Post # 601 THE GOLDEN CALF

Upon watching on television, the formal, ceremonial wheeling out of a gold bust of Donald Trump for public (Republican) adulation, our reactions can successively be described as initially, shock, loathing and lastly a profound sense one might fundamentally describe as a species of primal fear.

On a mundane level, it is astonishing, that an individual whose publicly known cornucopia, of shamefully miscreant, and immoral behaviors, include multiple acts of criminality, wrongdoing in office, blatant immorality, and bigotry, could rationally, warrant public recognition, let alone such apparent beatification and worship. On a more metaphysical level, such adoration and apparent obeisance were, to us, an ominous indication that far more than an uncomfortable sufferance, simply, of a politically divided Nation, we are confronted with a large cohort of people (almost half) who wittingly or, as a matter of sublime ignorance, would be content to see a reversal, or “U-Turn,” in the naturally ongoing universal progress of human civilization.

As memorialized in the (Bible’s) Old Testament “Exodus” and also, in the Second Chapter of the Quran, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he was greatly angered (threw down the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, cracking them) upon observing that his people were worshiping idols, most especially, a “Golden Calf.” He violently destroyed the pagan gold calf and thereafter directed the mandatory prohibition of idol worship and their referable cults.

The anachronistic appearance of a gold pagan deity-like statue, in the reverential likeness of Donald Trump, is a disappointing recognition that there are certain communities of people, largely, but not exclusively, under-educated and poorly informed, who have the atavistic inclination to prefer demagogic or messianic versions of reality to factual reality. The possible etiologic reasons may be limitless, such as discontent with the facts of one’s personal life, misperception of reality due to trauma, the limitations of emotional or mental illness, cynicism founded in failure of personal aspirations, limited experience combined with vulnerability to suggestion and demagogic influence, neurotic insecurity and consequent need for group acceptance and approval, or just,  run-of-the-mill uncomplicated, reductive ignorance.

We had, long ago, deduced that the loyal followers of Donald Trump, irrespective of his immoral and shameless personal behaviors and his demonstrated incapacity and dishonesty in Office, are properly identified as a “cult”; since It is empirically normal for citizens to avert their eyes from the sight of roadkill, and to condemn those who transgress against societal and professional norms. As a typical example, many avid supporters of Trump, such as the White Evangelical Church, whose unwavering mantra is to condemn all those they choose to subjectively determine to be sexually immoral, have continued to be his wholehearted supporters; this, despite his public boasts of societally improper assignations with prostitutes, aggravated by sub-rosa and false sources of money to buy their silence.

As additional evidence supporting the concept of a Trump “cult”, in addition to his egregiously immoral behavior, he has never evinced any credo or doctrinaire beliefs, on which to base loyal support. For these reasons we had identified in previous writings and in this essay, continue to classify his fervent supporters as his cultists. Their extreme loyalty and obedience to this golden Trump cult-deity were especially demonstrated, last January 6th  by the sizeable, treasonous response to his call for a violent insurrection to be waged against the Capitol Building. As historically proven, loyalty to a cult, despot or golden deity is dangerous, viz, Hitler, Hirohito, Mussolini, Mao Tso Tung, Josef Stalin, Julius Caesar.

In common with other cases of loyalty to an autocratic leader, following their inculcation in the bogus belief that the true facts are being manipulated by the established authorities, the members of the cult become convinced that the demagogue’s perverted version of events is singularly true.  Such propaganda is relied upon by the misled followers who are encouraged by the cult-deity to believe that the objective and accurate facts are the tactical product of an evil, anti-cult conspiracy. The followers, thereafter, will customarily rely exclusively upon such (perverted)  “truth” as is enunciated by its Leader.

The experiences of witnessing the gothic and obscene presentation of a purportedly, reverential gold statue in the likeness of Donald Trump, for those people who venerate the Old Testament or the Quran, were predictably deemed, obscenely sacrilegious; we see it as especially dangerous and delusional.

In keeping with the vital goals of the preservation of our Democratic Republic, and the dictates of Reason and impartial Justice, the Government is morally and legally mandated to pursue the many confessed crimes of Donald Trump to conviction, and, for the existential necessity of societal protection, grant this “golden deity” a stiff jail sentence; it is well- deserved justice and would, importantly, serve as an official restatement of societal normative propriety, to his aberrant and deluded sycophants.

-p.


Post # 600 THE TAXING OF JUSTICE

During America’s Prohibition Era, the infamous Al Capone, was so successful in the practice of his nefarious arts, that, despite some stiff competition, he attained the coveted FBI title of “Public Enemy Number One.” Ultimately dying from the terminal scourge of advanced syphilis, Capone’s dismal criminal record is replete with uncountable instances of murder, bootlegging, assault, extortion, rape,  pimping, and general organized crime. The celebrated psychopath would appropriately be enshrined in the Criminal Hall of Fame, if one existed. He is credited, among other horrors, with having been the producer, director, and chief protagonist of the infamous,” Valentine’s Day Massacres.” Capone’s culpability for numerous homicides, establishment of  brothels, extortive labor law violations,  full- time violation of the Volstead Act (Liquor Prohibition), extortion and bloody gangland racketeering indeed proved sufficient, to qualify him for the coveted FBI trophy, as above noted, “Public Enemy Number One.” Nevertheless, incredibly, he was ultimately found guilty and incarcerated merely, and insufficiently, for the non-violent and sedentary white- collar offense of “tax evasion.” With distasteful reference to this insufficient and absurd example of institutional State  retribution, we would, wryly inquire, whether said finding of guilty of tax evasion, is rationally inclusive of the celebrated “Valentine’s Day Massacres” and the many other bloody and brutal psychopathic crimes committed by Capone?

