Post # 469 (poesie) WAKE UP CALL (“Sweet Tremors”)

At this time of year, say, mid- February
Sitting at a great big window
Looking to the Kingston Forest
I again, feel the faintest tingle
I lower the book and stop my reading.
Perhaps, it is the decades of gardening,
And our home in the woodland
Not to mention my Nature versifying.
The soft tremor, like that of a butterfly flutter
Or the blossom sip of a hummingbird,
Distracts my reading, and with its soft, frisson,
Awakens me to the err-long, Springtime.

Each year, at the first sense of tremor
I again dream, of putting ear to earth,
So as to hear the plentitude of roots
From bulbs, bushes, trees and shrubs,
Stretching out, shifting and growing.
Could I but do this, I would also hear
The winter-burrowed, furry sleepers,
Rolling over to stretch and sniff
Standing ready, for their wake- up call.

The tremors prophesize the nascent Spring
And I, in tandem with the forest deer,
Shake my head, in gratitude and wonder.

-Leonard N. Shapiro [ February, 2020]

Post # 468   THE SOVEREIGN NATION OF IGNOMANIA (Fiction no. 8)

Research indicates that despite its easy accessibility, visitors to the Sovereign Nation of Ignomania, are notably rare, with the exception of a monthly supply ship, which, following complete unloading at the designated platform, at the foot of the large wall, immediately departs. Walls are eight feet in height, with supporting wooden beams, steel reinforced, topped with razor wire, and running along the entire border of the island Nation, a circumference, approaching forty-seven miles.  At regular sites, along the broad, encompassing wall, there are official signs, prohibiting immigration, on “pain of long imprisonment.”

A brief history of the Sovereign Nation of Ignomania, may prove to be enlightening. The Nation began its existence, in fact, as a Democratic Republic. In time, it degraded, by subtle degrees to its present description, an autocratic Monarchy, through the offices of, an apathetic public, a decline in the public media, especially the Press, and the exponential growth in population and influence, of its low information, populist citizenry. The factual details of said hapless decline, are adequately set forth in various historical accounts of the period, and it is quite beyond the intended scope of this writing, which is merely, to offer a description of the subject Monarchial State.

Conceivably, due to a nostalgic remembrance of its bygone history as a Democratic Republic, the King, atypically, is elected but, solely within the Nation’s one party system. The term of office, is, in reality, evergreen (perpetual), provided he remains alive and willing to serve. The Royal Constitution contains, virtually, no substantive limitation, whatsoever, to the authority of reigning Monarch; however, regarding the citizens, it does have one utilitarian restriction, specifically, making any and all revolutions, illegal and “unconstitutional”.

The official name, of the new Nation, was, conceived erroneously, based upon a complete ignorance as to the meaning of two words.  It was to have been named, “THE SOVEREIGN NATION OF EGOMANIA”, but the founders, in their respective states of admirable erudition, misspelled the intended name, to read: “THE SOVEREIGN STATE OF IGNOMANIA.” The resultant word, the meaning of which, its founders were completely ignorant, (as they were of the originally intended one) was not discerned for a period in excess of four months, and then, left as is, for purposes of practicality, due to previously printed stationary, forms, emblems, flags, State Seal and the like.

Some information might be useful regarding the King. The President and Chief Executive of the erstwhile, democratic, Nation, was an individual, one, Roland T. Rump, a former circus juggler, who turned to politics, having been financed by industrialists, (whose quest for profits, caused them to oppose all regulations, including those which would ameliorate global warming) and whose votes and influence, when added to the vast number of votes of the flat-earth, uninformed, populists, led to a Rump victory.

 

Rump always yearned for a Monarchial Title, especially, after viewing movies, such as Ben Hur and Spartacus, in which, he was impressed with the, historic fact, that Roman Emperors, and Kings, bore heroic, Imperial names. He then fully satisfied his all- consuming ego, by convening a public, formal ceremony, attended by thousands of citizens, in which, he was, mandatorily, awarded the imperial name, of his choice, “GLUTEUS MAXIMUS”.

The newly installed “Monarch,” ecstatically happy, in contemplation of his brilliant, creation of a new, imperial dynasty, in which his future descendants, would bear the majestic name. He immediately ordered that a Royal Palace be built, (at public expense) and so constructed, as to only have a right wing, to the exclusion of a left wing. The lopsided, palace, still stands, bearing on its lintel, the shiny, formal, gold leafed, words, “ROYAL PALACE OF GLUTEUS MAXIMUS.”

