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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Group Mind May 31 2012

Groups in the cultures of the world today seem to have the psychology of psychopaths.
We often escape to groups to escape the feeling of being human.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Group Mind

From Slate:

The Most Ignored Dynasty in Sports
The NBA’s most successful franchise reveals that America is a nation of hypocrites.
America—at least in its own imagination—stands for certain things. For the idea that hard work and sound judgment bring success, and that success deserves celebration. That winners should be celebrated as long as they play by the rules. That teamwork, leadership, loyalty, and excellence all count for something. And that’s why the San Antonio Spurs, currently riding a stupendous run of 19 straight victories, are America’s favorite professional basketball team.
Except, of course, they aren’t. Not this year when they tied for the best record in the league, and not last year when they were the best in the West. Not in their 1999 championship run or the follow-ups in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Not for a single moment amid the glorious 15-year run with coach Gregg Popovich and big man Tim Duncan have the Spurs captured the imaginations of the American people or even its basketball fans. That’s because we are, ultimately, a nation of hypocrites that prefers drama queens, bad boys, and flukes to simple competence and success.
Now I would have to re-cast the sub-title as "...reveals that America is a hypocritical nation." for I have the notion that the individuals of America are honorable men and women, but together as groups, conventions, or parties, they are hideous; it is the amalgamation of sports viewers that creates the hypocrisy, not the individuals... it certainly is not a process wherein each and every sports-minded individual antes up a black chip of hypocrisy to get into the game.

Why, then? If we accept the author's point thus far, why should individual sports fans value the Protestant Work ethic, yet the whole room or stadium or nation of them turn into Caligulas at the Colosseum?
 Maybe alcohol and emotions just go better with friends watching sports TV, while sober-sided sermons about Industry and Honor are best left to Tales from the Woodshed, where we singularly received our instructions in probity.

The propaganda of our Imagination has been usurped by the Murdochs of the world, and we esteem the Kardashian Marriage of 50 Days over the old-timey Marriage of 50 Years. We are corrupt. In the old days of Sports, the sportswriters wrote differently and their propaganda reflected hard work and diligence and honor. Nowadays, we are fortunate to find a sportswriter who can spell. When we do, they have bought into the wave of self-contempt which drives mass propaganda.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Raccoon City: Nation's First Real Zombie Outbreak

Only the police tape, the bloodstain on the ground and a grotesque mystery remained after the brutal attack on the MacArthur Causeway in which one naked man was shot dead by police after he attacked another naked man and began eating his face...

This is too perfect... too perfect.

Read more here:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Facebook May 25 2012

I think the Facebook IPO is rather ominous.
It is greatly overpriced for what is actually there now and the near future, and the incompetence  - or its possibly psychopathic callous disregard for anything at all, financial or otherwise -  in its IPO is ghastly.

The Future????


What it all comes down to... most unfortunately... is deflation.

Once I did a post on asset prices - what things cost over time. I mentioned in old films you see signs in a diner window that read  "Breakfast...... 50 cents" , and you know that in the time from the year in which the film is set until the present that the rate of inflation would have caused that slice of buttered bread, rasher of bacon, and two eggs over easy to cost around $50,000 today.
So why is breakfast still available to the 99% of us?

Deflation is the answer. After Capitalism goes through its period of asset prices inflating, bubbles burst and prices deflate, like a run away balloon that has not been secured. A corollary of all this is that as prices fall, so do wages.

This election is a contest between different ways of deflating prices. The Republicans want to break the backs of a generation of the non-rich with a quick, down-and-dirty precipitous drop in prices, whereas the Democrats want to at least try and spread the pain, and perhaps try to keep severe deflation at bay.
There is absolutely no guarantee of either method, except that the Republican method could result in a free fall of prices seeking a bottom, and maybe a century later we would be back right about where we were before this all started.

That's about it.

Being and Language

I was musing on Language again, and re-read a post  "Zen" .
Ruth had a comment which ended "...  Being and language were one."

After a moment debating whether we agreed or disagreed, it was apparent that indeed the whole point of what we were talking about is Language as Being, and we were opposing it to Language as a Reflection on Being, or Language as a Model-Maker of Being , which uses of language exist on levels removed from the primary engagement with the world.

This is the difference to which I alluded yesterday:

The kingdom of God, in a primary engagement with the Holy, is within us.

Many levels away, after many removes from the experience of the Holy, it becomes myths of End-of-Times, myths of battles against the Anti-Christ, myths of political change in the Middle East.

Most of our Organized Religious experiences today are reflections in a darkling mirror... in a vast corridor of mirrors stacked in rows, one after infinite other.


(a reprint from 2009 which seems appropriate in conjunction with my recent post "Egg on Yer Facebook" - )

Baysage wrote me a comment, and the words FDR and Obama occurred in it; here's the point at which I diverge from other writers: they would go on and on giving you background details on what exactly was said about FDR and BHO, but I don't. It is enough to say the names were in close proximity. No one really reads these things anyway...

Anyway, there are many similarities shared by FDR and BHO, but what distinguishes them and separates them is their times: our time is illiterate and unread - except for vampire and zombie love stories, whereas FDR's time made a stab at literacy.
And back in FDR's time, the working folks actually believed they contributed to the greatness of this country, and that their opinions mattered and were heard in the halls of the mighty. For example, did you know back on December 23, 1940 - just less a year from Pearl Harbor - Walter Reuther, the president of the UAW, released his report: 500 Planes a Day—A Program for the Utilization of the Automobile Industry for the Mass Production of Defense Planes. about which one may read at Using the Machine-Tool Principle To Save the U.S. Industrial Republic by Richard Freeman ...Reuther discussed how the United States could retool its auto sector, 50% of whose capacity was underutilized—just as it is today. He had assembled a team of skilled machinists which had conducted a several-month, plant-by-plant, tool-and-die room by tool-and-die room survey/study of the shut-down capacity.
Back then, Walter Reuther wanted to use under-utilized auto manufacturing capacity, Kaiser built cars and turned on a dime to build Liberty ship, Ford could build planes, tanks, cars... It was a totally different world. Today's world is a world of schnorrers and goniffs and madoffs. School systems fall apart, the center cannot hold, and we lumber to a pseudo-Bethlehem as great illiterate beasts - and we take pride in the irredentism of our sublime know-nothingism and ignorance!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Egg on Yer Facebook

We have a Wall Street culture that no longer seems to be able to function.

We have Christian groups and ministers getting into politics with their notions that when Jerusalem is totally Israeli controlled, the Messiah will come again...

