Nuance

4

October 4, 2019-

We have all seen and heard- over the past few days, months, years- those among us who shun nuance, skit tact and embrace the bullhorn-far more than the average person.  Granted, most of us drop the tact microphone every now and again. Fatigue, stress, runaway emotions can all factor in and create a thoroughly embarrassing moment-or extended series thereof.

Those who have followed me for several years, know that I’ve had my share of tact-free episodes.  I have to own those times, and if they get thrown in my face, it is best that I ponder the situation and see what remains to be learned.

We have had a few firestorms of nuance taking a vacation, over the past several years, and most recently the back and forth over responsibility for climate change, as well as diplomatic fracases.  The larger truth seems to be that every living thing affects the climate of the planet on which he, she or it lives.  We humans, being the most advanced creatures on Earth, have the greatest capacity for influencing such change, but I digress.

Humans, chimpanzees and ants are the three groups of animals most closely associated with warfare.  Ants use what Nature gave them.  The Primate species use tools, and unlike ants, can effect intentional destruction.  There is scant nuance in war.

Nuance is developed by adopting a mindset that gradual change is best; that things aren’t always, or even often, what they seem; that complexity is inherent in the human condition; that people are not prisoners of their past.  Nuance, like any other feature of civilization, requires an open mind, listening skills and an essential love for humanity, for sentient life.

I look forward to continuing to develop an appreciation for nuance.

Virtue Signalling

10

September 25, 2019-

So, a short, intense teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome (something I share) is triggering,to middle-aged Europeans and North Americans, with time on their hands, fear in their hearts and next-to-nothing in the way of solutions to the issue (very broad and general, mind you) that she has raised.  The fact is that the market place is full of, and is implementing, a good many solutions to the problems posed by climate change.

It’s said that the child is being abused, being trotted out by minders whose ultimate goal is world dominance.  Funny, that she has never heard of George Soros, or the Koch Brothers, that she knows Leonardo DiCaprio only from an odd movie or television rerun and has met Prince Charles and Al Gore-once each.  She shows no sign of being forced to do this work, against her will, and gives no hint of making this into a high profile Virtue-Signalling crusade.  She is making a Primal Scream, with no other agenda,except that those who will inherit a goodly mess need to have some say in how it is cleaned up.  She does not favour the chimeric Green New Deal or other nebulous proposals.  In fact, she told her interviewer that she does not relish the limelight. She will go back to her schooling, in a few weeks, after the return trip.

This whole charade by some, but by no means all, on the Far Right says more about their terror at being inconvenienced, that their nagging little voice saying “Children should be seen and not heard!!” is taking over their reasoning.

It is a frightening thing, this vision of oceanic flooding, frying soil and widespread chaos.  The last thing anyone should be doing, though, is attacking the messenger. Greta does not have the education or reasoning skills to devise solutions, as yet.  None of that makes her campaign any less valid.  Adults will need to take the lead on devising and implementing solutions.  Here’s one such, in fact:  Scot Presler, a political conservative, has recently organized and conducted three large-scale clean-ups of blighted areas, in Baltimore, in Newark and in  Los Angeles.  (Each time, he was hounded by blinkered critics on the Far Left-an opaque mirror of the crankiness that has followed Greta Thunberg’s speech.)

It’s easier for the tired and the intellectually bereft to wallow in fear, than to recognize the need for change.  It always has been.  Recall the historical (hysterical) reaction to Mohandas Gandhi (“Half-naked Indian fakir”!  “A racialist, who hates Black Africans”! “A wife beater!!”); to Martin Luther King, Jr. (“Communist; reverse racist; misogynist!”) and, in the present day, to the survivors of 9/11, Sandy Hook, Parkland (“all dupes of a globalist conspiracy”).

As has been said, by thoughtful people across the political spectrum, this Climate Change Adjustment is:  Long-term; requires everyone to, as Greta said. “do what they can”; is neither subject to the vagaries of maintaining the staus quo, nor the numbing platitudes of the Green New Deal crowd (two of whom have made headlines, recently, by taking 11 different jumbo jets on a series of visits around the world.); and, as Mr. Presler & crew are showing the rest of us, is not the province of the Illuminati and their minions.