The new Nation, under the glorious reign of its exemplary ruler, wasted no time in establishing nuanced laws and, new (mandated) folkways to engage and solidify, a sense of citizen nationhood, pride and identification. The Nation’s citizens, when outdoors, were legally required to wear red baseball hats, stating, in contrasting white letters, “Make Ignomania Great.”  Such Ordinance is enforced by roving, civic police, sporting AR 25, semi-automatic rifles. At all times, it is easy to spot King, Gluteus Maximus, despite the presence of overwhelming crowds, by his red hat, with the State motto emblazoned thereupon, as well as his unruly, orangutan-orange hair, (there are, on duty, at all times, royal hairdressers, with power hairdryers at the ready), his smiling corpulence and, rather significantly, by the fact that he routinely, carries a partly eaten hamburger, in one hand (often dripping ketchup) and a golf club in the other.

Although the State is Monarchial, its King, Gluteus Maximus 1st, was, as stated, chosen, democratically, by the vote of the Nation’s citizens, under its one-party system.  There are mandatorily attended, weekly, rallies of support for the King, plus other, official occasions, like Official State dinners, where hamburger on roll, soda or beer, and then dessert, are served; the latter, usually consisting of M & M’s (peanuts), or some other esoteric specialty, selected, by the knowledgeable and aesthetic Monarch. The State, as a compassionate gesture, refunds the excess of any subscription paid, over six dollars, by its attending citizens, for any communal event. All money collected, goes into the King’s account, for State emergencies, such as an observed, material decline, in the Royal inventory of M & M’s, and other similar State emergencies.

There appear to be no colleges or universities, anywhere, in the Nation, as well as not one of the forbidden, libraries, museums, galleries or concert halls; but there are six primary schools, affording a “full spectrum of education,” running up to the ninth grade. There is but one newspaper, which is reviewed by a designated, sycophant- employee, of the King (one who can, truthfully boast of a [rare] literacy), for the possibility of “fake” news (viz., unfavorable to King Maximus). Freedom of the Press, however, as a protected institution, is, incontrovertibly, sanctioned, by the benevolent Monarch, as, inarguably, exemplified by the Royally encouraged, publication of twelve, officially approved, “girlie” magazines

As, smilingly declared, by His August Majesty, King Gluteus Maximus the 1st, “Things have never been better.”                                        -p

Post # 467   TRUE LOVE AND BULBS (A Valentine’s Day Reprise)*

Caution, dear reader, brace yourself. In a few days, the perennial tsunami, appearing every February 14, will predictably reassert itself, in all its traditional force. The sole fans of the feared flooding are the usual suspects, the greeting card companies, the chocolate manufacturers, the florists, the retail jewelry businesses, the pajama industry and the novelty sales folk. The expected high tide of the Valentine’s Day inundation, judging by previous experience, will submerge all land masses, human population and baffle all reason. Among other phenomena, the advertising industry will publish a stage 4 hurricane of notices, featuring photo-shopped, seemingly amorous couples, in intimate proximity, to their highlighted sales merchandise.

Since (mercifully) this holiday has only a short half-life, one day, the need for effective, sales propaganda becomes urgent. Unaccountably huge profits are earned by companies who, presumptuously, maintain that there is a realistic (and commercial) need to supplement the interaction of couples, who love one another, with their manufactured paraphernalia. Greeting card companies are especially guilty of this self-serving assumption and hire distinguished “poets” to create trite doggerel, consisting of inane expressions of love and fidelity, for the thousands of presumably, aphasic, anonymous consumers.

The most objectionable of the various Valentine’s Day symbols, is the trite, red valentine “heart,” an outmoded and retro- configuration, broadcast without relief; on all holiday products, greeting cards, gift wrapping paper, stuffed toys, pillows and candy boxes.This  stale symbol is glaringly imprinted on all items for sale on Valentine’s Day, as well as on the consumer’s mind, by some Manchurian Candidate type, propaganda.

Various research people [ who apparently have no more pressing fields of inquiry for the employment of their PHD acumen] have uniformly reported that the classic red symbol is derived from an early, incorrect understanding, by [no less than] Galen and Aristotle, who believed that the heart contained only three chambers. [It may be noted, that Dr. Galen and Mr. Aristotle were, innovatedly, accurate on many other subjects]

The valentine depiction of the human heart, maintains the very same proportionate degree of accuracy, as a wood duck, in appearance, bears to a moose. Nevertheless, it has, over the ages, been foisted upon, and willingly accepted, by the consuming public.

