I just finished reading Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks. This historical Novel by Russel Banks son of John Brown threw some more passion into my thinking. John Brown’s son, Owen Brown, gives his thoughts on his own mind and that of what he experienced growing up, living, and being side by side with his father, one of the most active of Abolitionists.
Here are some provoking thought coming out of this great book.
- When we name things we begin to see them. Embrace all opportunity.
- If you have or treat people as slaves, you will be treated as a slave.
- Freedom is the freeing of all negative forces in your life. Get out of your Head. It is what is in the way.
- Ego, rigorousness, and your own thoughts can be oppressive. These internal feelings can divide you against your true self. They can punish yourself. I saw this with a cousin of mine, gone 6 years ago. A good heart can bitter your soul.
- A true moral compass can set you free!
- This family worked with Frederick Douglass within the underground rail road. They had no other intention but to end slavery! A war conducted without a precise goal can never be own!
- The more precise a goal, the fewer soldiers you need. This applies to all activities in life.
- With these tenants, Victory, or Success, will fall into your lap like an overripe fruit.
- Some things are at the very bottom of your essence.
- From a young age sensitive kids just know when an adult is just brutal and unfeeling. This is the bottom of one own essence. In the John Brown s life he allied himself with the struggle against slavery for there was nothing else he could do! All humans are equal!
- Just because we humans can have big hairy bodies does not make us beasts.
- The source of our understanding in life, our principals, develop naturally over many years and can be keyed to a specific underlying sense of values.
- Back in the 1850’s, people of color might not have been viewed as equals. This belief also went that many men did not believe, truly and deeply, that women were people of equality either. Is there an inability to forget about race, skin color, sex, religion of others and just be? In my family coming 1 generation back from Europe the mixing of Austrian and Polish ancestries was a big issue. I myself introduce myself many times as a Roman Neanderthal.
- When were you ashamed to be a human being?
- When were you a lost soul?
- Owen talked about how he learned early in life how to organize a crew and layout the day’s work, how to see each job through to the end before commencing on another, and to make sure that each team member knew exactly what was expected of themselves for that entire day. I have been able though out life to do that for myself but am still learning how to do that better of my team.
- We all have the ability to challenge our and overcome our own willfulness and vanity. This is the struggle of humanity. It is the Secret! Owen Brown notes how his father was very deeply religious and viewed his path many times as the struggle between Abraham and his given direction with his son, Issac. I found this interesting for my Son talked about this at his Bar Mitzvah. On the Bimah he said he did not believe any God would expect this struggle as God given. One does not kill to show you believe in a good path in life. There are other ways. This was the conflict within John Brown.
- Society, as a whole, must be organized on a basis other than Greed. Society’s whose material interest gained by the institution dedicated to materialism and pure selfishness dictate ordinary men and women losing everything of real value.
- John Brown also believed that land should be held in common, as Native Americans. Land should not be treated as Chattel. But Slavery was the sum of all villainies. Its abolition was therefore the first essential work of all modern reformers. He was convinced that if the American people did not end slavery speedily, human freedom and the republican liberty would pass forever from this nation and possibly from mankind. Some of these thought are now at the forefront of our American political discussions. Times might have changed but the story of freedom is not complete, yet!
- Cannot the law of cause-and-effect be rationally thought to operate from the ground up as well as from the top down? And if there is an order to the universe, then all our affairs here on Earth are, surely, inextricably linked to one another.
- One single action, or inaction, one day, can alter history!
I have mixed what was written in the book with my thoughts and experiences. Take what you want and leave the rest.