Saturday, April 22, 2017

You rebel you

I am often told that I think too much.  When in my mind people do not think enough.  I am told I feel too much.  When in my mind people don't feel.  They are emotional, perhaps, but lie about what they actually feel.  Or they play the role that society has chosen for them.

All of this is part of how we allow society to assign a niche for who we are.  If you are a white male, in Western society you are said to receive privilege.  If you happen to be emotional and artistic, however, you are said to be a fag.

We might be individuals, we might be.  But in our lives we follow paths others have trod.  Doing otherwise makes you a rebel.  And rebels usually die at the end of their quest, earlier than the natural life span they might have lived.  So is that wrong?

“Awake, arise or be for ever fall’n.” John Milton  Paradise Lost

Jesus Christ was a rebel.  Gandhi was a rebel.  Buddha was a rebel.  Laozi was a rebel.  These examples are not the norm, they are the abnormal.  That they existed and were allowed to speak to various peoples, is not the norm. "K'ung Fu-tzu" or Confucius gave out life wisdom that was meant to harken back to principles that humans should live by according to Ancient conceptions in China of society.  Communism, Socialism, and Fascism all can be measured by the way they attempted to remove the individualism from society and aim efforts toward become the mythic volk, or society that lives as one unit.

I am not saying rebels are the best of society.  I am not saying all forms of Communism, Socialism, or Fascism are evil.  I am saying that most people believe themselves to be an individual, but are clearly not.

Being a rebel isn't always the best path.  Various rebellions came from abject discord, and led to horrible tragic loss of life.  Not every rebel is a saint, not every leader of society is a sinner.  It is important to have context in the path you walk.

But never assume that life means doing ________.  It doesn't mean anything other than you breathe, eat, shit, sleep, and only perhaps do more.  You are the captain of your own ship, never let others determine your goals or destination.   A vast number of great achievers in the world began life being educated for a different path than the one that they ended up walking.  We are all units of an enormous group, we are human.  But the best part of humanity, is that we can determine our own goal.

Oh Great Ares, How we worship you

 “When the rich wage war it's the poor who die.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre

 “War is what happens when language fails.”― Margaret Atwood

The Greek God Ares represented Victory in war, by any means.  His attributes included bloodlust in battle and slaughter.   The people of Earth know that war means death.  They know that there is enormous costs, financially and physically.  Every weapon made results in a theft, because the weapon was made rather than an investment in education, libraries, clean energy, removal of pollution, feeding the starving people of the world. (paraphrase of Dwight D. Eisenhower).

“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.”― Herbert Hoover

When I say humans worship Ares, I do not mean every human, nor do I mean that they are aware of the worship they do.  But despite war being an end to some situations, humans resort to war not as a final option, they prefer it as an option.  (See the Iraq war, and the refusal to allow inspections to prove there were no WMDs. ) 

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”― Plato

Being an American I was taught to be grateful for the sacrifice of lives in past wars.  They had died, it was said, for the defense of freedom and country.  I believe that some did.  I believe others died due to the incompetence of leadership, false believes about the enemy, and the fact that America has gone to war, sometimes, for bad reasons.

“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”― Ernest Hemingway

Dying for a commodity is beyond bad, unless the commodity is oxygen or water.  Just as a person who steals food due to having no money elicits sympathy if not acceptance, a person stealing lawn chairs or drive offs at a gas pump are simply bad.  The wars fought by Americans have often been about expanding or strengthening the country.  That is somewhat reasonable.

“All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.”― John Steinbeck

In ancient Greece, Ares is said to have been hated by the other gods, and few humans worshiped him.  But they continually made war.  Here the Greeks can be seen as another group of people who paid lip service to one value (Athena, Goddess of wisdom, and honor) but lived by another.

From Homer, author of the Iliad and the Odyssey 

Then looking at him darkly Zeus who gathers the clouds spoke to him:
"Do not sit beside me and whine, you double-faced liar.
To me you are the most hateful of all gods who hold Olympus.
Forever quarreling is dear to your heart, wars and battles.

And yet I will not long endure to see you in pain, since
you are my child, and it was to me that your mother bore you.
But were you born of some other god and proved so ruinous
long since you would have been dropped beneath the gods of the bright sky."

“The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.”  ― Carl Sagan

I just cannot remember...



“Every man's memory is his private literature.”  Aldous Huxley

Memory is vital to experience. Without memory, we are not us. If we could not remember past events, we could not learn or develop language, relationships, nor personal identity (Eysenck, 2012).

