Post# 283     THE OBJECTIVICATION OF EVE 

We would suggest that the program, popularly known as, “The Women’s Movement,” be renamed, “The Women’s Movement for Civil Rights and Dignity.” The alteration in name would continue to express women’s aspirations and entitlement to rights equal with male citizens, but, would add as an additional purpose, the dignity of her own private person. In the arena of legal and societal rights, we have, admittedly made substantial progress; unfortunately, we are unable to similarly celebrate, an improved respect for women’s sexual status. More on this specific subject, later in this post.

America’s founding documents radically declared, that “all men were created equal.” The latter phrase, often misunderstood, was intended to sound the death knell to the ancient European institution of privileged birth. Based upon subsequent interpretation and uses, as well as other expressions of intention, it was taken to refer to the “rights of all men” [we would have preferred “all people”]. It was first intended to be applicable to “white men” with property. It took centuries to change this proviso, and no less than a shameful, national sacrifice of blood and treasure, in order to properly include black people within the category of “all men.”

Until the latter part of the l9th Century, the concept of personal rights for women, was non-existent. Thanks to many people, notably, Elizabeth Stanton Cady, (1898), a movement was begun to improve the status of women; to enable them to vote, own property, and to enjoy the privileges of being an adult person.  The latter privilege, is to be contrasted with women’s previous status, living under the legal protection of a husband or male guardian, and pursuant to his dictate.

Readers of Victorian literature are aware of the status of women living in 19th Century England. They were little more than supporting players in the home, supervising its running (generally, in accordance with the husband’s wishes) looking pretty, giving birth to offspring and nurturing them, sewing her husband’s linens and perhaps playing the piano or painting pictures. A woman could not legally own property; even her inheritance would go to her husband, who, with the assistance of his personal solicitor, would carve out for her a “settlement” (deducted) from such inheritance. She, unlike men, had no “friends,” but only family and relatives who constituted her social life.

Women were given the right to vote, sign contracts, and own property as late as the 20th Century; but it essentially remained a male dominated world, especially, as far as governance, employment, education, choice of career or profession were concerned. Today, women still strive for gender equality with men in areas of politics, equal wages and employment opportunities.

It was a full seventy years ago that a United Nations Charter expressly proclaimed:”to every human being, living on the planet, all women have the right to live free from violence, slavery and degradation, to own property and receive an equal wage.”

We are pleased to celebrate the significant extent of progress achieved in women’s legal and social rights (however slowly, and by necessity, from men in power). It is, however, puzzling and disturbing that society, which has been brought to a higher level of consciousness in recognizing the justice of equal legal and self-determinative rights for women, persists in vigorous contention over the propriety and legality of control by women over their own body; regarding the right to an (early term) abortion. Certainly, the aspiration to successful family planning does appear to be, manifestly, an appropriate, rational and personal matter.

Most troubling by far, is the sociopathic perception of certain singular male members of society, that the female body was created for their own personal attraction, and accordingly, is to be naturally and appropriately exploited by them; having no accompanying feelings of empathy or pangs of conscience. There are a great many reported instances of sexual abuse, most of which is stereotypically and dishonorably, committed by men in positions of power and influence, vis-à-vis the victim. Most instances of this pernicious misbehavior unfortunately, and understandably, go unreported for various reasons including, fear and shame.

The female victim is neurotically selected as the intended victim of the sociopathic offender’s lust. There is a complete absence of consideration on his part, for her feelings, her reaction, nor any basic empathy or remorse for her, as a fellow human being; perhaps, someone’s mother or sister. This atavistic, disgusting perversion is assuredly equal and democratic; ranging, all the way from the scuzzy neighborhood creep, to the rich movie mogul, and from a nominee to Judgeship on the Supreme Court of the United States, to the currently sitting President.

-p.

Post # 282     IT’S A ROUTINE MATTER

We confidently declare that there is no more ubiquitous phenomenon in human society, that that of “routine.” Indeed, we are presently employing that feature in the writing of this note.

It may be permissible to define the word, “routine”, as a regularized, standard, and unvarying sequence of behaviors, performed for one specific purpose. Examples of such unvarying routine behavior are seen to take place in all our personal rituals, such as going to bed, awakening, brushing teeth, shaving, bathing, getting dressed, having breakfast, commuting to work and answering telephone calls. Routine behaviors of individuals are so fixed and predictable, that they have been proposed by several legal academics, as a potentially admissible subject of testimony at trial, provided relevant to the issues.

