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Rumilluminations March 2013
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Sat, March 02 2013 - 1:54 pm

March 31, 2013                                     Madison, IN

Speaking of transitions, I guess it being Easter Sunday I should mention minor transitions like moves from Hell to Heaven!  Happy Easter!

More immediate in my partner's and my life, however, is his beginning of a new life as cook on a towboat on the Ohio and Mississippi (and other) Rivers!

This is quite an adventure, because people who work on tows that push barges up and down the rivers go on board for four weeks at a time, during which they do not set foot on land.  This tour of duty is followed by four weeks off, during which, except for making a phone call or two and getting to and from assignments, is complete freedom.

During orientation my partner and his fellow hirees (some of whom were women without any prior professional cooking experience!) were told that this is the closest they will probably have ever had to living in prison.  They were given instruction in conflict resolution and CPR.

Because this is such an unusual work experience for my partner, and because the galley seems to be the social center of the boat, we are going to start a blog tomorrow called Riverbeat Eats about life afloat a towboat.  If the idea of a career on the water piques your interest, come to this site for nitty-gritty details.  Hopefully, they won't be too exciting.

Welcome aboard!

March 30, 2013                                     Madison, IN

At the same time that U.S. society concerns itself with externals - possessions, money, status, appearance - our religious institutions, instead of focussing on the inner man (the spirit) are too often making the same mistake.

The orientation is superficial.  The issues are about the physical reality and creation of the outer world.  They are about the behavior of people outside the community of believers.  They emphasize outward signs of observation, such as obeying certain rules and attending church services.

The truth of the individual's inner reality gets lost under these pressures.  The understanding that the responsibility of the religious follower lies solely in obedience or membership obviates all necessity for self-examination - often until it is too late and the unacknowledged Self takes unthinkable Action.  (ha, ha, sound like an old-time preacher myself, don't I?  Maybe the style is similar but the message is different.)

Even, I, Esther the self-styled Queen of Introspection, must admit that there are all sorts of nooks and crannies in my internal world that I have no clue about.  I consider this a failure of my adventuring spirit, but at least I know I possess internal complications more ethereal than the strength of my bones.

Nietsche scorned people who contemplated their own navels; but contemplating nothing but the navels of others, some theoretical God, and the world is also a mistake.  Refusal to recognize our inner lives leads us into error.  A balance is necessary.

What does all this have to do with transition?  My answer would be that along with the dawn and the dusk of our days we should create paths in our attention from our outer circumstances to our inner selves that are not limited to prayer, which is too often related to our external situation.

March 29, 2013                                      Madison, IN

Warmth to coldth, humorous to serious, frivolous to purposeful, rambuctious to quiet, timorous to courageous, some transitions move smoothly some of the time.  Most of them probably do.

But our transition from winter to spring this year has been a difficult transition.  They don't all happen easily.

The transition from dinosaur rule to human rule on earth probably had a huge gap of time from the point of view of the humans, yet as far as we are concerned, that is a transition.  From the dinosaurs' point of view, it didn't exist.  The transition as such really is in our minds.

(I have heard lately that some creationists depict humans riding dinosaurs, as if our race dominated them as we dominate domestic animals.  It didn't happen!)

Speaking of creationists as representing Christianity, I have been struck by how long and how much the Anglican religion, at least, fostered the advance of science, especially the natural sciences.  Amateur scientists among rectors and vicars were many, and their contributions to our scientific knowledge significant. 

When I was growing up, the Christian church to which I belonged (at least in our community) represented that science and religion could coexist with each other.  The preachers I heard on Sunday did not think a literal interpretation of the Bible was necessary to be a Christian.

So on this Good Friday, as the Easter weekend progresses, my personal transition from good Christian to sheer agnosticism suffers a little pause.  I'm not sure the discoveries of science are to blame for my decades long, uneven, transition from faith to doubt.

I hope that the religiously-minded do not feel they have to choose between an all-powerful perfect Faith and Big Bad Science!

That would be just too bad for all of us.

March 28, 2013                                       Madison, IN

We live in a flux of transitions that we consider mundane - dark to light, winter to summer.  In a way we consider the immutables to be infinitesimal: noon only lasts a minute.