A LINK

There is a concept in brain science that humans have a limited memory.  That makes sense, the amount of information taken in, on a daily basis, is more than many people in the deep past took in a year.  Some people argue that they have a photographic memory, but, every person's memory lies to them.  And many do not see how it could do such a thing.

“Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe: it gives back life to those who no longer exist.”  Guy de Maupassant

How is this possible?  For one thing, we remember what is important, but our memories are biased by our life views and beliefs.  It is certainly true that one remembers what they do for different reasons.  Remembering a horrific event is generally more clear than a happy one, because of the manner in which it is recalled.  We are less likely to remember specifics if they do not matter.

Eyewitnesses of crime have in the past been given a greater sway of importance than a theory of motive, chance to act, likelihood of committing of a crime by the offender.  The reason was that the victim or the eyewitness have a desire to see the right person penalized, and only a fool or asshole would wish the Justice system try an innocent person for the same.  This is based upon a truism, but that doesn't mean it is correct.  There is evidence that eyewitnesses have a memory of the event also colored by what they know before the event, and by the event, and later by their reasons for reporting it.

A prime example of eyewitness failures is found in rape events where DNA proves another man did the deed.  (I say man, not in any assault of males, but in the de facto truth that they are the majority, by far, of such crimes.)  DNA has changed the results of numerous criminal results where the previous convictions were arrived at by eyewitness reports.

"I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past." Virginia Woolf

We remember because it is part of creating our overall self, this is important.  But our memories are rarely true, so much as they are truish.  Someone I knew remembered for a fact that a certain baseball manager was the one who took a team to the World Series.  The person was rather unwilling to learn the difference but upon being lectured toward, I went and photocopied a page from the Baseball Encyclopedia.  I found the exact dates, the events, and made a presentation to the person.  That person called me an asshole, and 10 years later I heard them repeat the same falsehood.  The manager was a good one, and he did take two teams to the playoffs, but he never managed them into the World Series.  It honestly didn't matter to me until I was lectured upon his version of the truth, so it isn't important what manager, what team, and who held the falsehood.  The truth was that he liked this manager, and didn't prefer to know the truth.

“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”  Marcel Proust

When you are certain someone is wrong, because they remember it being true, you might be right.  But, your memory itself might be at fault.  Before debating learn a fact, and return to the debate armed for battle.  Facts are just pieces of information, neither positive nor negative.  But your memory is biased. 

“Memory is more indelible than ink.”Anita Loos

Do not assume you have an unbiased memory, because everyone's memory is biased.

Popular versus Quality

I've known many people who have given voice to idea that Popularity equals Quality.  It is true that we all have individual tastes, and those tastes affect our ability to objective.  But that doesn't mean it is true that popular bands are the best, nor the fact that to like something means it must be great.

When a person expresses the fact that the quality of a creative item or event has nothing to do with quality it becomes a war cry to some who refuse to accept the opinion of others, even experts.   It could be true to suggest that while popularity is not a function of quality, the perceived charisma of a person influences how others perceive them.  I was watching the Olympics Figure Skating, and one of the skaters did average, but she was gorgeous.  She received about 25% more of the grading score than I think she deserved.  Another woman did better on the ice, but she was not a nice looking woman.  And she scored a great deal less well for doing a better routine than the previous skater. 

A commentator on the radio spoke about he had listened to all the singers for American Idol, since he is blind, found certain performers to be just ok, and others to be great.  But his views didn't match up with other commentators.  He couldn't be moved by the charisma of looks, therefore the popularity of beauty.  His picks for who would win were not bad, but he said if we all listened instead of looked, in adoration, we might have a great deal many more great artists, and fewer "stars".   Scientists of the human brain have said that humans are hard wired to think beauty equals being smarter, being a leader, being special.

Quality can be unpopular.  Popularity can still be without worth.

Objective quality has to have a standard, and certain arts are without a means to be properly judged. The reliance upon subjectivity is an obstacle to knowing quality beyond the popular.

Therefore the truth is, it takes a higher level of thought to find what is best.

Mickey Spillane:  "Those big-shot writers … could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar."



Greed Fall before the feet of Mammon


Source Wikipedia, from the Movie "Wall Street".

