Friday July 8th 14:06
I am ending the classical period of my life.
I spent July fourth weekend at work and with Clayton. A book on his bookshelf caught my eye called The Physics of Consciousness by Evan Harris Walker. Apparently Cody or someone gave it to him for Christmas one year. I read the first few pages aloud and was automatically hooked with that funky inspired feeling I get when I read word combinations that are animated by deep thought. Clayton said it sounded good while I was reading it and that I could take the book with me.
I’m about 70 pages in this book that’s talking about quantum mechanics, and frequencies of light, and Schrödinger, and Bohr’s atom. On the way down there was something so comforting reading about classical physics with Isaac Newton and his laws relating to material objective reality. Something I threefourths-heartedly believed in, that there was nothing more than what’s in front of us. As I speak, we’re miles into our trip home from Parris Island, SC with a freshly pressed marine. The abandonment and flatlands of the early south are whizzing by me as my thoughts dive into the ever-deeper southern recesses of my mind. I haven’t written in a while due to lack of inspiration.
On the way down, my dad, sister, and I began the trip with stimulating conversations about religion, politics, energy, the (non)existence of angels demons, mental disease, and existence. This discussion put my mind in analytical motion for our visit to Parris Island. As soon as I got out of the car at the base I felt a strange energy of institutionalization and brainwashing. It vaguely nauseated me to watch the recruits file onto the parade deck before the motivational run in such sickening uniformity, all mentally and physically trained to kill and die for our country. Then I saw Dalton.
An irrationally strong and large tidal wave of pride washed over my entire occupancy of space in the universe. The classical period of my mental physics was over. It was now about the contradiction of light existing as both particles and waves. I started weeping uncontrollably seeing before me a man; shoulders back, hands closed, both feet at a 45 degree angle, never breaking bearing. Front and left, a PFC squad leader of platoon 3052 of Lima Company 3rd Batallion, I could not take my tear-filled eyes off of him. Always standing strong between his two sisters, Ella and I; he then stood stronger among his 200-something new brothers. Another tidal wave of fear suddenly overlapped the pride. I do not want him to die for me or this country, I thought to myself. Watching him stand there still as a stone basking in the glory of accomplishment after the trials and tribulations of the past 90 days, I didn’t feel like I, or the country, even deserved the honor of being in Dalton’s presence. I couldn’t stop crying with how fucked up it all felt.
I am a huge advocate of free thinking and free action and sometimes I am very “fuck the man.” Sometimes I feel like our government is the most evil, greedy, and corrupt thing, but do I get up everyday and basically do whatever the fuck I want to do because I am free to do so? Because I was lucky enough to be born in this country where there have been and continue to be thousands of men and women who fight, kill, and die for me and you to do what we want? It’s so fucked up. Freedom should be free for all living beings. This all speaks volumes of the human race. The need for military and war is one of the most depressing facts of this life. Because people are greedy, hateful, jealous, and don’t know how to fucking act.
I observed Dalton closely all day on Thursday for Family Day which was the first time I had seen him in three months. “Yes ma’am. . . Thank you, sir. . .” His whole demeanor more polite and more calm. A boy who left the recruiting office in Martinsburg, WV, not even wanting to clean his room or put his dirty dishes in the sink had just “skuzzed” floors and gotten belittled for 90 days. I used to want to put his face in the dirt for being a lazy asshole. Now I feel like I should kiss the ground he walks on. And he’s so handsome in his uniform!
The gears in my head were turning ferociously all day. I felt and still feel conflicted about the whole experience. I am so fucking proud of my brother and love him so much but I can hardly bear to think about a bullet going through his chest or the chance of his eternal misery from PTSD or losing an arm and not being able to work out like he always has loved to do. Him dying for a country who considers him a number, property of the government, like their tagged cattle put out for slaughter.
I think he saw the gears turning and the tears streaming behind my sunglasses because as we walked back to his barracks during liberty he asked me if I was okay and said that I didn’t look very happy. I said “Dalton, I am so happy to see you!” I began weeping again, and with me in my tye-dye skirt and him in his digies, we shared one of the best hugs of my life. He told me he read one of the letters I wrote him out loud to some of his friends in which I wrote some Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lyrics and that they all interpreted it for motivation for that day in basic. Most of us know it:
“Destruction leads to a very rough road, But it also breeds creation.” – Californication
It made my day.
And I know, perhaps, that, “Men do not fight for flag or country, for the Marine Corps or glory or any other abstraction, they fight for one another” (William Manchester). And though it goes against everything I believe in, this experience has half tempted me to drop everything and head to the recruiter’s office to join Marine Corps basic training myself. I would do that just to be with him. To fight beside him and experience the world with him and keep him safe. To find self-discipline and self-sacrifice, which in my eyes, are two of the most respectful aspects of character.
Dearest brother, “Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles, but those that were fought and won behind your forehead” (James Joyce). I love you and I’m so proud of you. I can’t speak for everyone but upon this new experience, I feel it is my duty to be worthy of your fight. . . and to keep expanding my perception.
To knowledge. To growth. To expansion. To Valhalla.