Routine procedures for the accomplishment of many tasks are readily available and require no thought; they exist without the challenge of original evaluation and the hazards of creative experimentation. Since past routines have proven to be successful, their replication can be accomplished with confidence.

There exists, as well, the category of routine speech. This phenomenon is customary and useful in greetings between friends, neighbors, workmates and family. Other examples of routine speech, occur between commuters, travelers, vacationers, in table talk, in interaction at stores and barber shops, banks, and waiting rooms, and at all places of public assembly. Intrinsically repetitive and uninteresting, routine talk appears nevertheless, to have social utility by its perpetuation of existing societal relationships, accepted behavior and the maintenance of the sense of community normalcy.

Empirically, various members of society may be identifiable by their publicly known regular  activities or behaviors. For example, a neighbor may be known for the fact that he routinely and regularly mows his lawn on Tuesday afternoons, another for his nuanced speech, such as, “How ya dooin?”, someone else, by the fact that he is eternally engaged in the repair of his ancient car, yet another, by his daily routine of jogging through the community.

In stark contrast to the social utility of routine in mundane matters, it is understood that in the sphere of society’s search for vital solutions to its existential scientific, ethical and intellectual problems, routine thought, and timeworn ideas, are regressive, and can have the potential to be distracting and harmful. Essentially required in these instances, is the creative infusion of new ideas and untried, imaginative approaches. Intellectual prowess, and not stale replication, is essentially needed. To fill this need, it is essential to operate, support and maintain fine schools and universities and most importantly, a capable, educated and creatively inspired citizenry.

-p.

Post # 281       LIFE COULD BE A DREAM

It would appear that after the attainment of a certain age, one has certain occasions in which he is not quite sure as to whether a particular recollection is one of an actual occurrence, or merely the memory of an old dream. There are some who would declare, as in the love song, that, “Life is just a dream.”

The “reality” of dreams, as contrasted with “empirical reality,” has universally been a subject of interest and scientific investigation, as well as a subject of atavistic, superstitious belief. In the apocryphal Bible story, Joseph wins great favor with the Royal House of the Pharaoh, by means of his believed ability to interpret dreams; the biblical tale revealing the ancient Egyptian belief that dreams were predictive of the future. The contemporary understanding of dreams is that they are either, meaningless, spliced film clips of personally perceived reality, or alternatively, that they are revelatory of our fears and inner conflicts. We would take the liberty of expressing our personal thoughts, concerning our take on the believed relationship between dreams and factual reality.

As we understand it, dreams are stories our brain tells us when we are in a deep (REM) state of sleep. It is a collection of clips of our past perception of factual matter, images and associated feelings, that involuntarily occur while deep in the sleep state. It has been suggested, by experts, that the reason that we have great difficulty in recollecting dreams is that, [ N.B.] otherwise, it would be difficult to distinguish them from actual reality. The “lucid dream” is a type of dreaming in which the sleeper is aware that he is dreaming and can often rearrange the facts of the dream. This phenomenon is thought to be a state existing somewhere in the zone between being asleep and dreaming, and wakefulness.

Reality, by contrast, is the view of the world as it actually (objectively) exists.  Despite the natural and expected differences as between individuals, as to (subjective) perception, it is a vital and existential requirement that we play a functional role in our personal reaction to reality in sync with the everyday working consensus of our society. Were there, ideally, the possibility of attaining a uniform perception of reality. the constructive result would be less contention and greater concentration and emphasis on societal advancement.

The noun, “dream” is, on occasion, employed in an aspirational context, as in the now famous, “I have a dream” oration, of the late Rev. Martin Luther King.  All right- thinking people also have a dream of a peaceful and just world; one day, we hope to awaken to this yet unattained, reality.

-p.

 Post # 280   THE FREEDOM TO LOVE

Blogpost # 280                                   THE FREEDOM TO LOVE

 

In common with most other main-stream Americans, we deplore bigotry of any kind, whether based on color, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious belief, disability or some other perverse category. Enforceable legislation has been enacted, regarding bigotry, consistent with the modern societal conscience, evidencing the government’s official disapproval of the practice. Such laws and consistent  legal precedent, seem to have been generally successful in securing compliance with the State’s articulation of such societal norms, although there is much yet to be accomplished. In contrast, the laws and case precedent have not been nearly as societally effective regarding homosexuality, and the associated subject of same sex marriage. Since our own sexual orientation, as it happens, is heterosexual, we felt it would be appropriate and responsible, that we choose to comment on this hurtful injustice.

