A strange thing has happened in my spirit lately. And I discovered that thoughts waste time.
Whilst I have increased my jogging time and intensity, doubling my records, I have also improved my cooking experiences by stubbornly and fearlessly using those strange pots and stove. Somehow they are working for their boss (me) now and I don’t have to continue fasting or feeding on junks. But a strange thing has happened in my spirit lately. I started vigorously praying in the Spirit. I have not had this intensity in praying in tongue for quite some time and I cannot ignore this new habit building behavior. It has to do with my goal to redeem time.
For example, I have been praying more regularly and last Thursday I was woken up in the small hours and started praying in tongue for no reason. I prayed through the whole day except when the workman came with the intention to install fiber internet in my new place. The installation did not take place and is now postponed to another working day (because another set of workmen did not show up).
After that day I have been praying in tongue intensely like my spirit knows something that I don’t know. It is like a brand new habit building up itself without my deliberate intention or effort. It is like my early years after first encountering the Holy Spirit. It is like a new encountering all over again! Is this the redeeming that I have prayed for and got answered?
Is this the Renewal? Revival? Regeneration? Refreshing? Cool.
Do I feel any difference?
I write more. Rather productive, like four times my usual ability to concentrate.
I feel strong and refreshed even physically, as evident in my above mentioned jogging records.
I even had a rather long discourse with God one morning when I woke up. I just sat at the edge of the bed and started my monologue. After I finally finished my say, I heard God (not audibly). He talked at length too, answering all my queries and telling me what to do next. In summing up, He said, “Your (I have to leave a blank here because it’s personal) are your platforms. Use them!” Prior to that morning’s discourse, I had been harboring an unhappy thought about the state of impasse I seemed to be in, about a seemingly fail-safe plan that fell through half way. But that morning’s clearance in my spirit removed the huge stone from my heart. And I am back to the right track and resume racing toward my life goal.
When I first moved into this temporary place I had a shock when I turned on the tap to get some water to boil and make coffee. The water is muddy. Either the building water tank or the hidden pipes inside the beautiful brick walls are unclean. My portable Brita water filter alone cannot eradicate the uncleanness. I have to get filtered water from a friend and then re-filter the water with my portable filter. In similar ways there are hidden factors inside/outside somewhere hindering our lives. Time gets wasted. Thoughts can waste time. Watch our thoughts.
“I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now.” (Bob Dylan). As I combat against the chronological clock, I have discovered facts and fictions. Enough of sentiment. Back to the reality of re-setting a purposeful action plan. Goal: Redeeming time. So, what shall I do next? This is the last remaining question today about redeeming time. I start with the “love” of my life–my books.
Yes, I find revelation from the minimalistic collection of books I brought with me when I moved into my present studio in August: non-fiction: two are on running and walking, one each on sports psychology, futuristic physics (Michio Kaku) and Elon Musk. Two fiction books: Orhan Pamuk’s A Strangeness in My Mind, and Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. Two poetry books: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, and a South-East-Asian poet’s collection. Two cook books: Marie Claire Crisp (Australian light, fresh food), and Practical Cooking fish & seafood (UK). Nine Bibles/Bible dictionary/concordance.
So here is an random action list in no particular order of importance or intensity:
Running, walking, jogging routine: daily.
Cooking health food, one main meal a day.
Lots of spiritual food intake.
What can the above rather general list do to achieving my goal of redeeming time? Here is what I have done so far:
Set goal for running and working out for the total fitness and youthfulness goal I need to reach and maintain at my age. Start from the basic realistic minimum and increase the demand as my physical improves. I am of ideal weight and proportion, and quite used to training of the body. My sedentary working life has built up a somewhat noticeable spare flab in the middle against which I now combat. A much tougher work is actually the neck upward.
The cooking part is equally tough. Pots and stuff get burnt. whilst I dread to go into the details, I am not giving up. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. LOL.
The spiritual: This is still my main goal. MY LOVE AND JOY. The race is ongoing. My main issue is distraction. Once I m focused I see breakthrough.