In truth, the human heart is shaped like a pear and is the approximate size of a man’s fist. This life-or-death chest muscle is taxed with the existential job of circulating blood and oxygen throughout the body. It has no time, or noticeable inclination, for holiday Hallmark sales propaganda, as the purported source of love, courage, strength or kindness. The statement, “He has a good heart” should be reserved, solely to a positive determination by a cardiologist, and not a comment on such traits as a person’s, love, generosity or empathy. We are only concerned with cardiologists and not “cardeologists.” How would you value a positive comment on generosity, like, “He has good kidneys.”

It is certainly inarguable that all human thought and emotion are exclusively functions of the brain and, empirically, not the traditionally romanticized heart muscle. Admittedly, however, it would be impractical to artistically create a brain-shaped cartoon figure to serve as a symbol of the holiday.

The senseless valentine “heart” is best replaced by a preferable love symbol, the unique and marvelous tulip bulb. Certainly, the outline of the traditional bulb is simple to replicate, artistically. More important, the bulb has always been a reliable symbol of future growth and predictable beauty. Relative to the modern conception of true and healthy love, the tulip bulb is independent and self-sustaining, having within its inner self a sufficient systemic source of future nourishment as well as the natural ability and inclination for growth and the achievement of its innate potential.

The tulip bulb, in the Middle Ages, was thought to be magical and priceless. There are historical records of its individual sale for the modern equivalent of several thousand dollars. If you should offer one to him/her and it is refused, we earnestly suggest that you look elsewhere.

ADDENDUM:

Why should it be necessary to dedicate a one- day holiday in recognition and expression of love; and, further, to do so by trite gifts of holiday nonsense? Love, where it is genuine, is experienced on a regular basis, and expressed in tender interaction and caring, personal acts. This one- day holiday is sadly  comparable to gifts of free turkey dinners on Thanksgiving to the needy. Hunger exists year- round and the poor and unfortunate need more than a gratuitous symbol.

* perienniel message

-p.

Post # 466    SCHOOL DAYS, SCHOOL DAYS (A Retrospective)

In these distressing times, of bizarre and unsettling National governance by a veritable, Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter, we have been, occasionally, inclined, as temporary relief, to turn off the sputtering, loud faucet of the present surge of events, and engage the less kinetic spigot of the remembered past.

Readers old enough to remember the universally sung, “School days, school days, dear old golden rule days, reading and writing and ‘rithmatic,’taught to the tune of the hickory stick….”, may, with especial nostalgia, share in the foregoing recollection. Regarding the ditty, we would observe, at this point, that that the principle of the “Golden Rule,” at present, sadly, appears to be obsolete; the Hickory stick, was always an abomination, whose obsolescence we celebrate. In any event, if there were “charts,” in the past purview of schoolboy music, this song would top the list.

While, our present recollection is focused on the stereotypic, New York City classroom, of the forties and fifties, much of its traditional, antique, phenomena and nuanced, folkways were, empirically, universal.

To set the nostalgic, classroom scene, we would arrange, several rows of wooden, forward- facing wooden desks, to which seats attached, by iron bars, or similar material.  The desktops could be lifted to access books, school supplies, lunch and “contraband,” in the box-like space, below. A cursory glance would reveal, at each top right corner, of the desktop, a small circular, opening, an “inkwell,” in which a small, inserted glass vessel, did service, as a container for the liquid ink (usually, blue-black). After raising the small, circular metal lid, covering the wooden inkwell, the student would, as often as his writing required, dip therein, his (wooden pen’s temporarily affixed) metal point, for ink.

Writing with such a pen tip, would necessarily, be scratchy; excessive droplets of ink had to be absorbed, using an ink blotter (a small, thick, usually colored, piece of soft-absorbent cardboard). The blots from the excessive ink, were, practically speaking, unavoidable (with the uncontrolled, non-uniform, quantity of ink, regularly transported by the dipped, pen point), remained, as enduring blemishes on the written paper, and, the young student would invariably acquire articulate blue-black, visible, evidence of his, achieved literacy, on his fingers, and shirt.

