Recently, we read a startling and thought-provoking message from NASA, informing the public that in 2020, it will begin allowing private citizens to travel to the International Space Station in spacecrafts like those used by astronauts. The advertised price for tourist “budget” accommodations was stated to be $250,000 for transportation (previously, priced in the millions), and for lodging in the Space Station, $35,000 per diem. We had a strong, but later, rather mixed, response to the advertised proposal.

Our initial reaction was one of pride in the exponential American advances in technical and scientific capability. The first fight at Kittyhawk, in 1903, traveled 120 feet, in the 1930’s the flight of Amelia Earhart across the Atlantic, the initial Pan Am flight to Europe, in 1939 ( and to Germany and Western Europe, 1946); later followed by America’s later astounding  advances in aviation and mind-numbing accomplishments in Space. The latter included landing a man on the moon, accomplishing vital satellite systems in space, and sending exploratory investigative robot mechanisms out to the entire Solar System, including the distant and controversial entity, Pluto.

Our feelings, then suddenly shifted, from those evincing national pride in America’s technical and scientific advances to those of discomfort, disapproval and then anger. The shift was due to the shocking realization of NASA’s evident failure of perception and insensitivity regarding the predictable reaction of the average citizen, challenged by personally limited financial capability. This short-sighted lack of awareness and evident misplacement of realistic priorities caused us to perceive the advertised adventure, as comparable to Marie-Antoinette’s “If the people have no bread, let them eat cake”, or to the hubristic tragic Greek myth of the immature youth, Icarus. The insensitive public advertisement of such an exorbitant and lavish enterprise appears to be an indication of NASA’s misplaced priorities and insensitivity, especially applicable at this time of economic privation and loss due to the pandemic.

The advertised, outrageously ostentatious enterprise, by its logistical, scientific, and political nature, will inarguably require substantial governmental participation and financing, possibly to the detriment of adequate provisions for the amelioration of the economically challenged life of the average American citizen, and constitutes an offensive and cruel display and assertion of morally misplaced priorities.

But there indeed, are more profound fundamental grounds for our displeasure, which have reference to the consistent and fundamental purpose of this blogspace, now in its (five) years of existence. Our singularly dedicated purpose and recommended priorities have articulated consistently ( if not redundantly) the encouragement and development of man’s mature self -knowledge and consistent sense of personal identity, upon which reasoned deliberations and moral choices are based; which we have declared, overrides all other aspirations. It is the successful attainment and advancement of a mature, and moral goal that is the essential, empirical prerequisite for the realization of happiness and a successful and fulfilled human life.

In stark contrast to the one-time experience of the advertised glitzy space ride, the route to the destination of mature inner consciousness and self-awareness is an internal life-long journey, or inner space voyage. The exotic destination in the words of the Greek philosopher, Socrates, is to “know thyself.” What is involved is a distant route, not measurable in miles or lightyears, but in the objective and developed practice of reason during a self-examined life experience. This educative and developmental expedition requires no prior reservation, no physical criteria of health or age, but it does affirmatively mandate mindfulness and, as well, an awareness of the self in the course of a lifetime of internal audit and private, candid self-evaluation.

 In just shy of 600 posts, inclusive of mini-essays, poetry and narrative fiction, our salient theme has been the priorities of personal advancement, sensitive perception of others and a sincere effort to learn about our human existence on this Planet by one’s objective and analytical, experience. This is accomplished internally, by one’s constant awareness of living socially in community with others and his  maintenance of the  reflective, scrupulously candid practice of  inner thought, which we have frequently referred to as,  “the lifelong conversation with oneself.” The discipline of self-correction or improvement may, indeed, be more valuable than innate capability. This life- long voyage to one’s inner space is the most effective barometer of a fulfilled and successful life, and thus, more valuable, and useful than a one-time, memorable, and glitzy, excursion to the International Space Station.

Man’s voyage to deep inner space is successfully accomplished by, discussing comparative points of view with other travelers, demonstrating sincere emotional empathy for others, and, very importantly, reading good books, and thereby discovering the eternal nature of mankind, and its universally occurring issues. The voyage is enhanced by the development of an enduring elective interest and, importantly, an internal satisfaction founded upon a sincerely held personal resolve to be an exemplar of a sensitive, responsible, and knowledgeable member of the human community.
 The lifelong voyage to his nuanced inner space is man’s most existentially fulfilling, exciting and purposefully useful voyage.



On past occasions, we have expressed our deep disdain for aphoristic statements as being, inadequate substitutes for empirical reason, misleading and too often, productive of undesirable results. This is eternally so, because they are generally, insipid, and inapplicable to the specific parties and facts. The theme of our present writing is to the effect that they can also be dangerous, with specific illustrative reference to the morally challenged aphorism, “The means justify the ends.” Among the despicable panoply of useless and misleading aphoristic declarations, the said meme, condoning questionable or outright improper acts, as justified by their perceived, desirable ends, may be the most societally dangerous and empirically immoral.