To me, redeeming time means I shall live well and young and fit and meaningfully spiritually and physically all the days of my remaining chronological years. To achieve that, I am now in combat mode. Combat against all obstacles —Here are some of the more prominent ones:
Physical hindrances: Returning from a cold country to a tropical country is no easy adaptation in terms of the first two sets of goals. I used to run/walk at an elevation of 2580m with 48% humidity and it has been very pleasant for me. I can walk for hours without feeling tired. I now have to adapt to run/walk at an elevation of 32m with 86% humidity. “As humidity increases, thermal strain and premature fatigue increase exponentially, and so running at your normal pace will feel very difficult,” Said an expert.
Cooking: This is a major challenge: switching from cooking on gas rings to using electrical appliances like induction hob, instant pot, and toaster oven. The consolation is that I eat everything I cook/salvage from the cooking pots.
Spiritual study: My main hindrance is distraction. I am overcoming the hyperactive mind through deliberate focus and practice of self-control in terms of schedule keeping. Reading, praying, meditating on God’s words, and journaling (including blogging) help me focused.
Is relationship part of my redeeming-time goal? Well, I shall leave that to a future blog. (To continue when time comes)
Stumbled on TED talk, I (a much older person) sat through it (watching on YouTube) and listened to every word a millennial carefully crafted and spoke. It was well presented and showed good preparation with conviction. But I am not going to write about it this morning. I am writing about redeeming time. Why? Because I saw in the speaker my younger replica. I had tried out my youthful and young adult years pursuing my dream. I sought after an ideal life. I defined it by the potential happiness and human fulfillment I would experience if I had attained it. I thought I had all the means to exchange for human happiness —a good and kind heart, young, fit and healthy, highly educated, multi-cultured, very knowledgeable and intelligent, self-confident, versatile and successful in nearly everything that I work on, interesting and, of course, good-looking. (And big-headed)
I pursued and had intimate relationship with persons whom I thought would give me the happiness I wanted, and fill the void in my heart. I did not find lasting happiness in the first two relationships.
Finally at the onset of the third round I thought I would be happy for at least twenty years and then I would be satisfied and I would not need seek further. I lived with that dream for exactly twenty years and woke up to find myself alone again, in a comfortable, tasteful, but empty house again, talking to things, plants, air and sky, listening to sounds of others, mainly the functioning noises of the house, the environment, and lately, the wind and the rain.
After spending all the years of my younger adult life seeking for meaningful lasting happiness, I am asking several pertinent questions of a young person again. Is happiness beyond my reach, ever? What is the purpose for living, if any? Can time be redeemed? If so, how? If not, what can I do next? There are not many choices in the answers, in the context of the reality of time. So, is it too late to ask the questions? The answer is, it is never too late.
Is happiness beyond my reach, ever? Well, it is essential to re-define happiness in my life dictionary. To me, it is no longer relevant to have the kind of passionate emotion I once thought would bring happiness. What matters now is, have I lived a life that matters? And the answer is tied to the next question.
What is the purpose for living, if any? There is definitely a purpose for living. Each individual intrinsically knows their meaning. It is pre-programmed like a chip planted in each person’s being. In my personal belief, I believe God has implanted a purpose seed in my spirit. So what is my purpose and how come I have not lived it? I can attribute this to failure to listen to my spirit and/or deliberately choosing to interpret life the way I wanted.
Can time be redeemed? If so, how? If not, what can I do next? I have discovered that time cannot be redeemed in the human sense. No matter how careful I have tried to preserve my youthful looks, I still dread that first glance into the mirror every morning. One great teacher teaching “Redeeming Time”, declared whilst speaking to an auditorium of audience in mixed ages, “When I look into the mirror nowadays, I exclaim, no, this is not me, I used to be as good looking as…” All the young persons laughed. And the older ones stayed very still and quiet, reflecting. No, time cannot be redeemed in the human sense. All the past wrong turns, wrong decisions, wrong choices, wrong timings, wrong words spoken, wrong actions…like water that had flowed down the river into the vast ocean of time, cannot be reversed or replaced. No moving water remains the same, ever. That is how time is.
So, what shall I do next? This is the last remaining question today. (to be continued when time comes)
Digging into my treasure chest I found this today. Alas, my perspective remains unchanged though somewhat challenged. The following is an unabridged version. My task at hand is how may I write a sequel? No, I don’t mean a sequel in mere words which is easy and may be churned out like a budget standard B&B. I mean how can the lives of real people be put into a sequel complete with their realities?