No amount of prattling from the tired and worn-out has ever stopped the civic-minded and socially aware, among rising generations, from speaking their minds.  It didn’t work in the 1940’s, when the youth of Warsaw fought the Nazis-and their own hidebound elders.  It did not work in the 1950’s and ’60’s, when Bull Connor sicked his dogs and his robots on demonstrating school children, in Birmingham.  It didn’t work last year, when the Alt-Right screamed at the Parkland students to go back to class.  It didn’t work when the neo-Fascists in London snarled at Malala Yousafzai, for not going back to Pakistan.  It won’t work now.

Only hard work will work.  That, and realizing that those who try to beat their young into submission have already failed.

 

Dear Greta

8

September 24, 2019-

Dear Greta,

I have listened to your brief remarks at the United Nations, yesterday.  They were cogent, as far as they went.  There is much work to be done, by all generations.  There is much to be done, by every nation.  I admire and honour your courage, in speaking before such a vast assemblage.  The concerns, the welfare, of young people are concerns of mine. I am also proud of you for seeing Asperger’s Syndrome, which I share, as a groundswell of strength

Now, let us go beyond the general expression of outrage, knowing that such is common to youth, as my own generation showed, in the 1960’s and ’70’s.  It only holds the world’s attention for a fleeting period.

Your work can only bear fruit if the steps followed are specific, succinct, bulleted or numbered.  Your arguments deserve to be outlined, in clear form.  Your arguments, in a field as fraught with emotion as climate, deserve to be understood, by ally and opponent, alike.  Your arguments cannot be “Pie in the Sky”.  Take your time, in formulating them.

I love the people of each of the rising generations, passionately.  Having taken your side, in conversations with more hidebound members of my own generation, I must caution you, as to what they see.  There is a sizable group, among the survivors of World War II, among Baby Boomers and among Generation X, which conflates the activism of young people today, with Hitler Youth and the Red Guards of mid-Twentieth Century China.  They see you as being dupes of well-heeled figures on the Far Left. They see you as not coming forward with your own thoughts.  They see you as brainwashed.

I have reminded such people that we, both in North America and in Europe, rebelled against political corruption, as teens and as  young adults.  Time passed, and the lure of career, success, money led all too many away from ideals.  Do not let that happen to you!  Read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, if you’ve not already done so.  Learn of the insidious power of corruption.  If you have sponsors who are wealthy, keep an eye on them and know their motives.  If they are sincerely concerned about climate change, you will know soon enough.  If their agenda is control, you must recognize that, too.

Know, and be sensitive to, the fears of the average wage earners and of those on fixed incomes.  One of the drawbacks of the Green New Deal is that it has not engaged the broad Middle Class, or the the elders who are on fixed incomes.  These people can be, and are, all too easily susceptible to the fear-mongering of those whose agenda is at variance with your own.

People can be told that, if a climate change mitigation is followed, the Stock Market will crash, and their savings accounts will crash along with it.  Too many of us elders are woefully uneducated about finance.  The wire-pullers are, even now, threatening to push for a “Bear Market”, so as to maintain control over those on fixed incomes.  Such balderdash is all too easily believed, by those who are struggling to live within their means.  Study your history, and you will see that the same tactics were used by the Fascists, in 1920’s and 1930’s Europe.  There is indeed a significant body of evidence that the economic Crash of 1929 was the work of those jockeying for control of the masses.

So, learn your finance, as well.  Using that knowledge,  plan steps that are incremental, that are focused and realizable.  Whatever you do, do not let yourself stray all over the place, especially in response to scattershot criticism-a favourite tool of political extremists on both ends of the spectrum.

Stay the course, my friend, and make sure it is YOUR course-not the hidden agenda of those who do not have your best interests at heart.  Stay fierce, and stay focused!

Polarities

2

September 10, 2017, Prescott-

I called my mother, to wish her a Happy Birthday.

She, to whom I was made to listen, for the first part of my life,

can now barely hear me, even when I am in full voice.

I pray her life will go on, for quite a few years yet,

and I will rely on the written word, to stay in contact.

The beaches of the Leeward Islands,

and the Florida Keys,

have taken quite a beating.

The emerging forests of Greenland,

just now rising from the Ice Cap,

are ablaze,

before they can even reproduce.

Disney World is closed,

and the lakes of The Villages

resemble mini-seas.

The Mediterranean, meanwhile,

is a lake surrounded by fire.

It’s being said that the Feds

are probing the ionosphere,

and that this may aggravate

climate change,

by pushing air currents

down into the stratosphere.

Meanwhile, we still

have relatively scant knowledge,

of our ocean depths.

These things cross my consciousness,

as I ponder whether

to go back outside,

and clear more weeds.