After slightly less than an entire decade of tactical non-compliance with multiple Official demands issued to Donald Trump, for the production of copies of his tax returns, the United States Supreme Court recently provided a legal avenue for their production (together with their all-important, related work papers). Trump, a self-asserted multi-millionaire who has publicly boasted of paying yearly taxes in the paltry amount of $250, or in some years, nothing at all, will predictably be found guilty, like Al Capone, of tax evasion. However, with reference to the unexplainable and inexcusable omission to find Capone, (Public Enemy Number One) guilty of the other manifold crimes included in his sizeable portfolio of heinous and bloody criminality, it is of no less than existential importance that, as a societally mandated statement, Trump be determined guilty, of his (other) manifold crimes, most especially, those with negative implications to the Nation and to human society.

To reiterate as briefly as possible, Donald Trump, as is publicly known, has committed the following criminal acts: incitement of insurrection against the Nation’s Capital, solicitation to elected Officials to illegally alter the vote tabulation, treasonous relations with traditional enemy Nations, bribery and political extortion, multiple and intentional violations of the Civil Rights Law, tactical and false misrepresentation of the serious nature of the COVID-9 epidemic, resulting in a precarious delay in medical response, arguably causative of tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths (tantamount to multiple homicides), directing the kidnap and false imprisonment of young immigrants , multiple, intentional and criminal violations of the Emolument Clause of The U.S. Constitution, greedily and illegally, enriching himself, his companies and personal family, committing acts of assignation with prostitutes and fraudulently having them bribed for their silence, and moreover, with moneys, obtained and deceitfully shielded by the fraudulent misrepresentation of their purported source, acts of assault on women, including rape, political intimidation and extortion, multiple acts of intentional insurance fraud, perjury and an additional bulging cornucopia of despicable criminal behavior.

Trump’s despicable behavior,( but) short of being legislated into in the Criminal Code, but societally egregious, includes: his irreverent and slanderous damage to the societally existential institution of “Truth,” his costly derogation of science, intellectual prowess and education, including the denial of Global Warming, slanderous attacks against the free press and other media, his incitements to wrongful physical assault and tactical, verbal support of personal  autocracy to the ignorant underbelly of the Nation, his  serial mendacity, public adolescent-like  boasts of prior acts of sexual immorality, his personal repudiation of the established principle that “no one is above the law,” by his actions and televised statements [“I can shoot anyone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.”], and, generally, his pathologically self-serving, egotistical, and profane Presidential behavior.

Trump’s heinous aggregation of virtually, a spectrum of criminal and immoral acts, as a matter of existential societal importance, must be sufficiently demonstrated to be far outside of the societally acceptable pale of behavior, by an adequate statement of deterrence from the society he reviled. Trump has arrogantly, and atavistically, rejected virtually all societal folkways, mores and long-established moral pretensions; and it is of existential necessity that man’s age-old process of evolving societal progress, be publicly declared to be again ratified and reinstated, by the imposition, on this miscreant, of the appropriate and societally redemptive penalty, of long- term incarceration.

-p.    

Post # 599 SHIFTING SYMBOLS

If asked, we would define the ubiquitous word, “symbol,” essentially,  as a mark, sign, word or, at times, a person, indicative of, commonly understood as, or emblematically representing an express idea or subject. Symbols functionally qualify as non-verbal declarations, or expressive shared links of understanding in common, between members of society.

To qualify as a symbol, the same must be universally recognizable and immediately translatable into verbal thought. Symbols can be functional or informational, such as the solid, red-colored cross (medical, hospital, pharmacy), balance scale (legal services), school in session (drive slowly) or expressive, Valentine-shaped heart (love), dove (peace), tree (growth, nature), owl (wisdom), hazmat sign (chemical danger), octagonal red sign (stop), Abraham Lincoln (equal rights) and Benjamin Franklin (wisdom, and practical sense). We note that symbols of a political or societal nature are tolerated and acceptable only when they represent the community’s prevailing sentiment.

The recently publicized controversies over Civil War Memorial Monuments, contemporaneously occupying public places in many Southern States, were founded on the felt  perception that they were symbols, glorifying Southern Civil War Military Leaders and memorializing popular confederate, pro-slavery sentiment. The understandable and empathic opponents included people, descended from slaves, together with other right-thinking Americans, who understood that such publicly installed statuary can be perceived as an expression of societal nostalgia and remorse over the defeat of the Confederacy. Those opponents of their removal, who may have candidly felt that the principal issue was historical preservation, ought to be aware that such pretensions are justly and empathically outweighed, by those whose forebears suffered under the immoral and inhuman travesty of slavery. Additionally, the physical removal of these atavistic structures constitutes an observably clear symbol of and is in step with, the Nation’s contemporary and ongoing struggle, for equity and universal rights.

The most enduring moral and historical challenge undertaken by our Nation is the accomplishment of its historic assurance of universal equality. Despite the consistent mandate of equality expressed by Constitutional mandate and clearly set forth in Statutory and Court litigated precedent, the moral and humanistic goal of universal equality has not been acceptably demonstrated, unfortunately, by a large cohort of American Citizens. It is extremely disappointing to the upright American citizen in this 21st Century, to be aware of the existence of anti-Democratic, militaristic groups, opposed to universal equality, as personified by the despicable crowd of bigoted terrorists who recently stormed the Capital Building. The event was a harsh reminder of the persistence of these angry people and of the plethora of militant white Christian Evangelical groups, such as, “The Oath Keepers” “The Proud Boys,” and a  large, noisy, ever-churning cesspool of organized terroristic bigots. The balance of the roster of America’s bigots, we assume, consists of silent, sub-rosa haters.