 It is no less than tautological, to deduce that any need for justification is relevant, solely, to acts which are deemed wrong by the consensus of mainstream society. It is just as logically obvious, that good or acceptable acts would require no such justification or mitigating defense. But, more on this subject, following  a discussion on the subjective and intriguing subject of “the ends.”

To speak of “means,” as intended in the context of the subject aphorism, is to concur in the view that wrongful acts are pardoned, or morally redeemed, by their positive intention. However, in the event of its failure of realization, will society trust the representation of the wrongdoer, as to his stated bona fide intentions? Does this not provide a useful and tactical alibi to every miscreant?

From a metaphysical and moral stance, we need to consider the concept of desired, or justified, ends. It appears that while society agrees as to certain rudimentary aspirations, such as the repudiation of crime, and the elimination of disease, it is not the case, that it is in agreement on most subjects. To the contrary, the contemporary public scenario evinces sharp tribal divisions of opinion on the issues of the day, such as abortion rights, gun control, crime and punishment, immigration, same-sex marriage, environment,  global warming, and many others. Life and its moral imperatives are presently seen in multiple and divergent perceptions. Who can be so confidently gifted to divine universally accepted, “good ends” with the  exception of the fundamental subjects of sustenance and health?

To personally arrogate to oneself the omniscient wisdom to perceive the best course for society, is to be at best, a dreamer or at worst, an autocrat like Mussolini. Yet many self-indulgent or neurotic people presume that they possess such an all-pervasive awareness. These misguided actors frustrate reason and, if adequately empowered, can prove to be dangerous.  

Moreover, ends themselves may, as a practical matter, be outmoded, unrealistic or fantasized, depending upon the times and the contemporary pubic, such as: finding a short route to the Indies, turning base metals to gold, finding Valhalla, evangelizing the indigenous, or later, curing disease, balancing the budget, or traveling to outer space. Acceptability of temporal aspirations or goals ( as attainable) continually changes with society’s technological and social advances and technological achievements. However, the fundamentals of societal morality eternally persist, by ageless necessity. The value of human life, adherence to communal rules and folkways, truth and honesty, loyalty, the work ethic, endure, albeit, possibly, in some analogous replication.

Upon the assumption that the ends are, as a practical matter, attainable (as opposed to fantasized) the perceived means to their attainment, should provide, nevertheless, no license for acts in their realization which have been societally determined as illegal or immoral. We would declare that the aphorism, “The ends justify the means” is an entirely fallacious assertion; and for wrongdoers or delusional personalities, a faux rationalization. The avowed benevolent intentions of the actor, even if (fortuitously) contributory in bringing about a desirable end, are nevertheless to be condemned if those actions were immoral. For society to continue and advance, there should be no inconsistent mitigation in exchange for assertions of positively intended wrongful action. The existence of an organized society, inarguably, the most invaluable end, should not be put at risk by wrongdoers, albeit with (truthfully) avowed or good purposes.

We would confidently declare that the themed aphorism is entirely cockeyed;  ends never do justify wrongful means, to any moral or acceptable degree. Our discernment is that violent means lead, ineluctably, to violent ends. After the violent French Revolutions came the bloody, “Reigns of Terror.” Horrendous acts of violent means have eternally incurred violent ends, viz., in Russia, China, Germany, Myanmar, Ukraine, Cuba, Haiti and elsewhere. To state a useful aphorism, violent means have ( historically and predictably, led to) violent ends.

If we had our wish, we would happily replace the objectionable aphorism with our empirically, realistic, and useful maxim: “The means define the ends.”


Post # 575 THE UNRAVELING SLEEVE (Editorial)

With appropriate apologies to William Shakespeare, for the use of the above title, (Macbeth, Act 2, Sc. 2, “….unraveled sleeve of care…”) selected as an illustratively useful metaphor, albeit at this late date in the progress of the subject event, to express our perception as to the historically erroneous and atavistic, separation of the United Kingdom from The European Union, i.e., “Brexit.”

As young and idealistic, undergraduate students of Political science and History, we looked forward to a World where, by the steady continuation of the dialectic or algorithm of progressive consolidation of disparate States, with prior histories of competing aspirations, peace would, predictably, be the outcome.

In partial defense of our young, idealistic vision, we had, in fact, read of the successful outcomes from the consolidations of the many former disparate States situated in the contemporary Countries of Italy, Germany, and Yugoslavia (the latter, at least for several decades, when separation led to conflict). We read about the League of Nations, formed after the First World War, to preserve World peace, and its failure in 1946, due specifically, to the unwillingness of its member Nations to surrender sufficient sovereignty. After the Second World War, fifty-one countries joined together to form the United Nations, dedicated to the maintenance of international peace and security, developing amicable relations among Nations, promoting social progress, including improvement in living standards and human rights. To the extent that the many consolidated Nations of the UN, have been less than successful, in their goals, the same has consistently been due to the veto power of the separate and disparate members of its Security Council.