"Gordon Gekko: Teldar Paper, Mr. Cromwell, Teldar Paper has 33 different vice presidents each earning over 200 thousand dollars a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can't figure it out. One thing I do know is that our paper company lost 110 million dollars last year, and I'll bet that half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these vice presidents. The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in my book, you either do it right or you get eliminated. In the last seven deals that I've been involved with, there were 2.5 million stockholders who have made a pre-tax profit of 12 billion dollars. [applause] Thank you. I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms: greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much. "

The system of Capitalism has existed, more or less, since the advent of money.  When barter and trade and all other forms of distribution of wealth and commerce were used the idea of greed surely existed.  But the idea of making a killing in profit has a the quality about it that only money in purchase can relate, otherwise the deal is seen not as "the way it goes" but a bad deal.  The origins of the market have deep long buried roots.  As long as Caveman Ogg had something that Caveman Zig wanted, they would decide a price in goods or labor, and the transaction would be done.  But when manufacturing and money are involved, all the areas of cost, labor, time, investment are brought out in full view.

This is not saying anything is wrong.  I do not seek to gain knowledge only by moralizing it and casting it aside.  Capitalism is a system.  It has potential to enrich the wealthy further, and steal from the laborers or others in inequitable dealings, but, it is also a means by allowing simple, untrained individuals to utilize their labors to bring back more than they put into it.

"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."  Matthew 6:24 ESV


The concepts of the path of evolution, as laid out by Charles Darwin were taken up by social and economic thinkers.  By applying them to the market, the term survival of the fittest rightly suggests that it is a natural and organic response to the market, that making the most money is the best way to remain healthy.  This could also include how good quality of work is valuable, and that treatment of workers is important to have a healthy and productive work force.  Survival of the fittest can be aimed in many directions.  Some of these approach racism, and others talk about how those who do not strive do not deserve a safety net, that any government support weakens the group.

There are, of course, numerous views on this.

Adam Smith explained that when all have a desire to advance, capitalism allows all to invest energy into a plan, and make a better life for all by the mutual desire to succeed.

Fernand Braudel suggested that capitalism is not a fair exchange, but rather, the means by which people gain by deception.  He said it was the weakness of capitalism to assume it moves without distinct winners and losers in the exchange.

Since my goal is not to find a way to criticize Capitalism or those who partake in it, I want to say that there are many areas of truth to both arguments.  But those concepts are by no means fully true.   It might be true to say that people can be dishonest when money is involved.  But I've lost my wallet a couple times and when returned every cent remained in my wallet.  I think some people have no honor, but I doubt it is the majority of people.  And it would be true to say that people value their labor more than those responsible for the payment of money.  This doesn't constitute theft or cheating.

"But even a medicine man like myself has to have some money, because you force me to live in your make-believe world where I can't get along without it.” John Lame Deer


I attend comic and book shows.  If I see a price that is too high I have a right and responsibility to my personal budget, to not buy it.  Or, I could barter with the sales person.  But if I buy a comic that is over priced, it is not the seller's fault, as an informed buyer I should be willing to say no, if the book is overpriced.  Also, there are instances of fraud.  In the comic book world there are counterfeit works, and being unaware of them might get you paying 300 dollars for a comic that is photocopied. While this suggests that the seller is cheating, it might not be the case.  Many sellers have no idea whether their comic in hand is genuine or counterfeit. That can be the nature of collectibles and the buyer should make himself aware, or it is his fault for not doing what is best for him.

From a personal perspective I am well aware that not everyone has extra money to spend.  Many people, similarly to me, are not motivated by money as a means of liberation or success.  Society and governments are often pushed to create social safety nets for the people who fail in the world of making money.  I write books.  I make very little money.  I write from home, I get paid for my sales, but if it weren't for my wife's success in the world, I'd starve.  Not every job equals payment. Not said with pride but totally accurate, I am unsuccessful in many different areas, and my work history is cluttered with failure.  When becoming a writer that changed.  I work, tirelessly, often performing 80 hours of writing every week.  My goal is different than most, I would be content to die, so long as I've written and made my vision known.

"Maidens, like moths, are ever caught by glare, And Mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair." Lord Byron




My point is, money does motivate some, but, despite the offerings of the world, not everyone is motivated by a need to consume.  Materialism, more than Capitalism is the road to hell.  Anyone with a 120 inch television and sends pics of that to family at Christmas instead of the kids and the dog, is a Materialist, and they worship the god Mammon.

“He beheld Lourdes, contaminated by Mammon, turned into a spot of abomination and perdition, transformed into a huge bazaar, where everything was sold, masses and souls alike!”  Ă‰mile Zola

I am a Christian.  My point is not about the world's love of money, as opposed to the love of God, but that we should be clear what we are attempting, in life, to do.  Is it to love others?  Is it to own shit? Is it to work, sleep, enjoy yourself while being kind to other?  Or do you see kindness as weakness and steal your grandmother's social security check?