We were overjoyed at the election and experienced reprised joy at the reaffirming re-election, of Barack Obama (2009-2017), the first Black President in our Nation’s history.[ To go off theme for a comment, he may have been the most capable and best President in American History]. Relative to our ever-hopeful inclination, his election, to us, symbolized a vital course correction and moral improvement regarding America’s many decades of struggle to attain universal, citizen equality and respect.

Our optimism may well have proven to presage the attainment of that desirable reality, if not for the ill-fated election of the ignorant, egotistic, and bigoted charlatan, Donald J. Trump. We have written sufficiently of his miscreant and shameful performance as President, rendering the redux of such observations again unnecessary; except, to say, within the scope of the present essay, that the spate of positive symbolism of competence, dignity, and integrity of the Office of The American Presidency, we proudly observed in the two terms in office of President Obama, was quickly polluted, despoiled, and shamefully violated by Donald Trump. Trump’s unbearable, four-year term was exemplified by consistent, ignorant incompetence in combination with a neurotic egotism, immorality, domestic, National, and International, and as well, the implicit and explicit practice of hateful bigotry. His term in office noticeably served as a symbol of support and approval to the White Christian Militia Groups and to the general bigoted underbelly of America; exemplified by the Trump- incited attack on the Capital.

It was, inarguably, no less than existentially vital to our Nation and to the institution of Democracy,  that  Donald Trump, was not re-elected for a second term. Joseph Biden, the capable, experienced, and responsible, former Vice-President in the exemplary Obama Administration, mercifully, won the Presidency.  The World witnessed with a sigh of relief, the Official swearing in of the new President by Chief U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and most notably, the new Vice President, Kamala Harris, a black American woman of Asian, Caribbean heritage, by a tan-skinned, Puerto Rican- American co- Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor. The National and International symbolism, represented by this definitive elective choice of the American voters, and the subsequent appointment of a dedicated Administration, comprised of capable officials representing the natural diversity of the Nation, is properly indicative of America’s ultimate desire for the accomplishment of our historically “symbolic” motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” and for its prophetic result, National American solidarity.

-p.    

Post # 598 FROZEN BIBLES and COLD CHILI: pliny Editorial

Citizens of Texas,the Nation’s second-largest State and a truly devout member of the Nation’s (“Pray it away”) “Bible Belt,” have historically and stubbornly adhered to a pretention to independence (“ The Lone Star State”). Yet, like other States, Texas sends State Representatives and Senators to the U.S. Congress, participates in the National Military Registration Law, pays Federal Taxes, participates in the National Vote, as well as in most National programs. The State has, nevertheless, persisted in its unique mantra of historically traditional independence; inclusive, unhappily, of its resolute self-determination as to the maintenance of its own singular power grid system, ( Texas Electric Reliability Act) “ERCOT”; rather than participate with other States in the giant National Electric grids, Eastern or Western.

The Texas song: “The stars at night, are deep and bright, deep in the heart of Texas…” has of late, been significantly showcased by a disabling and total electrical black-out. Due to an unprecedented and huge snowfall, accompanied by a dangerous descent to Arctic temperatures, the independent, “Lone Star State” has been inundated and completely crippled. There is, at present, an absence of power, indoor residential temperatures matching outside sub-zero conditions, incidents of poisoning from power generator fumes from attempts to garner a modicum of warmth, and frozen and burst pipes making water unavailable and polluted. Residents have been officially exhorted to boil their water before drinking, a mandate, impossible of compliance due to the absence of power. There are universal icy conditions and predictable bone fractures, a dangerously short supply of food, oversubscribed warming centers and considerable fatalities. It is indeed a tragic scene to contemplate, further complicated by the continuing ravages of the lethal pandemic. Little assistance has been forthcoming from the Texas Governor(Abbott) about whom, in the interest of saving negative adjectival vocabulary as well as epithets, sufficient to render an accurate depiction, we would simply label as manifestly, “Trump-like.”

Why this State, credited with the production of a substantial percentage of the Nation’s power, should now be helplessly cold and Luna like, is a question, the answer to which, in our view, resides in great part in the ignorant, reductionist persona of its State Government and, sad to say, much of its population.  Despite the many decades of valuable and essential services rendered by the Federal Government, social and financial assistance, social security, disability and survival benefits, infrastructure improvements and maintenance, livable wage and working conditions and benefits, transportation (highways, autos, busses, railroad, airplanes, ships) postal services, meteorologic, environmental and citizen health services (as in the pandemic), protections of clean air, water, safe and effective pharmaceutical products and so many others, including military protection, there are too many  stubbornly ignorant members of the country’s underbelly who, while, simultaneously availing themselves of needed federal  entitlements, nevertheless unreasonably and ignorantly, assert that such Federal programs of assistance are besmirched  with their ascribed, godless, epithet, “Socialist.”

We have found it frustratingly tiresome, to continue to remind those of our propagandized, flat-earth denizens, that our Nation’s federal programs, undertaken for citizen protection and benefit, have nothing to do with “Socialism.” Such poorly informed individuals are the preferred targets of choice for propaganda, by the anti-Regulation, atmosphere fouling, air-polluting, chemical hazmat, polluters, in their overriding, sociopathic worship of ill-gotten profits. It is to be noted, that the Federal government, in its contemporary acknowledgment of responsibility to furnish needed assistance to citizens, termed, “Compassionate Capitalism,” has, additionally, thereby effectively prevented arcane foreign economic theories, from securing a foothold in America.