(totally ignoring, by the way, that the kingdom of God is neither here, nor is it there, but it is within us, not in some geography...)

We have Christians avidly reading about End-of-Times and the re-establishment of the kingdom of God after the final victory over the evil one...

(but again, the kingdom is not outside and, thus, is not the type of thing which is proper for the looting and pillage of armies...

And we have a government which is becoming unable to govern. The partisan divide which has been the toxic bane of democracy since its birth in antiquity is going to continue to divide our country because the damages we have inflicted on it since 1980 will take  at least a generation to mend.

We have lost control on a group level in many important areas of our lives.
Individually, mostly we can navigate through the maze of morality, but as groups, we are totally lost to greed, concupiscence, and fear. The future of spirituality is in the freeing of the group mind and turning it to the Holy.

Inspect every nook and cranny of your dusty "belief systems", and throw most of it out. Have no beliefs. If you have expectations and actions, the beliefs will take care of themselves... sufficient for the day are the beliefs and hackneyed moralisms thereof.


A Doctor's Life

Policemen search a vehicle in front of the Peshawar central jail
Islamabad: A Pakistani doctor accused of assisting the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in obtaining DNA samples of Osama Bin Laden has been convicted of anti-state activities and sentenced to 33 years in jail by a tribal court, officials said.

Dr Shakil Afridi was taken into custody by the military's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) two weeks after Osama Bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011 in a raid by US Navy Seals on his hideout in the garrison town of Abbottabad in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakthtunkhwa province.

The middle-aged doctor, from the Afridi tribe, was charged with conducting a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad a month before the raid to get DNA samples to confirm Bin Laden's presence in the compound where he had been reportedly living for years with his wives and children.
A fake vaccination campaign? When I remember other things done by intelligence forces - drug dealing to finance their activities comes to mind - I just hope the doctor was well paid for his services. It is hard to form an opinion or make a judgement when confronted with a complot of murderers and torturers at each others' throats.

The Place of Superstition in Consciousness

I was saving some information on ancient cursing tablets from the late Roman Empire, and I saved them into a folder titled "Religious". I did this since the engravings upon the tablets were inscriptions and pictures of a diety, conjectured to be the Greek Hecate.

However, it seems that terming something connected to Religion as religious merely because it contains a picture of a god is odd. It seems to be a lot like calling profanity a part of Religion, because it often contains a form of a name of a deity, even such oddities as Selma Bouvier's expostulation of "Jeeezum Crow!"

Or, similarly, is my nonsense humming while I shower actually Music? Or is it merely a repetition of a repetition of what was once Music perceived?

And is my prayer to win the lottery actually Religion? Why should a prayer be ipso facto religious?
And why should sermons by a clergyman inciting anger and hatred be accepted as part of religion? Or why the congregation's attitude of respectful listening?

I no longer see any such connection. Such behaviors are aberrations which employ religious imagery and religious emotion and feeling to create a psychological artefact.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

House: The Final Episode

You know, the thing I liked best about the final episode of House is the fact that Gregory House denies death. The abrupt change of direction from eulogies to revelation that he is alive - paralleled by Sherlock Holmes the night before - is a complete denial of death, with Louie Prima singing "Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think."

It is not an invitation to doing whatever one wants: it is an imperative to live and create, and do it now, because we are all on the "edge", especially now when the loud voices - which barely 6 years ago or so were trumpeting an end to history and a eternity of American neoconservative theology - are the same voices that trumpet disaster and dissolution now.

I feel renewed!
I always feel renewed when Coyote, the Trickster, makes the doom and gloom crowd uncomfortable!
It was a great reversal, was it not?

Nothing in Excess

I re-iterate what I observed in the post yesterday "Generational Memes": the so-called "meme" of a coming Great Depression and the incredibly intelligent scheme of buying gold to secure oneself against the economic fall-out dates back at least one entire generation, to 1980.
It is probable it goes back before this. In fact, it the "Image" and Symbol of a Future Destruction is commonplace throughout human history.

To take one example from millions, a comment by a reader/apparently-financial-adviser from James Kunstler's blog:

My feeling is that this is all going to shake out with some sort of market crash. And that's gonna bring down the commodities with it. Those with cash will survive the deflationary front end to buy up the cheap commodities for the inevitable hyperinflationary response which will come on its heels.
It might help most to stay out of debt just now, hold a little cash, and even less precious metal. The best thing of all would be to move to a small, emptied-out rustbelt city that's proximate to good agricultural land and help to reinvigorate and revitalize it.
It sounds like what I am always talking about, but it ain't.
Sometimes it is an individual's own disaster that occurs, not society's. Since everyone dies, there is a certain logic in having such a premonition that at some future date we will be destroyed. And surprisingly enough, that which I often talk about can be total nonsense.
We have told our own tales of doom so long that we have begun to believe them.
We have told them for generations.
Instead of "nothing in excess", we have sold our souls to the Destructor, and totally ignored the Creator, except to create an insulting pseudo-scientific nonsense called Intelligent Design.

It happens all the time: people spout The Book of Revelations - bingo! - their lives fall apart due to drugs or infidelities or mental instability or alcohol. Happens all the time: instead of Armageddon we get personal disintegration. We get our own destruction mixed up with intimations of group destruction.
At least I have lived through my personal destruction and am aware of how intertwined these images become. It was touch and go for a while. Now I think I can see a bit more clearly, standing, as it were, upon my own Job's refuse pile. I suffered: we all of us suffer. I cannot say that in suffering there is some sort of nobility or way to knowledge, but I can say it is a reality and a myth of our existence, and it is balanced by love and life.
I can say that if we live a grade-B horror movie of fear and trembling without Charity and its succor, we are each of us doomed, severally and as a group.

There is also life and creation, however. Why are the symbols of Great Life so weak compared to those of disaster? We do not even have a symbol of some future golden age any more, no symbol of progress. We have succumbed to our own depression. We have no symbol of Ascension, only a Going Down which obsesses us.
We have lost our balance.

Facebook and Authoritarianism

It is a very, very good sign that investors did not buy into the persiflage that Facebook was worth what the IPO said it was worth. If they had been that blind, it would have been another coffin nail.

The only "Facebook"-type entity which would be very profitable would be an authoritarian one: one that could demand your private facts and use them as it wishes and deny you the right of walking out the door. Only then could it hope to generate enough cash for research on new gimmicks to prevent its becoming a cozy place to exchange photos and pleasantries.

Once the short-term profit people get in control after the IPO, the senescence of Facebook is guaranteed.

Language May 22, 2012

Language is behavior that is articulate contact which seeks to elicit similar contact from other beings.