Affixed to the front wall of the classroom, at convenient location, behind the teacher’s desk, was a black slate writing surface, known as a “blackboard,” or “chalkboard,” a dark, easily erasable, writing surface, on which, text or diagrams may be written and drawn with “chalk,” (calcium sulfate or calcium carbonate). Each afternoon, a lucky student would be, selectively chosen, by the teacher, for the bestowed office, of “blackboard monitor,” to clean the blackboard, concomitantly, acquiring honor and esteem, higher than the window monitor, and even the “door monitor”, but of course, below the august grandeur of the “lunch monitor.” These sinecures were awarded to those saintly students, who didn’t chew gum, or perform “hijinks,” in class, or on recess, paid attention, did not talk in class, were responsive to teacher’s questions, and, importantly, manifested the epitome of demonstrated and unassailable virtue, by sitting, upright and keeping his arms on the desktop, with tightly entwined fingers, thereby, tacitly symbolizing flawless behavior, and complete, canine-like submission.

Each class, recognizably, had a class clown, a class bully, “a “teacher’s Pet” and a “dunce”. The class clown, owned the hearts of his fellow students, but not that of his punitive teacher. The teacher’s pet, often a girl, would flatter the teacher, water her classroom plants, and, bravely, accept the hatred of her classmates. The class bully would, in time, learn that acceptance is not as difficult as previously feared, and that companionship, far outweighs physical prowess.

The dunce, often was assigned, the ignominious, task of sitting, in an upfront corner of the classroom, on a “dunce stool,” and, mandatorily, wearing, for the hour or two of his internment, a pointy, “dunce cap.” The intrinsic value of this arcane pedagogic process, to this day, still boggles the mind; it does however, underline the existence of variant personalities of some, of the so-called, pedagogues. Clearly, shaming a young student, before his contemporaries, is a bizarre and cruel way, to improve scholarship.

On a designated, day of the week, often a Wednesday or a Thursday, the entire school, teachers and students would assemble, en masse, in the school auditorium, for a school program, which invariably, started out with a salute to the flag. The flag monitor, inarguably, was among the most elite of the entire genus and species, of school monitors, also, usually, the tallest and most corpulent student in the school. After the salute to the flag and the singing of our National Anthem, the Principal would deliver speeches and make announcements, generally ignored by the students, and, no doubt, politically analyzed by the attentive teachers. Often, after teacher announcements, there was a song, reluctantly sung by an assigned class, final homiletic remarks from the principal, and, at last, dismissal.

In those days, at such an “assembly day”, boys were required to wear white shirts, red ties and, if owned, blue slacks; for girls, white blouses, red kerchiefs or scarves and blue skirts. In hindsight, it seems to have been a foolish and atavistic exercise in Nationalism, requiring all the students wear the colors of the flag. We now can perceive, a bone-chilling, analogy, with the brown shirts, worn by Hitler Youth. Pride in America, is the resultant of the teaching and  the assurance of our liberty and citizen rights, and certainly not, demonstrated by the wearing of mandatory uniforms.

Recess periods, usually scheduled for the middle of the school day, were normally enjoyed out of doors, weather permitting, in the schoolyard. Games for boys, too small to play basketball, were chase games like, ring-a- levio and hide-and-seek; less active games were marbles, yo-yo’s and spinning tops. Girls played jacks, jumped rope, and laughingly discussed the boys; who worked hard, at pretending not to care.

The better part of a Century has elapsed, since, the era of the “schooldays” in which the recited events of this retrospective took place. It would not be possible to categorize the myriad of subjects, let alone the universe of new and consequential changes; not only in pedagogy, the context of this note, but in every conceivable aspect of our society. The age of computers and technology, has evolved exponentially, to the point where, frighteningly, computers can do our thinking for us, as well as dominate our inter-active social lives, (perhaps in greater degree, than they  contemporaneously do),  global travel and international interface has already become mundane, we are at the very threshold of inter-planetary travel, and perhaps residence, medicine and science have seen enormous development, many diseases have  been rendered obsolete, and announced new  breakthroughs in all fields and disciplines seem, almost routine, and uneventful. Looking back, may possibly, cause us to smile, sheepishly, in our newly sophisticated fashion, at the contrast, between the former, prevailing rudimentary simplicity and lack of scientific and societal sophistication, as compared with contemporaneous society.

We are, of course, pleased with man’s advanced, vast technological and social progress. What we do, painfully, mourn, is the contemporaneous decline, in respect for the truth, decency and empathy, the prevailing existence of insular tribalism and lack of civic amity, the lack of respect for knowledge and aesthetics. We especially mourn the recent pathology of uneducated and reductive populism, now predominating America, the resultant, wide-spread lack of respect for wisdom and rectitude, and the infestation of our White House with a termite-like rot.

