Amber Baer, Shannon Monaghan, Cristina Prestin-Latham, Rick Pearce and those concerned,
Amber, I write to you after having been threatened with incarceration if I contact you again, but I must convince you to tell the truth. Amber, you have been done a great disservice by those charged with your education. They are teaching you all the wrong lessons using methods designed to rob you of your independence and ability. You see, you don’t teach someone how to lead by giving them title. You teach them how to lead by leading them. You must first follow to know what leadership requires. If someone gives you title and position when you do not deserve them, they are merely setting you up for failure. All that you will learn is arrogance, how to lie and, eventually, how to steal–because that is the only way to sustain yourself in a position you do not have the skills to hold. You will be betrayed, and led into a position in which you will betray, over and over again. You see, you acquire ability be doing things, menial things, things which when taken apart from the greater whole… will seem to make little to no sense. When you prove your ability to accomplish these little things with whatever degree of application to which you are capable before moving on to progressively more complex things… and it will not be to prove them to someone else, but to yourself. Otherwise, you are being trained to be someone else’s toady.
Something I have come to understand about people is that, they tend to posses a verbal totem. A story they tell so that you will know them; like a name but more like a cipher to the character of that person’s innermost identity. Upon meeting him, a Belizian once told me a story about a cruise ship on which he worked that sank because the captain was a drunk. I didn’t understand why he chose to tell me that story, it came unbidden and with no context. It wasn’t until later I realized that he had seen me as some sort of authority and that he equated all authority with this drunkard who had him his livelihood and nearly cost him his life. Another time, a woman told me a story about a teacher who was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with her when she was still a minor. It wasn’t until later that I realized that he had had an inappropriate relationship with her and that she had kept the lie… also, that it had made her vain that men could not control themselves around her. In the latter case, the totem create a vain person with whom no one could ever really find intimacy with… because her totem was based upon a series of lies. In the former, the man’s totem created an over-simplification in his view of the world. One in which he could never really mature. Instead, he would foster an adolescent spitefulness and cynical view of the world which he used to greatest effect as justification for a marijuana addiction–and yes, people become addicted to marijuana. Amber, you are creating for yourself a verbal totem based upon lies, theft and a cynical view of authority. In so doing, know one will ever really see you… and at first, while you still have a youthful and naive heart, this, you will find irksome. But what will be worse, is when you get older, and you do not want any witnesses because of what they might see… You will not only go alone to the grave but never having been known and you will face the maw of eternity either lost to your wits or frightened by the void.
But there is something worse than that. See, though no one can know for sure… it is likely that there is an eternal life that awaits us after death. I know because I have seen hints of it, and I have read confirmation of my suspicions in everything from Mark, in the Bible… to Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut… to such recent movies as Arrival and Interstellar. The theory goes like this… that the experience of time is an illusion created out of a limitation of our ability to perceive and understand… that we must run through our “worm” to understand all that we encounter in life in an analogue format… that when we reach the end of our string of moments, we become complete and know every moment in our lives much the same way we live in our bodies all at once and not in our finger, then our wrist, then our forearm and so on. I think Nietzsche postulated something along these lines but posed as a hypothetical to guide one’s judgement in the living of one’s life. I think it is much more than that… and I have had experiences which seem to confirm or inspire this belief. For instance, running into you in the park–but more convincing than something so easily dismissed as mere coincidence. Further, I believe, that the greater the degree to which you are capable of living in the society of mankind, the more developed your super-ego, the greater the grant when you reach the end of those string of moments is in… hearing the music from the next room. My idea is, that once you become complete in your “worm”, in your string of moments stretched through time, you enter into another level of potential consciousness. Like a mind capable of constructing a schema of understanding which lays out virtually in one’s own imagination… so that there are avenues and constructions which one has never conceived of consciously, and yet sit there waiting for the gaze of ones attention inspired by some external interaction or experience to be revealed to such a degree that it cannot simply be a spontaneous improvisation. Take these letters I send, for instance… unedited and written out in a go.