Just as touching will elicit responses, so does language.

Imaging seeks to elicit patterns and models which are already in the imaging system of a human being. Language seeks to elicit responses in a language which a human being already understands.

Think of meeting someone new: we use a system to scan and store facial information, we store images for future reference, we create impressions and judgements based on past experience, and we use language to engage with the entity - hopefully anticipating some response.

It is all rather like Star Trek sending out messages with the Universal Translator and probing with sensors.

After probing, language is used for creating a model and a memory, and often just feeds upon itself without anymore direct contact.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Generational Memes

I have found references to buying gold and surviving the coming New Great Depression back in 1980, so it is safe to assume the "meme" of Great Depression II ( a la World Wars I and II and - God forbid - III) predates 1980 by a bit.
Twenty-eight years from then until 2008: marvelous! An entire generation growing up on disaster scenarios.

This was the point of St Catherine of Siena and Vampires... Zombies, too, come to think of it:  our symbolic structures are geared to disaster, destruction, war, disease, and death, and they have been for a long, long time.
I am not implying cause and effect here: evil symbols do not necessarily imply evil effects,  but I am drawn to Sheldrake's "Morphic Fields", where as forms and ideas become aggregated more and more within a growing population, a field is established which has effects far beyond the original population.
In essence, the symbolic "horse" is out of the barn, and the symbolic "cows" have left the pasture, and it will no longer be sufficient to merely close the barn door or the gate.

St. Catherine's sayings, however, free us from the generational malaise. It is just as if she plucks us out of some stygian slough!

Is Sherlock Dead?

 PBS Masterpiece: Holmes and Watson

Not at all. We saw him lurking about the cemetery, watching poor old Watson tear up.

How did he do it, you ask? Think back earlier in the episode, and it will become clear. There was what seemed to be a gigantic lapse which should have tugged at your minds, saying "What's up with that?"
Only it was not a lapse, but part of the larger plot.I know what actually happened, but as to how he managed to pull it off at the end, I do not know. I shall have to watch it again.

I am going on record with my interpretation right now, and to refer to my take on it, yet not create the need for a spoiler alert, I'll use the code:  Student of Prague. (If you are familiar with the ancient film Student of Prague, sorry.)

My Spare Tire Cover

A picture of Mel Gibson surrounded by the motto:

My Grandkids will be Road Warriors!


Sunday, May 20, 2012


Reality is that which we employ language, music, art, science, religion to make contact with.

After first contact, all these behaviors and forms of human knowledge become more remote from Reality, and we assume there is a one-to-one mapping between our Mind and Reality.
We spend more time with the models afterwards.

St. Catherine of Siena and Vampire Movies

I was reading about St. Catherine of Siena again, and meditating on her statement:
"If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire."
There is a good deal about "popular" mysticism I do not like, and that is exactly those tedious themes and images which repeat themselves ad nauseam:  swooning women, eyes aimed at heaven, jumping to one's death from a cliff rather than allow the neighbor boy a kiss - or worse, battling legions of the evil one...

Then, after having had one's fill of what "Organized" (sic) Religion thinks is experience of the Holy, one finds such things as St. Catherine's speech, and finds at last a fit object of wonderment and meditation.

The words of St. Catherine have not been pre-masticated for us. They are sufficiently powerful and mysterious that no middleman can effectively come between ourselves and St. Catherine. We are always, thus, in a state of primary engagement with St. Catherine: we are ever new when we meet her, and she is new to us. We use our entire beings as contact to understand her.
This is what intelligent contact is. When I spoke of language as articulate contact, it is an articulated human behavior which forms the focus of a primary engagement with something in the world we wish to engage with. There are secondary engagements later, based on memory, but it is the primary ones which are very important for getting things right.

Organized Religion is the popularization of the Holy, and it takes the intense mystery which usually requires years of struggle to understand, and turns it into B-movies. There is no primary engagement with mystery: it is all secondary and derivative, masticated and philosophized into paste.
And let's look at B-movies. How many vampire stories can there be with the same awful sameness? The Twilight series has a teen love story, but that is about all. The rest of it is derivative and tedious.
I suppose if I were a teenager again, and the series were my initiation into the vampire lore, it would be different. However, having seen the same story over and over with slightly different emphases and twists, it exhausts me.

Zombie flicks are worse. Once, just once, I'd like to hear somebody yell, "Shoot 'em in the foot! That's their weak point!" Once I'd like to see something new, like combining the suave Count Dracula shtick into a Baron Samedi-type King of the Zombies, say. Maybe a line like:
"I don't eat...  brains!"
I watched AMC's The Walking Dead until I fell under the weight of  nothing-new-under-the-sun. I could not put up with it anymore. As stupid as vampire and zombie icons are, they are very prevalent images in our popular culture, and they are boring. They are boring, and mainly so because we have chosen images of death as important carriers of meaning in our culture, and we are bored with death; we have seen genocides and disasters and wars, and nothing fazes us anymore. We stick our heads in the sand, and we let our leaders make pious statements and do what they can.

Everything is boring. Do you have any idea how boring it is to watch the world fall apart? If only there were something new......

There is something new:
Revelations 11:18
...thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
We cannot even stop ourselves from destroying the earth with pollution, over-population, and nuclear armaments: if a new form of destruction presents itself, we send it to the think-tanks, and they come back with a precisely logical modus vivendi with the devil.
When we have finally had enough, we let anger and hatred run riot.
We set the world on fire by adamantly resisting the call to be what we are.

To us now, St. Catherine is new.



 La Sala de las Memorias

The theory of Memes is sort of an important paradigm of our Age and Society. Wikipedia defines the Meme as:
"an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.
giving the impression that Memes are alive and potent, and we humankind are sort of a mushy blue-algae laying in tidal pools waiting for a break, or an idea.

I have not heard a good explanation of how the neural patterns of one brain are placed in a  packet, placed in the outgoing mail, meets up with another brain, handshakes, then decides to change into something more comfortable in its new digs.
Nor does it explain the old experiment of ten people telling each other a story consecutively, then at the end of the storytelling, seeing how the story mutates in the process: memes seem to degrade quickly.

In a sense, Language would no longer be a form of articulate contact, but rather a means by which one person deposits their "meme-sac" into a different receptive person in an act of meme-congress. So all that time spent debating and learning vocabulary and how to write well is no more than a male squid's pseudo-pod...