Separate and apart, from our blue-black, ink stained fingers, technological ignorance and naiveté, of past years, we did universally maintain a respect for truth, for knowledge, for rectitude, and an abiding faith in our avowed American values. We, presently will, as long as it is rationally acceptable, persist in looking forward to a return to normalcy, and the continued pursuit of the full realization, of those, American values.

-p.

 

 

 

 

 

Blog # 465      STATES ARE NOT PEOPLE [A pliny Editorial]

The recent neighborhood mugging, by the U.S. Senate, of The U.S. House of Representatives, and arguably, of the American people, has caused us to re-think the democratic validity of that arrogant body. It is well known that, in our bi-cameral system, there are two houses, one, made up of State Representatives (the “Lower House”), with elected representatives, proportionally allocated to the population of the respective State, and a Senate (the “Upper House”) composed of two Senators per State, regardless of population. We find it, curious, that the Founders, saw fit to emulate the British, bi-cameral system, with a House of “Commons,”elected by and representing the people, and an unelected Upper House, the House of” Lords”, [whose members are appointed or inherited], inconsistent with their pretensions of concern for citizen equality and one man, one vote. Moreover, it was principly, at odds with their dedicated efforts to reject the European system of privilege and hierarchy. The Founders’ historic and radical dogma, “all men are created equal,” seems to have had an exception  respecting  the design of the Legislative Branch of Government.

A review of the Federalist Papers, would reveal a mistrust of the uninformed mob, which, after much contention, seemed to predominate. Consequently, a “more, sober and responsible” upper House was agreed to. This does seem to be, inconsistent, at best, and hypocritical, at worst, for the brave declarants of the message of “all men are created equal.”

As provided in the Constitutional system,  Senators represent States (which are neither people, nor citizens) while, by contrast, the Members of the House of Representatives, represent the people, viz., the Nation’s voters. In addition to its insult to any purported claim of a democratic voting system, it, in actuality, is antithetic to the very definition, of a representative democracy. The undemocratic effect, is that the relatively small populated States, like Idaho, Nevada and Montana, are awarded the same number of Senators, as States with very large populations, like New York. California and Illinois. Why should real estate have a greater influence than the human voter? How can this possibly, square with the purportedly, avowed, rectitude of the American Constitution?

It will be remembered that this purportedly, deliberative, part of Congress, unanimously refused, for purely partisan reasons, to deliberate upon a legitimate candidate for SCOTUS, properly nominated by a Democratic President, refused to process a plethora of the people’s legislation, passed by the House of Representatives and, refused to Constitutionally, convene a legitimately constituted trial to honestly deliberate, upon the crimes and misbehavior, indicting our President.

This essentially undemocratic architecture, was responsible for the outcome of the Trump Impeachment matter. The entire, Republican Senate, under the puppetry of their hound dog like, affect-lacking, laconic puppetmaster, Mitch McConnell, compliantly and, in 100% lock-step, partisan fashion, found that Trump’s intrigues with Russia, and its autocratic leader, the most threatening enemy of the United, States, concerning the outcome of  American elections, was not punishable.It is to be emphasized that the published results of respected National polls, revealed, that most American citizens wanted a meaningful trial and, if proven warranted, a conviction.

An analogous, anti-democratic, incongruity, with the principles of, “one man, one vote vote” and the “equality” mantra, was effected by the Founders, in their creation of The Electoral College. Their diffidence and evident disrespect for the common man, apparently, was also operative, in its prophylactic creation. In this undemocratic institution, electors, respectively, equal to the number of House representatives of each State, plus two more, ultimately, decide for the American public, who is to be its President and Vice President.

Why have Americans historically tolerated such travesties against our avowed ideals?  According to our research, no less than, five American Presidents, including our present miscreant, have been awarded the Presidency, by the Electoral College, which awards were inconsistent with the popular (people’s) vote. Any citizen who will persist in maintaining some reservation, concerning a direct, popular vote, without the deliberative, “check on the mob,” ought to be reminded of the past election, in which the purported, firewall of the Electoral College was solely, responsible for the election of the choice of the “populist, mob,” Donald Trump.