Wider and Deeper

2

November 20, 2016, Prescott-   So much water has gone over the dam, these past few weeks.  I am glad things are slowing down, for the upcoming 3-5 day holiday.  I say this, as I have no intention of partaking in either Black Friday or Thanksgiving Day shopping.  I used to gag at the thought of the latter, until a friend on the East Coast said it was her family’s way of relaxing.  Still and all, to each their own.

I am getting close to the end of being 65.  More about that, over the weekend.  Another digression, in the way of summarizing:  I finished reading “Moral Tribes” and re-reading “To Kill A Mockingbird”, about two weeks ago.  Now, my literary focus is on “The Brothers Karamazov”, my first foray into the world of Dostoevsky, and a re-reading of “The Celestine Prophecies”, as well as my Baha’i studies.

It’s raining here, for a day or two.  I hear Massachusetts is getting snow.  We are bound to have strange swings in weather patterns, over the next 10-30 years, whether people believe in climate change or not.  If the President-elect is indeed in denial about such things, he’s lucky to have his private residence in a penthouse. Change tends to happen, whether one expects it or not.

Back to business: My focus right now is on dignity- a God-given right of every sentient being, especially of every human being.  Year ago, that mold was set for me, one evening in VietNam.  A hard-nosed, traditionalist Army sergeant happened by where I was sitting, one calm evening.  I was an unabashed progressive, back then, so our conversation (which was completely civil) focused on how each of us saw things differently- AND neither of us was hurting the other, by our view of things.  We got along very well after that.

I have drifted away from politics, since then, though fairness and acceptance of different points of view, instilled into me by my father, remain the driving forces in my dealings with others.  I can’t imagine my life, if one person, or group of human beings, doesn’t matter, equally as much as the next. Everyone I encounter needs to be treated with respect.

Throughout my life, I have spent time with different people, or visited different communities, rather than staying put in a small group. This will continue, working around the constraints of a full-time job, over the next five years. While I also like having a home base, reaching out to others is nonetheless still my wheelhouse, as those in business like to say, these days.

The circle has been wider, for some time now.  The objective now is to make it deeper.

The Road to 65, Mile 131: Typhoons

2

April 8, 2015, Prescott-  It was cold all over the place today.  Snow was reported on the East Coast, and we shivered a bit, here in northern Arizona. North America is past being ready for warm weather.

It’s time to consider that warm weather has its price:  Storms happen, as anyone in New Orleans or Miami can attest.  Tornadoes have already swiped Oklahoma and Arkansas, this spring.  Even Dubai had a wicked dust storm, last week.

Typhoons, though, are in a league of their own.  Being cyclonic in nature is bad enough, when the storm is an Atlantic or eastern Pacific hurricane.  In the islands of the western Pacific, from Borneo and New Guinea to New Zealand, and on up to Japan, the deadliness of a Category 5 Typhoon, hitting a low-lying island community, seemingly from three directions at once, defies the imagination.  The Philippines have had two such killer storms, this year alone. Vanuatu, which used to be called New Hebrides, is slowly inching forward in recovery from a massive typhoon, a few long weeks ago.  Small countries nearby, named Kiribati and Tuvalu, also got hammered by the monster.  These are not places with an unlimited store of resilience, but they will come back from that one.

Word has reached us, this evening, of yet another Category 5.  This one is hitting Micronesia, a vast federation of atolls, stretching nearly 1,000 miles from east to west.  There was a civilization in western Micronesia, when Europe was shaking from the Dark Ages. The villagers of the  low-lying islands had much to impart to the Spanish and Dutch, who came seeking a quick route from China to the Americas, in the Sixteenth Century.

We used to have an image of Pacific Islanders, as happy, carefree dancers and singers, who were always glad to see boatloads of tourists.  There was a warrior segment, also, of course, but they got reduced to an entertainment contingent as well- savagely tattooed and grimacing, to the delight of the squealing audience.

It was never thus.  South Sea islands, to my mind, are harsh places, in terms of having enough fresh water; in terms of surviving monster waves, tides and gale-force winds; in terms of not being forgotten by the wider world.  We who are concerned with rising seas, point to places like Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru, in the Pacific, Anguilla in the Caribbean, and the Maldives and Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, as victims of climate change, “in the not-to-distant future”.  This year’s experience, though, suggests that the world had better keep an eye on nature’s “dry runs”- the three Category 5 typhoons that have leveled the homes of good-hearted and long-struggling human beings.  Mankind is one, after all.