“Sometimes all you can do is go on. One foot in front of the other, wherever the narrow path might lead.” I quoted this from somewhere about a spy’s narrow/precarious life. In some parts of the world, the ordinary life is comparatively narrow as a routine: narrow food as depicted by the thin corns (for men and for beasts), narrow transport (coach driven by a motor bike!), narrow space (with driver seat shared with a passenger with driver maneuvering the steering wheel with one hand!))and, sadly, narrow faces of many rural young ones who are generally undernourished and petite in sizes below their age.
Is there a choice? I ask as a mere traveler bystander. Can people choose? What kind of people will be able to breakout from their squalid environment and poverty? I know of many who really believe that education can get them somewhere. The parents sell off all they have and even incur huge debts so that their children can go to private college and university. But employment opportunity in foreign corporations remains limited and often has little choice in terms of salaries and benefits. I know of well-brought up, goal-focused youth who charge ahead bravely, studying two tertiary degrees and doing two jobs at the same time, hoping to get a better future! They are going to be the future for their currently small nations.
Are they narrow? No. They have a hope and a future. they are internally open and broad, even when on an external narrow path.
The food, the means of transport, and the physical stature do not make a man what he is. People read about the possible impact on many aspects of lives on earth due to the geographical polar shift. I personally believe that the internal ideology that shapes and drives a man can do more impact to the world than the external environment. I can see examples of more and more intelligent hard working and positive principled goals driven men who have emerged to shape the future of the globe which has become increasingly border-less. The contrary is also true. Those driven by personal greed and heartlessness do great harm to the world as well. The invisible polar shift.
Love is still the number one most difficult word to define. Things have not changed much even though seven years had passed since the first draft of this word study. As concluded in October 2017, I would still conclude today that nobody loses out in God’s kind of love. As Jesus has promised, what you have given up for His sake you have not really lost. You actually gain in many folds.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The following was originally posted on 2017/10/28 (revised from a previous posting on 7/22/2013)
The spirit-mind man realizes he does not know many things about love and God. Love ties with pain. Here is a word that God uses to describe Himself. Love. What is love? Let us read about love again. This is what he attempted in this blog before: (with 2017/10/28 up to date mind man’s deliberations in human terms and thoughts in brackets)
A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters: chapter ten -how to define love? 07/22/2013 (Quoted below in excerpts) “the most difficult word: love” Today we read the most difficult word in the whole Bible, ‘Love’. (Most difficult outside the Bible too)
Love: This is not a shallow, superficial common word as the mind man had thought in his reckless days. There is richness, depth, breadth, width, height here. … If he attempts to define this word with his human mind, emotion and senses, he knows he would be insulting the word.
The only way to give love justice is to define this word in the Spirit (spirit).
The next question is who is qualified (in terms of supreme authority) to define love?
Not this mind man, however spiritual he (thinks he) has turned into. The only thing he can do is to find his definition in the word of God, and let each reader find his own.
__________Here the definition goes:
The plumb-line of love: sacrificial. For example: God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God should be receiving man’s sacrifices, but He gave His own Son as a sacrifice! John 3:16 and Romans 5:8. This is how God views love and has demonstrated (unconditional) love to us. God has freely given so we need not try to earn it. (God’s kind of love warrants one-sided sacrificial giving without the other party favorably responding or wanting to receive your love. A person in love may think he or she can give that kind of love without regret. But believe me, when human love fades, regret becomes a glaring color in your black and white life.)
Here is one verse that has persuaded the mind man (and impacted his personal decision) about love:
“Love does not demand its own way.” This is what the mind man received from the Lord (1 Corinthians 13:5) when he was on the verge of making a real big decision… What more can he do but to let go? …Indeed, the heart has its reason that reason cannot comprehend. But, God’s way (of love) can convince and convict one’s heart…
Can one become whole again when one chooses to love in God’s way? The answer is definitely ‘yes’! …Abraham…David…Jesus’ giving Himself was the supreme example.
What motivated them? The mind man could not think of better reason than ‘love’. Love of God…O yes, love of your loved ones too!
‘Love’ indeed is the most difficult word in this spiritual dictionary, and it is also the best word anyone can lay hold of.