“It was not curiosity that killed the goose who laid the golden egg, but an insatiable greed that devoured common sense.” ― E.A. Bucchianeri  Gordon


Now that I've made my point I want to say, to know who is your master is vital.  It guides your existence.  Written eloquently, and disturbing is the song Head Like A Hole by Trent Reznor


God money I'll do anything for you.
God money just tell me what you want me to.
God money nail me up against the wall.
God money don't want everything he wants it all.
No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me
No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
God money's not looking for the cure.
God money's not concerned with the sick among the pure.
God money let's go dancing on the backs of the bruised.
God money's not one to choose
No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me
No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
You know who you are.
Songwriters: MICHAEL REZNOR

A Numbers Game

According to Thomas Malthus (An Essay on the Principle of Population)  "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man"

He believed that population grew exponentially while resources grew arithmetically,  and the amount of land was finite.  Therefore, the human species would one day face an enormous catastrophe of more humans than food.

The world expanded its population by a factor of ten in 270 years. 

1750 AD  700 million
1804 AD  1 billion
1850 AD  1.2 billion
1900 AD  1.6 billion

The world population in 2017 7.5 billion humans

The question then is, when will we run out of food?

If humans are a social people, and live mostly together, the amount of land is itself not going to show the effect of overpopulation, from towns and cities.  The number of humans on earth if living in one area would take up a relatively small amount of space.  But when one calculates the amount of resources per person, the world use expands almost beyond comprehension.  That isn't because one group uses too much, necessarily, but the world is facing two very different issues with food.  The world's obesity rate is enormous, and outnumbers those facing starvation.  But starvation still exists in a world where food production could in fact feed the planet.

So one of the factors involved in starvation becomes who gets to eat.  And beyond that, who gets to eat to the point that they have become fat.  The gulf between the cruelty of starvation and the luxury of dying due to being fat and abnormal human intake of calories is enormous.  Half of the world has diabetes and heart disease from the gorging they have done.  And 40% of the world lives in fear of losing food security.  Therefore, there is no human population problem at the moment, there is an economic disparity between the two ends of the problem.  Does it actually happen that by eating more pie the fat take food out of the mouth of the thin?  Not in so many words.  But there is truth in saying that while the various countries of the third world struggle to grow cash crops, the people growing those crops eat far less well than the people buying the cash crops.  Workers on cocoa plantations have been shown on documentaries, never having tasted of chocolate, despite spending their life working in the fields.  The money they make can only afford necessities.

21,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations. One person dies every four seconds.

Over 100,000 Gastric bypass surgeries per year are performed in America alone, to aid obese patience in losing weight before they become unable to recover from the long term health impact of obesity.

Sourced by Wikipedia

"Obesity is a leading preventable cause of death worldwide, with increasing rates in adults and children. In 2014, 600 million adults (13%) and 42 million children under the age of five were obese. Obesity is more common in women than men.

Authorities view it as one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century. Obesity is stigmatized in much of the modern world (particularly in the Western world), though it was seen as a symbol of wealth and fertility at other times in history and still is in some parts of the world.

In 2013, the American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease."

So is there an answer?  There could be, but the armies of the poor might be numerous, but the armies of the wealthy are well equipped, well fed, and have no incentive to share.

I believe that the answer is compassion, and that until we feel the sorrow equally, the question of hunger and over population will never be addressed.

Entropy

Existence is not political.  It is actual.  Politics for some represents high achievement, but to me it is as Mao said, "Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.".  Truth is not relative.  But every side of an event, or conflict has a perspective upon the said event or conflict that will be different than the others.  In war you might even find that allies who experienced an event, even perhaps victoriously, will have views that are different from their own side of the conflict.  We are all biased.  Therefore, we cannot begin to know the truth from within it.


In the 2016 Election Donald Trump was rightly scorched for his support from white nationalist groups.  The KKK is said to have unofficially endorsed Trump.  This received a great deal of press.  The American Communist party unofficial endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 received almost no press.  The cause of this was both bias, and a realization of the truth.  It is simple, people of extreme views have views that will fall into place with various candidates.  They support the side they hope will give them power.  But the endorsement of idiots for any candidate doesn't mean anything.  A number of porn stars endorsed Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.  Does that mean we've given them credit for his two terms in office?  Did anyone say gee, Madame Boobsalot said Bill Clinton is great, that means I should vote for him?

The press therefore in American elections has shown itself to be biased. The media is not simply stating what has happened, but is editorializing the news as it shares the information.  Am I saying the media is wrong for this?  No.   Media has had a checkered past reporting the events of the world.  Some might suggest that it is more propaganda than news. 

