To be fair, we plead guilty, if charged, to a measure of innate difficulty in navigating the changing cross currents and uncharted channels that episodically course through the mainstream of social interaction. For example, we have frequently expressed our concern regarding the now prevalent substitution of electronic messaging for person to person conversation. The absence of recognized identity, the result of a familiar voice, the lack of spontaneous response and of the expression of emphasis and feeling, have been sacrificed it seems, to the transmission of data-like messaging. We have been especially troubled by the impersonality and resultant distancing of the communicants by such digital expression in an era when the benefits of closeness and enlightened identification with others is so vitally wanting.

We would, in similar fashion, express serious concern regarding the apparently harmless and simple phenomenon, termed “selfies,” most specifically, the solo selfies, performed, for practical purposes, with the aid of the now popular, “selfie stick.” To be clear, it is not the mechanical act itself, that is the object of concern, but, rather, what we perceive to be its underlying and unhealthy dynamics.

In the recent past, taking snapshots was a common social activity, performed for the future recollection of people and past events. When the roll of necessary film was returned from the developer in the form of individual photos, they were reviewed for accuracy of depiction and technical skill, as well, at times, for conformity to our previous fantasies about our appearance; but, as was said back then, “A camera never lies;” we have learned since then, that it does,

With the exponential evolution of photography, methods of recording images and then rapidly recovering the results, facilitated the acceptance of desired photos, as well as the (apparently, more desirable) rejection of those, which for any reason, did not meet our approval.

Our actual self-image may be a product of several variables, a comparison with the false perspectives offered by our sales driven media (slim, glitzy and young=normal), our interactive social experiences, our perception of how we are seen by others who matter to us, and possibly, other cultural factors. For too many people, unfortunately, potential satisfaction and pleasure in the recognition of one’s unique individuation, have been replaced by an unhealthy and unnatural desire to resemble the commercial Barbie doll and Ken depictions of normalcy and acceptability. These media images may be useful in the marketing of goods and services, but to many impressionable people, pose a harmful visual standard resulting in predictable unhappiness and self-deprecation. In an earlier writing (“Vanity Fair”, blog # 32) we have, in the interest of illustration of this frailty, satirically created a caricature of resultant neurotic insecurity, caused by a dedicated aspiration to conform to such an ideal, but non-existent image. One cannot seek to attain his own life’s potential for happiness and self- fulfillment by enacting vain attempts to emulate artificially formulated and strategic (external) representations of success and acceptance.

Empirical wisdom teaches us that all profoundly important personal evaluations, derived from our life experience, are internalized phenomena, including our personal identity and self-image. The natural development of our personal self- image is factually a combined product and function of several factors, our exercise of reason and evaluation of personal experience, our internal resources and ability to confidently and wisely exercise our discretion, our talent for empathy, understanding and love, together with our personal aptitudes and meaningful accomplishments, material and intellectual; these, indeed, are the valid raw materials for an authentic self-image.

We need to intimately know ourselves, the extent of our personal capabilities and weaknesses, our realistic aspirations and goals; we need to discover for ourselves our own unique identity and personal route to achievable self- enhancement and personal growth.  We should celebrate our identity and show appropriate appreciation for the many generous gifts to us by evolution, principally; our capacity to reason and evaluate what matters and what simply does not. Intrinsic value and personal worth for a mature homo sapiens do not depend upon a wasteful yearning, and witless search, for a snapshot emulation of any species of currently broadcasted artificiality.


Blog # 198 (poesie) I SIMPLY AM

Now, here’s a little sign of me, I’m sure
I stubbed the stone,
We watched it spin.

There’s is some hint that it is me
Who holds this book,
And moves the page.

Now, here’s a sign that you might see
I tipped the glass,
Just see the stain.

It’s true, be fair, she looked at me
That glimpse, for sure,
It met her eye.

There’s to be judged, a part of me
That’s growing old,
And tastes the bitter pain of loss.

Still, there is that big chunk of me
Who drives the pen,
And bids it please do think.

I AM! therefore, I am.



It is certainly not a leap of faith to declare that the universal prerequisite to the successful solution of any problem is the determination of the relevant issue in the applicable context. Whether the problem is understood to be mathematical, biological, social, astrophysical, or otherwise, the context needs to be properly determined so that efforts may be expended in a usefully directed search for its solution.  Where the context of inquiry is amorphous or irrelevant, efforts are doomed to be fruitless.

The continuing tragedy of warfare is as old as mankind, despite the many sincere and creative efforts at its elimination. Spain v. Catalonia, Tutsi v. Hutu, Arab v. Israeli, Shia v. Sunni, Moslem v. Hindu, White v. Black, and so on, since the dawn of man and hopefully, not until his complete destruction. We have certainly had far more than enough.