—- October 28, 2017 spirit-mind-man’s update: This was written four years and three months ago. The human pain felt then can still be felt though much less in intensity and frequency today. Giving up/letting go is the hardest thing to do for anyone. Yet the supreme power of the supernatural love of God gives all the strength one needs to overcome a feeling called pain which ties closely to love. Does anyone lose out because of the love described in 1 Corinthians 13:5? No. Nobody loses out when God’s love becomes the uttermost plumb line in your life. No loss but gain. I pray all who want to encounter God’s kind of love find the peace and security only His love can give. Love means you do no harm to others or to yourself. Love others in the way God loves you. This is the best ever commandment to keep. God’s kind of love empowers you to keep His word and stay in His peace.
I wrote this first of a series based on notes from study of God’s words on 03/16/2013. I took words from the Bible in the sequence of words starting with A, B, C and so on.
“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” background explained (3/17/2013): Why does the spiritual mindman start this new journey to read God’s words? Because he has navigated the uncharted waters previously and known how tough it is to sail without a pilot or a navigation guide. So in this dictionary he records everything he perceives in his spirit to share with his spiritual novice friends and brethren. This is not a conventional Bible words dictionary. It is a compilation of his spiritual notes while reading the Bible.
Here are the Bible verses as his solid foundation and plumb line for his notes and for all readers who have purposed in their hearts (spirit) to read the Bible afresh and be led by the Holy Spirit. (Please read the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 2).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Original posted on 03/16/2013
There is a new dictionary which is not exactly new. It has been hidden to many who do not venture into the spiritual realm. The mindman has discovered this new way of reading words, really important words, the words of God. So he begins his real journey on the rough uncharted waters.
Here are some of the new meanings of words or phrases he has found on the way. Enjoy your own navigation through the spiritual mind journey!
Anger: it means murder when you think anger in your mind concerning your fellow Christians. Matthew 5:21-23 (NKJV) Murder Begins in the Heart 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
Bravery: If you think of men and fear them and do what they like you to do, you are a coward. Only when you mind the matters of God and do the will of God regardless what men may say or do to you, you are considered brave, Jesus is the best example of bravery. Peter is a typical example of the opposite.
Consider: means accounting action. Many think this is just a matter of thinking in your mind. But in the new dictionary it means real action. For example, it is same as the word count or account. When you consider something in your mind your account in heaven starts updating with debits and credits being input into it!Romans 6:11 (EXB) | In Context | Whole Chapter11 In the same way, you should ·see [count; consider] yourselves as being dead to ·the power of sin [L sin] and alive ·with [to; with reference to] God ·through [or in; in union with] Christ Jesus.
Defile: it means even your thoughts are action words. Mark 7:20-23 (ESV) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Excellence: comes in two forms: 1. the power of God (the Holy Spirit); 2. your spiritual knowledge of God.
2 Corinthians 4:7[ Cast Down but Unconquered ] But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellenceof the power may be of God and not of us.
Philippians 3:8Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
You remember and dwell on all the things you’ve lost and ignore all the things you haven’t. Because your scars are like stars. Yet the night stays perfectly black. —the perfect apathy (pleasefindthis Friday, August 7, 2009)
pleasefindthis (the pen name of Iain S. Thomas) is best known for the I Wrote This For You project, which he began in 2007 as a blog with photographer, Jon Ellis. The project was published as a book in December of 2011 and appears on bestseller lists weekly. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa and shares his home with his wife, daughter and various animals.
“The Winter comes too early to my heart”
Amidst falling leaves the geese fly south
over water chilled by a cold wind north
my distant home is up this river bend
in the Chu mountain’s cloud it hides
as my journey ends some tears are shed
Folks at home are yearning for this lone horizon sail
for I seem to have lost my way, my quest
while the sea remains as calm as the vast night veil
New Horizon Of course this horizon is familiar to many. It is at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I took this picture outside looking at the blue beyond. There were few visitors outside that day at that time. One friendly oriental couple with a young child were around taking photos like me. It was a sunny day. I was alone. The others had gone somewhere else as they had visited this place before. I saw some gulls. A sailing boat at the distant horizon. I decided to present this blue horizon with hope. At the same time I also add a sunset horizon at the coast of San Francisco.
Meng Haoran 孟浩然, a Chinese poet who lived from AD689 or 691 to AD740, wrote a poem about the horizon. I quote below the poem and my attempted translation.