An earlier attempt to promote fellowship and lasting peace was enunciated by the Esperanto movement. Created towards the end of the 19th  Century, it aspired to the creation and use of a   common international language, “Esperanto,” whose purpose was to minimize the differences between people of disparate cultures, as a social route to peace. Although our readings reveal that Esperanto is still spoken in several countries, its main purpose, unfortunately, was never realized.

Notwithstanding the limited success of such efforts over the decades to promote peace, the various efforts clearly articulate the accepted philosophy that the reduction of national and cultural differences is the rational and best route to World peace. All such unifying efforts have not produced optimal success, but have each laid down a common paving stone, by their identical theme of the promotion of unity, in man’s aspiration for a peaceful world. It can, unfortunately, be noted that every rational attempt by peace loving individuals, to attain a lasting peace by the reduction of National or cultural disparity, has not succeeded, in large part, due to the ignorance and atavistic mindset of influential people, whose eternal approach to world affairs is chronically rife with paranoia and mistrust.

The Englishmen who supported Brexit, and persist in unduly accentuating “self-determination”, are jealous of national borderlines, oppose immigration and hold fast to a medieval xenophobic conception of patriotism. Such fear of loss to National integrity is clearly retrogressive and maintained by those who have not yet learned the harsh human results of atavistic insularity and competitive National isolation.  History shows a political analogy to the self-absorption and insecurity of insecure adolescence.

Nations who routinely do business and interact with each other are not likely to engage in mutual warfare. The psycho-social reason may be that the unproductive emphasis on “we” and “they” is diluted and the sense of “threat from the other” is thereby greatly minimized, if not totally non-existent. Someone ought to remind the Brexit patriots, that history shows no less than fifty-six conflicts, just between England and France, (not to downplay the “30 Years War”) and that the retrogressive style of “Trumpian” xenophobia and hatred of immigrants, is traveling backward in history* and thus, irrationally, and retrogressively, promoting the continuation of history’s horrific record of conflict and human suffering.

*If there were in existence such a device as an historical GPS, we would recommend its regular, consultive use to all Brexit supporters.



We return for a second but brief, visit to the small, verdant Village of “Wistful Vista,” located on the far distant, leeward slope of Mt. Mensa. In our earlier visit we lacked sufficient time to render a more complete account of many of its features; one such is the much revered and august, “Committee of The Sagacious.” This elite body is comprised of six wise people of the Village, assigned the challenging responsibility of determining the answer to difficult and pressing questions, arising at meetings of the Village Council or alternatively, posed by any (up to date, taxpaying) villager with Council approval.

Before proceeding further, we would avail ourselves of a brief opportunity to acquaint the reader with that revered, Council- designated, Committee. Both the membership and legal quorum of such judicious villagers was fixed at six, many years ago by the Village Founding Fathers, following seven weeks of heated debate. The Committee’s ordained number, thus forensically determined, is symbolic of the four compass directions, east, west, north, and south, plus two others, the latter two representing the individual’s, bifurcated choice to settle in, or alternatively, decline to reside in the Village of Wistful Vista. The creative and esoteric numerical designation of Members served as an early illustrative, forecast of the canny logic and innate capabilities of the” Committee of the Sagacious.”

It will be eternally and gratefully recalled that it was this same illustrious panel of celebrated savants, that resolved the challenging, grammatical question, as to the proper pluralizing of words like hippopotamus, octopus, platypus, moose, titmouse and even Tony Curtis (Curtii??) The unassailable solution reached, after a period of three full days of intense and concentrated deliberation, was: “Only refer to them one at a time.” The priceless value of their existential analysis, was again soundly confirmed, relative to a  previously existing common problem: “ When one accidentally drops a slice of buttered toast, why does it always land on the buttered side? Solution: “Butter the other side.” It is not feasible, as a practical matter, to recount all of the Committee’s vital contributions to the Village (and to mankind), however, it is hoped that the few proffered examples are sufficiently demonstrative of its unique prowess in the exercise of mankind’s unique gift by Evolution, of advanced capability for reason.  

We have, at this point, consciously realized our careless omission to describe the prerequisite requirements for membership in the venerable “Committee of the Sagacious,” and would do so, prior to the revelation of the current presenting problem. Because long, pointy, beards stereotypically connote contemplative wisdom, all aspirants for Committee selection by the Village Board, without exception, are to possess long, pointy beards, preferably in some (natural) color, other than grey (no dyeing permitted), and to have attained the age at least 77 years. For esoteric reasons beyond even the remarkable ken of this determinative panel, only one woman has ever qualified for Committee membership, since the time of the incorporation of the Village. Further and extensive study on this issue is scheduled for the coming Spring.

The remainder of the requirements are inarguably, far from draconian, in fact, are few and easy of satisfaction; these are, the regular wearing of leather shoes, abstention from the vocal use of swear words or expletives at meetings, the abstention from visibly chewing tobacco or loudly playing the harmonica, during sessions of Committee. By virtue of a recent ruling, Members are permitted to bring their dog, provided it does not bark, howl, or defecate during debate periods.

