’d forgotten.
A Dozen had passed since raven departed,
Both feared the great reunion’d be thwarted.

The moment of truth when the call came,
Could it be true, they both felt the same.
As much as he battled, tears he did cry,
Just gazing at, that shade of tiger’s eye.

A feeling long forgotten or so he had thought,
An overwhelming instant of swoon he fought.
Amazing years later, emotions still strong
A final chance, to right severe wrong.

But once again timing was not with them,
That joyous moment turned into bedlam.
He was not the hero, that she remembered,
Years and the world, had left him battered.

Fear of locking her to a life less than deserved
The whole of the parts left him unnerved.
She tried to console him, and said he was her king.
He could not get past, the simplest of things.

So full of fear of holding her back,
For only a moment he was off track.
Had he stood and fought, stead of pushing away,
Perhaps a different tale, would be told today.

For that fair raven his heart has ever burned,
Each new encounter a painful lesson learned.
Yes Snow and Raven, hurt each other easy,
Yet he was her king, and she his Khaleesi.

The latest of battles left him severely wounded,
Memory disappeared quickly from his head.
But one distinct memory, he could not let go
The image of the raven, that he used to know.

From the heavens Raven was sent
All the tears shed, all well spent.
Oh dear fair Raven, such a stunning creature,
The depth of her heart, the most resounding feature

Oh indeed at times he does still weep
For Flawed perfection once in his reach
The fairest of maidens, he has since met,
Have been amazing, but none like her yet.

Accepting of the blame that kept them apart,
He pays his daily penance with dagger to heart.
For his misdeeds, forever cloaked in guilt,
his heart remains ensconced, in briar laden quilt.

He shall suck it up and leave it to fate,
And hope for forgiveness fore it’s too late.
In the moment, no choice left but move on
But deep within his heart, the fires still strong.

Oh there were others that touched him deeply
Beautiful freckles and smiles of “Spring beauty ”
The little Italian “Teacher,” and even “the rat”
The raven was his dearest, no question of that.

Oh the days when he questioned his own worth
Raven made him feel like the greatest on earth
The thought of her, and the songs that she sang
Bring toothy grin, with great twinge of pain

So if the winds should carry this to Ravens ear
Know that the Bastard forever holds her dear
As he fights his battles, and once again he’s won
Know that he’s still inspired, by his number one

Maybe in another life or even nother day.
Leave it to the Gods, all he can do is pray

Though when questioned, he’ll protest and deny hope.
He wishes her the best, and misses her the most

 

Ah the musings of J.R. Scott

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