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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Playtime is Over

William Buckley vs John Kenneth Galbraith


Due to the dramatic concentration of wealth in America among the relative few coincident with the dramatic increase of economic stress among the rest, debates such as above grate us as now offensively tone-death to the approaching disaster that confronts us.  Debates suggesting that the subject at hand is mostly about leisurely showcasing the participants' intellectual skills and upper-crust status is no longer acceptable.  The time for self-indulgence is gone. Recess is over, period.  We must all do our homework, marshal the facts, and make palpable the underlying necessity and efficacy of our beliefs.



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Monday, May 29, 2017

In Memoriam --The Triumph of Cynicism

Exam yourself American voter. If you have come to accept that the term "politician" equates with the total and complete lack of integrity and that in the political playing field objectivity and regard for facts are inherently impossible due to the nature of man; and that the essence of governance boils down to day trading dominance alone and that ethics (and to use a quaint term, virtue) are totally irrelevant except that they render us weak; then I ask on this Memorial Day why even honor the row upon row of fallen--those silly fools who fancied that integrity and courage and honor and compassion and sacrifice--even the ultimate sacrifice--had any real meaning or value at all? No, these silly idealist, these silly losers deserve no honor. It is only we--the truly sophisticated left standing, the Real Winners who know how to cash in--It is only we who deserve the glitz and glory! (Thought for the Day: “Real Politics” practices and behavior are bound to collude with “Real Business” practices and behavior and vice versa.)


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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Irreconcilable Differences and the Role of Addiction

A marriage encountering "Irreconcilable Differences" can end in separation or divorce.  However, many successful marriages can embrace numerous irreconcilable differences. My wife and I disagree on the agreeableness of sunbathing on the beach. My wife loves it and when in the sun gets an attractive tan.  I, on the other hand, hate it for I know from experience that the sun roils my flesh as if in a broiler.  Relatively speaking this is a minor matter. There are a whole host of outings both of us fully enjoy together. And Connie can go to the beach to sunbathe with friends while leaving me at home in air conditioned comfort. That is, though the particular matter of our sunbathing together on the beach is irreconcilable, this does not in any way threaten our marriage.  Our mutual foundational love and trust are not threatened or jeopardized--even absurd to think so--while in some ways our bond is strengthened by our exercising mutual consideration. If, however, I lived in a financial never-never fantasy land of effusive spending--really at base a personal consumption addiction--whose unrealistic extravagances subjected our marriage to unpaid bills and constant turmoil and strife, then my wife's trust in me could be lost forever (trust in my love for her or even a single vestige of my goodwill towards her). 

Irreconcilable differences precipitating in separation (or interminable conflict should separation be impossible) are those that repeatedly and consistently undermine trust and goodwill. Jesus said you will hear of wars and rumors of war (Matthew 24:6).  This is another way of saying that there is a jealousy that induces romper room immaturity and self-righteousness and as such is inherently inured from even rudimentary lessons of sharing. That jealousy (the obverse of The Golden Rule) is the essential root of addiction is made evident by the widespread ineffectiveness of rehabilitation programs absent what now can only be identified as divine grace. In Christianity evil originated with Satan's jealousy of God (followed by humanity's jealousy of God and one another). 

Picture a romper room.  In one case two children are playing side by side.  They have learned the Golden Rule at least in part by divine grace.  Thus when Jane gets a nice toy that Joe does not have, Joe from a distance delights and shares in her joy and mental "high" because he strongly identifies with her happiness.  At some point Jane looks over and offers to share her toy with Joe, and they soon are playing together.   Now in another corner of the room jealousy rules.  In this case, Sue gets a nice toy that John does not have. She exults in her besting of John. Bitter conflict soon erupts and John trashes Sue's toy.  Sue in turn retaliates by destroying John's house of blocks. 

This duality of behavior pretty much summaries most of human history.  The addictions fueling jealousy must be seen for what they truly are..the ultimate enemy of the people.  These despotic addictions arise not from the ""high" of sharing in the happiness of the truly blessed, but rather from the demonic "high" of subjugating and demeaning others.


Dedicated to Whitman's Collection of Middle East Addictions

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Powerful End-Game of Nurturing

The other day I purchased a new flight cage for The Trinity--my three pet finches.  Soon after I purchased another smaller cage and adopted two parakeets.  I think we humans not only have a need to be nurtured, but also carry the need to validate ourselves through the nurturing of others--this behavior is so fundamentally human that it verges on the unnatural to behave otherwise.  I think we would be awestruck, for example, if we could measure the economic activity generated by people striving to nurture pets or people (or plants) dear to them. As for me, it was simply required that I let the parakeets know how much I wanted the best for them by buying forthwith two mirrors to embellish their cage.  And of course loving parents from day one feel a tremendous urge to establish in their children a "feeling that each really matters"--that someone "gives a damn" whether they thrive personally and socially.

