Gem of Wisdom #100

To celebrate this one-hundredth posting on my blog, I offer another gem of wisdom for what it’s worth to the many millions who don’t read my postings.

I’m not one given to thumping on the holy books of any sect, except for plagiarizing the Aztec codices, but that’s a matter of art. However, I keep thinking of the biblical parable of demonic possession because it seems particularly cogent nowadays.

From my naïve (and eccentric) position, it sure looks to me like the majority of the human race is possessed by demons. Those evil spirits are easily named as the traditional seven deadly sins: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth—and all the synonyms and corollaries under each…  These behaviors are deadly not only to the perpetrator but also to everybody else.  Infection by even one of them is like poison in a well.  Complexes, which are frighteningly frequent (and painfully apparent in certain public figures!), are especially lethal.  By the way, I’m talking here about the whole world.

So what happens in the biblical parable? The demons are exorcised, i.e., driven out, into a herd of undeserving swine that stampedes off a cliff into the sea and drowns.  Nice way to dispose of trash, I guess, but nowadays we don’t have that technology.  And I don’t believe in scape-hogs.

These Little Pigs

[This photo of cute little piggies is lifted from in appreciation for it coming from Nashville, a civilized town quite close to my childhood home in the woods where I had all my Neolithic dentistry done.  And in memory of my prize-winning shoat, a Poland China hog named Cornpone the Magnificent.  He earned me the title of 4-H County Champion Boy!]

Even without swine to drown the evil spirits, our demon-ridden humans are obviously, but obliviously, stampeding headlong over economic, ecological, and spiritual cliffs. Unfortunately, their suicide may well kill off virtuous humans too, not to mention other life-forms on earth.  Let’s hope at least the innocent pigs survive.  Their intelligent brains might eventually evolve into sentience, and one might even boldly go where no pig has gone before!





Now Some Uncommon Sense

[If anybody knows how to bring my recent essay and this post to the attention of the President-Elect, I (and possibly the world) would be tremendously grateful.  I don’t “tweet” and hope I never have to, and besides these matters aren’t such as can be expressed in that limited medium.] 


            When I posted that rant the other day about public enterprise, I wanted to stop thinking about the political situation here in the US, but all the same I kept on thinking that this is the only way we’re ever going to fix our terminally infected system.

Otherwise, we’ll remain colonies of corporations until they’ve drained our personal lifeblood and absconded with all our national treasures, our common wealth.  Next, and this abomination is already in progress, they’ll try to do the same to the whole world.

Playing the cards they were dealt by the obsolete tradition of private enterprise and the short-sightedness of our Founding Fathers about economic psychodynamics, corporations have been running the Roman gambit to control and exploit their captive public:  bread and circus.

Corporate agri-business has been keeping the American populace too well fed (to judge by our obesity epidemic), and corporate media entertain us within an inch of our lives.  We are inundated and consumed by movies, politics, news, sports, sensationalism, nonsense, and most obnoxiously, the celebrity syndrome, video games, and social networking.

As a result, our people are stunned, hypnotized, and incapable of thinking for themselves or questioning our nation’s critically ill condition.  This sickness requires intensive treatment, even radical surgery, to set new rules of play.  In this life-and-death game of providing public benefit, the public good must always trump private interest, or it’s all over.

I haven’t been a supporter of President-Elect Trump for more reasons than I can count, but I have to acknowledge his election, however it was accomplished, and rightfully expect real results on his promises to “fix the system.”  He hasn’t explained what he hopes to do about it, but I maintain that this public enterprise ideology is his and our country’s best and perhaps only bet.  Besides, it’s also a sure way to renew our country’s greatness.

My uncommon sense says, counter-intuitively, that evolving this private enterprise economy into a dependable, productive system of public life-support will probably take an autocratically inclined oligarch who intimately understands it, is not beholden to any of its special interests, and has the courage and chutzpah to do what’s absolutely necessary for the public good.  Run-of-the-mill politicians wouldn’t even try.

Call me Machiavelli, but any presidential prince who would rein in the corporate nobility and their colluding politicians will have to use all and any strategies and tools available, within humanitarian and ethical limits, of course.  The American Evolution of our economy to public benevolence will be, without exaggeration, the biggest social advance in human history.

This new ideology of public enterprise will also serve well for any government with the best interests of its people at heart, be it a democracy, autocracy, theocracy, or whatever.  Modestly, I foresee our American Evolution inspiring the “benevolution” of economies around the world and bringing unprecedented global prosperity.  And seriously, I’d call the uncommon person who creates such a brave new world order a super-hero.