But I was reading Bird Sense by Tim Birkhead and the very first page of his preface woke me up a little.  He writes, "The mainland-island transition is magical: twenty minutes and we step out of the boat on to a wide, sweeping beach overhung with majestic pohutukawa trees."

Well, for starters, for me that sentence held a quite sudden transition from known words to a completely unfamiliar one.  (It was to be followed, later in the text, by more.  How does "allopreenee" grab you?  Fun, huh?)

Somehow the multiplicity of transitions in the human experience struck me as never before.  Birth?  Well, duh.  Death - a once-in-a-lifetime experience always to be reserved until last.

Above water, below water.  Ambling from one class to another, suffering the changes involved in exchanging one job for another.

Maybe that is where the idea of Heaven comes from.  We want our situation always to be the best, and that implies stasis.  We want our heaven to be a haven.  That is what we really believe in.  Hell was just thrown in for balance - and as a place for all the people we don't want around us.

We think we don't want change, but we do.  That is our normal state of being; our comfort zone is a wheel of not-too-uncomfortable zones.

So, winter, migrate to the southern hemisphere!  But don't bide there too long or we will eventually become discontent.

Only three more days until our transition to the month of folly is complete.

I can hardly wait!

March 27, 2013                                          Madison, IN

When I think of the word "transitions" I think of change.  But the word itself has "sit" right in the middle, and that is no accident!  It comes from the Latin "situ" I'm willing to bet.  Let me check - I'll be right back.

Holy molasses!  That was a shock.  The word "transitions" comes from the Latin word "transire" meaning to cross over.  From the fifteen-fifties!

I studied classical Latin, which dates from hundreds of years earlier, and I'm willing to bet "transire" came from the word "situ, situs" meaning "place" and I'm wondering why these etymological analyses I'm reading in online dictionaries do not go farther back in linguistic time than the 16th century!

For goodness, sake, Latin is always called (perhaps unfairly) a "dead language."

When, exactly, is it considered to have died?  I would have thought well before the sixteenth century.

Except for the Church and scholarly study (big exceptions, I'll admit) I would have thought Latin well kaput by the beginnings of the Renaissance. 

Is the classical Latin tinkered with by centuries of scholars really Latin at all?  Well, yeah, but I hardly believe it can be considered the premier cri.

I believe that the word transition came, in Latin, from the idea of changing one situs for another situs.  After all, that is where the English word "site" comes from.

Sigh.  This subject of "transitions" is going to take longer than I thought to explore.

I'll just have to consider that my exposition of transition is going to have to be part of my transition from Winter to Spring - from the determined march through the rest of March to the folly of April!

Which will win?  Stern scary oppressive Lion, or sweet docile foolish gamboling Lamb?

In Spring?  No contest!

  ...and it is (parenthetically) high time!

March 25, 2013                                          Madison, IN

Many admirable people, when told they can't do something, are spurred on by the challenge of the statement.  The thought that someone thinks they are incapable makes them do things they might not normally do to prove that they are very able.

Others of us are more easily discouraged, but lately my paranoid side (perhaps activated by the seeming hostility of the current weather) has thought of some new spurs to action.

How about the thought that the very rich, thinking we the poor are too many, are encouraging us to eat the wrong kinds of food?

Who are the people that think up dishes like french fries drowned in cheese sauce or deep-fried butter?

It almost seems like an intentional effort to kill off as many plebians as possible.  Kind of like the British waged warfare on the Chinese people by getting as many of them addicted to opium as possible.  (Or was profit the sole motive, there?  I forget.)  But you get the idea.

Think whatever it takes to spur you to action - er, that is, if you are the kind of person who responds well to such stimulus.

Even spite can be a good motive, if it helps you and doesn't hurt anyone else.

(Obviously, I'm not talking ill-wishing, here.)

For instance, a teacher once said I was "One of the great middle class."

I could have used her opinion of my mediocrity to drive me to great things.  "Take that!  And that!"  Then she would have been ashamed of her harsh judgment.  Satisfying, that.