In previous writings, we have maintained that the fundamental problem seems to be the “we” and “they” conceptualization, passed on to succeeding generations of the young, despite the evident fact that the acquisition of culture and ethnicity is by the random accident of birth. It appears be a matter of unhappy historical experience that the atavistic categories of “we” and “they” have overridden all efforts by world organizations, conferences, inter -cultural exchanges and other sincere and valiant attempts to achieve world peace.

When the writer of this note was a high school student, he profited from the sudden realization that a change in context or reference can be the effective route to the solution of difficult questions. He was offered two candy bars if he could solve the “ageless dilemma” of which came first, the chicken or the egg.  By fortuitously selecting the appropriate context, evolution, he astonished the challenger, and while he never received public acclaim for this historic advance, did earn the two bars of candy. The answer was clear, once one considered the context of evolution; it was the egg that came first, laid by a creature who immediately preceded the chicken in evolution. That egg, when hatched, became the first chicken. This reference for supposedly unanswerable question, remarkably, still has not gone extinct.

It may well be time for the consideration of an entirely new context in the endeavor to eliminate war and attain lasting peace. A new approach to xenophobia, secular or religious, might be considered in an untried and novel setting, as a pathology, rather than the hapless replication of our bovine-like rumination of previously ingested oats.

We might start with the subject of “phobia,” the pathological category of anxiety disorders consisting of strong and unnatural fear of something that poses no especial danger. Thus, agoraphobia, fear of high places, claustrophobia, fear of confined spaces, arachnophobia, fear of spiders, acrophobia, the fear of going out, and so on. We have found more than 100 distinct phobias (even, banana phobia, terror at seeing a banana] and that specifically applicable therapies have been developed for such pathologies.

It is remarkable that the existence of “xenophobia” does not appear to have made the list in our examination of phobia pathology. {Xeno, in Greek = people, Phobia =fear]. Can it be possible that in our desperate search for world peace, we have not considered an important category? Has xenophobia been relegated solely to the academic context of political science and viewed mundanely as ultra- nationalism prejudice and ethnocentrism?

In a true leap of faith, we would propose the possibility that at the heart of conflict and warfare may effectively be a dangerous phobia, xenophobia [ extreme nationalism, racial prejudice, ultra-patriotism] and that possible cure and amelioration of the dread disease of world war has not been attained because it has never been considered in its true setting, the laboratory of medical-psychological science.

If indeed, war is the result of a phobic fear of “others,” might it not properly be treated, on some determined scale, effectively as an illness by group therapy, medicine, behavioral therapy, as applicable and remedial regarding other recognized and treatable phobias?

We can only know if we try.





The public at large has for some time been experiencing significant shock and disappointment in response to ongoing  revelations that a great many beloved and revered show business personalities, have credibly been exposed as sexual predators. What may at first have been denied and resisted as incomprehensible, has proven, even to the most loyal and agnostic fan, to be the disorienting and uncomfortable reality.

Our casual, but necessary, dip into the relevant textbooks has instructed us that personalities who are solely ruled by their own needs and desires, with no concern for the effects of their behavior on others, are clinically diagnosed as sociopaths (psychopathic). It appears that medical experience has designated our subject category as high functioning sociopaths. This condition reportedly is accompanied by superior intelligence and great talent, but also, by an aberrant version of morality which has been integrated into the essential persona of the sociopath as his personal religion.

In the “futuristic” 1949 George Orwell novel, “1984,” the author describes a Statute which legally affords to all capitalistic employers the unfettered right to sleep with women employed at their business enterprise. Ancient history reports that in medieval times, the lord to whom any vassal belongs had the right to sleep, the first night, with the vassal’s intended bride (droit de seigneur). Our American oral history is replete, to be sure, with accounts of sexual abuse during its shameful period of slavery.

The present comment, however, is solely focused on the highly talented and hugely successful personalities who have shockingly been revealed to possess total disregard for the feelings of others, and who, because of their outrageously unchecked egocentrism, have behaved egregiously toward others whom they have objectivized in the fulfillment of their personal ends.

High functioning sociopaths appear to be remarkably adept at presenting themselves in the public’s expected persona and seem to have perfected the strategic art of manipulation. They are goal oriented, patient and calculating; It should be observed, additionally, that such sociopathic abusers exist and function successfully in the business and political arenas.

It is, candidly, beyond the capability of this writer to hazard any solution to this anti-social and harmful phenomenon, except to the limited and mitigating extent of his observation of its eternal existence, as aesthetically portrayed in the world’s inventory of  great literature.