# # #

Violence and Fear in America

I’m really upset—I’ve had it with all this violence.  Here comes my rant.

Actually I’ve been bothered and tormented about violence for 14 years—ever since the catastrophe of 9/11.  That was a social blow we could well have quickly recovered from, had not the terrified powers that were (and still are) used it (and still use it) to terrorize the population (ever since).  In truth, that apocalyptic event was a decisive and lasting victory for the reputed “terrorists,” whoever they may have been (or be).

Those Powers That Be (PTB) have been terrorizing our people by constantly reminding us of the threat of random violence at any time or place.  Any exposure to violence gives it a toehold in our consciousness, an inroad into our awareness, and that is in no way a good thing.  Violence is as contagious as any black plague, maybe more, and way more lethal.

It almost goes without saying that the normal animal and human emotional response to violence is fear.  How one manifests that emotion makes all the difference:  resistance, defense, retreat, or terror (surrender).  These are all fear-based reactions.

Fear has now become the basis of our whole culture or if you will, civilization.  It’s really big business embracing our whole way of life.  Actually it’s several mega-industries:  the insurance industry, the security and policing industries, the medical and pharmaceutical industries, the military industry, the political industry, the media and advertising industries, and the entertainment and sports industries.  Those are just the big kahunas in the economic ocean of fear.  I won’t even try to list all the other fish in this frightful sea.

To return to those constant reminders of the threat of random violence, just think for a moment on how in the past 14 years news reporting has been ramping up intensity and volume of stories about horrific slaughters and atrocities, now with mass shootings almost a weekly spectacle.

Sensational coverage of this supposedly important news has been commandeering the airwaves with continuous mind-numbing video loops and litanies of ominous, hypnotic memes.  And now with the San Bernardino abomination, it has suddenly turned into a reality show with live feeds to the gory details of police action, investigation, supposition, and philosophical commentary.  The insistent message is simple:  This could happen to you.  Be afraid—be very afraid.

Heeding that warning, people now seem to be hiding themselves away in their safe-haven homes.  Sadly, rather than use this private time for interpersonal or personal relations or activities, most turn to the TV and Internet for immersive, violence-based entertainment.  This is a vicious circle, a self-reinforcing mechanism for terrorizing folks.  Plain and simple, we’re being brain-washed, no, make that force-fed, with images and thoughts of violence at every turn, news programs, action dramas, sitcoms, and even in commercials.

Of course, this begs the question:  Why do folks willingly, even compulsively, watch violence?   Frankly, I believe that watching violence is the same as watching pornography—just as vicarious and shameful.  They both pander to the negative, atavistic side of the human being and awaken similar bestial emotions.  And both are super-addictive.

So where does a fearful population go from here?  Seems to me, there are three ways to go.  My preference is to close my eyes and ears to the insidious message, living my life without fear of threats and surviving or not.  Of course, you could always retreat like Gollum deeper into the bowels of the earth with your precious screen still spewing its poison, but then there is nowhere to go but even deeper down.

The third option might be to negotiate with the PTB, trading off our rights and humanity for security.  Maybe that’s what the PTB have had in mind all along.  Just saying.

Such horrible bargains have been struck many times in the course of history.  Remember the Romans’ pacification of their population with bread and circus (which was simply glorified violence)?  Nowadays it’s junk food and TV (even more vilely violent).  Don’t forget the relative social security of medieval feudalism or the prosperity of empires, of course at the cost of personal liberty.  Some monarchs or dictators have occasionally provided reasonable peace and security at the cost of social freedom, and theocratic states still sell protection for total control of their people’s thoughts and behavior.

Personally I’m not going to settle for any of those raw deals.  Again, my choice is to live without fear.  Whether or not I fear it, my future lies solely in the hands of Providence.  We get what we’ll get, and pre-emptive fear of dire possibilities is a miserable waste of time.  Most won’t even happen, and if one does, well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

My personal mantra is Frank Herbert’s transcendent dictum in “Dune:” “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

To break this cycle of fear-inducing violence, we’ve got to deny it any place in our spirit, banish it from our thoughts and fantasies, and quell our instinctual fears.  We must shut out society’s pervasive drone of violence and create a new personal music, a true entertainment for our fearless minds.  For my own part, I’ve recently taken up nonchalant whistling.

Again it almost goes without saying that my strong (and realistically rational) opinions about today’s atmosphere of fear aren’t going to change squat.   My only (perfectly realistic) fear is that the terrorized people of the world might surrender their lives and liberty to the PTB for a pittance of dubious security.  Believe me, folks, surrender won’t banish fear—or violence.