We would, at this point in our writing, earnestly request the reader to temporarily withhold and defer his predictable, initial reaction or response, to the revelation of our prevailing question (to be presented, for resolution by the Committee of the Sagacious). On initial examination, the query might appear to be self-evident, tautological, or simply nonsensical; nevertheless, as previously explained, we confidently represent it to be a legitimate inquiry, albeit, possibly too metaphysical and labyrinthine to be properly answered, even by the venerable Committee.

The enigmatic and conceivably unanswerable question (even by the Committee of the Sagacious), is: “Does a bagel have a hole in it? ” (Please restrain all initial responses pending the following proffered definition and analytical features of the subject baked item, popularly known as the “bagel”.)

We have clearly and lucidly advised the Committee of the Sagacious, and we now call to the recollective attention of the reader, that after its pre-boiling and shaping, the bagel is a bakery product, uniquely shaped like the letter ”O,” i.e., a circular, item of bread (with a relatively hard, outer surface, due to the pre-boiling). The complication and the extant and predictably unsolvable question is exacerbated by its fundamental, definitional design, viz., its circular shape, eternally enclosing an empty center.  Can such a  total conception, have a hole? And if so, where would it be found? Universally, a bakery product is not entitled to the popular designation of bagel, unless it is an oven-baked, relatively narrow sided circle of dough, and universally, by reason of its geometric shape, enclosing an empty center, including which, in its totality, it is entitled to the designation of the name, “bagel”.

Such being empirically the case, the philosophic and metaphysical question, as constituted, is: Can a bagel, or, perhaps, does a bagel, have a hole in it? The villagers were profusely chagrined and “plumb stumped,” and so, with the express permission of the Village Board, applied for, and received, the necessary permission to bring the popularly insomnia- provoking conundrum, before the Wistful Vista, Committee of the Sagacious, to deliberate and publicly declare the anxiously awaited answer.

Within two weeks the Sagacious Committee convened their behind -door, deliberative session at a closed-off meeting room in the Village Center. The currently serving Committee membership consists of Ms. Corona Clef, retired coloratura soprano and currently, freelance hog caller, Chairperson, Mr. Ray Moonshine, wholesale liquor sales, Treasurer, Mr. Sheffield Borden, Jr. Milk distributor, Secretary and Historian, plus two other general members, Rev. Calvin Dimlighter, Churchman, and Mr. Willard McSwindle, real estate developer and equity loan mortgagee.

The following is an unofficial precis of the Committee discussion: Mr. Moonshine felt that “all bagels have an empty center and, in any event do not need a hole”. Ms. Clef: “That remark is neither relevant nor useful. The question is, can a bagel which contains an empty middle space, by definition, have a hole.” Mr. Borden: I say no because you would have to put the hole in the hard circle of dough, breaking its mandatory circular shape. Mr. Swindle, heavily perspiring and visibly frustrated suddenly declared, I am leaving this meeting because it is wastefully engaging in circular reasoning. The good Rev. Dimlighter, who, unfortunately, was hearing- challenged but had inadvertently left his hearing aid at home, also angrily left the meeting, because he erroneously heard the word “circular,” as “secular” and loudly declared: “I will have absolutely no part in secular reasoning.”

The meeting, by prescribed Rule, was adjourned, as lacking a legal quorum,  necessitated by the exit of the two Members, unhappily, leaving the presenting question unresolved. Upon leaving Ms. Clef quietly, asked of Mr. McSwindle: “What, in heavens name, are bagels anyway, and what are they used for?”

We are, it appears, by unavoidable empirical necessity, relegated to the reference of the presenting question, to the capable discernment and wisdom of the reader.



Among the favored choices of entertainment during the era commonly identified as, “The Medieval Period,” was attendance at tortures and executions,  normally ordered by the Church or the Crown. It might excitingly feature, the “Rack,” the “Iron Maiden,” “The Chair of Torture,” “Skin Flaying,” “Boiling”, or any one of the great many grotesque and grisly artifacts, used to inflict excruciating pain and death, on a human being. In later Centuries, particularly in the New World, the desire for such gruesome entertainment was assuaged only in its attendance at public hangings. The latter, one assumes, were somewhat less entertaining than, say, the bloody, and excruciating pain produced by the flaying of skin from a living victim, but it is somewhat of a consolation, that the people in attendance, did have the benefit of witnessing a victim in his shaky danse macabre, as he mortally strangled on the rope.

In modern times, we use the evolved euphemism, “Capital Punishment,” for the State termination of a convicted criminal’s life, in criminal matters involving intentional murder or less frequently, for treason. It may be that public sensibilities have to some degree positively evolved, at least to the extent that this homicidal event, is not celebrated in public, nor preceded by a first act of anguishing torture. We use the phrase, “evolved euphemism,” in reference to the fact that the word “capital,” has its origin in the word, “decapitate,” specifically referring to a public beheading, a danse macabre especially popular in the bloody days of the French Revolutions.