The ubiquitous theme of virtually all songs, movies, plays, literature and other public art forms is love, unrequited, as in Romeo and Juliet and West Story, or otherwise,  portrayed, down through the ages, in various settings. The institution of love, itself is specifically honored on our traditional holiday, Valentine’s day. Most people are successful in finding another person to love on a lasting basis, others may spend a “lifetime” looking for the “right person.” There is no extant, definitive understanding of the functional etiology of the dynamics of love, itself. There are those who believe that the purpose and root of the emotion is grounded in a natural desire to be child bearing, and so, for them, legitimate love can only exist in a heterosexual relationship. Yet, in most cases, love continues long after the birth or death of children and, exists as well, in couples with no children. It can be said that love has, empirically, been shown to be a separate, unique phenomenon, quite independent of the subject of child rearing.

We have been puzzled regarding the question: if the purported (child rearing) theory, as the thought fundamental basis for the dynamics of romantic love, is without merit, why is it considered by some, unnatural or wrong for homosexual people to love each other, to kiss and dance in public places, as heterosexual people do, without causing a stir. Certainly, heterosexual people, with no desire for child rearing, can do so, without any remarkable public reaction. What can the understandable basis be, for the observed disapproval and derision of the life style of the homosexual?

The answers, as we understand them, are the same neurotic reasons as any other bigotry, namely, insecurity and fear of the “other,” the neurotic need for a pecking order, and, perhaps, some religious basis. The first two proposed reasons are based on ignorance, some of which, in certain cases can be curable (depending upon the rare willingness to better oneself); the second, religious, requires an articulated clear reminder of what many centuries of sad and bloody worldwide history show, that the practice of religious principle needs to be voluntary, and not externally imposed.

The capacity for love is, inarguably, high among the most positive, creative and aesthetic traits of the human character. Its potential is present in all human beings without reference to sexual inclination. What is the problem? Each, category of sexuality, by definition, does not verily share in the same criteria as to sexual attraction, thus it cannot be, rationally, attributed to competition. It is, as described above, bigotry, pure and simple.

Heterosexual couples may choose to marry, or not marry; homosexual couples as well, may or may not, choose to marry. It is the undisputable right and choice of the individual, not his neighbor, nor the church nor his government. Every human being inherits the liberty to pursue his own peaceable path to personal self-realization. The most ignorant and irritating comments, of all the plentiful irrational gibberish that we have heard, are: “Same sex marriage will destroy the institution of marriage,” and:” Same sex marriage will hurt your marriage.” Really? How?  By the way, how are the facts of other’s marriage the critic’s conceivable business or concern?

Bigots of any kind, are hateful, and chronically injurious to the health and success of society.

-p.

Post #279     SOME REFLECTIONS ON “IMAGE”

It is an observable and, we maintain incontrovertible fact, that our society appears to be rife with people who manifest an irresistible impetus to incessantly audit their personal reflective image. Without question, the most commonly accessible device for such eerie dedication is the mirror, variously defined as a surface, typically glass, coated on the reverse side with an amalgam, which reflects a clear image. In this note we are interested in the intrinsic degree of importance, of such frequently reflected images.

If one chose to take the time to consider the phenomenon, he would, predictably, observe an uncountably numerous presence of mirrors throughout our (apparently, self-conscious) society. Mirrors of all sizes and dimensions, in private and public spaces, hotels, restaurants, department, stores, railroad and bus depots, libraries, theaters and places of public assembly. The existence of this plethora of mirrors, tends to give evidence of some neurotic need for constant assurance of identity. It is as if there were a fear of sudden, unexpected alteration in facial characteristics, absent constant monitoring. Clothing merchants provide ample access to mirrors, as a practical matter, for the intended use of the patron in seeking an appropriate garment. The perspective,  purchaser may instead, be primarily interested in viewing himself in a conceivably different aspect. If he approves of the “new me,” he will likely make the purchase. It might be more useful, as a practical matter, instead, to use the words of the Scotch poet, Robert Burns, to be able “to see ourselves, as others see us.”

Vastly greater significance is applicable to our self-image, usually developed over time, by our internal, subjective assessment of the history of our past reactions to others (family, friends, co-employees), and, to the varied stimuli that accrue in our life, positive and negative. Our long- standing assumptions regarding our self- image are the reliable source of our fundamental outlook on life, our adopted principles, perception of events, our morality and feelings of responsibility, of our capacity for love and our empathy and our fixed standards of rectitude.