Dear Millennials and others: Because I was once your age I know how you currently struggle with many pertinent issues. Why economics? It is the main issue that divides many in this world of “inequality”. I believe when we go deeper in economics we shall find some solutions together.
Today we touch on the issue of “equal right” in the practice of economics.
Economics is neutral. It is a set of principles and concepts that describe the way human “trade” with one another in order to satisfy needs and wants.
The first thing I learned in my school economics is the law of supply and demand. Supply is based on demand. but every supplier has the right to supply to the target customers who are willing to buy his goods according to the supplier-seller’s condition of sales. Similarly, a customer can choose to buy or not to buy based on the same set of condition of sales.
A civil democratic (majority-rule) society normally has sales and purchase agreements with checks and balances based on recognized and legalized laws and practices by the majority of the legitimate legal citizens/residents who have legitimate voting rights of that society. Ideally such a system will ensure that the majority of needs and wants of the majority in the society will be met according to the original social “contract” of gathering together as a legal entity called nation/state.
The issues you may face today come from one predominant source: some individuals want to claim more right than others by demanding exemptions from the set social contract.
In an economic system without exemption, everyone shall abide with the same terms and conditions of production and sales. You cannot force someone to produce and give/sell their products to you even if you have the required money to buy. The terms of exchange have to be met in full. Your ability to provide the monetary value is only one of the terms of the total sales and purchase agreement.
In a neutral civil economic society, the legitimate owner and seller of the resources, produces, goods and services has a legal upper hand than the person who wants that goods and services. It is therefore a crime to forcibly take what the owner does not want to give or sell to you. You cannot covet another man’s property. For example, I cannot ask you to remove your branded watch or shoes or bag from your possession and hand them to me just because I like to have or need to use them. It will be a robbery subject to punishment.
Similarly, no man can trespass another man’s property. That is what legal boundaries and demarcations are for.
The civil democratic constitution and law of “unadulterated” interpretation and implementation normally protect the right of the majority of the legitimate components of the society. People in a society can create and/or encounter many social issues because they are ignorant or choose to ignore, misrepresent, misinterpret, misjudge, miss-apply and miss-execute the law.
Does a neutral economic system result in inequality? My question is: “inequality” in what? Don’t you honor patent right for the fruit of the inventor? In the same principle, remember and honor the one who produces a good and service. He has the right to decide to sell or not to sell. To give or not to give. A very simple guide is: do not rob or steal from others when you do not want others to do that to you or your loved ones. What honor and esteem you gain by taking what is not yours?
How then shall individuals who deem themselves as “under-privileged” function in a civil economic society? The group of individuals who form the civil society can come together and agree on some rules and regulations governing the common good in any ethical social system.
Who decides what is common good and what are considered ethical? In a democratic system there are established and tested ways to do this effectively. I believe the common moral and ethical values of a society influence that society’s decision making processes and choices. Normally this is influenced by the worldview of individuals, derived from family culture, education and their religious system. Can experiences and knowledge change our worldview? Yes. Definitely. My advice for the younger individuals is to remain open to views and really go in depth and study and understand economics and ethics. For those who are chronologically young, it is wise to know that the older individuals are learning knowledge and developing wisdom too and many are advancing in an accelerated speed and better focus because of the wider and deeper scope they have already gone through in life.
History has shown that taking without paying the due rewards for any goods and services from one man’s possession to another man has resulted in regression instead of progression of mankind. Such a system results in oppression and depression in which mankind do not feel motivated and challenged to do better for himself and/or the community. Social ills such as corruption, poverty and a general economic depression set in together with crime, abuses, violence, destruction, and brokenness in many aspects of the society. When an economy breaks down, the shortage of funds generated from taxation which otherwise would have maintained, up-kept and even improved the common amenities, facilities and security often results in loss of the general wellbeing of individuals and society.
I would therefore urge you to read economic history in the context of the history of mankind. I would define the history of mankind as a history of economics. The depth and breadth of its knowledge, effective application and faithful unbiased implementation is really the key to maintain, sustain and further advance a civil society.
None of us will be around forever on this earth. We need to know and live with each other through genuine knowledge and cooperation with one another. Many great men and great women had lived before us and left behind tested economic principles, ethics and values which have ensured the effective and well functioning of human community. Their positive contributions have laid a foundation for human to work together peaceably and effectively. The evidence is the sustained and improved general human livelihood despite the exponential increase of the population of the world. Food for thought, don’t you think?
