Ignorance is Bliss?

10

August 30, 2021- So, I am looking at a letter which says that, because someone in another person’s community is likely to be jealous of his success, should he build a network of support, I should just give him the money, quietly, and no one will get their feathers ruffled. I am not following the logic, other than the individual adhering to a beggar mentality. It will get him nowhere, of course, but ignorant attitudes die hard.

So it is, with several of the major newspapers in this country, squawking about how imperfect the rescue efforts in Kabul have been. I doubt any of the media moguls who are complaining right now would do any better than the current President, or his three most recent predecessors. In fact, several of those who are the loudest critics were, only a week ago, saying that those Afghans who served our efforts there should stay put and that they were just goldbricks, trying to get a free ride to our country. I am not impressed by the mentality that anything our President does is wrong.

Fire, water, and wind wreak havoc across this country, and several others around the world, and yet those who have theirs are aghast at “the cost of infrastructure repair and of combatting the effects of climate change.” What do they think is going to happen, while destruction continues, God knows what diseases follow Delta, and people in power are sitting on their hands, because procedure has to be followed? A voice of reason, from Louisiana, has called for an end to the mad delusions of his fellows in the U.S. Senate, and elsewhere. Good for him!

Ignorance is leading to the opposite of bliss, and it’s time for those who are suffering to send the U.S. Senate, the Supreme Court and the likes of The Washington Post and The New York Times a clear message-nonviolently, of course, but loud and clear, all the same.

We, the People, have had enough.

How I Overcame Self-Absorption

2

August 27, 2021-

There was a time when I bumped into a clearly visible barrier pole, whilst backing my car out of a space, at Breakheart Reservation, in my hometown of Saugus. My head was so far into a matter of such earthshaking importance, that I can’t even vaguely recall what it was. I remember the fender bender, though, and the mildly amused twelve-year-old kid who chuckled at my ignorance.

Mom and Dad didn’t raise us to ignore our surroundings, and I caught more than a few rounds of indignation, when I turned too far inward. Gradually, in the wider world, the core of my being, which loved my family and those around us, took focus. Penny came into my life, and we helped each other break out of our respective shells. Students, clients, by the hundreds, became my focus and between wife and children, I realized that my life actually mattered far more than I had thought. Aram became our responsibility and made sure, in turn, that I didn’t lapse into my former bubble.

There was a long eleven years, in which my wife was my primary responsibility. In the end, son and his crew, Penny’s family and my brothers were our primary support group. The cackling crows who castigated me for using the adjective “my”, when I referred to Penny, offered absolutely nothing in the way of help-save their mealy-mouthed ideological puffery. There were also the masses, who went about their business, but at least didn’t get in my way.

On my own, I had choices to make, and slowly shed the residue of self-absorption, once again. A few women came to me, hoping that perhaps they would be the next Penny. It didn’t happen, and life took a far wider turn. I almost deluded myself into thinking that one or two others might be the next Penny. That didn’t happen, either, and life took a wider turn, still. There were three things that propelled me out of my bubble, altogether.

The first was dealing with five people who were/are so intensely self-absorbed, in their own right, that I was constantly wondering what, if any, place there was in the world for me, or any other good soul who was just trying to live a good life. Four of these five are gone from my world now, banned for constantly magnifying every single mistake I made, ignoring any good thing I did and yet clawing at me for attention. The fifth at least thanks me for what has already been done. I thank them, though, for making me aware of all the times I was the same towards others.

Secondly, I found myself largely responsible, for the well-being of over 80 people in a storm shelter, in Alexandria, Louisiana, late last summer, during the daylight hours of a Red Cross operation. That is when my work never stopped, until wiser heads pointed out that the opposite of self-absorption is not complete other-immersion. Then came a more balanced view, that both my personal needs and those of others had equal importance. I also realized that being too deeply in the business of other people robs them of dignity.

Third, the full acceptance of others as complete human beings, beyond their physical trappings and even their personalities, has come about from our collective dealing with COVID and all the climate change-based events that we have faced, and will continue to face, long after I myself have left this earthly life. It takes me three to five seconds to recognize that a woman has pleasing features, that a child is precious, that anyone has an engaging nature.

There are things that are about to happen in this life, that make such an emergence from self-absorption more essential than ever. I look forward to them all.

Lytton

0

July 2, 2021- The couple felt certain that they would be safer jumping in a hole they had dug, for another purpose, than trying to outpace the wildfire that was engulfing their small village, in British Columbia’s Fraser Canyon. They did not figure on a collapsing live electric power pole. The pole fell directly into the hole and the pair were electrocuted.

