Mots and Maxims

Witty remarks, truths and concepts.

λόγος / The Word Blog

Posted on: April 16, 2022

A Warm Embrace of Mother

There’s this theory—a fringe one at that; but you know me: I like fringe theories—called Gaia Theory that calls upon the “Mother Nature” idea that the environment itself is a complex adaptive system, behaving in way that ensure it survives and evolves like an organism. For those of you not versed in Greek mythology, Gaia was a primordial deity who was the personification of the Earth. Because Gaia Theory sort of anthropomorphizes the Earth, many scientists have denounced it.


Haven’t you ever gone someplace and had that feeling that it was right, that you felt a deep connection to it?

I feel it when I’m at a certain beach.

I especially feel it when I step on English soil. There is something about that land (and Ireland, too) that reaches up my legs and into my body—like an embrace. It’s a visceral feeling, and I grin like a child at an amusement park.

It’s then that I think of Gaia hugging me and telling me, “This is one my special places for you, John.”

My wife Deb and I got to visit England back in March, and I felt it again: “Welcome back, John. It’s been a while.”

I thought Deb was going to cry—it’s been WAY TOO LONG for her. She missed her family and friends desperately.

We had a wonderful time with atypically fantastic weather…like Gaia was happy we were there.

Anyway, I wanted to share a few picks of our time there.

We spent a good portion of our time in Beckenham, Kent. As you can see, they are very proud of their native son. We got to see all of Deb’s family, especially her mum Carol.

On our way to the London Aquarium, we passed by the London Eye.
And across the River Thames, you can see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
Whilst we visited the London Aquarium, I made a friend.
Later in the week, we went back to London to see Pretty Woman the Musical. We always try to catch a show there. Last time (2019), we saw Chicago. We’ve also seen Wicked and We Will Rock You.
A few days later, we took the train to Peterborough to see some more family. Spring was in full bloom.
Have you noticed all the blue skies? That’s what I mean by atypical weather. Here we are visiting the grounds around Peterborough Cathedral.
Then we went up north to Clitheroe where we have very close friends. The town boasts a castle atop a hill that overlooks everything.

Check out this public library. The next time I’m here I’m going to have to go inside to see what wonders are within.

One of the fascinating things about the region around Clitheroe is Pendle Hill. Back in the 17th century, the area was known for the Pendle Witch Trials. Before hanging witches or burning them at the stake became the vogue, a “convicted” witch was forced into a large wooden keg with nails pounded inward and rolled down that hill! If she lived, she escaped further persecution.

One of these days, I want to stand at the top of that hill and look down where those women had gone. Supposedly, it’s one of the most haunted places in England.

This picture is taken from our host’s backyard. The slope of Pendle Hill is in the distance.

Deb and I cannot wait for our trip next year!

Posted on: December 2, 2021

Questions of Evil

Do the words good and evil immediately invoke religious connotations in you? Can the concepts of good and evil exist outside a religious framework? Does natural selection/evolution/self-organization just emerge people like Margherita Lotti, me, and Hitler? Or have we all been created by a higher power (for the sake of argument “God”)? Is the morality spectrum of humanity like a bell curve: a few saintly people, a massive amount of neutral, and a few evil people? Some say good and evil are simple human organizing principles used to explain human behavior; for the most part humans fluctuate between the poles.

As you can see, I have these and many more questions about good and evil.

What do I believe? I do believe there are supernatural forces—i.e. God and the Devil—at work in our lives. Once you get to delve into The Dark Matter Series (Book 1: The Dark Stirs is coming soon), you will see I believe there is a Devil, that this thing has agents operating on the earth. You will also see I believe in angels who work to protect the Word of God and His Creation, the earth. I also believe humanity is a broken species that defied God but can be mended through the grace of the Christ. I believe in the Holy Spirit (formerly called the Holy Ghost). And I believe there is a war in our hearts, manifesting itself as some of the ugliness and some of the heroic we see and encounter in the world around us. It’s all in my story. Now … whether or not I believe in vampires and other monsters? I’ll say this: I am a fantasist, mythologist, and all-round monster-lover.

