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“He will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is.” – Plato

After reading just the first sentence of Plato’s’ “the Allegory of the Cave” I was interested. As someone who is currently immersed in a long, hard campaign of self-improvement, words like enlightened or unenlightened automatically catch my eye. However, Plato doesn’t’ make it easy. After three pages I was doubting whether I had the mental fortitude to finish the story. I wonder if this is because I was coming out of the darkness and entering into the light. The crux of Plato’s story is the battle between light and darkness and where we stand in it. As a result of the choices I have made in my life I have a unique viewpoint on this struggle, and have had a lot of time for self-reflection. Plato’s opinions and beliefs as expressed so poignantly match the beliefs that I have come to call my own.

The first time I read the story I struggled and it wasn’t until I reached the end that I gained any understanding of what Plato meant to say. At this time in my life I was not read to “leave the darkness and comfort of the cave.” I walked away, literally and figuratively from the story and what it represented. When Professor Vail assigned “the Allegory of the Cave” for reading I did not immediately remember that I had already read it. However, upon reading Plato’s words I felt the same confusion that assailed me on the first reading. Once I realized the cave and the darkness were just analogies I was able to break the story down into manageable bite-sized hunks. My first reading of the “Allegory of the Cave” left me with a headache, partly because of the weightiness of the ideas expressed and partly because of the avalanche of memories that bombarded me with examples of my part in the spread of “darkness.” I almost put the book down, but refrained for several reasons. Once reason is that a very good friend of mine had asked if I wanted to discuss it the next morning. This friend and I have always had open and often brutally honest conversations with each other, so I knew that I could express to him my confusion, doubts and questions. It also helped that I have been working hard to be the best man that I can be and that I am not the same person who read and ran from the light the first time. So, I picked up the book again and took another step away from the darkness.

There were certain points that Plato “illuminated” that play o0ver and over again in my mind. The first point is how we all start out in the darkness (ignorance and the evils that it brings) and become so accustomed to it that it becomes our world. We are able to navigate it and find ourselves so comfortable in the darkness tat, when we are exposed to something new, i.e. knowledge and education in the form of light, it is extremely uncomfortable. In fact, it hurts because in the harsh light of reality we are forced to confront ourselves. In the dark we don’t see the results of our actions; the pain of our victims and loved ones. In fact, we are so used to the dark that we don’t even realize that what we are seeing and experiencing is not real. For all intents and purposes our lives are lies. We do not recognize this because who wants to admit being trapped in a lie. Instead, we, like Plato says, convince ourselves that “the truth is literally nothing but the shadows of the images.” When any of us are liberated from this shadow existence and shown the light, the first glimpse of this light will hurt our eyes, and it will be easier for us to turn back to the shadows than to continue to face this new pain. “When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled and he will not be able to see anything at all of 3hat are now called realities.” I have experience this first hand. In fact, it still happens to me every time I re-adjust my thinking, values and goals. I am constantly running into situations where my old criminal mentality is exposed as completely at odds with how the average citizen thinks. These moments result in pain and embarrassment for all involved. Thankfully these situations happen less and less often as I continue my journey back from the darkness of the criminal world and into the light of civilization.

“And when he remembers his old habituation and the wisdom o the den and his fellow prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change and pity them? Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner.”

Now that I am journeying towards the light, I have found that I also agree with Plato when he says, “my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all and is see only with an effort and when seen that this is the power upon which he would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.” Or, as one of my older friends told me, “If you know better than you have to show better.” This is the most challenging aspect of gaining knowledge, and why everybody that knows me will say I am smart, but now many will say I am wise. Gaining knowledge for the simple sake of learning is a waste of time. I now have to apply what I have learned.

As I am,

Prince

prince

Hello everyone. It’s X-Ray again! It’s been about five weeks since my last blog. Have you ever loved anyone you haven’t met yet? I believe in love and that’s why I have a heart of gold. Ms. Cattia Bartlett is so amazing. Thank you so much Cattia for the pen pals. I appreciate it so much! MUAH! Time is better with some new friends. Thanks to you, I have three pen pals. I am eternally grateful.

So, my blog this time is about life. You meet certain people for a reason. Just like certain things happen for a reason. Should I say that maybe some higher spirit is directing me? I am so blessed knowing I have made true friendships in here at Windham Hilton County Club.

Meeting Rage was a complete surprise. I believe it was Fate. He has given me strength and courage. Sometimes if you can imagine someone like myself being a gay american in a person where you really don’t fit in because of peoples’ ignorances, then meeting a man who has crazy hair and totally outrageous insight to this world and what he has been given is amazing. I am totally thankful that Rage found some sayings for me.

Some quotes if you will. My favorite saying is “I ain’t no shampoo girl, I’m the real deal!” if this sounds familiar it’s because he got it from the movie Monster, where the charlizetheron throws herself into the gross role of the prostitute killer / lesbo. Such a scary movie! I could only watch it just once. Poor girl, poor life she lived. but that saying always was in the back of my head. I had forgotten it until I met Rage. Love that saying, “I ain’t no shampoo girl, I’m the real deal.” LOL.

And a complete funny joke about gay men, it’s, “What kind of tea don’t gays like? Cun-tea!” LMAO. Funny Shit. Little things amuse me.

Like, I think because I’ve finally accepted myself a weight has been lifted off. And being off the pot helps too. I’m much happier now five months in prison than I was on the outs, not grasping what my life was meant for and just the confusing cloud that everyone goes through. The stress of worrying what it is, my life should be like.

Now, I finally know the secret “acceptance” of yourself, and not judging. There is so much more to life than what I made it out to be. Another quote: “Get busy living or Get Busy dying!” So true! Hate depression but I do believe depression can be cured with love with friends and family and of all things, “acceptance” of one’s self. Like one  of my favorite movies says, “Don’t get mad – get even!” Happiness is the key. No one can take that away. I have totally been soul-searching in here. I’ve been using my time wisely. What I need to do now is leave commissary alone. LOL

I just want to say that it’s deff been an experience to spend a year with different roommates, “most of them crazy” a living sober life.

Love the clarity of it all.

And just something random – I friggin’ love Adam Lambert.

Little oh me spent a week in the hole. SEGREGATION – it’s for the birds. It’s a boring dungeon of a place. Thankfully I only spent a week. That was like a month ago when I amde the decision to hit a seven-foot mother fucker for referring to me as a fag one too many times. I never scratch or pull hair, I stand up for me. I love me!

Thanks everyone for reading. Thanks to my new pen pals. Cattia I don’t have your address so write me! XOXOXO – Thanks Lyssarian, send my card reading to me place.

Good thoughts!

X0x0,
– X-Ray
Raymond Munson
MDOC# 83366

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Political Prisoners

Welcome to the blog from inmates of Maine's jails and prisons.

In collaboration with the Holistic Recovery Project, the Political Prisoners Blog provides a prisoner's view into what's happening at Maine's correctional facilities.

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