I hope this letter will clarify some thoughts and challenge you to widen your thinking scope. During my writing of this, I too have been challenged and decided to know more and think wider on this subject.
From: a sound-mind-economic being.
Postscript: I will attempt the subject of “ownership” of resources, “wealth” and related “equal right” in my next blog.
What is Wealth?
Wealth measures the value of all the assets of worth owned by a person, community, company or country. Wealth is determined by taking the total market value of all physical and intangible assets owned, then subtracting all debts. Essentially, wealth is the accumulation of resources. Specific people, organizations and nations are said to be wealthy when they are able to accumulate many valuable resources or goods. (Investopedia)
Proverbs 13:11Wealth gained by
dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase.
“I haven’t written to you for a long time,” he scribbled in long hand, “it is not because I have forgotten our times. ” The letter came to a halt in the next white space, meant for paragraphs to be filled, stained with patches of water (something spilled?) mark. “It is Christmas Day and I think of you, standing under the tree outside my window, long hair blowing in the wind, with the kindest look in your smiling dark eyes, just as we first met.” Again, white empty spaces sprawled out where words could have spawned. “I pray you will soon read this friendly invitation and find time to meet your OLD spouse, waiting for love.”
On December 27 he received this —— She replied with a short poem/note below.
Note: I admit this is a rather primitive and ‘impromptu’ attempt made as I imagine how the poet Robert Frost had contemplated when he decided to leave New Hampshire and sail to England. The decision paid off. His poems were published and given recognition. He left America an unknown writer and returned to be hailed a leader of “the new era in American poetry”. The discerning fans of the poet may note that the above attempt included some titles of the poet’s poems.
This months photo challenge in square format from Becky is #timesquare
I have been thinking about the prevailing issue of self-contradiction and confusion of many individuals who are supposed to be thinkers and visionaries. I decided to post this random online data on a book (which was made into a movie) by Paul Theroux. I was very young when I first read the book and I was increasingly disillusioned as I stepped into the hero’s son’s shoes. What is one man’s utopia is another man’s hell. Today I find the same issue of utopia emerges and is making such loud and discorded noises in the Western world. Ironically it is the reversed that is being clambered now as masses from the third world are straining to gate crash into the Western world, which to them means paradise.
Allie Fox is a genius, a fool, a loving father, a madman, a dreamer, and a selfish… (by a reviewer)
In a breathtaking adventure story, the paranoid and brilliant inventor Allie Fox takes his family to live in the Honduran jungle, determined to build a civilization better than the one they’ve left. Fleeing from an America he sees as mired in materialism and conformity, he hopes to rediscover a purer life. But his utopian experiment takes a dark turn when his obsessions lead the family toward unimaginable danger. (Goodreads)
Once he has arrived in the jungle, Fox, a Harvard dropout, father of four, and an amateur inventor with an intense disgust for the state of his original nation, his vision are slowly corrupted and he becomes a cult leader, like the preacher he despises. The black migrant workers who follow him to Mosquitia even address Fox as “father.”
Spellbinding adventure story of a family that rejects its homeland and tries to find a happier and simpler life in the jungles of Central America. The motivation comes from the father, Allie Fox, who is a character in the classic American mold. A cantankerous inventor, he is articulate, shrewd, scornful, funny, very angry, and slightly cracked. An individualist, Fox sees modern American culture as a despicable combination of the wasteful, the immoral, and the messy. Uprooting his family from their Massachusetts farm home, he takes them off to a primitive world in order to escape what he considers the imminent breakdown of civilization.
The Mosquito Coast has the fascination of an ironic version of Robinson
Crusoe or a sardonic Swiss Family Robinson, along with the deeper levels
akin to those of The Lord of the Flies. As a sheer teller of tales
Theroux is at the top of his form, but he also succeeds as a moralist
with a subtle fable in mind.
The story is told with fresh innocence by the fourteen year old Charlie,
who observes his father with a mixture of love, horror, and
astonishment. He describes the voyage, the trip into the interior, his
father’s invention of a giant ice-making machine (which is supposed to
bring a new era to the jungle), and all of the adventures that ensue.
Charlie watches as his father becomes ever more obsessive, evermore lost
The Mosquito Coast Quotes
Fox says to his son: “Look around you, Charlie. This place is a toilet.”