With respect to the inequity of the present architecture of our bi-cameral Legislature, it may be that the solution would be, to increase the number of House Representatives, to arrive at fair, and proportional, expression of the National voice, and thereby, effect a true democratization of our Legislative Branch of our government

We, in the interest of (our) democracy, earnestly recommend, that the unfair, vestigial, institution of the Electoral College, be relegated without delay, to the, infamous, dust bin of History.

-p.

 

 

 

Blog # 464    THE U- TURN: A simplified perception

We are obliged to preface the following, essay, with the declaration that it is written, exclusively, from a secular, empirical point of view. The statements concerning man’s, “purpose” and his “destiny,” refer specifically, and respectively, to the potential capabilities bestowed upon him, by evolution, and the nature and extent of his empirical employment of such singular abilities.

Inarguably, most notable, was nature’s generous bequest to mankind, of an advanced brain, affording to him extensive resources for survival, and the potential for social advancement. Supplementing and assisting such capabilities and potential for success, were his given, perceptive senses, opposable thumb and an upright posture. Man’s purpose and future destiny, as we refer to such concepts, relate, respectively, to the (mental and physical) potential capabilities, given to him by nature’s providence, and his ability to achieve success, by their future application.

Retrospective study of early homo sapiens, will readily evince, a long, steady, dedicated march, anthropologically and socially, in the direction of modernity, by virtue of the utilization of such unique, evolutionary endowments. It will reveal Early Man’s, slow, but steady, morphing, from a lonely, short- lived and greatly endangered new species, existentially and singlehandedly, obliged, to daily, search for food and water, adequate shelter, warmth, safety from wild beasts and marauders, and contend with the harsh natural elements, to the later, enhanced, societal living, where joint existence and enterprise replaced such solo challenges.

Societal living, began, reportedly, about seven thousand years ago, when man turned to agriculture, as a primary way to obtain food. Living together in society with other human beings, afforded relief from loneliness, the cooperative sharing of skills, joint enterprise and the increased security of a common defense. Inter-dependent, shared, communal life made necessary and practical, the creation of a common language, and the need for an agreed system of governance, and led to a common culture and social system, inclusive of indigenous folkways.

 

The future witnessed the development of self- governing, City States and still later, the consolidation of such City States, resulting in, consolidated, independent, Nations. Questions of philosophy of rule, political obligation, rights of the individual, relationship of ruler to legislation, the nature of political liberty and social justice needed definition. These States, coexisted, traded and communicated with each other, and at times, began to contend over trading rights, territories and religion. Meanwhile, a dedicated sense of personal “Nationality” developed, as an integral part of individual identity, and while, the existence of cultural and political solidarity, generally, is salutary, it carries the proviso that it does not fester, into a bias, or prejudice against other cultures or States.

 

It appears to us, that, it was, generally, at this, developmental stage of mankind’s march to modernity, that man’s anthropological character, visibly, seems to have taken an undesirable, “U turn.” While some conflicts and violence, did exist in the earlier stage of his development, man seemed now, to manifest, latent or innate tendencies, far from the ends for which he had been equipped by evolution, and antithetical to the ends intended, in his given, natural purpose and destiny.

 

To reluctantly summarize, mankind seemed, markedly, to effect a U- turn to the opposite direction. From his general desire for communality, living amongst other humans, generally, to an insular preference for his own familiar citizens, to the hostile exclusion of others. Factors, leading to such hostility, with other groups or Nations, included, competition, differences in belief (primarily, religion), territorial disputes and wrongful aggrandizement, desire for power or natural resources, historical and ethnic disputes, economic motivation, propaganda and populist myth, or any conceivable dispute du- jour. In too many cases, the ensuing consequences were wars, some of which led to permanent estrangement.

 

Conflict and warfare, seems to predominate in our histories, for a multitude of reasons, among which was the aspiration for territory or power. Religious differences may top the list as the most cogent, and enduring, motivation for conflict. Even more enduring than the thirty year’s war in Central Europe, between the Catholic and Protestant faiths, is the never-ending warfare between Sunni and Shia Muslims; the latter having its cause, stemming from a 7th Century, dispute, as to whether the Prophet Mohammed, should be succeeded by a blood relative (as in England) or by popular vote. As is the case with all conflict and war, including the two World War the eternal (if unreasonable) causes are, “we” and they.” It may not be possible, or useful, to recount the plethora of bloody wars, all of which in which in the causes, reside in the taught concept of “we” and “they” as shamelessly, the case in hostility based upon racial or other prejudice.