To reiterate, the correct meaning of  “Socialism,” is an economic-governmental theory encompassing the complete ownership and control, of industry and business, by Government. There has, indisputably, been no Candidate for high office in our Nation, with such a credo.  Gratitude and thanks are appropriately due to a government, unique enough and willing to assist in making the lives of its citizens acceptable, many of whom ignorantly and ungratefully, are incited to “ bite the hand that feeds them,”  by false, tactical, and unjust attribution ( from propaganda) to some irrelevant theory.

We have little confidence in any useful relief emanating from  governor, Abbott, who publicly declared, in Trumpian, false fashion, that the meteorological holocaust is entirely due to the Democrat’s “Green New Deal; ”even though less than 10% of the power of this high- power producing State, is generated by windmills and solar panels. Clearly, ignorance and Trumpian- style alternate facts will not solve the problem and vital existential relief will need to be extended by the (allegedly “Socialist”) Federal Government; this is what federal governments do. It cannot be omitted, that Texas Senator Cruz publicly demonstrated equal public empathy and responsibility to his constituents by choosing to quietly escape from his frozen and waterless State, for a warm, family vacation in Cancun, Mexico.

It is generally known that many residents in this geographic area look to the King James Bible for guidance in times of trouble, rather than to rational solutions based upon modern science and enlightened reason. The Bible, which was invested by them, with, purportedly, the ultimate (God’s) truth, and therefore is irrefutable, nevertheless, states that the Earth orbits the Sun, rather than the reverse, that man is “born with sin” and must dedicate his life to its expiation, condones the enslavement of other human beings, declares that the World and its Universe was created in six days and that the “omnipotent” Deity had to “rest” on the seventh day( by good fortune, on a Sunday). It has been scientifically and objectively proven that the Earth was formed over a period of millions of years and that its flora and fauna took untold eons to form ( as shown by the plethora of serological, biological, chemical, geological, fossil, and other scientific proof.) The Bible offers miracles in lieu of  Science and Reason and condones capital punishment, warfare, xenophobia, and the immoral institution of slavery. It rejects Evolution, the human predominance of Reason, and any matter deemed incongruent with fixed loyalty to the sacred and unamendable portrayals of its paleolithic mythology.

Notably, the proximate cause of our Nation’s recent weather abnormalities,(inclusive of Texas) is rationally and empirically, attributable to scientifically proven, global warming; in this instance, manifested by the recent, albeit, hopefully, temporary, emergence of an Arctic weather zone in an historically hot and dry, Southwest State. We are of the view that even this tragic enormity will not succeed in convincing the consummate Bible-belter. It was this same reductive, and atavistic thinking and colossal ignorance that gave us a Donald Trump, and exacerbated the deadly pandemic.

-p.            

Post # 598 THE CHRONICLES OF VIROLOGICA

Exuberant expressions of well-deserved appreciation to medical science and ensuing feelings of relief are being expressed, responsive to the quick and successful development of effective vaccines to prevent the continued spread of the potentially mortal threat of COVID-19, the pathological villain of the ongoing pandemic. It is the venerated aspiration of the newly inaugurated Administration of Biden and Harris, that all Americans be speedily vaccinated and freed from its further threat.

The prophylactically protective measures mandated to abate the spread of the contagion, have consisted of an austere limitation on societal interaction, preferably, by quarantine (“sheltering in place”) and “distancing,” (viz., when away from home, being physically separated from others, by no less than six feet), wearing facial masks covering mouth and nose, and the efficient washing of hands. The constraints on normative interactive communication, have proven to be severely challenging.

The focus of this writing is directed to the general impact on our personal lives by the atrophy of social behavior, effected by quarantine and bizarrely augmented by the dystopian optic impact of the universally masked experience. However, in view of the requirement of detachment from others, we are necessarily and apologetically, limited to the relation of personal experience, and media acquired information, supplemented by the sparse information obtained by telephone. Yet, we entertain an optimistic expectation of reader interest in the presumed commonality, of analogous experience.  

In normal circumstances, a significant amount of time of the average citizen is by necessity, routinely tailored to fit in with his schedule of employment (including travel). Accordingly, the effect of the pandemic’s indeterminate interruption of such regular lifestyle was significantly disorienting and noticeably disconcerting. In our industrially oriented society, such unlimited, extended days of leisure, necessarily become uncomfortably experienced, as wasted, or misspent. Long-established daily schedules for sleeping and eating, are either persistently adhered to by the gravity pull of long-established habit, or else, morph to a spontaneously irregular basis.

 We readily plead guilty to any potential charge attributable to five years of secular sermonizing about the life-advancing, pursuit of elective subjects, unrelated to one’s regular responsibilities; perhaps history, reading, writing, music, the arts, collecting or some personal crafts or hobbies. In our view, in addition to being enjoyable, these elective interests tend, in time, to develop self-confidence, self-esteem and a mature, independent perception; they are personally broadening and by consequence, life-enhancing. Moreover, In times of interruption of life’s established routines, such as the presenting pandemic, they are readily available as an important, confidence retaining stand-in.

In our case, recourse to elective activity consisted principally (and pleasurably), in the authorship of essays and poetry, but also in reading good literature and the enjoyment of film and music.  Having previously reached retirement, our decision to pursue such interests on a full-time basis, had been effectuated, prior to the advent of the pandemic. Pointedly, we have spoken by telephone to several parties, some of whom expressed discomfort and a fair amount of disorientation, responsive to the sudden impact of the phenomenon of unlimited, and felt meaningless and unsubscribed free time.