Meanwhile I’ll just whistle a happy tune, letting that fear pass over and through me, and only I will remain, a free human being.

To Defeat the Terrorists

Under no illusion or delusion that my opinion has even one iota of political influence, I recently spouted off about my personal experience with a disgusting politician and was gratified that the hypocrite actually lost the election.  Congratulations, Louisiana.

Again with no expectation of an audience or response, I’ll now blogiate brashly on another far more disturbing moral and political situation.

In their recent press conference, Presidents Obama and Hollande pledged mutual support and solidarity of the United States and France in the fight against an insane pseudo-state of terrorist barbarians in Iraq and Syria.  The two Presidents also called for broad international cooperation and coordination in the struggle and urged Russia to join the coalition against this common enemy of free civilization and humanity.

Today (Thanksgiving), President Hollande is to meet with President Putin to argue for his country’s involvement in facing down the true foe.  May he meet with resounding success!

On the grounds of my lifelong involvement with things Russian, I must remind the world of an important historical fact.  Several centuries ago that state (then called simply Rus) was viciously conquered and for many years utterly terrorized by the Mongols.  That psychic trauma was elemental in shaping the identity and spirit of today’s Russia.

Albeit presumptuous of an eccentric old man, I maintain that Russia still operates from a place of paralyzing fear.  No, make that terror.  Their experiences with radical violence in Ossetia, Georgia, and even at home in the Moscow subway have once again terrorized the country.

Our western democracies have refused to be terrorized by abominations like the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11 or the wholesale slaughter in Paris on 11/13 and have been actively opposing the terrorist threat with resolute force.

Meanwhile, Russia has been blustering and blundering around in Ukraine and the Crimea trying to expand its control along the Black Sea as a rampart against the Middle East (and incidentally NATO).  There is, of course, precedent for these blatantly self-defensive actions in Russia’s several wars over the centuries with the (real) historical caliphates and the Ottoman Empire.

In this context, democratic and secular Turkey is now crucial, and the recent fighter jet debacle must be thrust aside.  Russia and Turkey both must shake hands and say, “Sorry, man—my bad.”  Blame and excuses serve no constructive purpose whatsoever.

Other purely self-defensive actions have been Russia’s close relations with Iran and its support of the despicable dictator in Syria.  Using its military might simply to prop up Assad, terrified Russia is ruthlessly holding that suffering nation up as a human shield, a helpless buffer against the barbarians.  This is unarguably and definitively the heartless act of a coward.

To see Russia’s cowardice, just look at the abject fear in President Putin’s eyes.  I desperately hope that President Hollande will convince that frightened leader to find his courage, to take up arms against the true enemy.  Remember Aleksandr Nevsky!  Arise, ye Russian people!

But I’m not done pontificating.  There’s an even bigger problem here than Russia’s temerity, and it’s even more complicated.  Broad international cooperation and coordination in the fight against the barbarians absolutely must include their co-religionist states, like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Egypt to name just a few across Asia and Africa.

These states have been lying idly about while untold millions of their own and people in their wider community of nations languish in poverty, misery, and oppression.  Here’s the root cause of the refugee crisis, their failure as honorable and responsible governments of their people.

Another cause is that their religious culture is schizophrenic and expresses itself exclusively in sectarian terms.  Every sect is by definition inimical to any other, and adherents of one gladly annihilate those of any other for the most painfully meaningless differences in their supposedly shared faith in the one true divinity.

Just imagine.  Saudi Arabia and Iran are at each other’s throats over some senseless question of whose uncle or cousin was once supposed to be top spiritual banana—or of which finger to use to pick your nose.  That’s as absurd as Presbyterians making war on Baptists.  Come on, guys!  Why in heaven’s name should your deity give a fat rat’s ass how you choose to adore it?

This sectarian insanity is what has bred today’s new barbarian horde.  And meanwhile you sectarian powers that be have simply been standing by, aloofly watching the carnage and mayhem that your misbegotten and misguided children are wreaking in your own houses and abroad.  Don’t you understand that one day those barbarians will be coming after you too?

It’s high time that you co-religionist states take decisive control of your bad seed offspring.  Severe discipline (at which you are, of course, past masters) is in order.  Get up off your pious duffs and be a part of the solution—not the large part of the problem.

If you keep diddling around, the world will have reason to think that this struggle between civilization and barbarism is a clash of religions.  It is most definitely not.  Or in your sectarian delusions is that what you want?  For God’s sake, don’t go there!

Why wait?  Help your good friends and neighbors rid the world of this evil scourge.  Then we can all have an eternally grateful and Happy Thanksgiving.