 

The salient and painful a question, is what caused the “U-Turn” in man’s character and persona, from a peaceful being, seeking survival, human company and mutual association, to the later (and contemporary) pathology of fear and loathing of the “other?” Why has societal communication atrophied to the the utter absence of civic amity, as between our fellow citizens, with differing political views? Why have the uninformed people of the world, predominated in their atavistic Nationalism?

 

Recent examples of such human pathology, are seen in the unfortunate global metastasis of the low educated, flat earth, populist, who have exacerbated the pathology of Nationalism, on a World basis, and caused a rejection of efforts expended toward uniting people of other Nations, thereby, preventing efforts toward peace and mutual cooperation. The latest victory, of the uncountable efforts, of the less educated and uninformed, flat earth denizens, were rewarded, recently, by the withdrawal of Great Britain from the European Union, thus, undercutting a joint, and historically salutary, effort to improve relations, economic and political, between European Countries.

 

We have no pretensions, whatsoever, to being anthropologists, sociologists nor psychiatrists, but will, nevertheless, bravely venture to state what we sincerely believe to be, the provenance of this human failing, provided, the reader, consider that, as titled, above, this is an original, unverified and academically, unstudied perception.

 

At the start of this mini-essay, we posited the proposition, that man’s future and destiny, [meaning, man’s naturally inherited capabilities, and his use of them] were generous gifts, to homo sapiens, from natural evolution. It is our necessary surmise, that nature is, and was, concerned, solely, with the existential subjects of survival and reproduction. In accordance with our speculative supposition, while natural evolution, is the driving force, behind growth, survival and reproduction, it is systemically and categorically unrelated to human psychology or, to man’s persona. Nature’s evolutionary gifts and destiny, as previously noted, concerned with species survival and reproduction were a complete success; man, the new, advanced species, survived, flourished, and presently exists, in great number.

 

 

Man, alone, must take the full blame for his selfish, insecure, inapathetic and immoral persona, and its shameless, historical manifestation of culpable behavior. What appears, to be needed for the securing of a better planetary inhabitant, is an evolution, now, of man’s facilities for morality and brotherhood.

 

-p.

 

 

 

 

 

Post #463 (fiction no. 7)   THE ORACLE ON TREMONT AVENUE  (A modern day redux on Aesop’s, “The Grasshopper and the Ant”)  

The protagonist, Cedrick P. Boobish, (“C.P.”), having recently immigrated to the United States, from London’s East Side, and residing (“for the moment”) in a modest flat on Tremont Avenue, Bronx, New York, slyly, acknowledged to himself, with a subtle smile, that he, indeed, was an especially fortunate man.

Despite his recent, unjust expulsion, as a recently hired, adjunct professor, from a small, “non-descript,” College in England, he was, nevertheless, exultant, in the confident recognition, of being uniquely in possession of a rare, unorthodox and remarkably advanced, gift of reason. It was that rare and precious gift, he came to realize, which, no doubt, was the underlying basis, of his summary, tactical, dismissal from the College. To be specific, he felt that his discharge was motivated by the Dean’s apprehension, that, if he were further retained, the members of the college’s professorial staff would find themselves professionally challenged, threatened, by his especially nuanced and deeply insightful observations, relative to curricular subjects, taught at the College.

One illustrative, and typical example, of this, singularity, was his ongoing, disdainful, dismissal of the marvelous, 17th through 19th Century, Enlightenment thinkers, including, Copernicus (heliocentric theory of the solar system), and Erasmus. It was Boobish’s vehement, and often expressed, belief, that, the universally acknowledged, paramount contribution, to mankind, of said Age of Enlightenment, viz., the scientific and philosophical, disproval and rejection, of the ancient, religious trope, that Man was placed, at the center of the Universe, was itself, “incorrect.” Boobish declared, that such historical breakthrough, and the “purported, rejection,” lacked, even one scintilla of redeeming merit”.

Continuing with the intended narrative, we might, observe, that, our protagonist, Mr. C.P.Boobish, albeit, born to modest, economic, circumstances, was, by some propitious chance, possessed of the fulsome, theatrical accent, normally attributable to the British upper class, a  phenomenon, rarely, if ever, previously, encountered in the West Bronx. By virtue of its ethnic comparison, with New York speech or, even worse, with the Bronx diphthong, lent to his speech, in such venue, a misleading and undeserved, aura of authority, and far more troubling and deceptive, a false aura of wisdom.