Our eyes, once the windows to the soul, are closed by Meme theory, and replaced by mute semaphores of dilation and contraction.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Dream Factory: Protean Waters Of Mars

Ancient Martian Sea

I was on Mars where water took on many forms and faces: it was protean, sometimes ferocious, sometimes as playful as a puppy. We went underground into some of the last remaining aquifers, and there was a sweet, crystalline, and acute smell of fresh lime stalactites; water dripped from fissures into a cavernous clepsydra which kept the time in this dark realm.
The water was unlike terran cave water, quiet and inscrutable, but more vociferous in its demands. It shook the vaults as it paced through endless filters of sand and lime, roiling around island formations, plotting its eventual reconquest of the surface.

It formed a pact with Frost, the god of snows and ice, who seemed a much more somber and sober figure than Martian Water. I imagined him as a funeral home director wearing a worn and slightly askew black top hat. His mouth formed singular words: Sympathy!... Patience!... Endure!
The water did not seem to pay a whole lot of attention to him.

Robins May 19, 2012

All four chicks have hatched.
Everything is going well. The parent robins accept our presence, perhaps thinking of us as large, lumbering beings of the urban forest, unpredictable, but with hearts in the right place, so that there is no need to fear us.
There is still plenty of need to put us into our places, as for example when we furtively try to water some plants on the balcony. I have visions of them looking at me like those films of "smart bombs" during Desert Storm, sort of a fly-by with a sudden zeroing in on some bald pate Saddam!

Dead Ends and Dogmas

There are no dead ends, except for the ones we create ourselves: we travel thus far, and then we say "This far and no further!", and put an end to anything beyond, creating a cul-de-sac dead end. It does not matter whether it is in science, religion, or arts; a dead end is a dead end.

There are no rules for stopping intelligent chatter. Stephen Wolfram's cellular automata can compute forever, as long as there is computational ability, and the certain random ones may create random designs infinitely! Doesn't that sound like science telling us that the Universe is expanding, and the furthest away galaxies and supernovae are receding ever and ever faster the greater their distance from us? It is an endless process, because the normal paradigms of stopping, arrest, and exhaustion disappear: gravity does not attract, entropy increases, and nothing shows any signs of slowing down, much less reversing.

There are no GUTs - Grand Unified Theories - which explain everything in the Universe. If we were to accept such a GUT, it would be tantamount to putting up a "Dead End" sign to turn away traffic.
There are no GUDs - Grand Unified Dogmas - which explain the Holy.

Dogma is surrender, and it is a dead end. Dogma sanctifies one place and one time and maybe one group of beings. Dogma takes the C train to Jackson Heights, then it gets off and finds a crowd to blend in with.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Robins May 18 2012

The four robin eggs have hatched, and four fuzz-balls with beaks have emerged. My wife exhibits more and more ornithological lore every day, as if she were channeling John James Audubon. I look at her with surprise. The pansies in whose midst the nest is situated need water, but this is not the time to intrude. Robins have been known to attack Nosey-Parkers with their beaks, and beaks are lethal if you give them a hundred meters of clearance to get up a head of steam.


Should College Be Free?

Should higher education be paid for by the state, as are elementary and middle and high school?

It depends on how one looks at the role of the individual in society. In the old days, anyone who wanted to get ahead in a given national society tried to become a college graduate; since the playing field was one nation's economy, there was no sense of being a "national asset" in international economic competition.
Is this paradigm still valid?

Now, however, in this globalized economy, each nation state competes against every other nation, and every individual of merit has the potential of being an important piece in the international economic game of chess.
If a given country allows its level of education to decline, it will slip into obscurity.
Is this paradigm valid?


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Straw Men

I was reading one of Arsen's posts in Ghulf Genes , when it not only dawned on me how to make nice and neat links to references (such as that I just made), but also that when he wrote in comment:
... in movies of the time of Christ, people behave and speak as if they already possessed what two thousand years of theology would eventually create...
and the overwhelming intimacy of the Holy just sort of crashed in on me: what a miracle to live then! What a miracle to live in the time of true religious freedom and ferment! It is a short time, very short. In the history of Islam, the true period of wonder ended shortly after the death of the Prophet, and lasted no longer than the violent death of his son-in-law, Ali. Then all became politics and dogma.

We have become dry as straw men, and we would blaze up and burn and be blown away like lightning fired straw were we to find ourselves in the presence of Inspiration. Thank goodness, then, there is nothing to inspire. Oh, we have plenty of resentment and anger and greed to color the skeins of our politics with the unnatural dyes of violence and wickedness, but we have no inspiration; we have political agenda, we have glorious competition with winner-take-all, we have plenty of carrot and stick, but we have no inspiration in our blood, and we have become dessicated.

The world is on fire now just because we are men of straw. We think our political and religious fervors are signs of life, but they are nothing but the straw crackling and jumping in the fire.
When concerned with the Holy, we are passionate without burning: we are filled with protean liquids!

Monday, May 14, 2012

An Age of Irony

Mankind has myths and legends about a Golden Age deteriorating somewhat into an Age of Silver, and that in its turn decreases into an Age of Bronze, an Age of Stone, etc.  (We may also go through Pewter and Tin and Nickel into the last Age of Gold-Foil-Covered-Chocolate-Coins-Which-Melt-In-The-Pocket-Of-Your-Good-Suit-At-Hanukkah.)

We live in an Age of Irony, which is the combination of Gold and some Baser Metal, mixed in the oft quoted proportion of 1% gold and 99% base metal.

Irony is surprising. We shall find our age to be surprising and inexplicable. Many of us already have.

Time and The Golden Rule

It is time that we get over being frightened, and just realize what a mess we have created over the past 30 years. It is time for each of us to realize that we are just as intelligent and savvy - or more so - than 99% of the elected officials.
It is time to leave behind fear and anger, and start anew. But we need to know where we are going. That will be our stumbling block: where are we going?

Let's start by trying to stop being fearful: the dice were cast a long time ago. Then let's try to make things the best as we possibly can. Let's use the best maxims and ethics available to us: the Golden Rule. If, after a few years, we discover that The Golden Rule is morally empty and bankrupt, then we can turn to some other state of ferocity.

Further Thoughts On Group Mentality

I am impressed by the resemblance between normal group behavior and definitely abnormal individual obsessive behavior. It is as if abnormal psychology is the proper study of crowds and groups. What, then, is the dynamic of abnormal psych that renders it appropriate for groups?

Why should groups composed of normal individuals find their only form of expression in abnormal behavior? Why should many non-obsessives find themselves in groups that become obsessed and trapped by the symbolic gravity of their mental focus about a conceptual black hole that imprisons their minds?