But truth is not controlled by the media.  Information exists independently from the sources of news.  And truth, the ultimate goal, is not, in itself a relative thing, it is a constant.  But the means for finding the truth, for investigation of events and movements these are expanding.  But is truth itself expanding?  Do we know more now than before?

The truth is an object.  How it is approached is not consistent through media.  Some choose to hold up the truth as a sacred thing.  Others consider it an obstacle to their needs.  Media is neither the villain nor the hero in the present age.  It can help people, it can destroy other people.  But what has changed the news media is the access to alternative sources of news.  That is, not alternative facts, but whereas the preCable television era was based upon large networks with cross control of radio, newspaper and television, the post Cable and Internet era has seen the proliferation of independent and previously unrealized sources for news.  Youtube, for instance can show an uploader's video of an event.  News media has competition from sources that did not exist before.

And when we look at the previous era, we wonder, were we all so naive?  With all the information available now, are we overloading our lives with information, bias, views and eye witness reports?  How much information can a person take in, without becoming numb?  I believe that for all the development of access and information, we've poured so much information into the minds of people that they shut it out.  Every blog contributes to this, I am guilty, perhaps, of cluttering the path of the minds of those who have to think about what is the truth.

I am unwilling to give in to the fear of information.  I am unwilling to fully engage all forms of information.  I need the truth.  I hope that by posting here I will somehow find out the truth.  The path is narrow, the journey is long.  Let us begin.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Refuse


Is this world on fire?  Are we facing the end of time? Or is the world just fine and we have a world that is focused upon the worst aspects of existence?

I believe that the world is at a place where inaction on various world issues will push the earth and its people into an enormous abyss.  I also believe that America has been at war since 2001, and that permanent war crisis has forced the US and citizens to respond not for the best of all, but for a certain savage sort of survival mode.  Civil liberties melt away when the the government and its people agree to ignore freedoms in favor of safety.  The size of government is then going to grow and the freedoms men hold will shrink, because of the lack of ability of society to ensure privacy, freedoms, and overall safety.


If you trust government, I have to ask, why?  The trail of evidence from the past doesn't bode well for government being moral in the present.



Saturday, April 1, 2017

Complete Distraction



I hate modern media.



No I am not calling anything I disagree with "Fake News".  No I am not complaining about bias, or, even, parody web news sites.  Fake news is what it is, get it or don't it isn't my aim here to complain about that.


I hate modern media because in the world I live in there are many worrisome issues, and the point of almost all media is to gain viewers or sell products for advertisers.  Even when watching "Non-profit" documentaries there is a bias that makes it aimed to please a certain group.  There is nothing that is made to inform, purely.









You might say, that is the way it is sport, screw you.  Ok, yes, it is.  But here is the affect after years and years of it...



I almost do not believe anything any more.



When I see news stories I wonder what group or individual is intended to benefit.
When I watch documentaries I wonder what this work is aimed at making me thing or consider.
Am I supposed to be so worried I rush to the arms of one group, or another?
Am I supposed to be so worried that I will trust government to take care of  me?


I honestly think there is a conspiracy to make me feel unable.
And that isn't the only thing.
I think that Global Warming exists, but, humans are working on either side of the debate to create a sense of alarm in such a manner that I don't trust either side.

Humans suck, I get that.  But I do not have the desire to hate or distrust everyone.  The media discord to me is an attempt by media to confuse and mislead.  Which is the opposite of what I think it should be.

In the meantime, why not entertain your mind with conspiracy theories, bullshit, and moronicus maximus?  This is not a suggestion that you should or should not believe anything.  Conspiracy, foolishness, eyewitness accounts, all serve to entertain our imagination.  It is time we step back from the self centered self gratification that news has become.  News shouldn't make you happy or sad, or fulfilled or lonely, it is meant to inform you.  It ended doing that a long time ago.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The wave of change has hit

The following is my opinion.  None of it is based upon anyone else's voice.  I am simply saying what I think.  I might be wrong.  I might be full of shit.  But it remains my opinion.

Let us view the changed world of Donald Trump, Post Obama America, and the future.  America is not the world, this isn't about the "popularity" of American popular culture.  But the election of a different kind presidential candidate has caused enormous upheaval.  Some rally to build a wall to keep illegal immigration from the border, others protest rally against "Hitler". 


My straight out opinion is that Trump is a response to President Obama's previous years of change.  I do not say Trump is better, it isn't a positive or negative statement.  I am not suggesting Obama was wrong.  Obama's years in the presidency are unapproachable as far as comparisons of leadership.  Obama went about his presidency different than Bush had, or frankly, Clinton had.  And all of the three are far different than Trump.