The sad truth, however, is that I am not one of those people who respond so energetically to adversity or challenge - especially coming from another person.

Nah - I would rather mosey along in my own path, eating when I'm hungry and sleeping when I'm tired.  I'm not to be found between the covers of Who's Who, but I have always found plenty of things in life to engage me.  Perhaps too many things.

Now being middle-class seems too ambitious an aspiration!  I guess I'd rather be interested than interesting.

March 24, 2013                                         Madison, IN

In order to get onto my administrative page, I had to click my mouse.  (Ha, ha, sounds a little obscene, doesn't it?)

A little window double-checked me:  Are you sure you want to navigate away from this page?

How did the Internet get so pretentious?  Even when you are driving in a car and the person who keeps track of the route is called a "navigator," there is an element of humor in the designation.

But on the Internet, moving the mouse a couple of inches and clicking is called navigation.

Does this kind of talk come from the old Dungeon and Dragon days?

Is it just a bit of webjest?

Or does it really convey the sense of excitement our early Spyders (should we call the inhabitants of the Web?) felt when they created this world that then opened under their touch?

Internet Explorer - maybe that is what the navigator terminology derives from.

It is hyperbolic language (is that related to parabola?) that goes right along with "virtual" in its description of web reality.

I think it's funny.   The word "navigator" comes closer in my mind to "alligator" than anything else.

See ya later, navigator!

March 22, 2013                                         Madison, IN

Societies that require a woman to have a male relative to accompany them whenever they leave home give me the creeps.

Besides the consideration that the "protection" of a male is too difficult to distinguish from "control", which I have written about before, there are another implications that occur to me.

In a society where all women are required to have a male escort when they venture into public, any woman who does not have such protection is breaking the law.  Even if this is only the religious law of a religious state, this seeming lawlessness on the part of the woman puts her at risk.

The very fact of her being alone makes her vulnerable to the idea that she is fair game for whatever happens to her.

Even foreign visitors to such a society are more subject to disrespect and assumptions that, in countries that have no such expectations, would seem unwarranted.

If I lived in a society that demanded I have male accompaniment at all times, I would try very hard to have several sons!  I wonder how many of these women are forced to have large families just for social security.

Of course, in these places women probably don't have any control over whether or not they get pregnant, either.

March 21, 2013                                   Madison, IN

Does March Madness turn us into April Fools?

With me, March Madness is more like March Angerness.

Is it the crappy below-average temperature?  Is it all the "what God wants me to do and be" talk that we are seeing on TV because of the papal changing of the guard?

Forced viewing of sports, forced viewing of religious coverage, forced entertainment updates --

But of course, there is no force at all.  I could just turn off the TV, and I do.

But it is a little window on a world I can't get away from.  More media coverage of sports and entertainment I can handle.  Everyone has their priorities.

But when I turn on the TV and have to witness and hear rhetoric that I turned away from decades ago and know that it is fueling more religious fervor and religious anti-fervor, more partisanship in the name of a god that is possibly, as George Carlin joked (or was it Bill Maher?) "an imaginary friend for grownups" it is too disturbing.

When I see grown-ups submissively accepting lectures from their kids in the TV ads, I know it is probably supposed to be funny, but no self-respecting parent who has basically slaved for his or her child out of a combination of love and duty could stomach that kind of lack of respect in return.

Maybe if I were more personally secure I could laugh at it.  Maybe if I were more generationally secure I could laugh at it.  But from what I have seen of the attitude of the younger generations (my OWN children excepted, OF COURSE) is that this is not so much a joke as reality.

Oh, well, maybe my response is guilt for my own lack of filial piety.  Psychologists say that stuff that makes us angry is literally stuffed hidden in our own shadow side.

For whatever reasons, though, I have begun finding ordinary newscasts stressful not solely because of international politics(disturbing enough) but for insults against my personal feelings.

Maybe watching too much TV doesn't make us sick solely because we are sitting around while we are doing it (which I believe) but also because so much of its content is so deeply trivial (oxymoron, you think?) and stupidly offensive.