Even things like the (a) enormous demand for entertainment products coupled with (b) a growing exhaustion of new creative material, such as we see on the talent-ravenous cable TV, strikes me as obsession: we strip-mine the possibility of stories, combining and recombining them like so many trash ponds of talus.

Religion has perverted itself into a telescoping focus onto itself.
If we recall the discussion of the quarterback, Mr. Tebow, and his penchant for kneeling at random places on the football playing field, and we recall the quotation: Matthew 6  5-6
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for  they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward  in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your  Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in  secret, will reward you.
we may readily perceive that much of modern religious belief and feeling is not only at variance with its own holy writ, but is intent on creating a focus on itself.
What do I mean by "a focus on itself"?
I mean that Religion was meant to free people. In the context above, Religion was meant to free people from the external displays of piety, from Celebrity Cult of Religion (TV evangelists, political pastors like Franklin Graham, etc.), and  from a class system based on perceived religiosity.
Instead, Religion now seeks to put people within the prison of a belief system that is not only mental, but physical: the external forms must conform, that which is seen on TV church service must conform and be iconic!, the actions and thoughts jointly are conformed and imprisoned!
This emphasis on externals is in good accord with the present age's emphasis on security, intelligence, tracking devices in iPhones, data mining, etc. for it allows a better Judgement upon the individual, and will ultimately do away with those other bothersome scraps of Scripture, which tells us to;
Judge not, lest You be judged.
Let he among you, who is without sin, cast the first stone 
Judgement is vastly easier when everyone's private actions and thoughts are open for inspection. We may judge people by their expressed views and opinions, and judge their piety by their display of Prayerful Preening!

Modern Religion considered as as group - not the individual people who are most often pious and devote - is failing miserably. Religion is unto itself an idol, created by the obsession of the group mind, and seeks to enforce the ethics of the obsessional group.


Afghan Wedding Syndrome

I fear we shall, many of us, soon suffer from AWS, or Afghan Wedding Syndrome. That is the behavior when we go about happy, smiling, celebrating just as if in a wedding. Being Afghanis, we are just about to shoot our rifles, unaware that soldiers are in the area, and the shooting will be mistaken for a Taliban attack somewhere.

The Drones of Repression are coming for us, unless we are resolute.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Average Intelligent Design

Intelligent Design theory assumes the "design" or "designer" is external to the designed process, just as the proverbial watchmaker is external to the watch.

There is really no good reason for such an assumption, other than a fear of Pantheism, or the notion that God is within each and every thing and being, and not some external entity. Most Christians do not like Pantheism: Grace can be everywhere, but God must be a bit more proper and remote.


 The 2012 Robin's Nest

After we cleaned the balcony porch, we planted colorful pansies in our large Mexican urn; even with some cold nights, they would endure, and they waved in the windy, sunny days like the samurai nobori battle flags in the films of Kurosawa.

We planned what to put into the planters which will hang on the porch railings, and one morning we woke up and discovered a robin had built her nest in the middle of the pansies. After a brief period of silence, during which we individually calculated the moral toll of nest-tossing now versus the unspeakable act of egg-tossing later versus living with the robins, I asked how long it had taken three years ago when we had a similar situation.
It takes about a month total for nest building, laying, hatching, and kid robins first flight; maybe a little longer. So we accepted exile from our porch for that time, took the planting boxes outside the garage - placing them outside in the morning and inside at night.

I always knew that cuckoo birds were criminals, laying eggs in the nests of others, but this year our researches into birds disclosed that doves just outright steal nests, and hunker  down on their wide, wide beams and squat.

So we kept an eye out for doves. There were a bunch hanging around. Doves are good for nothing, it seems, but stealing nests and defecating.
In fact, for doves, defecation is sort of like standing on a street corner smoking a cigarette, or flipping a lucky coin, or hanging around at the barber shop and chewing the fat.
They are like,
"Say, what's cooking, good looking?....**splatt!**",
and "Top of the...**!plop!**...morning to ya!",
and  "Ah dunno... whaddya... **splatter!** sploosh!***... wanna do? Like steal a nest?"

 Dopey Dove


Saturday, May 12, 2012


Kansas has passed a law, termed anti-Islamic, which forbids any decisions based on Shari'a or any other foreign legal codes.

This seems to apply to  the Jewish religious tribunal, the Beth Din, as well. Perhaps also to the Roman Catholic Marriage Tribunal.

All of these tribunals must conform to the secular laws of the lands in which they are located. However, it is often believed to be better to let the religious tribunals of a group handle matters and arbitration of matters relating to morals and religion. The results of the tribunals, again, must not transgress the laws of the land.

It appears to be - on the face of it - another legislative waste of time: poorly thought out, and will not stand up under scrutiny.
Exactly why questions of a strictly Islamic characters between Muslim parties should not be adjudicated under Islamic law, both parties willing and desiring this, and the decisions not contravening the laws of the State of Kansas nor those of the USA, should be a problem is unclear:  the Beth Din does not seem to present a problem.

I think we all have an idea of the dynamics behind this, however. We cannot seriously meet the problems we must face if we continually run after illusory problems.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Big Bain Theory 2

Mitt Romney's friends seem to verify his bullying. Mitt Romney says he did not know whether the victim was gay or not.

Mitt Romney says it was back in the 60's...  and no one ever discussed such things in the 60's.

I remember the 60's very well. We never discussed anything about sex. Never.
Maybe Mitt meant that he and his buds did not use the word "gay", which would probably be quite correct. I am not interested in finding which 1960's word he did use, because we were certainly never at a loss for words, as I recall.

Too Big To Succeed 2

Hey, I like that title and sobriquet: too big to succeed. I just threw it down for a title.
That is exactly the future of our financial markets.
The NY Times seems to have done it first. Blast!

Too Big To Succeed

JP Morgan Chase has revealed a $2 billion trading loss.

For what it is worth - and it is worth almost nothing to me... blast! - I said that this is how it is all going to come apart: the global financial system will lose control of its own bodily functions, and it will succumb to its own form of Lou Gehrig's Disease.

The biggest illusion and scam running today is that the financial system knows what it is doing. I do not mean to imply they are stupid, but I do mean that they cannot handle the complexity they have built.

Since I will at some future time be presented with the check for their further debauchery, I am concerned.
As far as predicting it, the only good that comes from that is an impulse to keep my eye on the ball and nose to the grindstone, and try to establish some sort of sanctuary for the coming unpleasantness.