The people who voted for Hillary Clinton might have voted for her, or for the opposition to Trump.  The people who voted for Trump were not nearly as much against Clinton as they were to the numerous cultural issues that had changed in the previous years of 2008-2016.  Again, I am not saying right or wrong, or evil or good.  Change is its own beast.  Some people can accept change others not.  But if Trump is Hitler, you really have to say Obama was Stalin.  Their different approaches, individualism and capitalism versus collectivism and socialism are not compatible.  I also must say, I don't think Trump is Hitler nor Obama is Stalin.  I am just pointing out that labeling of both works in the same way.


I believe that we've entered a period of reactionary government.  This is bound to have an effect upon the popular culture.  If Muslims in general are to be banned, perhaps we should ban Jehovah Witnesses from knocking on my door.  If we ban specific religions why not keep the people at airports for Krishna away from asking money from air travelers?  Why can't we as a country just say no to the Kardasians and ban them from the airwaves if not the actual country?  I honestly don't believe that we should ban Jehovah Witnesses, or Hare Krishna followers.  *Although I do particularly despise the Kardasians.


America is, and Hollywood is particularly the world's greatest producer of popular culture.  This isn't to say it should be, it is the only or that it is the best.  It is true to say that culture reflects the events of, and the beliefs of a people.  Will the current upheaval be reflected in the popular culture?  Maybe, but I think there is another way that popular culture responds.  It responds with escapist materials.  The boom in comic book characters in film?  It will definitely continue.  So will reality television such as the Kardasians.  And so will the swimming in the cesspool done by both of the major political parties of the US.


The world watches with shock as the country with the largest economy and military chooses to argue over the use of bathrooms by people of different genders instead of deal with the reality, that the global economy is based upon oil, coal and other unsustainable fuels.  And that the reason for terrorism against the US is not based outside of the US, but within it.  Radicalized Islam might also not have a war to fight if the US didn't have troops in the Holy Lands.  But who am I to suggest anything? "Osama bin Laden was a Muslim terrorist and the founder of al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist organization. In conjunction with several other Islamic leaders, he issued two fatwas—in 1996 and then again in 1998—that Muslims should fight those that either support Israel or support Western military forces in Islamic countries, stating that those in that mindset are the enemy, including citizens from the United States and allied countries."  Source Wiki


It is time to be honest about the threat to the people, it isn't bombs, it isn't war.  It is the making of policy surrounding greed and gathering of gold.  Cynical people often say it is all about the money.  I don't believe that all things are, but, our government, whether by Democrat or Republican has followed a policy of gathering gold.  It places troops in harm's way for oil.  It is not about the left or the right, it is about maintaining our dominance over the world's economy, with troops, with policy that prevents uprisings against our interests.


America longs for pleasure, comfort, treasure and hedonism.  We have lost our way.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Leviathan


Deep calls to deep.  After Election 2016 no reasonable person could argue that the United States is intellectually deep.  The divided electorate viewed one side screaming, the other side moaning, both sides accusing, and no factual reality.  I've heard that only racists voted for Trump, I've heard that only wimps voted for Clinton.

“For such is the nature of man, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; Yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves: For they see their own wit at hand, and other men's at a distance.”  Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

I do not see myself as a member of either party.  I see both sides as being the problem, but I don't believe the worst about the voters of each candidate.  I believe people voted for Trump to affect a change from the previous President.  Some were racists, some were motivated by hate, but by no means was that the majority.  I believe that voters for Clinton believed they were anointing the next champion of the poor, the aggrieved, the outsiders, the downtrodden.  I also believe that there were people voting for her vagina, there were some voting because they hate the status quo and wanted a woman, to signify their desire to change the way things were done. 

“For to accuse requires less eloquence, such is man's nature, than to excuse; and condemnation, than absolution, more resembles justice.” Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

But, I don't believe anyone was voting thinking these are the best candidates they'd ever seen.   The American way is supposed to draw the best from the populace and create a meritocracy of choice.  The best should rise above, and the others recognize that person.  But we are not privileged at this time to be able to understand what is right and good.  And while I understand that, I do not know why we didn't see this approaching.

“In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”  Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

I also believe that the United States has fallen from its ideals.  We are embracing cynicism, hate, rebellion, for the sake of it.  I see division having crushed bipartisanship, and divided populace cannot hope for the best because if the one side wins, the other perceives it to have lost.  That is, if Obama succeeded the conservatives and GOP in particular lost.  No matter what was accomplished the perception precedes the facts.