“I’m the last man,” Fox tells Charlie.
“One of the sicknesses of the twentieth century? I’ll tell you the worst one. People can’t stand to be alone. Can’t tolerate it! So they go to the movies, get drive-in hamburgers, put their home telephone numbers in the crapsheets and say ‘Please call me up!’ It’s sick. People hate their own company — they cry when they see themselves in mirrors. It scares them, the way their faces look. Maybe that’s a clue to the whole thing…”
“I guessed it was a migratory bird, too innocent to be wary of the spiders in the jungle grass. It worried be to think that we were a little like that bird”
“Why do things get weaker and worse? Why don’t they get better? Because we accept that they fall apart! But they don’t have to — they could last forever. Why do things get more expensive? Any fool can see that they should get cheaper as technology gets more efficient. It’s despair to accept the senility of obsolescence…”
“And father said “I never wanted this. I’m sick of everyone pretending to be old Dan Beavers in his L. L. Bean moccasins, and his Dubbelwares, and his Japanese bucksaw — all these fake frontiersmen with their chuck wagons full of Twinkies and Wonderbread and aerosol cheese spread. Get out the Duraflame log and the plastic cracker barrel, Dan, and let’s talk self-sufficiency!”
“Nature is crooked. I wanted right angles and straight lines. Ice! Oh, why do they all drip? You cut yourself opening a can of tuna fish and you die. One puncture in your foot and your life leaks out through your toe. What are they for, moose antlers? Get down on all fours and live. You’re protected on your hands and knees. It’s either that or wings.”
“The world is plain rotten. People are mean, they’re cruel, they’re fake, they always pretend to be something their not. They’re weak. They take advantage. A cruddy little man who sees God in a snake, or the devil in thunder, will take you prisoner if he gets the drop on you. Give anyone half a chance and he’ll make you a slave; he’ll tell you the most awful lies. I’ve seen them, running around bollocky, playing God. And our friends… they’ll be lonely out there. They’ll be scared. Because the world stinks.”
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
“He used the word savages with affection, as if he liked them a little for it. In his nature was a respect for wildness. He saw it as a personal challenge, something that could be put right with an idea or a machine. He felt he had the answer to most problems, if anyone cared to listen.”
Summary The Mosquito Coast begins in contemporary suburban America. Allie Fox is brilliantly clever with his hands and his head is full of ideas. But he hates the modern world. His children have no television or toys, they wear old clothes and they don’t go to school. He hates his boss, Mr Polski, who, Allie thinks, is only interested in making money and doesn’t care about the future. One day Allie decides to get out. He puts his wife and children in his van and drives them away from their old life. They travel by ship to Honduras. At La Ceiba, on the Honduran coast, his bewildered family watches as he buys a place called Jeronimo, a small town on a river in the jungle…
Background and themes Travelling: Paul Theroux is a traveller. The nature of travelling means that you move on. Moving on, leaving things behind and looking for new experiences, is an important theme in The Mosquito Coast. Allie Fox doesn’t like what he sees in America. His solution is not to stay and try to change it, but to walk away. When things don’t work out at various places in Honduras, he makes his family move on and start again. Obsession: The Mosquito Coast is a character study of a man who develops a paranoid obsession – of a man who thinks the whole world is against him and only he can save the world. He lives in a state of high tension, never resting in his attacks on America and western civilization. He fights against the current of modern life. He thinks he is the last real man in the world. Control: In Allie’s attempts to create a new world in the jungle, he tries to control everyone and everything around him. He makes everyone see things his way. When he feels threatened, he reacts aggressively and violently.
Father/son relationship: The novel also examines the relationship between father and son. Theroux elicits warm feeling towards Allie by telling the story through the eyes of his loyal son, Charlie Fox. We feel sorry for Charlie as he comes to understand his father’s failings and to lose his belief in him. The natural world versus the modern world: Theroux sets up an interesting paradox as the basis of the novel. All the time that Allie is searching for a simple paradise, he is planning how to change it and tame it. In fact it is the children who learn better to live with nature – eating wild plants, protecting themselves against insects with leaf juices, building a simple shelter from materials in the jungle. Allie, meanwhile, plants western crops in neat rows, puts up elaborate mosquito nets and builds an ice-making machine.