On a related subject, we would state that we do see positive utility in the general concept and use of euphemism, to soften the impact of harsh events, such as layoff (“downsize”), blind (“sight challenged”), died (“passed away,” and euthanize (“put to sleep”). The appropriate use by friends and acquaintances, of a  neutral or general word, to soften reference to a harsh event, is empathic and commendable.

We award no such admiration for euphemistic references to immoral or improper actions. These include, as killing (“offing”), stealing (“lifting”), robbing (“shaking down”), steal or rob (“heist”) nor, indeed to State homicide. (“capital punishment”). Candidly and ironically, we see the act itself, as a replication of the specific brutal act which the State seeks to discourage. Our intrinsic objection, however, is not logical, but moral. Killing, with the sole exception of the existentially, unavoidable constraints of unpreventable, defensive war, is not, and was never, the proper office of any civilized society. It is distinctly and profoundly unnatural (for non-predatory animals, such as humans) immoral, and the practice should, at long last, be stopped.

We would submit that individuals who faithfully continue to look to the Bible as a moral guide, ought to realize that the enumerated moral strictures, and the prescribed penalties (lex talionis) for their disobedience, like stoning and other forms of death-dealing penalties, were conceived,  by religious leaders thousands of years (and many light-years of human advancement) prior to modern society. Even so, the decalogue (“The Ten Commandments”) since the days of Moses, historically and religiously referred to as the basic moral and legal reference, contains in its sixth admonition, “Thou shall not kill.” For religious adherents we would emphasize the absence of any parenthetical exceptions. It is, however, inarguable, that no competent person, albeit with the best computer, can calculate the astronomical numbers of innocent human souls, murdered in the name of religious belief, or alleged religious heresy.  

As a matter of eternal, universal, and fundamental morality, we cannot conceive of the propriety of any code, or practice, which condones killing, inclusive of its practice by the State as punishment. Although our posture is based on morality, there are well-known, numerous practical and societal problems with the concept, as practiced. The known practical impediments to any program of punitive execution, as condensed, are (a) the brutality of the killing, itself and the brutalizing of society by its approved practice (b) its ultimate finality, making any subsequent findings of error (legally, factually or by the use of DNA) irreversible (c) the unfair and demonstrated, color- biased application of the penalty, (d)the Constitutional prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishments; to include the specific act of killing itself, as well as the many months of agonized and expectant death row attendance, pending the extensive processes of appeals and administrative procedure (e) the uniform determinations of qualified criminologists that its avowed purpose, “deterrence,” is not an empirical reality (f) the instances of negligent error regarding the act of execution, electrical or chemical, resulting in the horrifically painful prolonging of the prisoner’s death.

We would certainly welcome the cessation of State-authorized homicide for any, or all, of the above practical impediments, although we would be more appreciative of its termination for moral reasons, as a confirmation of our optimistic belief and aspiration for evidence of the continued moral evolution of mankind. As outspoken opponents of capital punishment, we have on occasion been asked, “How would you personally feel if someone in your family were murdered? We have uniformly answered, “I would, in such event, emotionally, want the perpetrator to be killed as revenge but in such an emotional state of mind, I would certainly not be in any position to make the best decision for society’’.

*Apologies for the use of name, to Camille Saint- Saens.



It is with feelings of exasperation and relief that we view the long-awaited (polluted) sunset of the Trump Administration. We do so with an acquired and instructive reminder of the systemic vulnerability, inherent in the rational concept and practice of Republican Democracy. The existential caution is not novel however, it has, at times in the past, and in the last four years been dangerously forgotten.

The experience of the past four- year Presidential term was witness to an attack on our Nation’s underpinning Constitution, including its protection of freedoms of press, speech, peaceful assembly, voting, as well as damage to the architecture of our governmental Separation of Powers, plus multiple brazen violations of our emolument clause, corrupt and possibly treasonable intercourse with our international enemies. His misrepresentation of the mortal danger of the pandemic was the proximate cause of tens of thousands of preventable deaths and sickness, and National economic disaster, his withdrawal from climate treaties and failure to credit the scientific world’s serious admonitions concerning global warning, his encouragement of right-wing violence, support of the NRA, not to omit mention of his serial mendacity and daily acts of demonstrable ignorance and incapability.

How did such an incapable, low-life and egocentric miscreant become elevated to the highest and most powerful office in the Nation, arguably the entire world, is the underlying theme of this writing? What we were again painfully reminded of is the toxic etiology of this undemocratic, unamerican tragedy.

Like love, the concept of Republican Democracy can be viewed as systemically, vulnerable. Love is vulnerable because it exists alongside with the unvarying expectation of the tragedy of loss. Republican Democracy systemically vulnerability exists due to its dependency upon the quality of its citizens. To quote Thomas Jefferson, yet again, “To succeed, a democracy must have an informed citizenry.”

Donald Trump did not arrive on the scene by some divine right, by the “luck of the draw”, or by religious designation. His ascendency was empirically caused by his falsified egotistical pretensions, subscribed to by a numerically sufficient uninformed voters to direct his selection by the Electoral College.