I'm turning off Morning Joe and news of religious fervor which includes team playing with God umpiring and no rules at all and advertisements that are mysteries of marketing (yeah, I forgot to mention one of the ads that inspired me to write this - what is with the new (oh, damn, is it Toyota or Volvo) logo - the scientific symbol for a male? - what the hell is that all about?  An appeal to the male of the species (this is your brand!?) An appeal to the female of the species (buy our car and you are buying a man!)?

It is all enough to make a person mad!  As in angry or insane, either one applies.

A rant to make up for two days of silence probably actually brought on by the time change.  Hah!

Now that I've destroyed portions of my brain with apoplexy, I'm more ready than ever to play the April Fool!

Only ten days to go.  I can hardly wait!

   

March 18, 2013                                    Madison, IN

Some folks think art leads the young astray.

Is it a vicious cycle?

Repression encourages expression via art which provides sometimes-bad modeling followed by acting out.  This induces the attempt to repress the bad behavior, and so on.

Maybe religions that repressed the arts had the right idea.

Nah.  I'm not serious.

Where would we be without art?

It doesn't take art to get from repression to acting out. 

Or from neglect, either.  That old phenomenon - either extreme is not ideal (kind of by custom or conventional wisdom - or is it by definition?)

Where would we be without art?

A lot more bored.   

March 16, 2013                                      Madison, IN

Are we witnessing the meaning of America?

And no, I don't mean the significance or the message of the United States to the rest of the world, as in "democracy" or "freedom".

I mean "meaning" as in "greening."  Are we getting meaner, as opposed to gentler?  I think maybe so.  Selfishness is one form of meaness that we can lay greater claim to than we would have in the past.  Or are we just more common than we have always thought we were? 

Another way we might be "meaning" is that we might be getting closer to your average nation.  You know, your average not so prosperous, not so first class nation.  No longer, perhaps, A.  Maybe even B or C.

When we used to joke in college, "What do you mean by mean?" I had no idea what we were joking about.  "Mean" had more meanings and more derivations than I ever dreamt of.

Now it not only means intentionally cruel, it means intensely cool.  You know, as in "bad."

Oh, language is mean, all right.  Perverse, inconsistent, irregular - a regular rogues gallery of difficult characters, which only begins with the alphabet!

Why, we who love words must be a bunch of mean sado-masochists!

And I say that meaningfully!

March 15, 2013                                        Madison, IN

"The center cannot hold."  Well, I don't know what the poet was talking about when he said that, but I'm beginning to see how this can apply to a country economically, and how that economic reality can translate into spiritual and moral terms.

Say the middle class is the economic center of a country.  When the middle class becomes decimated by unfair economic practices, the rich and the poor become less cushioned from each other.  The middle class dimishes, divided into those who have fallen into poverty and those who have enough income to catapult themselves into the increasingly rarer air of the upper classes.

The poorer people get, the worse their behavior gets - for obvious reasons.  Feelings of desperation breed desperate behavior.

The disdain of the upper classes becomes more and more justified in their own eyes by the increasingly bad behavior of the poor.  The poor are seen (or not seen, maybe I should say) as the dirt under their feet.

This disregard on the part of the rich leads to bad behavior on their part (a generality which seems fairly proven by recent experimentation) which then fuels more anger and consequently more bad behavior on the part of the have-nots.

The middle class which Lillian Hellman, I believe, said had not an ounce of truth in it as opposed to the honesty of the rich and the poor (which comment I now realize to be the product of the rich and the poor judging other people by their own behavior!) does not have the strength any longer to moderate and ameliorate the rapacity of the two outer extremes of society.

The middle classes may be in denial of the reality in which other people live.  They may think their behavior is intrinsically better than that of others by their own virtue when really it is not better at all.  Their very position, however, frees them from the desperation of the poor and the rapacity of the rich.

Lose your comfortable middle classes and you lose all.  People who are worried about whether they will have a job next month do not have the mental space to gather their energies to sign petitions.  Every individual has only so much tolerance for relatively unessential chores;  job and welfare applications easily take priority over political activism.

Without the middle class, passions run too high for peace.  Our much scoffed-at mundane center of stability cannot hold and the whole system collapses.