We were frustrated by our inability to personally enjoy the company of family, especially grandchildren, and friends. The mandated practice of universal mask-wearing made out of door forays, for food and other necessaries, appear to resemble participation in dystopian theater and the requirement for mandatory distancing like military regimentation. We mourned the passage of holidays mandatorily, spent without family and friends, the cessation of informal gatherings at homes and places of recreation, and the restraint from access to necessary services such as dental visits, haircuts, gym attendance and the like, which were endurable, solely in the prudent consideration of the menace of the potential of infection. We did, however, get to know our spouses and immediate family, somewhat more intimately than possibly, desired.

We, reluctantly and guiltily, confess to eating too much and sadly acknowledge its undesirable, but eminently predictable consequence, the accumulation of some additional person; also to sleeping a bit more than necessary, to a somewhat irregular variance from our habitual bedtime and mealtimes and guilty as well to a measure of leisurely and unproductive rumination on useless academic questions. However, to our credit, we have purchased and faithfully use a recumbent bicycle, for twenty-five minutes of physical exercise, three mornings per week.

This morning we received our second, final vaccination and are anticipating the Nation’s healthier days.

-p.

Post # 597 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 Ph.D. 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 # 596 MAN OVER MATTER

If there were one salient lesson to be learned from the unsparingly cruel advent of  COVID-19,  it is that such horrific natural occurrences occur spontaneously and affect humans without discrimination; the secular and religiously inclined, the virtuous as well as the miscreant, the wise as much as the ignorant. The tragic advent of epidemic is universal, objective, and consummately impartial in its delivery of misery. Its defeat, as empirically shown, can be achieved, exclusively, by scientific study and the successful development of an effective remedy; in this case, an effective vaccine.

The ability of mankind, in general, to devise solutions to presenting problems, medical, scientific, and social, inarguably, derives from the primal generosity of Evolution in gifting mankind with an advanced brain, possessing the existentially useful capability of reason. Man’s progress toward enlightenment, including the ultimate understanding of himself and his ambient Planet, seems to be slow and plodding but, with the steady employment of his innate capacity for reason, such wisdom is ultimately attainable.  

As our readers are aware, we are adherents to the empirical school of epistemology, espoused by the brilliant, 19th Century philosopher, John Locke. Locke famously declared that man is born with a tabula rasa (“ blank slate”) and that all knowledge and reason are acquired through learned experience. Locke and the many Enlightenment thinkers of the “Empirical School of Philosophy,” rejected the theory of the “Rationalists,” who maintained that man at birth is inspired with certain information.

We have previously written on the relevant subject of “Holy Books,” such as the King James Bible, all of which, firmly and consistently, indicate adherence to the belief that the Earth and its flora and fauna was an event of Devine creation. Reportedly, there are, in fact, no less than 4300 independent religions in the World,  each, presumably, with believers in its respective Holy Book’s rendition of the origin of Man and the Planet, notably, by non-empirical means. The eternal and universal desire, to ascertain the ultimate answers, relating to the perplexing dynamics of the origin of mankind and the World, are daunting; and, it appears, have been assuaged by the plethora of diverse traditional dogma, each varying with the cultural identity and geographical history of its followers.

It is noteworthy, that in the Judaic and Christian Bibles, the apocryphal tale is that the first man, “Adam” (“Earth,” in Hebrew) committed the “Original Sin” of eating an apple from the forbidden “Tree of Knowledge,” offered by the first woman, “Eve”. The result of such “sinful” act was that they “discovered their nakedness” and were banished from Eden (we read, ignorance), forever. It is our interpretation of this remarkably symbolic story that the venerable author of Genesis may be eons ahead in his symbolic understanding. As we would interpret the legend, eating an apple from the “Tree of Knowledge” and suddenly discovering his nakedness, is all too easily understood, as Early Man, eschewing his primitive ignorance, and discovering his identity as a sentient, self -aware being. We have never understood the popular religious need to atone for homo sapiens’ awakening to his own evolved status. Especially relevant, for those who wrongfully tend to demote the status of the female of the species to secondary importance, to take note that, as we construe Genesis, Eve was the bringer of knowledge to Adam (mankind) and not an evil temptress. It might be further enlightening to some people, to point out that the image of the snake (“serpent”) in ancient mythology, has always been employed as a symbol of fertility ( See: Campbell, Bullfinch, Hamilton). The existence of a symbol of fertility, hanging from a limb of the tree of knowledge, in Genesis, should be, in secular terms, self-explanatory.

The need to associate oneself with a superhuman or superstitious agency has eternally been a primitive reaction and lazy solution to life’s existential mysteries. It seems to be unsettling for most people to live with so many unanswered questions including, the origins of Man and the Universe, mortality, the engine behind the routine mechanics of childbirth, the human body’s conjoint organ function, maturity and aging, the unknown dynamic phenomena of love, hate, jealousy and unjustified fear for personal security, and for the objectively accurate evaluation of the self. Nevertheless, the route to inner peace and the mature perception and acceptance of reality, are exclusively internal, and personal phenomena.

It is our understanding that the improved tolerance to life’s questions and unknown circumstances are best responded to by personal self-advancement, deliberative thought, and employment of whatever wisdom has been empirically garnered. Indeed, seeking the answers to many eternal questions may be beyond the present ken, still, as stated, the quest for available answers to basic esoteric questions are properly struggled with, internally. Looking to a third party- agency for assistance is not constructive or rational.  Shakespeare’s Polonius’ famous advice to his son Laertes, says it all: “Our faults, Laertes, are not in the stars, but in ourselves.” Stated otherwise, and in non-Elizabethan prose: we cannot gainsay the rational process of understanding, by defaulting to an external, third-party agency.