There will be other horror stories, no doubt, as the fire which destroyed most of the village of Lytton continues its march through the canyon. British Columbia and Alberta have suffered as many wildfires as any given U.S. state, over the past twenty five years. The increase of heat and lack of moisture, throughout all four seasons, is indeed subjecting just about any temperate forest on the planet, along with many desert landscapes, to risk of wildfire. Add to these, the desperate slash and burn attacks on tropical forests by people encouraged to settle the regions, by their own governments-in a short-sighted effort to relieve urban overcrowding. and we are looking at destruction that will far outstrip any conflagration yet seen.

There are those who point out that ancient peoples, on all continents, used fire as a tool to clear scrub and naturally occurring debris. Those fires were carefully monitored, however, much like today’s controlled burns-which are set and extinguished, by forestry professionals, who are following the evidence of careful forest management practiced by the Algonquians of eastern North America, for example. Willy-nilly techniques were never part of the toolkit of the ancients, nor are they advocated by their descendants.

The extent to which the burning of fossil fuels is exacerbating the present rise in temperatures and destruction of habitat is open to debate. That does indicate, however, that the beginning of the process of building a technology, that is not dependent on fossil fuels, is in order. I get that people need time to wrap their heads around the changes that will come. There will need to be training and demonstrable proof that these new methods will bring about a mitigation of weather extremes. Some of that proof is already here: The country of Greenland, facing the loss of its icecaps, by 2050, is successfully using wind energy- even through the northern winter. There are far more people now, than there were when we transitioned from animal-led transportation to its motorized successor-and there was much resistance then. The five-fold increase in population, however, has been matched by an increase in the overall level of education, across the globe.

We can move on through the present crisis. We can reduce the number of Lyttons, Fort McMurrays, Paradise (CA)s, Yarnell Hills. If the human mind can conceive a technology, human ingenuity can construct it.

Conundrum

4

February 17, 2021-

As many are concerned about the planet heating up,

there is snow on the beach,

at Galveston, Texas and

chilly nights in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Snowball fights were going on

at the foot of the Acropolis.

Mercifully, there is no converse extreme heat,

in the southern hemisphere,

at least not yet.

The strange thing is,

that the polar vortex comes our way

even as the arctic permafrost keeps melting

and the icebergs keep calving, off Antarctica.

We must be flexible, and adapt-

but to what?

Fortnight of Transition, Day 9: Glow of a Super New Moon

2

September 17, 2020

If anyone had mentioned the above term to me, when I was a kid, I’d have rolled my eyes. Everyone knew that a New Moon was invisible to the naked eye, so how could it be “super”. The explanation turns out to be: If the new moon is at its closest approach to Earth, in a month, it is a Super New Moon. So it is with this New Moon, and will be with the next two.

Under this New Moon, lots of things are happening. The “pop-up” hurricane, Sally, dumped a lot of rain-several feet, on Mobile and Pensacola, and brought with it a storm surge that, among other things, washed away a replica of the Columbian ship, Pinta.

I have seen a disturbing video, purporting to show Mr. Biden inappropriately touching a little girl, while her family members were distracted. There is a voiceover, “narrating” the scene, and sounding remarkably like some of the Bots who “narrated” the stuff about Pizzagate. Uncle Joe may, or may not have, pinched the little girl, in a sensitive area. It’s hard to tell from the video, but she was uncomfortable and moved away, right after the contact. As with all such videos, while I take the comments with several grains of salt, (Any video can be doctored or altered.), I know that, with people of a certain age, patting, or slapping, a girl on the buttocks is seen as an act of endearment. I am disgusted by such behaviour, though. The whole culture of NOT seeing children, teenagers or even grown women, as full human beings is something that can’t fade away fast enough. This video was taken five years ago, but still- Mr. Biden needs to acknowledge the issue and make some serious changes to how he is perceived. At the same time, his misbehaviour can’t become a Right-Wing trope. His opponent, after all, is hardly a paragon of virtue.

The whole concept of good forest management is being raised-especially with regard to the Oregon fires. It is not enough to simply blame Climate Change-especially when arsonists are to blame, for at least three of the fires. If the First Nations could maintain good forest management practices, well before Europeans arrived on this continent, modern man can certainly do the same.

Around here, a house burned down in nearby Prescott Valley-the huge cloud of black smoke suggests that a vehicle was parked in the garage that burned.

COVID numbers are up, just a bit, in Arizona-attributable, it is suggested, to Labor Day weekend. I worked in two schools this week, and saw a good deal less than high attendance. Reportedly, a second wave of the virus has hit parts of Europe and, as expected, it’s worse than the first outbreak. August is vacation month on the Continent, so maybe that has a lot to do with this.

In the meantime, I am getting my rest while I can, and fully expect to be deployed, somewhere, with the Red Cross, either Tuesday or shortly thereafter.

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.