Universal Child Abuse

My wife saw an article in the New York Times about the situation in some Orthodox Jewish communities, where child abuse occurs and the religious authorities turn a blind eye to it. Often the perpetrator is a religious figure. The orthodox leaders may refuse to report any cases to the secular authorities, and they often shun the victims who report the abuses.

Child abuse is a universal pastime, and it occurs everywhere and with every religion: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Vodou... any religion.
The Catholic Church's problems were larger due to a number of factors, not the least of which was the number of priests involved  and the ironic scandal of the sacerdotal class preying on the flock... descending like lusty Assyrian wolves upon the sheep, as it were.

Our religions today are keepers of traditions. In the Venn diagram of heaven, if those traditions happen to intersect with Righteousness and Godliness, it is a happy circumstance, and seemingly more and more entirely accidental.

Duty versus Obsession


Somebody asked me my position on same sex marriage, and I answered that I do not very much concern myself with it. I said that the evils that are afflicting and will afflict us do not include people's living arrangements.

In the New Testament, Faith is stressed over the ancient teachings on sexual matters, for there is only one matter of strictly sexual mores spoken of in the New Testament, moicheia. The matter at hand comes down to a metaphor that Sodom itself - under the new teaching - would be quite safe if it had faith, indicating that whatever sins we might ascribe to Sodom - and it is not entirely clear what they were - they were small potatoes next to lack of Faith.

I believe Faith to be things done and acted on, not "systems of belief", which are spiritual grocery lists. I believe we ignore the demands of faith, and we do so to our increasing peril. It is ourselves who must be changed: all of us will die, but not all of us are changed!
No one listens to the quaint stories of the lilies of the field, the turning of the second cheek, nor the giving up the child's way of thinking and taking up one's cross: those notions have been pushed aside, while various political causes have sucked in the focus of the Religious.

The demands of Faith task us to the extreme, as Moby Dick tasked Ahab into his obsessions and his paganism of futile pursuit.
Ahab seeks to kill the whale, for he believes it responsible for his handicap. However, it is also the case that Ahab was at least as responsible for the loss of his leg, for Ahab chose the life-work of killing whales, which brought him into constant danger.
The things Ahab has to do to live are the entire opposite of an obsessive lust for death and violence, but he will not leave behind the old ways of thought... old thoughts and concepts going back to when he was much younger and first was impressed by the death-business of whale hunting.

That which obsesses us will destroy us.

The Secret Circle

I saw an add for a TV show called  The Secret Circle; it was on after The Big Bang Theory and advertised what I think is a new show. It looks to be witches, magic, possibly vampires and zombies and werewolves or werejaguars or were-something-or-others.

I find it fascinating how fascinated the mass audience is in Magic: white and black, which are the various forms of the powers that shape the universe for that mass audience: vampires are the Story of the Resurrection gone to the dark side, witches and wizards create and make un-create and form the Story of Creation gone awry...
Zombies, however, might have a bit more to them. I have been reading about "zombie ants", and such alien control of the brains of entities is a possibility.

Magic is not possible until one realizes it is impossible.
It is just the same as the fact that once we realize we cannot "speak" to God, suddenly we can speak to God.

TV magic and TV Religiosity and experiences of the Holy and the Numinous are first of all (1) denials that such things are impossible, and then secondly (2) an imaginative, brain-storming writers' session about them, and lastly (3) a script.

The above process is the same for TV, Organized Religion, Mass Delusions, etc. They are conceptions of what is impossible based on the possibility of the impossible: they are delusions based on the contradiction between possible and impossible.
The Sense of the Holy is not a contradiction, rather It is the Irony between our concepts: things become possible only when they have been stripped from our "belief-systems"..., allowing them to become "real".

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Same Sex Marriage

I was reading some things from a variety of views on same sex marriage.

Governor Snyder of Michigan two days ago signed a bill allowing people to carry concealed tasers right next to their concealed guns.

Michelle Bachmann just became a Swiss citizen.

For the first time, I agree with her.

Money and Celebrity

"Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees baseball team makes more in two weeks than Mickey Mantle did in his entire career." (Quote from documentary Toots Shor)

Celebrity is as fungible as money given the right circumstances.
An image is as good as gold.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Big Bain Theory 1

I started watching The Big Bang Theory about 4 weeks ago, never having cast an eye at it before then. Of course, it has transformed my life in a way, such that I often wonder how I interpreted the world before I was aware of such things as the Cooper-Nowitzki Theorem, The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification, and The Zazzy Substitution.

I discern some doubt among the readers. Well and good, I shall demonstrate:

Up until I started watching The Big Bang Theory, I never had much to relate Mitt Romney to.
Now it is as clear as the Liberty Bell on July the Fourth, high noon, in Independence Mall that Mitt is a Very Wealthy Virtual Presence Device  (VWVPD) that emulates Sheldon Cooper from The Theory.

I sincerely believe that Mitt had the show's writers come up with some of his lines, such as, "I don't know a lot about NASCAR, but I know a lot of the rich owners."



I think Ruth got me thinking about the question: Why Poetry?

A lot of people have odd opinions about poetry, but it seems that a lot of people have odd opinions about a lot of things these days, so that indicates nothing  except the prevalence of odd notions.
People tend to look down on poetry. I do not have the luxury of being able to do that.
Some people feel they must apologize for their poetry, but I think this is an extension of our society's normal marginalization process, which instills a sense of inferiority and "otherness" into vast numbers of our fellow beings, keeping them at bay.

After two weeks, I have come this far:
(Note: when I say "intelligence" below, I mean the entire network of intelligence and cognition in a human being, not just "smarts"; I mean the entire neural network and what is implies over time.)

(1) Writing Creatively is a sharing of Intelligent Experience based on the assumption of Communality.

Oratory, Essays, Sermons, and Science papers go to extreme lengths to spell things out and ensure that the audience understands and - hopefully - may at times be persuaded.

Not so Fiction. Fiction ignores the business of building proofs and assumes we are companions already: we eat at the same table of intelligence. Scientists may read the papers of their scientific opponents, but it is rare that people read the fiction appraised highly by people they perceive as being decidedly different from themselves, for readers of fiction assume a communal intelligent experience of the world, not a confrontation with alien views: there is no long-lasting logic to meld alien ideas into an intelligence that has reached a certain level of complexity.

(2) Writing Creatively is an effort to recreate and re-invoke Intelligent Experience

Words are not used merely as enumerators and signs, as they were in early scripts, but are the things of the rhapsodist who recites the works of Homer, and conveys the audience into an altered reality: the reality of Troy recreated and re-invoked, and thus transforms the community of intelligence - the audience - into altered states.