Boobish’s self-serving, rationalizations for his total inability, to find employment in New York, were, dual; as to high scale positions, it was his evident brilliance, causing corporate representatives, to fear their own replacement, and, regarding lower scale jobs, was his obvious over- qualification. Rather than being discouraged, B.J. perceived, that it all was destiny, an inspirational message, directing him, by virtue of his unique natural endowments, to establish for his fellow man, a public advisory service.

Such advisory service, purely for practical reasons, would have its first and temporary location, at his ground floor, street facing apartment, until the time of its expected success, and predictable major expansion. The first week, following his affixation of an elegant sign, to the center-front window of his front-facing apartment, advertising his advisory service, was disastrous. The only parties that came to the door were, in order, the landlord, demanding her two month’s, unpaid rent, two solicitors, vacuum cleaners and magazine sales, and, finally, a young high school student, desperately, requiring tutoring in intermediate algebra. They were all sent away, the young student, angrily dismissed, on the firm grounds, that Boobish, as he haughtily proclaimed, “never, even once, heard of the subject of algebra, whether, intermediate or final.”

After approximately two months, more local people, started to slowly, drift in. The first was Mr. Bernstein, who was a tenant, upstairs, on the fifth floor of the same building, in which the advisory service was located. He explained that he is a medical student, needing funds and heavily in debt, having, recently, graduated from medical school, and presently, pursuing a course of specialization, in orthopedics. The problem, regarding which he needed advice and help, was the refusal of the landlord, to furnish sufficient heat to his apartment, thus interfering with his study, and causing him personal discomfort. The advice, and service, for which the indigent tenant, paid $50.00, was succinct, and frustratingly disappointing to Bernstein, (who, in truth, expected advice on legal redress) was simply: “Buy a warm sweater.” The young, Student-Doctor, pursuing orthopedics, left, disappointed, angry and embarrassed.

The following is a quick recitation, in summary form, of problems, brought to Boobish, seeking advice and assistance, and the nature of the advice, offered by such sage advisor: Problem, wrongful firing and loss of employment. Advice: “get plenty of rest”. Problem, wife being constantly beaten, by violent husband. Advice:” Get a big stick.” Student with claim of wrongful expulsion from University. Advice: “Get a job”. Severe alcoholism. Advice: “Stop drinking”. Problem, incessant, verbal battles between married couple. Advice: “Stop talking to each other, if you both remain silent, the argument will be ended.” Problem, Expensive, newly purchased, washer and dryer, do not work. Advice: “Do not use them”.

After the first few weeks of operation of this, remarkable consulting service, Boobish gathered his receipts together, for the purpose of prudently, depositing his net receipts, into his local bank account. It was raining heavily, that day, and so, he decided to take the bus. When the City bus stopped, at the proximity of the selected bank, Boobish, politely thanked the bus driver, and then, intending to routinely, step down, awkwardly, turned his foot, and slipped, to the sidewalk. He arose with some help from a bystander, apparently unhurt. However, when he attempted to walk, the leg, which he had twisted, stepping off the bus, at first, could not be moved, without extreme pain. Shortly, thereafter, he was able to walk home, very slowly and painfully.

He, awkwardly mounted the front steps to his apartment building, alternately slipping and catching himself, opened the heavy outside door, and painfully, limped to his first floor apartment. He had come close to slipping, yet, again, when he fumbled in his trousers, for the key, and, finally, sweating, shaky and puffing, let himself in, and tumbled, in relief, on the couch. He painfully, sat, for a while, noticing that his knee was, red and slowly swelling. After a few minutes, Boobish recalled, that the nice fifth floor tenant, Bernstein, is a doctor, working toward a specialization in orthopedics, of all things, and attempted to telephone him. He was not home, and disappointedly, and, in a state of impatient anxiety, he left an “urgent” message, for Bernstein, to call back, immediately, reciting the facts and his extreme pain and suffering.

Two hours later, Bernstein, “at long last,” came home, and in the process of accessing the message, recalled the insensitive and insulting, short shrift, previously afforded him, by the caller. As expected by Bernstein, it wasn’t long, before Boobish called again. Bernstein listened patiently, for a full five minutes, to the detailed description of the incident, and to an extensive account of the consequent, pain and disability. At last, in the midst of his frantic complaints, Boobish anxiously, asked Bernstein, the very question, for which Bernstein had been patiently awaiting: “I can’t walk on that leg; what should I do now?” Bernstein, smiled devilishly, after hanging up, but not before having advised, “So don’t walk.”

-p.