By way of illustration, have encountered people that consult daily horoscopes for insight, self-analysis and for predictions of the future.  The underlying dynamic is that the specific configuration of the heavenly bodies, at the moment of one’s birth,( his zodiac) is a reliable regular indicator of persona or, alternatively, one’s future. It is to be noted that the practice of looking to a non-human agency for any determination is futile and an obvious sign of inadequate self-reliance. Interestingly, it is to be noted that the signs of the zodiac were construed by the ancient Babylonians, many Eras before the very discovery and location of the planets; and many ages before any rudimentary understanding of the operation of our Solar System. We have Copernicus to thank, for the ultimately accepted recognition that the Earth travels around the Sun, and not the other way around (The Heliocentric Theory).

We acknowledge the many positives that religious affiliation can afford to the individual viz., a needed sense of referable provenance of identity, fraternal security and,  most usefully, as a needed measure of comfort with the frightening prospect of man’s inevitable mortality. Its cultural and socially interactive aspects may, affirmatively and positively, satisfy certain societal needs, but It should, under no circumstances, replace the vital element of reason in man’s apprehension of reality.

The responsible and useful enhancement of reason and the goal of mature perspective, as frequently urged by us, are, as stated, obtained by the willing engagement in elective and enabling, worthwhile pursuits. The rewards include self-confidence which affirmatively renders one open to, and not threatened by, divergent points of view. Mature perception mitigates the pernicious impact of the taught lessons of “we” and “they,” ultimately resulting in, insular (tribal) phenomena, responsible for the seemingly eternal, religiously inspired, conflicts and tragic bloody warfare.

It is our view that the most valuable and useful faith is one dedicated to man’s developing reason.

-p.   

Post # 595 E PLURIBUS ACRIMONIUM [Editorial essay]

The forecasts, dreams, and aspirations of our Founding Fathers, of an envisioned Nation of Republican unity, derived from a multiplicity of mankind, [“E Pluribus Unum”]and enjoying equal status and rights, was unquestionably commendable, if somewhat pollyannish. In reality, that optimistic dream has never yet attained the metaphysical status of reality. The disciplines of sociology, history, and literature which pursue the examination of human societal behavior, eternally describe its altering, developing and transformative contextual development, in the empirical progression of human experience. One’s definitional reality and his aspirations would appear to be properly and necessarily understood in relevant relation to the context of his particular moment in time; which thereafter acclimatizes and alters as time continues. 

Accordingly, it is our confident view that any close reading of the U.S. Constitution by the incisive reader would reveal that it was intentionally drafted in general terms; the foreseen application of which, to be based upon the extant facts as they present themselves. It is obvious and inarguable that the 18th Century World and its Colonial ambiance, had little in common with contemporary America, with the salient exception of the Founders’ assurances of eternal citizen equality and liberty, our Nation’s creditable mantra.

Admittedly, our modern, appropriate use of the word, “equality,” was expressed with an entirely different impact in the days of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. The emblematic American phrase, ”All Men are Created Equal,” [at the time, solely applicable to white male property owners] is eons apart from the contemporaneous moral and legal conception of the word, “equal.” The Founders, focusing on the grave injustice and human suffering experienced due to the  institutional, European system of privileged birth, radically declared that all men were “created [born] equal.” In the context of today, the Constitutional word, “equal,” has morally, legally, and morally evolved, to assure equality of rights and opportunity, for all citizens.

An analogous dynamic is empirically true for the entirety of the Constitution. The principled intention was generally prescribed, applicable to its period, and thereafter, intended to be properly and relevantly interpreted, in accordance with the times and context at its needed application. Justice Benjamin N, Cardozo [in our view, the finest and most brilliant, Supreme Court Justice in our Nation’s history of Jurisprudence] in his brilliant writings, espoused the “Sociological Interpretation of the Constitution,” declaring that its proper interpretation be referrable to and relevant with the times existing at its needed application.

We have previously observed that those who argue for “original intent” do so, strategically, and tactically, to avoid a contemporary application of the Constitution, which would oppose their legal position; or conceivably perhaps, due to a presenting matter of systemic legal illiteracy.

The Founders may be guilty of having been overly optimistic in their personally projected assumptions, as to the nature and character of the future citizens of their new and unique Democratic Republic. An express assumption, for example, was that informed and intelligent citizens of divergent views, would regularly and in neighborly fashion, debate the disputed issues of the day and that the outcome of such responsible debates would be a useful guide in the Nation’s governance; thereby, resulting in a “government by and for the People.” Their optimistic expectations, whether originating in the times’ accessible, Colonial Rum, the effect of smoking fresh-cut Virginia tobacco in their clay pipes, or simply, from optimistic and anachronistic expectations, never materialized. What unfortunately developed instead, was a general populist disinterest, existing simultaneously with the emergence and growth of insular groups of loyal, like-thinking [“group think”] people, existing in a relationship of mutual “Cold War,” with other like insular groups of divergent opinion. Contrary to the intended, informed, and good-natured discussions, there developed an exchange of rancor and hatred. Our early essay on this disappointing phenomenon may be recalled “The Death of Civic Amity.”