(3) Poetry is Writing Creatively Confined to a Small Space

Poetry needs not meter nor rhyme; poetry only requires a crystalline growth, a certain structure - not necessarily unchanging. Meter was an ancient mnemonic; The Iliad was prose constructed to be remembered and recited, and used meter to aid the process.
Sappho and Simonides were poetry, lyric poetry.
Whereas fiction may ramble and become amorphous (Joyce's Finnegan's Wake comes to mind), not so poetry. As intelligent fellow beings experience Life, Poetry seeks to recreate the Shock of the New, whereas prose seeks to recreate histories and annals of what was once New.

Now this is a good example of what happens when we put our minds to something. Of the three points above, only number three was apprehended by me before 2 weeks ago. The idea that epic poetry was actually prose never occurred to me before, for I allowed the notion that poetry requires meter rule my mind.

We each take life like a deck of cards, we shuffle it, then pass it on to someone else who does the same thing, only each time we touch the cards, we add kings and queens in medieval panoply and symbols from the Levant: gold, silver, attar of roses;  all resplendent against the busy-ness of the four suits from ace to ten:
we hold all cards in communality, but the face cards, kings, queens, and jacks, in all their static ferocity are our poems!
And as we share them, we extend this game of life we play.


Monday, May 07, 2012

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Diane Arbus Time

A Possible 2012 GOP Presidential Candidate

I think it is a pity that Diane Arbus so totally missed out on the Tea Party. It would have been silver nitrate heaven.

On Friedman and Wal-Mart

On reading Thomas Friedman's piece on Wal-Mart (cf. his book The World Is Flat), I envisage this state of affairs existing between him and those who take him seriously:

A Pavlovian Dancing Master  (and a "dancing master" in the sense that Samuel Johnson used  in describing the letters of Philip Stanhope Dormer, Lord Chesterfield)  and his trained hounds doing a minuet.

Of course, it is to be expected that I would say something like this about a journalist who was deeply enmeshed in the propaganda of Iraq; one month after the invasion, he was in Iraq:
“It would be idiotic to even ask Iraqis here how they felt about politics. They are in a pre-political, primordial state of nature.”
I find it extremely telling that Mr. Friedman would speak of the people of Iraq in the same manner that anthropologists used to speak of native peoples for whom they had culture-contempt and little empathy. All the peoples committed to the mercy of genocidal and depradation were "idealized" as being "primordial" and not being agents in their own history, thereby justifying the agency of others - their superior oppressors.


Friday, May 04, 2012

The Dream Factory: Tires

I dream of tires, front steering tires, to be precise; they are turned at a slight angle, I can smell them, I can see their tread and pat my pocket, looking for the tread measure. There are no abrasions on the sidewalls: they look factory new, and there is a spot of red paint yet which marks them as such.

The painter, C.A. Jeffrey, has a great love of coffee (see right under Links). I did a picture of her in a coffee house once in my series of painters with flat tires: sort of the Mahlerei of Flats.  I did Giorgio de Chirico, too. De Chirico drove a PT Cruiser with Donald Duck style exterior sun visors, so big that they supplied a good deal of lift.

In dreams, tires seem iconic, enigmatic, and powerful. Dream time is the time of life we all do the back stroke as we rest ourselves floating on the rip-tide of the world.

Pavlov's Dogs and Mr. Chen

How well do we know Mr. Chen Guangcheng?
Personally, I never heard of him before, and I wonder what does anyone in the Media know about him, beyond that they call him a dissident. What do he dissent against?

I have no idea. I have no illusions that many thousands in China are having their rights infringed, but they have not sought asylum at the US Embassy. I have to know Mr. Chen, not the general state of dissidents in China.
Merely asserting that someone is a dissident, and having that person seek asylum is not enough for me, for I have seen such behavior in the past exhibited by people who are not dissidents, but are disturbed.
So far, I have found extensive commentary, but nothing of Mr. Chen's work.

Before we make fools out of ourselves, I think we should insist that the Executive and the Congress intimately acquant themselves with Mr. Chen and his philosophy.
It would not hurt to interview a few neighbors, too.

I do not like having a large media event that works on us as if we were Pavlov's dogs, and this event has. I have seen nothing but stage decoration, and a first-draft script, yet we have picked it up and acting as if this play were "the thing"! Romney has even made statements, probably knowing even less than I do about it all.

Update  May 5

I have found some information. Unfortunately, it is rather Wiki-like: lacking detail and complexity. What I have found is rather like something put out by the Ministry of Truth. Perhaps that suffices us.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Feuding Stereotypes

Which stereotype is worse? Which culture has the superior stereotype of another culture, a stereotype with which it can crush the pretensions of another culture? Which culture rulz!, stereotypically speaking?

Do the Americans rule over the French with this stereotypical weapon of mass destruction:

Pepé Le Pew

or do the French with this stereotype:

Do the Americans or the French have the nastier stereotype to malign the other?

Stepping Out With The Vaders

(from left) Norman Joss Vader, Kathy Vader, and Darth Vader
waiting in line for tickets for the Toronto Symphony
at Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto


Goofy Greek Verbs

Sunrise... prix fixe!

Sun gazers seem to think that mammals are like plants in possessing an ability to absorb energy directly from the sun. We're not, of course, as I explained in my inimitable way a year ago... Even if humans could absorb enough energy directly from the sun to keep their metabolism going, they'd still be faced with the problem of what, exactly, they're made of. Food is more than energy. It's amino acids, sugars, fats, and other building blocks necessary to make proteins, DNA, and in general the very chemicals that make up the very structure and metabolism of our bodies.
In brief, sun gazing is a lovely fantasy, but that's all it is: A fantasy. Unfortunately for people who try to rely on sun gazing as a means of nutrition in a serious way, this is reality:
A woman starved to death after embarking on a spiritual journey which involved giving up food and water and attempting to exist on nothing but sunlight. The Swiss woman, who was in her fifties, apparently got the idea after watching the documentary film 'In the Beginning, There Was Light' which features an Indian guru who claims to not have eaten anything in 70 years.
The Zurich newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported Wednesday that the unnamed woman decided to follow the radical fast in 2010.
The prosecutors' office in the Swiss canton of Aargau confirmed Wednesday that the woman died in January 2011 in the town of Wolfhalden in eastern Switzerland.
...the entire concept of "breatharianism" (the belief that you can live on air and sunlight alone). It's similar to ineda, which comes from the Latin word for "fasting" and is the belief that it is possible to live without food. In any case, from what I can tell about the movie, the filmmakers interviewed a bunch of people, including one of our favorite American woo-meisters Dean Radin, who takes quackademic medicine far beyond what most quackademics would ever dare as editor of Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, in which he delves into distant healing and infusing chocolate with "intent."

|end quote

I was often fascinated by the incomplete verbs in Greek, one of which was "edo" and the Middle Voice form "edomai" and a few of the other roots that were used for "eating". You may see I have marked a form of it - ineda -  in the above quote by bold, italic underline in the last paragraph. One would think that the verb "to eat" would have a complete verb, not have a whole bunch of tenses and forms missing.
I mean, it's OK for "to know" or "oida" to be grossly lacking in its parts... knowledge is a pretty iffy proposition to start with, so having all kinds of goofy partial verbs, grunts, and gestures to express it is no  big surprise.