Turning our night-time pillow to its cooler side, is so much a routine and largely mechanical endeavor, as to closely partake of the status of reflex; the act is effectively and mindlessly accomplished like one’s scratching an itch, or sneezing.

Indeed, much of our mundane behavior consists of routinized, thoughtless activity, ritualistically enacted, such as our mode of brushing our teeth, shaving or applying lipstick. We have all gradually evolved nuanced, predictable and unchanging styles of such behaviors, which include a distinctive mode of eating, answering the telephone, dressing and greeting others. We have our own readily available, previously programmed responses to all commonly asked questions, our regular demeanor at weddings, funerals, birthdays, anniversaries, graduation ceremonies and hospital visits; even our way of reading the evening newspaper, are matters of predictable routine.

It may be empirically observed that much of our regular physical activity is comprised of virtually identical replications of our previously performed acts in similar circumstances which have become effectively automatic, because of their previous repetitive consistency. Our breakfast and bed-time rituals, our procedure in packing the suitcase for vacation or long trips, are all performed in a programmatic fashion. Routine questions are expectedly posed in similar situations, and just as predictably and stereotypically, responded to: How are you? What do you think of the weather? What’s up? Such questions, clearly, are not expressed in any desire for information but rather as the result of an expected human interaction. Similarly, although the characteristic responses to such questions may be somewhat nuanced to the individual responder, they are invariably consistent. As observed, neither such inquiry nor the response thereto, relate to an exchange of information, rather, they are the expected steps in a societally choreographed dance of recognition and mutual amicability.

It is observable that identified people are noticeably present at certain locations at specific times, to dress in the personal style to which they have regularly been habituated, to make predictable choices from restaurant menus (usually in keeping with their prior choices) and consistently will perform their distinct night-time rituals prior to sleep. We would venture to say, that if one were to install time-lapse photographic equipment focused upon any randomly selected individual, the developed video would demonstrate his unvarying role in the universal puppet show; a distinctly unique happening in which the puppet is also the puppeteer.

It should, in fairness, be observed that there are many distinct benefits associated with this phenomenon of routinized behavior, relating to efficiency and comfort as well as an individuation derived from the nuanced performance of personal ritual. Thus, the pre-set route to work or school, the times to enjoy coffee, our personal rituals at bath or shower, the time to walk Fido, are all matters which do implement an economic reservation of our reasoning capability for more taxing and profound challenge.

By stark contrast, any form of protocol, whatsoever, which seeks to employ routine thinking, efforts to seek solutions of mankind’s classic societal and scientific problems, would have disastrous results. An inflexible, orthodox reliance upon past tradition and dogma, would serve to cripple, and inhibit progress by stultifying man’s spontaneous gift for creative growth of problem- solving.

Evolved reason and ever-developing improvement are currently perceptible and hearteningly, in progress, concerning man’s essential imperative for the universal identification and respect for the lives of others; particularly, people with different skin color, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The observation of the eternally appropriate and imperative to flexibly review and critically examine our beliefs and routine assumptions on a constant basis is an appropriately grateful and apt expression of appreciation to evolution for the generous gift of our advanced brain.

It was not that long ago that women were denied the right to own property or to vote, and for too many generations, black and brown skinned people were assigned the lowly status of agricultural equipment by mainstream America. As ancient historical records show scientists once uniformly believed, and the Church cruelly enforced, the theory that the Sun orbited the Earth.

In mankind’s aspiration toward world peace and enhanced growth, there is no greater nor more morally mandated duty than the free and unfettered exercise of his innate creative potential and the practice of ongoing review and reevaluation of his prevalent assumptions.

In the growth and enhancement of humanity, it is confidently suggested that greater deliberation be employed, as contrasted with the thoughtless flip of the nighttime pillow to its cooler side.





Omar Khayyam, is probably the best known and universally venerated dignitary identified in ancient Middle East history. The 11th Century poet, philosopher, mathematician and astronomer, may not be best remembered for his development of the cubic equation in mathematics, nor his valuable reforms to the yearly calendar, but is eternally famous for his poetic verses, most particularly, the following:

“The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on; nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line nor thy tears wash out a single word of it.”

We can discern two distinct understandings of this erudite admonition and are inclined (hopefully, without presumption) to award the full measure of three cheers to one and to the other, but two.

If the ancient poet’s observation is intended to mean that our acts and statements, including those which are the product of thoughtlessness, or impulsive behavior, are intractably and irredeemably final and determinative, we are inclined to award the good doctor only two of the precious three cheers. Such an assertion we see as unnecessarily harsh to the extent that its decree means that the impact of all human behavior is fixed and unredeemable.

