Blog # 61  MORTAL POWER FAILURE

A brief search into the history of the Seventh Century (Bronze Age) will disclose a widespread religious belief in an antagonistic competition between the forces of light (goodness) and dark (evil). It was the Persian philosopher, Zoroaster, who is understood to have codified this belief and founded a major religion, Zoroastrianism.

In the present age we continue to witness the competing forces of dark ignorance and that of enlightenment. It is disappointing and agonizingly painful to observe that ignorance and superstitious belief systems not only persist but seem to have metastasized.

There is a heated debate between people, alarmingly aware of environmental threats to our planet and its atmosphere, based upon reports from our leading scientists to the effect that it is caused by the consumption of traditional sources of energy, like coal and oil, and others, who reject all scientific findings and wish to continue such consumption.  People, concerned with such scientific reports, see man as the responsible trustee of our planetary health and champion alternative non-polluting sources of energy, like solar and wind power.

Concurrent with (and perhaps, related to) this vital debate is an even more fundamental antagonism which pits the value of man’s most precious natural resource, his human intelligence and capacity for reason, against the too resilient forces of ignorance and superstitious belief. The latter have unremittingly under- valued and deprecated, that most precious and valuable resource, man’s reason.

Indeed, most of our “mainstream” folks evince a devaluation and disrespect for the intellectual in favor of the knowledge-limited, but glitzy and attractive, “dude” or “diva.” (See: blog #29). The subject of science, the arts and the humanities, so vital to the development of the self and to the enhancement of life, go unexamined in favor of the worship of transient and ephemeral style and fashion, and the pursuit of shallow amusement. The latter choose to remain blind to the fact that the natural resource of human intelligence has unlimited potential for the solution of difficult problems, existential and otherwise, and exists as an available and renewable energy source capable of unlimited problem- solving and untold creativity.

The great English philosopher, John Locke, maintained that knowledge is gained through the accumulation of experience, rather than by vain attempts to consult external sources. Science, reason and logic, he reasoned, are the only true sources of our meaningful progress as human beings.

P. has consistently refrained, to comment on political matters. But recent events are so startling and alarming as to embolden his inclination to violate this consistent precedent.

A nominee to run for the highest office in our land is enthusiastically selected by millions of American voters, despite the evident knowledge that he lacks the requisite wisdom, intelligence and temperament to govern and occupy a revered place in our American history. More than embarrassing and shameful, it is a threat to our way of life and culture, our relationships with other countries, and to world peace.   This result could only have been attained by the accumulated effort of our vast low information population who uniformly suffer from the chronic and contagious diseases of ignorance and illiteracy.

The medieval period is referred to by historians as the “Dark Ages.” This was a period of time famously featuring ignorance, illiteracy, superstition, atrocities and general social and intellectual decline.

“The Age of Reason” which  followed in due course , ( “The Age of Enlightenment”) saw the questioning of despotic and institutional rule, overcame superstition and  proclaimed the enlightened notion that humanity does best when it employs reason, logic and respect for empirical reality.

Thus, the lack of utilization of the unique, vital resource of brain power (reason) is a problem much more existential than the contested choice of natural power sources; it is no less than lethal. The choice between the relapse of a new dark age of ignorance, primitivism, fear and superstition and a bright world of enlightenment, of wisdom and intelligence needs to be carefully and wisely considered.

p.

Blog # 60 UNANNOUNCED WINNERS

The recognized rules applicable to the sport of Track and Field make the identification of the winner of a race simple and incontrovertible; it is the first of the runners to cross the designated finish line. Additionally, such result is often publicly announced amid the adulation and congratulatory cheers of the crowd. Further, the winner is traditionally given a medal or trophy cup as an official symbol of his successful effort. Thus, from the standpoint of those rules, the identification of the winner is visibly simple; by the same rules, the identification of the ostensible losers is similarly, simple and obvious; it is everyone else who ran.

Separate and apart from the aforementioned rules, there are other (unwritten) criteria whose application, by contrast, would make it difficult to correctly identify the losers.

There are individuals who enthusiastically choose to participate in sporting contests despite their certainty that they have little prospect of winning. They do so for the experience and personal pleasure of participation. These individuals deserve our commendation. Such acts are indications of healthy sportsmanship, personal security and even, perhaps, strength of character.

There are also many who run for more profound, especially meaningful, personal trophies.  Such people are those hampered by disability, physical or mental, recent convalescents and others who seek the personal award of self-assurance and a” can-do” sense of competency. The valuable prizes earned by such people, the feeling of assured competence and a personal sense of adequacy, by virtue of such performances, are rewards far exceeding medals or public recognition. Their brave efforts, usually unknown to the spectators, are all victorious, regardless of the order in which each has reached the finish line.

There are. notably, a plethora of “winners” and “losers,” outside the stadium setting; many of whom  experienced  poverty, disability or  other unfortunate settings in early life.  Many have laudably overcome such misfortune and dire adversity by their sheer will and effort; sometimes to such a degree that they are in fact, celebrated and honored by an adoring public.

P., it should be noted, reserves his greatest accolades and fanfare for those who begin their lives with such impediments, whether economic or physical, and who, by perseverance,  have succeeded, in attaining a decent life for themselves and family. These individuals whose admirable success,  while not of such magnificence and scale  as to engage public notice and social recognition, are indeed deserving of the greatest of commendation, albeit their success is not broadcast to stadium spectators.

We may need to re-think our sensitivities in the employment of the words, “winner” and” loser.

-p.