The costly ravages of the Coronavirus had an unexpected origin in Nature and will predictably be averted by the planned programs of administration of the newly developed vaccine. By contrast, the eternal threat to the institution of Republican Democracy which resides, essentially and systemically, in the nature of mankind and thus is not preventable nor ameliorated by means of medical chemistry.

It is far easier merely, to diagnose the pathology of the systemic challenges to Democracy than to prescribe a cure or a preventative, vaccine-like preventative. The serious and determinative threat is in sync with and related to the Jeffersonian admonition, concerning the existential need for a successful democracy of a literate and informed citizenry. A citizenry imbued with the latter standard would never have elevated a meretricious, unqualified, and neurotically egotistic, ex-host of a second-rate television show, to the esteemed and powerful Oval Office; leading to the well -known despicable and perverse results, which, like slavery, will no doubt be enshrined as a permanent blemish on American History.

No argument is required regarding the tautological assertion that a representative democracy manifests the will and philosophy of the voting public. The problem is that, as shown by Trump’s election to office, appears to be that, candidly speaking, too many of our voters, regrettably, are not of the Jeffersonian standard, viz., well- informed and adequately educated. In past essays, we may have committed the sin of being overly optimistic or naïve, in Pollyanna suggestions regarding conceived programs of educational advancement for those that needed it. We have been cured of such aspirations and effectively traumatized by the tribal divisiveness exacerbated by the travesty of the Trump Administration. We now see that the efforts to lift- up the flat-earth, reductive, inadequately educated and poorly informed voter, if at all conceivably possible, would take too long, and in such unlikely event,  during a predictably slow and difficult process, the Nation might, as a practical matter, be obliged to undergo the traumatic nightmares of other Trump-like Presidents.

Upon further, and it is submitted, improved reconsideration, we would suggest the more pragmatic solution of an independent, and rigorous process of a prerequisite interview to qualify all potential nominees to run for the Office of President. A fair and objective, a bi-partisan committee with appropriate credentials, whose required unanimous approval of candidates, would result, in elections between two capable, morally qualified candidates, (presumably of different platforms) found deserving of the vote of any citizen, regardless of sophistication, and necessarily resulting in the election of a qualified Chief Executive Officer, of voters preferred political persuasion, on a consistently assured basis.


Pliny finds that it is bizarre to note that, at present, in an application for more mundane employment, e.g., a desired position as a salesperson for Walmart, a prerequisite interview is mandatory, but not for the determinative position of President of the United States.


Post # 571 A CONVERSATION IN THE PARK (Sci-Fiction)

Selwin was abruptly awakened from restless sleep by the loud sound of multiple police sirens at 4:15 A.M. Feeling especially depressed, he sat up slowly, stared at the flowered wallpaper in his too familiar one room flat. “Here we go again, (he bitterly complained to his full-size mirror) another impossibly dull,  Saturday.” Addressing his tall, skinny mirrored image, “Same old, same old…nothing to do, nothing to see… just colorless boredom. If only boredom were preventable, by a  vaccine, like the Coronavirus.”

He then began his unvarying daily routine, bedroom slippers, left foot first, donning his faded red cotton bathrobe, slowly and dispiritedly, padding over to his small bathroom, relieving himself, washing his hands and face, brushing his teeth (first, prudently, brushing along the gumline, top and bottom, then in the back of the mouth, followed by an impressive rotary motion of his own nuanced creation) and finally, his trademark, gargled rinse. After pressing out an economical squish of shave cream, he proceeded to follow his fixed and immutable shaving regime; first the right side of the face, then the front nose area and chin and then as customary, his left side. Selwin, petulantly, brushed aside the “damn” pink flamingo plastic shower curtain, took up his partly used bar of soap and proceeded to undergo his regular shower routine.  Since it was not a workday, he would take breakfast, (routinely consisting of light toast, butter, and grape jelly with light coffee) in his faded red bathrobe and slippers.

He dressed and exited his apartment, nimbly descending the three flights of creaky wooden stairs, to the still dark outdoors and, in keeping with his usual Saturday morning routine, bought a newspaper from the Pakistani gentleman at the corner stand. He thereupon walked to the pinetum section of the beautifully verdant park to sit at his customary park bench. Opening the newspaper with the intention to peruse his favorite sections, Science and then Health, his eyes were unavoidably drawn to the front-page headline, huge dark letters, announcing the sudden and ominous arrival of a delegation of visitors from Planet Mars, fearfully speculated to scientists on a secret exploratory mission to  Planet Earth, to observe the environment for possible future colonization.

The article, which followed the bizarre and frightening announcement, notified the public that the surprise planetary visitors reportedly had been successful in tactically altering their physical form to resemble that of human beings, except, the report continued, they were unsuccessful in mimicking the human hand, possibly due to some hormonal or innately nuanced chemical cause. The public was advised to notify the police department of any suspicious or unusual sightings or occurrences.  