In our immediately preceding writing, “The Nuclear Syllable” # 193, we saluted the human capability to preliminarily consider an intended act or statement, and as well, as his equally commendable aptitude for forgiveness, and empathic toleration of errors or perceived insult; both of practical importance to man’s development of society. It is inarguable that such qualities are among the many capabilities of an advanced brain, the generous gift to homo sapiens by evolution. The recognition of the potential for human error and its allowance is just, empathic and competent evidence of mature social wisdom.

In previous writings, we have, for purposes of illustration, proposed a scenario as follows: Let us suppose that on some impulse, I choose to steal an object from another unwitting person. After such wrongful and immoral act, because of understandable remorse, I quickly return the item to that person, who elects to accept my tearful apology and completely forgive me; in fact, he states that, as far as he is concerned, the incident is to be permanently forgotten. However, the incident cannot be forgotten by me; in truth, I am not absolved at all. I still will have to come to grips with the difficult question, relative to my own private self- image, as to what sort of a person I essentially am, to have chosen to steal in the first place. There is, predictably, in addition to remorse, lasting damage to that private, cherished, self-image and lifelong perception of my personal identity.

If the of the quoted verses are intended to observe that our significant acts and statements remain in our memory and have an enduring impact upon our perceived identity and perception of self, we would happily and justifiably award Omar the full measure of three cheers. There would seem to be little reasonable doubt that significant acts and statements (good or lamentable) create a lasting and defining impact upon our privately nurtured persona. [ As we have maintained in previous writings, the preservation of our desired self- image is the valid motivating source and rational basis of our morality; not, as fancied by too many, anticipated rewards and punishments, worldly or supernatural.]




Blog # 193        THE NUCLEAR SYLLABLE

Much credit can be given to contemporary atomic science for the universal understanding that the element of size is unrelated to ultimate functional significance. The infinitesimally tiny object called the atom, which can be discerned only with the employment of a specialized microscope, or by the performance of a demonstrative experiment is in fact, the basic essential building block of all known matter.

Such empirical observation concerning the irrelevance of size applies in an analogous fashion to the subject of man’s elective action and his choice of spoken words. It is our proposition that the miniscule combination of two letters, forming the single syllable, “re” is a vitally important instrument, and an instructive caution against irrational behavior [Please temporarily reserve your understandable reaction to this exotic proposition.]

With the sole exception of purely reflexive responses, all human action necessarily follows some precedential motivational thought, rational or irrational, fleeting or carefully considered. Clearly, thought, on whatever level, is the forerunner to one’s choice of action or language; the dynamics of thought, which inarguably is expressed in the medium of privately articulated words, naturally precedes all voluntary action and choice of words.

In common with everything else, words are constructed of smaller units, universally termed syllables. As a necessary corollary to the known premise that thought, in some fashion, precedes action and speech, we have observed that one especially singular syllable. “re” is not only linguistically useful, but is also mandatorily necessary for acceptable human interaction; this nuclear syllable has always been an indispensable tool for civilized behavior, and by empirical extension, the existence of society.

We have singled out for special recognition, the invaluable syllable, “re,”; though modest in size, it has afforded to man the choice of behaviors; it is an ever-present reminder that we have evolved to practice the rational deliberative behavior required to live in society. Promoting civility, identification with others, empathy, appropriateness, consideration, accuracy, relevance, clarity, as well as the many other criteria for effective and societally necessary behavior. The ability to audit, edit or amend our intention, prior to what may be a rash act or foolish choice of speech, is a unique talent attributable to our advanced intelligence, the generous and valuable gift of evolution.

Such cautionary and advisory syllable (re) thus, is an effective emergency brake on impulsive, rash behavior and on ill-considered speech. It serves as a cogent reminder of the preferable option of thoughtful consideration, offers the opportunity to make a correction in the event of failure and the possibility of the amendment of erroneous supposition; It is the guide to enlightenment and the motivation for growth, a promoter of harmony and an antidote to enmity; it is a “look before you leap.”

Support for our expansive proposition is found by thoughtful reference to the following illustrative sample of words. prefaced by this nuclear syllable: revisit, rethink, reconsider, reconfigure, recalibrate, recreate, renegotiate, reedit, restate, reimagine, reexplore. Such words, containing the nuclear syllable are potent behavioral guides for all who strive for positive outcomes, for truth and societal advancement and for peace. The nuclear syllable is a reflection of mature judgment borne of empirical experience and experienced maturity.