I laugh uneasily when I see the attempts of the very very rich to save the lives of the poor with food and inoculations.  The motivation is great, and the poor are worthy subjects of charity.  I have, and will again, support such charities.

But if these same rich folks smilingly cheat their governments via loopholes and their employees with low wages and decreasing benefits, they are, with their good deeds and their bad ones, increasing the populations which will eventually effect their downfall.

"Our lives are going to be fine."  Maybe so, Ann Romney.

But maybe not, and not forever.

March 14, 2013                                         Madison, IN

Here's a thought for the new pope, who is hopefully going to take the church into new directions and therefore help to change the world.

If man is made in God's image, as the Bible says, and if man is forced, during a lifetime, to change and grow (I say, but also the fact speaks for itself) then maybe God also changes and grows.

Sure, Christian creeds talk as if God were unchangeable and immutable, but so do parents seem eternal to small children.

I would like to put the idea out to believers that if man can grow and change, so can God.

God grows!

March 13, 2013                                          Madison, IN

I like to think that I value meaning.  A poem should mean something beyond just a contemplative description - even if the poet's explicit meaning is locked within herself.  Or, the poem should be evocative enough to have meaning to many a reader, even if it is opaque to the writer.

An aesthetic choice should have meaning, if only at the level of a physiological response or intellectual appreciation of a conceit.

To go from the sublime to the ridiculous, as a file clerk I liked to use color-coding to make a filing system easier to work with - more meaningful.

Always, though I trusted that such meaning would be based in reality.

I remember reading years ago that autobiographies were not to be trusted because the memories of their authors could not be trusted.  They might think they are reporting the truth, but, sadly, they have altered it.

Having lately seen this process at work in myself I am forced to come to the conclusion that what has meaning for me might not be grounded in objective reality.

Take note, and take notes, all you future famous people of spotty memory!  Your past is perhaps a meaningful illusion!

Exit fantasy, enter evidence!

 

March 12, 2013                                           Madison, IN

Think you have a pretty good memory?

Think your recall is accurate even if it is spotty?

Test it by watching a movie that you first saw 25 years ago.

The other day we saw the Unbearable Lightness of Being which I think I saw the year of its release, 1988.

I thought it was a good movie when I saw it, but when I saw it for the second time I was tempted to believe that the movie theater that screened it decided it was too long and omitted a reel in the showing!

It is understandable that I should forget the war stuff.  Brought up at least partly by Quaker values, I didn't think war should exist and tried not to think about it (not realizing at the time that it was part of my responsibility as a human being.)  I'm not surprised I could forget the political part.

What is incomprehensible to me is that I should have forgotten so much of the sexual content.  I would have thought that some of those images would have been seared into my trying-not-to-be-Puritanical mind forever.  More unconscious repression, I suppose.

But what really freaks me out are how I could transpose events and settings and impose anachronisms on what I had seen.  A truck drive became a wagon ride when it hitched its way into my long-term memory.

Just more evidence to my mind that we must learn to abandon reliance on witness acounts - especially in cold cases!

You should see the "Unbearable" movie, though.  It is really hot!

March 10, 2013                                            Madison, IN

When I was young, a long life seemed like a bigger, more extended opportunity for wonderful things like doing more good and having more fun.

He who laughs last, laughs best and all that.  (I know, I know, that was more about revenge, but still....)

Now it seems more like a race to self-righteousness:  the rich aren't having more fun (oh, no!) they are feeling more virtuous for not being poor.  The poor aren't feeling a pinch - er, well of course they are! - but they aren't really feeling it because they are too busy congratulating themselves for not having the negative attributes that might have made them rich.

If the reward of longevity is the opportunity to grab as much self-righteousness out of the deal as possible, maybe you'll have to count me out.

I'm not going to say I've never indulged in self-righteousness.  In fact, having lived by the dubious virtues of my parental training for many years I've probably been sustained by that particular spiritual crutch as much as most.

I am saying, though, that I feel like we baby-boomers are floundering in the crushing waves of self-righteous judgments by the generation that so prodigally created us and the ugly resentment we perceive in the media voices of those who follow.