Nurturing does not end with childhood nor is it limited to the family unit--however essential that institution is.  Effective institutions with diverse roles and missions know the importance of conveying to their members and to those with whom they interface that each and every one is important--that each individual truly matters.  

In order for the public square to be a beautiful place, security and care must be in evidence.  There is a sense in which it is the responsibility of everyone and every institution to make this happen.  But we have seen proven time and again that generalized responsibility without specific assignment of accountability results in a suffused and foul miasma of toxicity.  

Perhaps the fundamental reason I have never liked going to meetings is that meetings often function as a draft board conscripting my services and my resources whether I like it or not.  Just so is the role of government taxation.  It conscripts my private resources to help fund the public square.  Yet, in my view, this as it should be.  Few would think the police power of the state should be funded through charity drives and cookie sales--"give only if your heart moves you"--and it well may not move me if I feel that others will pull my weight and I can be a respectable undercover parasite. 

I worked for the City of Saint Petersburg in Parks and Recreation.  Many would judge that the budget of such a department should closely follow the economy and when money is tight as a purported expendable luxury it should be the first department to have its budget slashed.  In my experience this never happened because the department's various services became more vital as the economy declined--vital, especially, on a fundamental nurturing level that helped induce the conviction that even in tough times each and every one of us truly matters.
(Check out Parks and Recreation here

Security is surely a matter of potent police power, but assuredly in human affairs the health of the prevailing mental climate is of equal importance. It matters decisively that each person is empowered by an unaffected belief that they truly matter.  Realty always penetrates ideological cant if given enough time.  The democratic experiment will fail if its words valuing the individual--together with the very people themselves--are written off as superfluous to the real down-and-dirty business of greed.


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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Of War and Peace

I once knew a man--a member of a weird religious sect--who believed that Albert Einstein never existed but was a myth perpetrated by the Jews and Jewish sympathizers.  No real harm was done by this man's personal views until it became a conviction of his that he himself was a genius in math and physics.  Forthwith he came to the conclusion that the Hoover Dam was creating a profound disruption in the substratum of particle essences that bound together seven essential tensile laws of physics.  He at once began to devise a plot to destroy the dam, and he might well have done so had it not been for a set conviction of his that The Mortal Kombat Theme Song when set forth with deafening amplitude at the stroke of midnight until sudden cessation precisely at 6:66am would through disruption of gravitational harmonies transcendent to an exponent of 1000 suddenly fracture the dams pseudo reliance on a mere shadowland of conjured physics.   Regrettably perhaps we will never know the full implications of his genius because he fancied that his method would only produce the desired result if Mortal Kombat were played at max volume when triangulated upon the courtyard of Beverly Hills Police Headquarters. The police generally unversed in theoretical physics of this type, promptly and professionally chauffeured our would-be benefactor of mankind to a mental ward.

I share this true story to which I personally attest in order to make a simple point.  As a believer in the Supreme Being sometimes called God or Heavenly Father, I find no harm done if others do not believe, but ONLY IF they do not begin to think that THEY themselves are God--flawless, perfect beings whose wisdom in all things (thought, word, and deed) is never to be doubted or questioned. Such macho self-righteous hubris and sheer stupidity stand as the best argument for humanity's humility before the throne of God.  The opiate of the people proves not to be religion which affirms humanity's need for a Holy God, but proves instead to be endless arrays of stiff-necked idols in whose stern images abject worshipers find spitting images of themselves. 

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Friday, May 5, 2017

A Peaceful Presence of Seamless Dignity

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 Philippians 4:4-8(NIV)


 Jesus wept.

John 11:35 (NIV)


Last evening Connie and I had dinner with Anthony Edwards.  We know Anthony from church.  Both Connie and I immediately sensed something different about this young man upon first observing him.  He has a peaceful presence of seamless dignity.  At dinner he made remarks that surprised me.  He said that on Sundays in church when meditating  before the services begin, he silently prays "Jesus wept."  Next he confessed that when speaking before a gathering, he experiences anxiety.

Praying that Jesus wept can run counter to the commencement of many church services which often focus on the joy and happiness of the faith.  His prayer is an important reminder that love sometimes brings not joy, but deepest pain especially when triggered by the suffering or death of loved ones.

There can be many causes of anxiety but most originate from a sense of being overwhelmed--the pace is too fast, a feeling that one lacks the skill set required for the task, insufficient resources, a sense of crescendoing systemic failure, and most certainly the realization that one's ability to affect the opinion of others (even of their opinion of you personally--of your health, politics, religion or lack thereof...even of your basic trustworthiness) is largely outside your control.  Christians at this point enabled by faith accept their extensive limitations.  Their job at hand is to do their absolute best and leave it to the Holy Spirit to effectuate divinely legitimate ends. Upon this trust arises a peaceful presence of seamless dignity.

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