Speaking of monsters, how can one say LIFE—the swirling interactions of DNA, of humanity, of cultures—can spit out people like Ivan Vasilyevich, Pol Pot, Mao Tse-tung, Idi Amin, Joseph Stalin, H. H. Holmes, Gilles de Rais, Talaat Pasha, Elizabeth Bathory, and, yes, Vlad Tepes Dracula? Are we to believe evil people like these (and there are many more) evolve from LIFE, that they are the unfortunate combination of DNA and experiences? And if evil is a genetic condition, then like some other conditions, can it emerge at any given moment—even in me as I am sitting here writing this? That’s a very scary question.

I want to believe this is not true. Yet, I have to admit the possibility of good and evil being both a nature and a nurture condition. I want to believe we are all born good with evil happening into a few of us, producing the nasty things that happen in the world. However, there are many stories of evil people seeming to be born evil—like some of those dark names I listed above. Most had issues in their childhoods, as if they were born that way.

Christianity teaches us we are born in sin, passed down to us from the Original Sin. We are born broken … born sinners. We will sin. It is a part of our nature. But we can make a conscious decision not to sin if we follow the Way of Christ.

Here are other questions: Is sin a pathway to evil? Is a sin automatically evil? If so, then aren’t we all evil if we are born sinners? Sin can be mitigated through Christ. Does that mean Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson could have turned away from the evil they had done, become a believer and followed the Way of Christ, and change from evil to become good? This is a confusing question.

Here is one of the biggest questions of The Dark Matter Series: If God has written the Book of Life, if all things and people and actions and decisions are already predestined, then hasn’t God permitted sin and by extension evil into the Creation? Furthermore, do we as humans have a choice in anything that happens?

And what about this notion that God and the Devil parley over the hearts and souls of humanity—like in the Book of Job? Is all this evil in the world merely the terms and conditions of a contract between the Light and the Dark? Do they meet annually—say, at the stroke of midnight on December 31st—and work out what’s going to be allowed and disallowed for the coming year? New Year’s Eve is right around the corner.

You see, my friends, I grapple with many questions about evil.

And I’m not certain there are any human answers. These are questions about the Divine that perhaps we humans cannot comprehend … let alone answer.

All we can do is acknowledge good and evil in the world and do our best to shine our light into the darkness. If we have a choice in the way we behave with each other, then we must choose the light and do our best to be good.

Walking in the light is not easy these days. It’s why Christ came to the world: to show us how to walk in the light. Why do we humans find it so difficult?

Perhaps it’s all a matter of faith, my friends.

That’s what I believe.

Posted on: October 28, 2021

Hidden Light in the Dark

As we approach All Hallow’s Eve—known long ago as Samhain (pronounced sah-win)—I wanted to give a little primer on the Dark forces in The Dark Matter Series (TDMS).

But first …

One of the things I learned about myself while writing TDMS is I’m more religious, more Christian, than I had thought. I grew up in a Catholic family, forced to go to mass every Sunday, conscripted into Catholic school. We never missed a Sunday mass: you know, that low-impact workout set to dirge music. To be fair, we did go to a folksy Catholic church for a while, and the workout music became more interesting. So, you can imagine, when I went to college, I escaped all that. I quit. In fact, I rebelled. As I became “enlightened” in college, I began to doubt The Word, the Bible. I argued that it was written by men, copied over and over again, no doubt modified from its original source material. Knowing a little about information theory and how noise can change a signal, I knew that today’s Bible was somehow significantly different than the original documents. Not only did translation change meaning, but it was human nature to change a message over time. Think of the gossip game, I’d explain: where a person whispered a sentence in the next person’s ear, and fifteen people later, the message was totally different. To sum up, I thought I had left religion, especially the Catholic Church, behind and enlightened myself.

Perhaps I had endarkened myself.