Now I want to tell you something your… “educators” seem to have little concept of… ‘Inspiration’. I am a person of inspiration… not merely motivated by will. I have educated myself, largely, and in such a plodding and monotonous way that I own entirely what I know. I do not read something and then discard it because it has no place to take root in the virtual construction of my understanding of the world. I was not given a title and then forced into a position to hide my incompetence and ignorance from an uncomprehending, uncaring, ambitious crowd of cannibals drooling for a morsel… and a seat at the table. I cultivated my curiosity, guarded my dignity and allowed my conscience to serve as guide over many years and through many sacrifices. I have stood firm when I knew the swing was coming refusing to offer the first shot over and over again. I once denounced a man in Englewood at 5:30am on Christmas morning for pissing on a storefront church across the street… and though he was much bigger than me and obviously drunk and shouting and belligerent… stood my ground with heavy metal shovel in hand as he explained how he was going to take me apart once he got across the street. He grabs me and begins to toss me to and fro refusing to let go until I decided to act. Using his own weight I added mine to his off-balance and took him to the ground upon his own back. I climbed atop with my knees upon his chest and my hand across his mouth speaking gently to him… “are you tired yet? are you tired yet?” Until his hand went slack and fell from my coat. At which point I went back to my shoveling, not daring to let him alone in that weather as he was. When he woke, he was so grateful that I had not kicked his face in while he was out, grateful that I had treated him so gently, that he was actually joyous and screamed his friendship for me. Another time… a young man either out of rehab or jail boarded the bus and at near me, immediately putting his hand on a young boy, whose unease was easily apparent, and when I put down my book and confronted him… he began to threaten me. When the boy took the opportunity of my offered distraction and moved away from us… I went back to my book, but the young man persisted, and began to put his hands on me. So I denounced him in a way designed to get him to swing on me, which he did not do. I decided that he was not going to bed before causing someone the kind of misery which would put them under his power in future… so I resigned myself to answer his next violation of my body by grabbing his hand and breaking his thumb, which I did. As I did it, I looked straight into his eyes and he did not even flinch, but answered, “is that supposed to hurt?” I knew then that the liquor on his breath was not the only thing tainting his consciousness. He fled when I sat back down and hollered to the crowded bus that I was calling the police, to which the bus driver, who had heard everything, hollered back, “I’m stopping the bus till they come.” To which the entire bus finally reacted with howls of anger and frustration, from which the under-dressed young man fled into the freezing cold and snow. Another time, on New Years, I got into it with two guys escorting what I am sure were three of the gang’s prostitutes… No police are coming at 3am to 55th street stop on the redline on New Years Eve. Another time, I was confronted my an older gang member who didn’t like me boarding up an abandoned property the gang was using to recruit both boys and the girls they were used to set up for rape and indoctrination into the gang and prostitution. The older gang member intercepted me at 5:30am on my morning walk with the dog through Sherman Park and used the bible’s mention of prostitution to justify what the gang was doing and claiming that it was the girl’s ‘choice’ what they chose to do with their bodies. My place had been burglarized over and over again, but thieves do not bother stealing books. Once when I confronted a crack addict hollering in the gas station at around 2 or 3am in the middle a summer heatwave when everyone’s windows are open–thinking the cops were never going to answer the calls I made–he took a swing at me with a cane he carried and the police who were standing by arrested him. Turns out he was selling for the gang and the next night between 10 and 15 men, gang members, with their muscle cars, took up in the station lot outside my window calling out my name… until the police sent a female cop to run them off.
These are some of the things that I have done… I wasn’t granted title or compensation… nor even recognition except by those who would’ve liked to put a bullet in me–but for the brevity of the thing. I have stories you wouldn’t believe… because you don’t know enough to judge the truth. And this is why you are unfit for leadership… this is why you are unfit to use my ideas as a springboard for your ambitions. This is why I cannot allow you to continue without calling as much attention to the injustice you have offered me and the tactics your ‘protector’s’ at Heartland have used to treat me as a common criminal without even feigning to look into the matter at hand. They, no doubt, fear the damage you are doing to the school’s reputation. They, perhaps, even fear a class-action lawsuit from their own students against the school for its incompetence. As it is ultimately ‘their’ handling of this matter which threatens to taint the schools reputation. Or, perhaps the school should embrace the values at work here with a new slogan, “Heartland, putting personal ambition before the greater good.” or “Heartland, our alumni weren’t staying late to shred incriminating documents at Arthur Anderson, but we know they would’ve when called upon,” or “Heartland, where exploitation comes to be cultivated.” But the branding of Heartland is not my concern… my concern is the truth and the foul manner with which I, a veteran who has done much and made many sacrifices for the community, have been treated in the wake of this schools handling of the education and mistakes of at least one of its students.
Amber, I believe you took my ideas, when I reached out to you for help in executing them, and sold them as your own. That you continued to lie about this to the point that your school, acting as though I were some petty terrorist, banned me from their campus and then sent the Normal Police to my door to threaten me with arrest. A further tarnishing of my name and character. All the while, destroying the founding of a community organization I have been working to build for well over a decade. An organization which I would have found a way to earn a living for myself without guilt at the effect my work would have on the community… Work which would have given me entrance into the community on terms which I have earned through long suffering and hard work. This is what you stole from me and sold cheaply to strangers for a cheap title, a grade and a few people over which to lord your granted authority. You should know that the breadth of time will show the truth, though it may be too late for me, one’s true nature always wins out, over any pose or lie, in time.
One final thing… transubstantiation. One of the tenets of Catholicism which protestants object to is the belief in transubstantiation. The belief that as one takes the sacrament… the wine and wafer transform into the blood and body of Christ. The priest tells us that we are not just our hair and nails… our flesh and blood, but the things we do, the work we do with our lives. So that when we confess our sins and thereby make ourselves eligible to take the sacrament… we do so following the example set by Christ. And in so doing, make of ourselves the ‘work’ of Christ. And so he lives and we are a part of that body. When I broke the thumb of the thug on the bus… it really got to me, I was disgusted with myself. I went to see a Franciscan at St. Peter’s and talked to him about it… after leaving, I went straight to the Art Institute (it was Tuesday, the free day) I ran up the stairs and around a couple of corners not stopping to view a single thing until I came upon a series of images of a Spanish monk… (also a Franciscan, I believe) the images depicted the monk confronting a robber who had been preying on his flock. The Franciscan took the robber’s gun and beat him with it. I went straight to the series of images never having seen them before… I had never gone into the Museum the way I did that day… moving quickly and directly as I had. I believe in eternal life… I imagine it is like hearing music from the next room. You may not be there to see the band play, but you can sing along with the song.
Charles F Jurgus
ps All details of this issue and copies of correspondence can be found at cfjurgus.com. I anticipate the arrival of the police to make good on their threat to arrest me, if not illegally… unjustly–to which I have every intention of submitting to peacefully.