As he proceeded, routinely, to turn to the Health Section, a well- dressed gentleman sat down, approximately four feet away on Selwin’s bench. The man was attired in a neat, striped- gray suit and green tie and would appear to be feigning the act of reading a magazine, but in reality, was engaged in subtly and studiously observing him. A brief glance, revealing to him, that the stranger had unusually large, lidless eyes, seemed to invite the stranger to ask him what he was doing. Selwin, advised the stranger that he was simply reading a daily newspaper and innocently stated, “Why do you ask?” The stranger politely requested to see the newspaper and Selwin sleepily handed it to him, failing to observe that the “hand” with which the stranger accepted the newspaper was dark spotted green with small- ribbed fins on its reverse side, large nails and three, jointed and rather elongated fingers. “ You can keep it”, Selwin generously said,”I am finished reading it.”.

Selwin, thereupon decided to go for an early lunch at the neighborhood diner, ( predictably, grilled cheese and tomato with fries, pickle and diet coke) still muttering disgustedly to himself, “Same old, same old*** dammit, nothing interesting thing ever happens to me. ( big morose sigh).



Geometry, one of the oldest branches of classical mathematics, is concerned with the properties of space that one relates to distance, motion and the relative positions of individual figures. Most significantly, it instructs a method of problem-solving by rational analysis and the process of logical deduction, by the application of universally accepted principles (axioms) to attain the desired conclusions. Those who have studied Euclidian Geometry will undoubtedly agree that its salient value consists in its instructive discipline for the solution of presenting problems, but that it also has a lesser, additional utility in its concepts and principles, employed in the dynamics of life in speech and writing.

But first, we feel the need to take the opportunity of voicing our view on a somewhat related, frequent, and tiresome waste of human inquiry, not relevant to logic, geometric or otherwise. If we had the authority to do so, we would dispense with the trite, irrelevant, and useless problem, “What is the meaning (or purpose) of life.” To the degree that such questions make any rational sense at all, they seemingly are founded on some storybook or reductive view, that society’s pragmatic value, assigned to productive purpose is relevant to the metaphysical existence of man or nature. The Darwinian meaning and purpose of life are merely to live. The faux issue is not resolved logically (or geometrically) since it is not a  rational issue. However, the topic of this writing is man’s pattern of life to the extent that it acceptably mimics and utilizes geometry.

Indispensable to the useful application of reason to the solution of problems is, initially, the accurate perception and understanding of the intrinsic problem. A not uncommon human failing with using geometric reasoning is the frequent confusion or misapprehension of the specifically presenting problem. The analytical capability to objectively discern the basic problem, possibly submerged in a quagmire of irrelevant and superfluous detail, or unproductive, thought impairing emotion, is the primary and quintessential prerequisite to resolving the problem.

Once the basic problem has been analytically discerned, the next geometric step is the application of relevant facts and principles, universally proven to be accurate, in theory, or empirical experience. In geometric or any logical system of thought, the ability to marshal (only) useful and relevantly known facts and experience is vitally essential. Once the acceptably known facts or experiences, relevant to the problem, are correctly applied, the solution to be deduced becomes accessible.

In addition to the existential value of problem-solving, the discipline of geometry in its illustratively applied forms has augmented a vocabulary, employed in literary and philosophical conceptions. The applicability of the expression, ”the circle of life” is descriptive of an often- stated use of the 360’ geometric form. The concept as applied to man’s lifetime, refers to his predictable physical condition from new-born to old age, viz., naps, gain and possible loss of teeth, physical limitations, eating, digestion, memory decline and toilet habits. It also has an acceptable application to man’s (hopeful) advances in knowledge, from “tabula rasa” to mature perception. A geometric circle upon completion returns to its starting point, and the life of homo sapiens empirically emulates that formulation.

In a similar fashion, the expression, “circular reasoning,” (use of the geometric figure, circle) is used to describe a form of fallacious reasoning in which the premise validates or ratifies the conclusion. For example, if it is accepted that the Bible is infallible, its premises are necessarily true, or you must obey the law because it is illegal to break it and, America is the best place to live because it is better than any other country. In essence, it describes is a useless restatement or repeated confirmation of the originally stated premise.

A form, indispensable to any study of geometry, and part of our vocabulary, is of course, the triangle. The term is figuratively used in man’s speech and literature, to describe a three-way relationship, such as occurs in marriages involving an unfaithful spouse (love triangle) or a menage a trois. In business, it is a fixed and established relationship between a manufacturer, shipper, and seller. It is also used for certain small geographic locations,  a small metallically ringing percussion instrument while, the noun, “triangulation,” is used for a process or technique of location.

The concept of the adjective, “parallel,” is employed, frequently, in the study of geometrical forms and as, well, employed in descriptive and analytical speech. Many people live identically appearing, or “parallel” lives. Thoughts, futures, opinions, and careers are often deemed to be parallel, or “in sync.” The term may also permissibly be used as a designation of a mutual sense of agreement. The geometrics of viewed experiences are numerous: curvy roads, angular stance, parallel streets, circular driveways, village squares, traffic circles, square dances, linear perception, and the like.