We would selectively choose two relevant [ apocryphal] statements of our Founding Fathers as usefully and especially relevant. As the story goes, Benjamin Franklin was walking out of Independence Hall, after a meeting of the Constitutional Convention [1787] when he was asked: “Doctor, what have we got? A Republic or a Monarchy? ” To which question, Franklin responded wittily, but also ominously, “ A Republic, if you can keep it.” Another statement of relevant interest was the wise and prophetic admonition of Thomas Jefferson: “For a Democracy to succeed, it is required to have literate and informed citizens.”

We would hazard the opinion that the administration of a “democratic” (uniform and identical)  policy of education, in contrast with to a more effective, flexible, and more efficient, standard of education, viz, open to all, but varied, and tailored, dependent on capability. Populist equality in education, notwithstanding the virtue of its humanitarian and egalitarian motivation, seems not to have been desirably successful. Recent events continue to highlight the dilemma, that we do not have a sufficiently educated and informed citizenry, as prescribed by Jefferson.

Too many Americans have become part of a huge National underbelly of inadequately educated and poorly informed citizens, whose life and contributions to society are perforce limited. Ominously, they have consistently proven to be fair game for tactically cynical, self-interested, demagogic Pied Pipers, with ready “solutions” to their sad plight and general disappointment with life. We have often referred to this large segment of the population, constrained by limited perception and ignorant reductionism [ and thus vulnerable to tactical demagogic appeal]  as America’s population of “flat-earth, poorly educated and ill-informed citizens.”

This segment of America was recently instrumental, in the successful Presidential election of an ignorant egotist, Donald Trump, who will be memorialized, among his unique cornucopia of shame, for his recent un-American, seditious call to the insurrection, at the U.S. Capitol Building.  Like many of our fellow, mainstream, law-abiding citizens,  we were shocked and greatly troubled by the event but, conceivably, not entirely confused nor non-plussed by it, in our general expectation of something despicable occurring, by reason of a Trump defeat.

 Most Americans, perhaps, understandably engrossed in the contextual minutiae and issues of their everyday lives and recently, further challenged by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, deem that the items on their minds are sufficient. But, if our Republican Democracy is to continue, threats to its existence mandate consideration, and necessary amelioration.

Our American population has precipitously evolved into an amorphous conglomerate of uniquely disparate citizenry. Differences in opinion and a  variety of ethnos and cultural affinity are healthy and positive  [E Pluribus Unum].  But, by contrast, in the new Nation of E Pluribus Acrimonium, the existence of threats to our Nation by sundry, poorly educated groups of misguided adherents, to un-American tropes and enjoying paranoid delusions of being “patriots,” [the underbelly of our Nation] is an existential concern. It is our view that such danger can likely be ameliorated, over time, by (a) a flexible and rational program of needed adjustment to our universally identical, failing educational system, and (b) the maintenance of an ever-watchful reconnaissance, and when applicable, strict deterrent action, for those who would threaten existence of our intended, and ever-developing, morally and egalitarian Nation. 

-p.

Post #594 THE NEW MUSEUM PANORAMA

For the limited purpose of highlighting the subject matter of this writing, let us engage for the moment, in a fictional stroll through that huge, well-attended, hall of THE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, which features many life-like “panoramas” of re-created ( by taxidermy) animals, portrayed in their recreated, respective natural habitats. In our fantasy stroll, we unexpectedly come upon a newly installed exhibit, (strangely, of a small group of humans) apparently, labeled by the Curators of the Museum Anthropology Department: “CHRISTIAN WHITE SUPREMACIST,” [Modern Era, sub-Species Domestic]. For further edification, there is an information placard hung to the left of the lighted exhibit, reciting:” homo sapiens; species: “beserka,” worldwide breeding range, multiple varieties, bi-pedal, omnivorous, selectively predatory, unpredictably volatile, Neolithic intelligence. The museum exhibit had effect of raising questions as to the bizarre exhibit itself, and to a restorative recollection of past experiences on its subject.

We would candidly make the express disclaimer that, unlike sociologists and other professionally qualified experts, on the subject of Christian White Supremacism, we rely, solely and entirely, upon our deductions derived from anecdotal experience and the literature.

It is our perception that Christian White Supremacists are fundamentally, loners, emotionally insular and apart from others, inclusive of those, jointly included in that pernicious population; they do appear to be capable of having situational brothers-in-arms or “buddies,” but as perceived by us, are utterly incapable of true and intimate “friendship.” The latter relationship requires personal qualities such as empathy, unselfishness, confidence, shared sense of humor and disinterested affection, none of which is on the list of ingredients of the insular, eternally angry, gun-toting Supremacist.

Despite a mandatory façade of “cool,” it has been our observation, that internally, they are hot boiling cauldrons of anger, conceivably, founded upon some past experiences of disappointment and frustration, the etiology of which might possibly have its roots in familial, (i.e., lack of required early nurturance, abusive or alcoholic father), romantic or sexual experience or recognized general incompetence. The disturbing results are productive of frustration, anger, insecurity and self-hate, which reactions seem to be dealt with by the creative projection of calumny onto others,  “rich Jews make us poor,” white skin is an indication of superiority over dark, especially black skin,” “liberals are Communists and Socialists” (as if the combination were ever possible), homosexuality is an anathema, America is controlled by Jews, or the coastal elites, immigration of Mexicans and Central Americans and the colored races are “mongrelizing” our (white) country. Profound personal insecurity, appears additionally,  to render the individual vulnerable to defensively supportive, albeit irrational, tropes and to the shared confirmation of ignorant and reductionist views of others with dominant and ostensibly confident persona.