(Conjugating "To know" in Greek is a lot like:  "How does one say 'I know' ?"  "Oida.";  "How does one say 'I used to know'?"   "Oida."
"What's 'I shall know'?"  "Oida" .... Oida, oida, oida...
This is where conjugating Greek verbs for the impressionable young student becomes a lot like Abbott and Costello doing "Who's On First?" ....)

But "eating"! That should be just a big "mangiamo!" and every knows the conjugation at all times and places, even when one is flossing the big 32 tea-stained and crooked-as-an-old-split-rail-fence items in the mouth.
Even worse, this "ineda" roguish character seems to be Latin, based on the tediously similar incomplete Latin verb "edo, edere" meaning "eat...,  and  "in + eda"  seemingily meaning  "not + eating", although "eda" itself as a noun is novel... it could mean "not sitting" as a Latin-Greek hermaphrodite, and I think I'll go with that... it is not as if I shall be using the expressions above any time soon in any one of the infinite String Theory universes in this neck of the Time-Space continuum.

Bloody Verbs!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

News Corp

A British parliamentary committee has issued a report, the majority of members stating that Rupert Murdoch is not a "fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company."

The price of the shares of News Corp rose 1.7% in the afternoon, demonstrating that shareholders fancy the idea of the company without the presence of the Murdochs,  who continue to treat it as if it were a private company and their own fiefdom. A rise in price was anything but a vote of confidence in Rupert Murdoch; it was the way the market added its 2 cents to the report.

Allen West's Manchurian Candidate Moment

Just as each and every one of us may get our "15 Minutes of Fame", so also may all politicians have their moments in the limelight: the Democratic politicians usually try for an FDR type of ambience, whereas the Republicans of the present day seek a Joe McCarthy, Eugene Talmadge, or Senator Johnny Iselin aura.

Mr. West claimed that 80 Democratic members of the House of Representatives were members of the Communist Party (and - so it appears - did not get the Tweet that the USSR had closed up shop!). Mr. West, in a display of true gallantry rare for these days, has declined to name any one of the 80, showing he is a gentleman with a good grasp of the laws covering libel and slanders.

All from the script of Senator Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate: 

The setting is a meeting chamber where the Secretary of Defense is holding a meeting, Frank Sinatra's character is his military aide, and Senator Iselin gets the floor for a question:
I am United States Senator Yerkes Iselin, and I have here a list of the names of 207 persons who are known by the Secretary of Defense as being members of the Communist Party!

(uproar breaks out in chamber, people shouting back and forth. The Secretary of Defense demands to know who the idiot is yelling these questions.)

When the Senator leaves the chamber and goes to the cloak room, the reporters follow him and ask him to "verify that number... how many Communists did you say?"

Oh, I said there were exactly... I've absolutely proof there are, uh... 104 card-carrying Communists in the Defense Department at this time...

We can be sure Mr. West will not fudge the number as did Senator Iselin. Nor, I'm sure, does Mr. West have a hidden and baneful agenda behind his bombast, as did Senator Iselin...

I appreciate very much watching life imitate art like this. What is a Lie but an artifice well done?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

So the Eiffel Tower, the Washington Monument...

... and the Great Pyramid are sitting in a bar... stop me if you've heard this one....

I came across an item about Eiffel Tower marriage. Since the article was about the exotic fauna known as Right Wingers, I was very sure I did not wish to view nor hear the video, which seemed to have a Tightie-Rightie type female waving her hands and moving her lips. Ghastly even with the mute button on.

So I tried to look it up furtively on Google. It turns out that the female seems to believe ( i.e., has as an item in her incredibly rococco "belief system") that allowing gay marriage leads to marriage with inanimate objects, such as the Eiffel Tower.

Mercy me, as my Aunt Nell used to say.

The Valley of the Blogs 1

(The title refers to blogs that are still online, yet are defunct.)
In I and Thou by Martin Buber, he talks about how humanity has always used religion as a way to explain the unknown, a way to confront their fears, a way to ground them to the power of a collective identity.  An image he uses to illustrate this point is how the Achilpa, a nomadic tribe in Australia, carried around a “centering” stick that represented the origin of the universe.  No matter where these people went they were always within the realm of creation–a powerful symbol of their identity as a “first people” as well as a reassurance against the darkness beyond their campfires.
This is a very nice story. It is a porte-manteau of myth; it is a myth containing a myth.

It is also an illustration of what St. Paul refers to as "the things of a child". A child loves to hear stories over and over, and a child uses these stories to play their own games and create further stories. Such are stories about the teachings of centering sticks.

A centering stick takes us from the infinitely busy and detailed engagement with creation, and it is a pointer that reminds us there is more - much more - that is silent and beyond words, so we are quiet then.
It abruptly stops the train of thoughts and experiences flowing in
And that is all it does, but that is quite a lot these days.

Goals of Religion 2

 Martin Buber

The future of Religion is:

1) intensive focus on the individual religious life, aimed at reducing the long time required for the freeing of the individual men and women,


2) a beginning on the communal religious life, aimed at understanding what is required for human communal freedom, and the beginning of spiritual practices to attain such freedoms.

Firstly, please observe that it is not sufficient that there be a goodly number of fine, upstanding citizens scattered around. We have many godly people today living as individuals, but even these, when gathered into groups for common goals - especially political goals - are condemned to degenerate into obnoxious and toxic "crowds".

Secondly, to me it is apparent that this is a defining moment, and the ferment of our age will lead to a "new wine", and it will take on the face I just described. I agree with Arnold Toynbee in his basic premise that it is the Forms of Religious Life that carry the seeds of civilization from one civilization in its death throes to a new civilization coming into being.

The early steps of this process were reflected in Martin Buber's Ich und Du - I and you (singular), which described the process from the individual to the group of two. It will continue as Ich und Ihr - I and you (plural).