Well, all I have to say to anyone whose chief pleasure in life is to experience the self-congratulations of self-righteousness, look at the middle of that word.  See fright?

Self-righteousness is frightful!  I repent any time I wasted wallowing in its shallows.

Bring on the fun!

March 8, 2013                                              Madison, IN

Interesting and saddening to see male politicians struggling to come to grip with the moral question of abortion.

Poor them!  If they could only see what their definitions of "life" do to the biologists!

Oh, a heartbeat means life, does it?  Biologists know this is true, but they also know that many forms of life exist without a heart, let alone a heartbeat.  Conversely, an isolated heart beating in an absence of external support doesn't stand a chance of survival.

And those concerned with justice:

Fetuses are innocent?  Then why should the issue of rape or incest matter at all to the legality of abortion?  How can there be a hierarchy of innocence when it comes to fetuses?  Any question on whether or not to abort has to be subject to the all- or-nothing standard.  (Talk about the sins of the fathers being swiftly brought down upon succeeding generations!)

And what about justice for the potential mommy?

What makes us most human?  Certainly not a heartbeat, and certainly not innocence!

A person could go on and on this way, throughout the development of a fetus.  When does it become truly human? 

Well, how about the ability to apply, as a rudimentary standard, the golden rule?

How would these human men respond to the suggestion that they be forced to carry another being to term in their own bodies no matter what the circumstances in which they find themselves?

The number of men who kill the pregnant women in their lives are evidence that it is not 100% of them who would take this loss of control over their own time and energies.

How would they like to be treated if they were pregnant?

Unfortunately, I think many males can not stand to subject themselves even to the fantasy of such a takeover by nature of their own freedom of choice.  If nothing else, a woman who finds herself pregnant has to make a decision and suffer the physical and emotional consequences of that decision.  This is not a nothing - it is a major life experience never to be forgotten.

Given the obvious inability of some men to really put themselves in the position of women, I think men should back off from imposing too many restrictions on a woman's right to make her own decisions.

If you use the golden rule as a standard of "having a heart" many pro-life folks (women as well as men) don't even have a heartbeat!   

March 7, 2013                                               Madison, IN

A Facebook friend reported having dreams about being in the basement.  Another friend of hers related her dream to her childhood basement.

I myself had recently had dreams about being in underground caverns.  I had seen a Facebook friend myself down there, standing out from among a few other wandering unidentifiable individuals.

Immediately I thought of the caverns as representing Facebook and wondered about the dreams of others.

A night or two later I dreamt of a world which was colorful except for a black spot about the size and shape of a computer screen or TV set.

"I've got to get out more," I mumbled sleepily to myself.  To me these dreams were a sign that I needed to engage more with the real world, and I really tried.  Even though it was wintertime!

I'm happy to report that I did get out more, and my dreams did change.  One good thing was, I seemed to sleep better.  I didn't dream any more about caves and dark screens, which actually were not emotionally traumatic dreams.  They seemed more like an unconscious corrective device trying to alert me to the nature of my relationship with reality - whatever that is.

One not-so-good thing:  my above-ground dreams have often been more anxious and emotion fraught.  Well, that is true of the uncontrollable outer world, isn't it?  Reality is more emotionally demanding than illusion or even idealism, isn't it?

Meanwhile, no conclusions about the whole Facebook/dreamworld interface is forthcoming from this quarter - yet.

 

March 6, 2013                                               Madison, IN

If a higher percentage of left-handed men (I wish I could just say "people") has attained the Presidency than exists in the general population, does this mean anything?

How about dictators around the world?  Do they have a higher incidence of being left-handed than their respective populations?

If leaders are more often to be left-handed, is this because when they were young they were required to write with their "wrong" hand?  Will it change with more relaxed educational attitudes that allow left-handed people to write with their left hands?

Is it because left-handedness requires a person to deal with other obstacles?  I know that a pair of scissors has to be for a left-handed or right-handed person.  My left-handed mom had a pair of scissors I couldn't use.

Maybe this seems like too trivial a question to deal with, but it could really have some meaning.  If the brain is supposed to be developed by learning something new with your hands, maybe learning to do something with your "off" hand develops your brain.