This is our understood genesis of “tribal” mutuality, which offers neurotically needed acceptance and comfort, through  “group think.” It is our view that such origins of fear and lonely feelings of insecurity also provide the psychological basis for the ardent desire to own firearms; the more destructive, the better. The coexistence of a conglomerate group with low personal esteem in common, and the insecure need for reliance upon groupthink, are fertile fields for the snake-oil demagogue and the enhancement of bigotry and hatred. Given some manufactured cause, and the call to some irrationally perceived and shared, faux patriotic duty, to address the cause, and the ingredients are present, to create the flammable tinderbox. Add a perniciously tactical, sociopathic, and demagogic leader, such as Donald Trump, to actually strike the match, and the result will be, as recently seen, in the criminal insurrection at the Washington Capital Building. The foregoing is not intended to imply that such troubled persons need always act in concert, viz., Timothy McVey, the Uni Bomber, et al.

Complicating, but in no degree, mitigating, the aberrant criminal behavior of such “domestic terrorists,” acting under the banner of Christian White Nationalists, is the regrettably large number of Christian Evangelical Churches that continue to oppose Civil Rights. Apparently, hundreds, if not  thousands, of Churches, favor segregation and tactically employ, not- so- subtle messages and  dog-whistle euphemistic tropes, in their  sermons such as:  “Protecting our community,” “Saving Western Civilization,” or, “We are losing our country.” Such Churches view slavery as authorized by the King James Bible, and so, toxically influence millions of Church-affiliated Christians. We would also note that The King James Bible, which is universally considered by Christians as the ultimate reference to authoritative, ultimate (God’s inspired) answers to moral problems, by virtue of its flexibility of interpretation, is as well, cited by people in opposition to the moral monstrosity of owning other human beings. If racism is to be rationally comprehended and eliminated, the significant, popular interaction between religion and racism needs to be universally acknowledged.  

With reference to Christian Evangelicals who consider that the ownership of other human beings (who happen to be born with more melanin coloring in their epidermal tissues than they) as moral and righteously within the preachments of Jesus, we can, optimistically, suggest some ameliorative and consciousness-raising solutions. These would include interracial participation in holiday celebrations, dinners, picnics and events, membership in interracial organizations (including right-thinking churches) and social clubs; getting to know and identify with each other, is a predictable route to the dispelling of dark ages mythology. We also especially recommend the pursuit of relevant education.

We would now return to the above referenced recent museum panoramic exhibition, viz., the militant variety of the North American species of Christian White Supremacists. Based upon our perceptive understanding of their psychologically systemic need for the extreme and violent assertion of irrational and biased tropes, we would assume that any proposed solution, short of psychiatric therapy and if indicated, relevant medication, would be ineffective. To the extent that we can perceive, the underlying problems are, undoubtedly, deep, and of long duration.

Those that cannot be helped should be kept under surveillance and incarcerated, when clearly called for, in the interest of the protection of the public. As future deterrence to repeat offenders, licenses should be revoked, including drivers’ licenses and, notably, gun ownership.

In addition, as stated in previous writings, the mandatory vetting of all candidates for high political office, would prevent the appearance of another Trump-like, shameful inciter to insurrection, and, importantly, be of general benefit the Nation.

We would look forward to a time, when this panoramic exhibit, will, at long last, be transferred to the Museum’s Hall of Extinct Mammals.

-p.               

Post # 593 BLACK CAROUSEL (“WUKA-WUKA”)

Suffer no fear of* tropical storms,
They do relent, rebalance, reset.
Have no fear in the long, black night,
Its only day without the day.
But do fear the awful sound of wuka-wuka!

Do not fear the mighty blow,
All wind dies down before too long.
There is no fear for heat and cold,
It all just moderates in time.
But beware the wuka-wuka sound!

You mustn’t fear black smoke too much,
Firemen are surely on the way.
Nor panic from excessive speed,
Reduce will follow shortly on.
But so much fear in wuka-wuka! wuka-wuka!

Never fear a try at love,
Yet another may do the trick.
Do not fear to fail at goals,
New starts will show before too long.
Only wuka-wuka sounds are dire!

Do not fear the surgeon’s knife,
The goal’s to free you from disease.
Never fear the longest road,
The end’s in sight before too long.
But you must escape the wuka sound!

You must avoid the Black Carousel,
Grim wheel that just* gyres and turns
No music here, all wooden gears,
That speak in fearsome wuka sounds.
Do fear those clacking wuka sounds.

Foul beasts are seen to stand and glare
From on the platform of that wheel
With vicious smiles and carnal teeth
I could stretch and* see but few,
Of this wuka-wuka menagerie.

Better hope it will pass by
The wuka-wuka at your face,
All would be lost, all good be gone,
Your fate-to see the beasts up close
Wuka-wuka, wuka

The first beast is called, “The Trail of Tears”
One,” Armenian Death March”
The white one bears the name, “Jim Crow”
“Dresden,” is the German beast
“Appomattox”, another horse
Next to a black one, called “Babi Yar”
A Yak who answers to “My Lai”
Behind an ancient hound, “Pogrom”
“Nagasaki” is the reddish beast, before
Twin ogres, “Isabela” and “Ferdinand”
“Hutu-Tutsi” both on the side
And* to the right of one, “Nanking”
Wuka-wuka, and then wuka-wuka, ever on* it clacks.

To the smiling skull, atop the pole,
Above the center of the wheel
I screamed: “Please answer me!”
“When will it finally* stop?”
The faint reply was wuka-wuka, wuka-wuka

Leonard N. Shapiro, N.Y., (11/16/16)