Paul Edward Theroux is an American travel writer and novelist, whose best known work is The Great Railway Bazaar (1975), a travelogue about a trip he made by train from Great Britain through Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, through South Asia, then South-East Asia, up through East Asia, as far east as Japan, and then back across Russia to his point of origin. Although perhaps best known as a travelogue writer, Theroux has also published numerous works of fiction, some of which were made into feature films. He was awarded the 1981 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel The Mosquito Coast.
The Mosquito Coast, also known as the Miskito Coast and the Miskito Kingdom, historically included the kingdom’s fluctuating area along the eastern coast of present-day Nicaragua and Honduras.
Guilty criminals experience paranoia
even though no one threatens them.
But the innocent lovers of God,
because of righteousness,
will have the boldness of a young, ferocious lion! Proverbs 28:1 The Passion Translation (TPT)
John 10:1 [ The Good Shepherd and His Sheep ] “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber!
John 8:26 I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the One who sent me, and He is completely truthful.”
John 8:32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I chose these two pictures because of the rather interesting perspectives. USA is full of interesting scenes even though I took these pictures at random. The people too. They are apart and dynamic and yet blend into the static presentation as parts of an integral whole. I can imagine individual stories in each small segment and yet I acknowledge that the sum total makes it a unique striking picture! The advantage of bigness of space —— near and afar.
Sierra Scenic Train & tracks -taken when I traveled in 2016 January using Amtrak. The scenery was spectacular. The company too. I sat with a very nice lady (in her sixties) who loved reading books and was on-route to take care of her mom (in her nineties) who had a fall.
Quoted from online source: https://www.sierranevadageotourism.org/content/railroad-snowsheds-of-donner-summit/sieD35C8025FC46F75CB
“The building of the Transcontinental Railroad changed commerce and the ethnic diversity of California, and the country, forever.
In the 1860s, hundreds of Chinese laborers braved freezing temperatures, blizzards and unbelievably hazardous conditions to drill the 1,659-foot-long Summit Tunnel near Donner Pass, enabling the Central Pacific Railroad to move trains over the summit even in the worst of Sierra winter conditions. The train route follows major wagon routes of early emigrants that preceded the booming railroad era. And, hidden in the rock near the tunnels are ancient Native American petroglyphs, a testament to the importance of Donner Pass as a route for the first people of the Sierra Nevada and those explorers and pioneers who surmounted it to find a new life in California.”
This is my first attempt to participate in the following:
CB&W CHALLENGE POST
Here is a list of the instructions:
“Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
To make it easy for others to check out your photos and post, title your blog post “Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge” or (CB&W) tag.
Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly reminders.” Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Trains and Tracks
Without the weekly-Photo-challenge some of us are feeling a bit lost regarding where to hang out and what to take a photo of. Admittedly many of us have lots of photos in our stock so we are not exactly all dry up and out of ideas. I have discovered that the world is not all that big and soon one traveler just runs out of a new place to go. Maybe I am just not motivated to move…(LOL) Of course I have the excuse that I have been busy with a practically round the clock project during the interval between the end of the daily/weekly prompt and now when I realize that my project is over and I do have an empty space in time into which I may slot a photo or two. Alas, the photo is just nowhere to be found.
So here I am looking at my old stocks. In my farewell post (weekly photo challenge “all times favorites) I inadvertently titled it “don’t look back, she says, I am not there.” A love story in suspense. Yet, here I am, looking back a bit. Maybe a picture and a poem to continue…a story.
doesn’t ever glance backward
yet i stand here gazing forward
as if she may chime
no matter the distance
i shall keep my stance
in case this station
will be called to mail
The goodbye is too harsh and I can’t resist another post of more of my All-Time Favorites of some of the pictures I am sentimental about (which original stories/poems you may find in this blog by clicking on the caption below each picture).
An interesting list of the above original captions (from my earlier weekly-photo-challenge posts):
the only way is up
this is a letter I will not send
this morning I fly alone: a haiku
another shore beyond
Don’t look back, she says, I am not there
how fleeting is evanescence?
alas, the waiting was too long: for all that jazz
a poem for the Liquid big splash.
One day I randomly looked out
and caught your timely pauses
horses after horses
men with pointed noses
all glimmering in gold dust
what a sight what a sight
a troop marching right outside