Perhaps the foremost quality, having its fundamental derivation in our self-image, is our personal sense of morality; a quality which is essential for living successfully with others in society. The moral sense in properly socialized and mature people, is internal, and a replication of the (inner) self, consistent with their felt urgings of developed self-image.

The following (fictitious) anecdote [used in a prior blogpost] is illustrative, as well as thought useful, in making the point. Let us suppose that I wrongfully took (stole) your cell phone. Later in the day, I suffer unbearable remorse and guilt by reason of my wrongful act and, shamefacedly, return it to you, accompanied with my profuse, sincere and abject apology. You, being an exceptionally generous and forgiving person, accept my remorseful apology, and seeing my sincerely intense grief, generously, state   that, “I should forget about it, because, as far as we are concerned, it never happened.” Yet, I am not able to forget it, since, as far as my consideration of my self-image is concerned, I am still plagued with the disturbing thought as to, what kind of a person am I, after all,  to have stolen the item in the first place?

Mature and permanently developed morality does not depend upon the fragile and inconsistent system of reward and punishment. Proper moral sense is effective when internalized and developed into an integral part of one’s self-image. True moral responsibility, like empathy and the capacity to love, are entirely internal matters; our true persona and, to the point, its accurate depiction, vitally depend upon our internalized self- image, and not on superficial mirror reflections.

In an earlier blogpost (#261 “Mr. Rogers and Selfies”) we, sincerely and respectfully, paid homage to  the late Fred Rogers, for his special dedication and contributions to the healthy socialization of children; most  especially (and uniquely) his vital, and unique mission to teach the  importance of who they are, “inside” [“it’s You I like, not the clothes you wear …etc.] and the comparative unimportance of what they may happen to look like on the outside.

Would that more adults had subscribed to, and learned from, “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.”

 

-p.

 

Post # 278             MAGNETIC NORTH   

As a practical matter, it would seem impossible for scholars to estimate the numbers of innocent people prosecuted and punished by ancient society for heathenism for daring to suggest the possibility that the earth travelled around the sun, rather than the obverse; after all, was it not the Church’s inspired wisdom that man was the center of the universe? The gradual acceptance of Copernicus’ heliocentric theory was a momentous step in the nascent understanding of our solar system, and, as centuries and knowledge progressed, of the Universe. Mankind now had an objective reference point for the location of our planet, with reference to other observed planetary bodies

A useful, and perhaps apt, metaphoric concept relating to the theme of this post, is the common field compass, known for its unwavering and accurate indication of “North” [by reason of the magnetic propensities of our planet] and thus useful as a reference point to verify or seek directional perspective.

We have in previous posts, referred to human phenomenon which we refer to as the private, intimate and not overtly articulated, conversation with (within) ourselves; a feature that has a shelf-life, coterminous with our respective lifetimes. As sentient beings, such private musings and private observations are natural and expected; they serve as a basic interpretive tool, directing and focusing our reaction; a known frame of reference, not very unlike the localizing function of a compass.

Such inner conversations and personal musings vary in subject in for properly socialized individuals, who have matured in perspective and understanding, by learned experience and the cumulative acquisition of knowledge.   The relative importance of events, as they occur, is evaluated by them in accordance with relevant criteria. The practical concern, initially, is whether the event in question has any impact upon oneself. Thereafter, those with maturity of perspective might consider the event from other applicable points of view, such as legality, justice and equity, impact on the environment, empathy, historical precedent or any other relevant consideration.

The frame of reference of the mature, knowledgeable individual is not fixated on himself, like the sole inclination of the compass: magnetic north. However, there are many who cast themselves in the self-assumed role of sole protagonist, in life’s theatrical production. For such people, events have designated  significance to the same degree to which they perceive they are personally affected. There are no other protagonists, in fact, there are no other players for such a person to consider. His compass does magnetically point north, but his has no other directional indicia. He is stranded, limited to one fixed location. Emotionally, he is completely liberated from the responsibility to feel sympathy or empathy; his sole operating emotion is that of schadenfreude.

He, of course, is ethnocentric, his bias and ignorance not having an understandable explanation such as,  lack of experience, or an inadequate education; it is, in fact, personal and  totally systemic. As an illustration, he has firmly declared, in his conversation with himself, that all foreign- born people, who speak English have accents. In fact, he secretly prides himself on his ability to discern the country of origin of any foreign speaker of English, from the sound of his accent. He is, however, constitutionally unable to comprehend that, to the ear of the foreign- born person, he himself. has an accent. In his limited perspective, only the other speaker can manifest an accent. Has compass, as stated, only reads due north, with no other directional indications. It may be said in his case that, even “due north” is not equivalent to “true north.”

