Saturday, July 11, 2015

CRAIG EDWARD KELSO, Deeper Than Prayer, More Powerful Than Mystical Meditation

*Written in late 2010

It’s stock trade to attribute personal revelation in traumatic experience. I suppose it’s only natural to force into that mental space significance, a sense of meaning.

Most of the men in prison did exactly that.

They embraced evangelical Protestantism, the ugliest forms of Christianity, and wrapped themselves in the comfort of a philosophical worldview with the huevos to explain EVERY instance. 

The logic need not be dwelled upon – if a reader cannot see the yuckiness of a Mad Director heaving His actors into tragic circumstances, and then the self-same reader refuses to see the sadistic qualities of said Director, there isn’t much I can do. 

Like the incarcerated, you’re hopeless. 

But never you mind. They became zealots for the Jew-cum-Answer-Santa-Claus, and it was more than annoying. It was obnoxious: songs to Him in the shower, meditations around the track, at chow, during phone calls, … no … one … was … safe. 

I always listened politely, but found ways to escape the torrent. Little victories kept me sane, and soon there was a cadre of us, a motley crew, walking the yard in defiance of the believers. I was the only atheist, or at least the only one who’d name it. We were quite outside acceptable opinion, and considering the little society we traveled … I was fine with that (I always am). But it became a world of their creation, the Christophiles’ creation, and instead of reacting TO them, I tried to learn FROM them.

I didn’t hate them. I didn’t loathe them. I respected, at a distance, their creation of fakery, of purpose. However, I saw their escape as an abdication of what it meant to be fully man, fully human.

This was my revelation.

Instead of retreat, I returned. Instead of conserve, I restored.

It was mechanical, methodical, and grueling.

The mental scalpel, I sharpened. I honed it for incision. I found that small place inside, the metastasized malignant legion which caused me so much grief, and I excised it. Sent the biopsy to the lab. Sure thing: it was cancerous. This was VERY, very, very hard to confront. I almost thought it was impossible.

Now months removed from that time, from that place, I carry those torturous moments. To recall them clearly, I speak them to myself sotto voce


It’s much like a version of prayer, only it is many fathoms deeper, … and it’s my own. No one else has it. Not a single soul.

And I mean it.  

Craig Edward Kelso is the author of Anarcho-Capitalism (2014), a primer on the philosophy of peaceful, stateless cooperation. His curriculum vitae include a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a Post-Baccalaureate secondary education credential in both Social Science and English Language Arts. Kelso taught for nearly a decade in the American public school system, and was voted by colleagues Teacher of the Year, twice in his short tenure, earning numerous accolades from chambers of commerce, mayors, state assembly persons, governors, congresspersons, senators, and even Wal-Mart. Currently he struggles to earn an opportunity to be employed, working as a laborer, dishwasher. He is deliriously happily married to Myra Kelso, living in Southern California with their adorable children. 

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