“Another doctrine repugnant to civil society, is that whatsoever a man does against his conscience, is sin; and it dependeth on the presumption of making himself judge of good and evil. For a man's conscience and his judgement are the same thing, and as the judgement, so also the conscience may be erroneous.” Thomas Hobbes Leviathan


Sunday, February 5, 2017

the funny thing about answering email questions

I am astounded by how many more questions I receive after I've written a post/article where I answer questions.  I suppose some look at it as if it is sport, a game of stump the moron.  Others might actually want to know.  Then there are those who want to get to be friends and ask for copies of my work for free.  I am not being cynical, that is simply the truth.

(All accompanying images are either public domain, fair use or self made.  I make no claim of rights or ownership of the images or copyright.)

So here we go for another round of Q&A

Do you like sports or are you similar to most creative people in that you ignore sports and prefer stuff like Classical music, opera, and drama?

I love Opera.  But I am a child of a man who loved all sports except soccer and hockey.  He didn't like soccer because he thought it was a bunch of foreigners playing a stupid game.  And pretty much I think the same for hockey.  As such, I had full exposure to the world of sports, and I like football, I love Hockey, and I love the Minnesota Twins in baseball.  There are other sports I like, such as Sumo and a parade of others.  But I will say, since I began my journey of creative work I have dropped off in my ability to follow and care about most sports.


What is it about poetry that moves you so?  If you could be the greatest writer, poet or comic book writer, which would you be?

I see poetry as being quite different than writing prose or for sequential stories.  It captures in a short amount of letters, a truth, an event, a feeling.  And it can be layered and filled with beauty.  For me it is why I read.  I don't want to be the greatest anything except father, and I know I am not that, nor will I be.

Well then who is your choice for best poet ever, and what is your favorite poem?

I can't do best ever.  While I've been educated, and took many poetry courses, I am not an academic writer.  I don't observe styles, I am less concerned by style as I am message.  I am not critical thinking endowed enough to know the various qualities beyond knowing what I like.  My favorite poem is The Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell.



















What movie stars and musical bands or solo talents are your favorite?

Favorite I can do, however, this is not a permanent thing, I reserve the right to change the choices I've made.


Film


Montgomery Clift
Tyrone Power
Russell Crowe
Toshiro Mifune
Elizabeth Taylor

Music

Sade
The Clash
Billy Corgan
Chris Cornell
Blue October


What/where is the favorite place you've been to?

Duluth Minnesota.  I am aware of the wonderful world out there, but my experience meant Duluth is my beloved home.

What alcoholic drink do you write with?

I don't.  But the alcoholic drink that once or twice a year I get hammered with is Bushmills Irish Whiskey.  I also like Bloody Mary drinks with Stolichnaya.  But since I am now a walking medicine cabinet, 8 different meds by pill every day, I am unable or disallowed from drinking.  If I do it, it is a celebration or a consolation.



What politically person drives you mad?

I don't like Al Franken.  He is a carpetbagger.  And just to balance it out, I think Rush Limbaugh is blowhard air bag.



Why didn't you follow your education and go into politics or academia?

We all make choices in our life, some are career building, some are destroying.  I chose to follow History into Grad School so that I could teach, or research.  But my mind is more intuitive than logical, more creative that theoretical and more anti social than I could ever overcome long enough to  have a career.  However, my education did more than give me a frame work of thought, it trained me to look into anything with a focus I never had had before.  I was able to see my large picture world view, better, with more context and expertise.

I didn't go into politics because I would be a bigger failure there than anywhere else in my world.



If you could go anywhere and have it paid for, where and why?

Somewhere with castles.  I love the ancient and medieval world.




Have you any tattoos or piercings?  

I only have a tiny dot tattoo for the cancer radiation.  And I have a pierced ear.  I like jewelry and if I was a person who did social things, I'd go all out with the piercings.







Is university the best choice for a young adult for the their future?  Did you feel that your university experience merited the price you and the parents paid?  

We should not mistake gifts of talent as being skills.  You can enter life with a variety of gifts, but should you not develop them you are possibly going to let those talents wither from lack of use, and lack of technique to bring out the best in them.  If I had the foresight to know how age diminishes talent I'd have rather developed my skill in order to compensate for lost ability.  That isn't a bunch of diversion from the question, I just wanted to explain why more education and training can be so very valuable.  A person with an average singing voice may never ascend the ranks of the best, but through training and development of a talent one can compensate for lack of talent with an application of skills and knowledge.  By the time Billie Holiday ended her career her voices was fading, from the drugs and alcohol and hard living she'd done.  But she could use her voice in ways that a novice would never have known to have done. 