Maybe the side of the brain you are developing depends to a certain extent on your use of your hands.

Lately I have been trying to use my left hand more, and am discovering that it isn't just scissors that make being left-handed difficult.  The other day I was trying to open some little dohickey (so insignificant I can't remember what) and realized that it was definitely biased towards the right-handed manipulator.

Does being left-handed give you a more balanced viewpoint that makes you more politically astute?  Does it develop the brain in such a way that you are more likely to give yourself permission to think outside the box?  Does it fortify your will and strengthen your persistence?

Should right-handed people be encouraged to use their left hands for more tasks more often?  (Try brushing your teeth with the hand you usually don't use - it's harder than you think!)

Or are the Presidential statistics mere coincidence?

March 4, 2013                                                Madison, IN

If the top 1% feel that they have more in common with others as rich as they (I don't feel I am misunderstanding the author of Plutocrats here) no matter what country they are from, don't be surprised if they get farther and farther from what we consider a typically American point of view.

They will be interacting and conversing more and more with those of their own kind (rich) and there are many of those from other lands and different cultures.

Since many wealthy people move abroad to avoid paying taxes in their own countries, or in other words, to avoid supporting the people who made them rich by buying their movies, recordings, and products, they are going to be more and more exposed to other ideas.

It is bad enough here - the proliferation of ideas and opinions, beliefs and doubts - without opening our citizens up to the ideas and opinions of those who don't even theoretically agree with the freedoms and constitutional rights we at least try to maintain the illusion we possess!

The rich are different, all right, and on line to become more so.

March 3, 2013                                                 Madison, IN

When I was in my thirties I read about a young pioneer woman who contracted a disease en route to their destination.  On their arrival, the account described her as "resigned to the fact that she was going to die" and I wondered at her ability to do so at such a tender age, younger than 21 as I recall.

Since then I have read and seen more and more about nature, which is prodigal with its beginnings and its endings.  As the parable observes, the number of seeds far exceeds the number of successful sprouts, which also are more plentiful than completely successful, reproducing plants.

The same is true for the animal kingdom, which produces many more infants than can possibly survive to adulthood.

This fact has made me much more philosophical about the uncertainty of life.  Why should we humans be any different than the rest of the world?

It made me less believing of a God who counts humans, much less of one who counts sparrows!

On the contrary, it makes me more appreciative of our human race, which has tried to take so much better care of itself.  Sure, we are far from perfect, but we have given our offspring much better chances than most of nature's babies ever get.

Yesterday I read that it has been religious belief that brought our consciouses (and consciences) to such a state of moral responsibility.

That's okay!  In my book, religion is also a human invention!

March 2, 2013                                                  Madison, IN

Been hangin' around, doing this and that, waiting for it to get above freezing so I can go on a walk.  Silly limit, that.  I'm going to go on a walk anyway, but I've been hoping... after all, it is March!

Been hangin' around, trying to remember what I thought upon rising I could write about.  How do you remember?  Sometimes going back physically works for me - especially if there is a visual trigger.

Doesn't work in the morning, though, unless the idea is triggered by a dream.  Sometimes the dream imagery, if resurrected, will remind me.  Not so this a.m., and not usually.  Lying down does not help me do anything but get sleepy.

Yesterday I thought I might write about violence against women.  The recent gang rapes in India and South Africa are shocking in the extreme.

I wanted to write about graphic physical reprisals, but of course I don't really espouse such revenge techniques.

How do you get a whole subculture of males to get over the idea that they have the right to abuse a woman anytime they want?

The subject is to me as red to a bull.

Which reminds me, is that pink color they use in bullfights really a color to enrage a bull?  If it were a dark red, like blood, would that make the bulls angrier?

Can bulls really see color anyway?  The answer, I see, is no.  They get irritated by the flap of the capes after being stuck in the neck with sharp objects.

Women of the world, bubblegum pink is supposed to calm people down.  Green is supposed to induce compassion.

Any chance that a combination of pink and green in women's clothing might reduce a person's chance of being raped?

Cutting down on voluminous capes and scarves can't hurt!

Sigh.  I wish I could think such easy techniques could help. 

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