Some years later, after a series of personal calamities, I met my wife Deb. She reintroduced me to worship. It was a non-denominational church, and I agreed to take a two-year class on the Bible and what it means to be a Christian. There was one particular discussion that struck me hard. How does Satan seem to be winning these days? Why is Christian church membership declining? Why does it seem people are more selfish than giving? We tried not to be nostalgic about the past, but in order to understand the now, you have to know the past. We traveled that road back all the way to Adam and Eve and the Fall, the defiance of God. Some even pointed out that it went farther than that: back to the War in Heaven and the Fall of Lucifer.

He Who Carries the Light
the third brightest Light
(Christ being the second, God the first)
became the Dark
the Adversary

What you also need to know, at about this time, is that I had begun to write TDMS. I was knee deep into the first book, and I needed some physical way Satan could influence humanity and the world. It wasn’t time for the Apocalypse. I didn’t want to get into dominance and possession.

And I needed some physical mechanism that would pervert a human into something Dark.

Dark Matter. (This has nothing to do with the dark matter and dark energy of astronomy and cosmology. It is literally a ball of Darkness.)

So here is the hierarchy of the Dark as it applies to TDMS:

Dark Matter (which he throws periodically at our universe, at our world)
Lylith (based on the Mesopotamian demon lilitu, not the mythological woman in some religions)
Lyl (Children of Lylith; there were 20 of them; as of The Dark Stirs, seven remain)
Vpir (created by a lyl; a one-letter change from the Slavic upir so that I could make the jump to …)
Vampire (called “slaves” by vpir)

Those infected by Dark Matter (DM) are undead creatures, no longer human, genetically and physically changed.

Vampire and vpir resemble humans because they don’t have enough DM to morph them into the grotesque that is a lyl. Vpir have more abilities and powers than vampires. The one power they share is the ability to turn themselves into a shadow.

A lyl is a kind of anti-angel, though not as powerful as an angel. It can sprout wings on command. It can manipulate its form to resemble any human it wishes. They have many powers and abilities you will discover as you read TDMS. The lyl didn’t share all of their abilities with me—only the ones I needed to know to write the story.

And then there’s Lylith. I changed her name from Lilith (and even lilitu) because I wanted to use the photo-Semitic syllable (L-Y-L) which means night. Lylith is also known as The Queen of the Night.

Before the coming of Christ to our world, Lylith sent her lyl across the known world to affect the hearts and minds of humanity. They assumed the personas of some of the gods and goddesses of various mythologies, most of which were actual religions in those societies.

Writing TDMS helped me to become more religious, more Christian. As I wrote it, studying various religions and mythologies, I learned that in my heart I believe in one God, creator of Heaven and earth, of all that is seen …

And unseen.

Posted on: October 5, 2021

What is LOGOS (λόγος)?

To the ancient Greeks, LOGOS was a lot of things: the
word leading to
  thought leading to
   logic leading to
    reason leading to
LOGOS was a kind of cosmic law to them.

When Aristotle devised his rhetorical appeals in argumentation, LOGOS was (is) at the pinnacle. He saw it as an appeal to logic using data, facts, evidence to craft a reality (truth) that would be difficult to disprove.

LOGOS occurs in Christianity, too. The translation of the Gospel of John we read today comes primarily from the Greek texts … and the word LOGOS was used where we have Word (with a capital “W”) in our text.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The Word of God, LOGOS, is directly associated to Jesus Christ and the Light of Life within humanity.

This blog is called λόγος – The Word Blog because it’s all about my words, my thoughts, my light … what is reason and reality for me and The Dark Matter Series.

Posted on: October 5, 2021

Moving Forward

There are two primary forces in The Dark Matter Series (TDMS). Each has its protagonist.

On the side of Light, there is John Paul Wilkins. At the beginning, he is a bit of a nerd, and he is scared to death of the female half of the species. He has an unrequited infatuation with the woman upstairs …

Angelique Carlson eventually becomes the protagonist for the Dark. She is a coquette and has learned over the years that her beauty can manipulate nearly anyone.

Throughout the series, their lives collide in unexpected ways. Find out how it begins in The Dark Stirs, book one of The Dark Matter Series. Coming soon!