Attending university or entering a program where you might apprentice allows you to grow, when you are young enough to not be burdened with family, debt and lack of ardor for your future.  I received a number of college degrees, and while I was never one to worry about my grades, I soaked in so much knowledge, I was a smarter and better rounded thinker and writer.  I definitely learned from some great people, and I learned from the not so great in other ways.  My professor Ron Marchese, for instance, was beyond a simple teacher for me.  He was someone who encouraged and drew out the interest of a student and he helped it to grow, and challenged it so that it could survive and thrive in less ordered situations.


Why do you focus upon death so much in your writing?  Are you deeply dark and obsessed with dying?  

I do not become obsessed with dying, so much as I am fascinated by the thought of how my being will change, for good or ill, via the last stage of my existence.  I don't know what is beyond, I do however have hope for that point of my existence.   I find that people who do not believe in an afterlife ought to seek knowledge about that subject but often reject that idea.  I am a Christian, but my view of the afterlife is less connected with dogma and scriptural memorizing.  I simply believe that there has been in my life many events that point me to a view of existence that is, we are compose of matter and energy.  Matter might pass but energy does not, there is no way to prove or not prove the beyond.  So I choose the perspective that my intuition and experience both explain my reason for my belief.

Do you believe in the Arab/Muslim ban enacted by Trump and his advisors.   It is racist, yes?

I believe that the government's job is to protect citizens.  The ban was created to avoid the waves of terrorism going on in Europe presently.   I do not debate at all that the ban could be racist.   But I do not altogether think when situations demand action, that the groups that are committing the acts of terror obey the various government decisions and laws.  Assuming that they do is foolish.  So it is perhaps, in my mind at least, likely that a ban would keep those out who are law abiding.  It is how I see the gun laws.  If we want fewer guns in the hands of criminals, you might limit the numbers of guns, but the criminals will almost certainly remain armed.

And so it is self defeating to obsess over the ban.  It isn't going to stop the determined, and the innocent will be paying for what the determined have done, and will attempt to do.  It is similar to the prescription laws.  Because there are people who misuse and become dangerously addicted cannot stop themselves, those who DO behave and follow the law, and do not commit violations have their access to pain relief, to healing meds, and more restricted.  We treat citizens like we do children.  If one suffers, regardless of the reason, the lowest common denominator causes the lawful to be judged out of fear for the others.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

America the Blind

The Right wing says America is filled with fake news, CNN and other Mainstream media lie to enhance the liberals at election time.  The Left Wing says that the Right use false evidence to make their case.  A large number of Americans see the world, not with honest eyes, but with biases that cannot be changed.  America is a house divided against itself. 

But the leaders are blind, as are the people.  Each side uses the information to make arguments that their side is right, rather than, as we should hope, to find the truth. So we've all become blind to the truth, because it is less satisfying than being found right or superior to another person.

LUKE 6:39
Jesus also told them a parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?"


THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT.
An Indian Myth
Rewritten for the western mind
by John Godfrey Saxe

IT was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me!—but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried:"Ho!—what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 't is mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:


"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he;
" 'T is clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Crisis world

The world, someday, will die.  And should we fear the inevitable?  Yes and no. 

America and the world around it have witnessed a US president making choices that are far different from the previous 8, and even some say ever, years prior.  We can witness the outrage, the discontent, and the fear surrounding the decisions.  But as Jesus said as to our need to help the poor, "there will always be the poor"(paraphrased), the problems being faced remain the same.  War, Disease, Starvation, and Pollution.  Global warming beckons, immigration crisis looms, slaughter of the innocent goes on, forever onward.

So we have no excuse to ignore the poor.  It will be here, whatever we do, so let us address it. I do not altogether agree with or support the president's acts.  They are overreaching.  They are war like.  But they only point with an ardent focus to our failing world policies.  America continues to orbit between two ever widening poles of views.  America spent the last 50 years being the police man of the world, since we chose this position, with the nuclear weapons used in Japan.

I do think that Trump is different than Obama.  As Obama was to Bush.  The complete insanity of the system that divides Americans every 4 years, and beyond that for certain every 8 years, we get nothing permanently done.  Thus, we are in a negative cycle where creative efforts at problem solving need to be used for an escape from the cycle.

We cannot turn our back to the needy.  They will always exist.  So we have no excuse.

Unless you prefer War, Disease, Starvation and Pollution.




You rebel you

I am often told that I think too much.  When in my mind people do not think enough.  I am told I feel too much.  When in my mind people d...