He has scant interest in books, theater travel, hobbies, social occasions, but, by contrast, is up to date with the news media; diligently, checking numerous reports, most of which he is relatively certain, do not affect him directly, or indirectly, such as events and disasters occurring  beyond the span of his binoculars. He lives a lonely, but “safe and undisturbed” life in his fixed magnet north, with no interest in an alternative. At various times, his inner conversation speaks of loneliness and disconnection, which he summarily dismisses with much comforting gratitude, for the security of his reliably fixed position, his magnetic north.

 

-p.

Post # 277  TWO (Domestic) THREATS TO MEANINGFUL ELECTIONS

Only little more than 200 years ago, one had to be male, white and prosperous, to be eligible to cast a vote. Fortunately, the franchise was ultimately extended to all American citizens and has remained the salient, definitional feature of our republican democracy; the one man (or woman), one vote, political doctrine has, in recent history, properly enjoyed the status of an emblematic American landmark.

Recently, serious and threatening attacks on the sanctity of the American election system by computer interference (“hacking”) has been uncovered, apparently conducted by a foreign agency, believed to be Russian. These contemptable and illegal acts of espionage have justifiably incurred an outraged response by our nation. At present, an official investigation by our security services, has been convened to seek confirmation of the perpetrators, and the determination of appropriate, responsive action. The apparent motivation, if confirmed, would seem to be the frustration of our democratic system of election, by the skewing of its results, thus resulting in an inaccurate or false expression of the will of the American voter; and perhaps the general undermining of our cherished democracy. It is beyond question that the fundamental operation of our democratic republic, relies upon the expressed will of the nation and is deterred by such wrongful acts of distortion of that will.

It is our intention in this note,  to highlight two primary instances in which the American voting franchise is misused by a significant number of American voters  (as opposed to foreign miscreants), whose irresponsibility and lack of mature perspective, bring about results which are ( as in the matter of such foreign criminal hacking),  effectively atrophying or distorting election results, and thereby defeating the citizen-government responsive mandate of our established form of government.

Our first category of irresponsible voters, we term the “one issue voter.” There seems to arise, in every historical period, “hot,” polemic issues, regarding which the public becomes seriously divided in opinion. The polemics du jour seem to orbit around the issues of abortion rights, gun control legislation and climate science. Many “single issue voters” will, predictably, cast their vote for the candidate whom they believe, shares the same view as they do regarding a selective, hotly contested issue; thereafter, shamelessly enjoying the illegitimate, but perceived, feeling of having dutifully exercised his franchise as a good citizen. He is deluding himself; in fact, he has irresponsibly performed an act, which is inarguably antithetical to the very principle of the democratic vote. Every candidate’s platform consists of views and positions on various issues. The “one issue” voter, ignores the views of the candidate, other than his position on his single, mono-focused issue. His irresponsible vote for the candidate might serve to articulate a blind approval of the candidate’s stand on issues, which, conceivably, may be against that voter’s (or the nation’s) best interest.  From the standpoint of the rational administration of the nation, the single- issue voters may (ignorantly) be every bit as culpable for a skewed or distorted expression of the popular will, as the despicable Russian hackers.

We have borrowed the terms, “Tribal” or “Groupthink” as the conceptual reference to our second category of dysfunctional voters. This class of voters appears to be made up of (insecure) people who seem willing to expend their valuable franchise (as well as possibly, principle) on the candidate, or issue, who, by some explicit or subtle suggestion, is favored by influential members of their insular group. Many members of such groups, have similarly bartered their neurotic feelings of insecurity and loneliness, for a more comfortable perception of social acceptance and identity within the perceived shelter of groups, by subscribing to mutually agreed upon, identical views. The failure of “Tribal Voters” to vote in accordance with their own, nuanced, personal beliefs and interests, is another act of disgraceful frustration of the national elective purpose. An astoundingly bizarre and illustrative example, of the “Tribal Voting” syndrome, is demonstrated by the reported, continuing support by Evangelical Christian voters, of Donald Trump, who has boasted, publicly and flamboyantly, of his numerous immoral sexual escapades.

We have been profoundly disturbed and frustrated with these thoughtless perversions of our fair and rationally devised democratic voting system, and earnestly look forward to the appearance, someday soon, of a wise enough person with effective resolutions to these problems.