The importance of any attribution to geometrical mathematics, however, pales in significance when weighed against the utility of its instructive discipline in problem-solving, as observed at the early part of this writing. The application of known useful and relevant principles to the accurately discerned issue,  to deduce the logical solution to problems, is the guaranteed route to knowledge and mature discernment. The rational path provided by the mathematical discipline of Geometry, thus, may anthropologically, exceed the value of all practical mathematic disciplines; it is the rational roadmap to mankind’s aspirational advancement toward the cherished gold medal of acquired wisdom.



Research indicates that the term, “Cold War,” was first used in an essay, “You and the Bomb,” written in 1945 by George Orwell, to describe the geopolitical tension, between the United States, the possessor of the Atomic bomb, and Russia, its antagonist and that of the Western Nations. The word, itself, generally refers to a period of hostility and hatred, short of actual physical hostilities.

The architecture of our two-party political system was designed for our Republican form of government because it encourages political society to find positions in common and a National inclination to the moderate middle. It also avoids the undemocratic conundrum, often occurring in governments with proportional representation, where, in order to attain a required legal quorum for governance, a small, unpopular party is necessarily added to rule with the popularly chosen party thus, undemocratically, exercising the interest of an unpopular political philosophy.

American citizens generally classify themselves as adherent to positions along the spectrum of liberal (or progressive) to conservative. Those who are Liberals (or “the left”)  generally emphasize personal freedoms, civil rights, economic justice, social and scientific progress, secular thought, collectivism and internationalism. Conservatives (or the right”) generally emphasize small government, anti-regulation individual liberty, authority, and “rugged individualism,” religious thought, and Nationalism.

As observed in earlier writings, the Founders of our Democratic Republic intended that informed citizens of disparate opinions, would, fraternally engage in regular debates, the results of which would inform the government, and thereby attain the ideal of a representative democracy viz., a government by and for the people. As regrettably noted in our earlier mini-essay, “THE DEATH OF CIVIC AMITY,”  instead of the Founders’ conception, of an informed and dedicated citizenry, socially discussing the merits of a political proposition, what developed was far less constructive than their idealistic conception.

The Founding Fathers’ forecast of friendly and constructive debates between informed and knowledgeable citizens of divergent views, never did materialize. What did develop, regrettably, was the relationship of rancor between citizens of disparate opinion, which gradually morphed into insular groups of tribal insularity evidencing identical “group think” views, in conflict and animosity with other like groups of disparate view. Issues of abortion, gun control, immigration, civil rights, government assistance to the needy, climate control and the precedence of scientific findings over traditional beliefs, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage, were among the highly flammable kindling igniting a useless and non-constructive conflagration between left and right.

As we have previously observed, the surrender of independent judgment and personal will was apparently exchanged, by many, for the amelioration of a neurotic need for group acceptance, even to the extent of voting against one’s interest and preferences. The vote in such instances, irrefutably, being no longer representative of the will of the individual voter. This construct further metastasized into the one-issue voter; one who votes on the single issue of his, or his group’s concern and ignores the balance of a candidate’s platform (which might include positions contrary to his interest). Such mono-focused issues might possibly include gun rights, Israel, or abortion. The election result results thereby are necessarily skewed (at least regarding the by-passed items on the candidate’s platform) and thus are not, as sought,  representative of the will of the Nation’s voters. The emblematic virtue of our Republican Democracy, the citizen’s franchise to vote and thereby attempt to further his interest, is sadly distorted by tribalist “group think” and by the one-issue voters’ limited perspective.

Much irritating “salt in the wound,” was disagreeably administered and rubbed in, by the bizarre election to the Oval Office, of an ignorant and egotistical former second-rate television game show host and career real estate gonif, Donald J, Trump. His unexpected victory was, in large part, brought about by the unprecedently large vote of his identified “base” of voters viz., the inadequately educated, flat earth denizens, vulnerable to his ”snake oil” demagoguery, and was tactically financed by big polluting (sociopathic) industrialists who value profits over human life and health and thus oppose regulations. In past writings, we have recounted Trump’s demonstrated incapability, his ignorance, immorality, bigotry, and serial mendacity and see no especial utility, in once again, specifying the shameful reality of his (dis)service. His shameful rule served to metastasize and catalyze the disease of divisiveness between the tribal (”group think”) insular groups, and their predictably, “loyal” votes.

It may be noted that at no time during his entire four- year term, did the self-involved neurotic, Donald Trump, give evidence to any doctrinaire beliefs or fundamental philosophies. His appeal, for better or worse, appeared to be, in large part, to Americans on the right, many with inadequate education, poorly informed, and anti-reform who oppose the right of abortion, immigration, gun regulation, homosexuality and same-sex marriage, prison and criminal law reform, internationalism and globalism, recognition of existential global warming and environmental issues, government regulations and programs, and are advocates of nationalism and opponents of free trade.

Those on the left who opposed Trump by contrast were generally, better educated, and informed, favored the right of a woman’s right to have an abortion, reasonable immigration, demand gun regulation, are accepting of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, favor prison and criminal law reform, favor globalism and internationalism, militate for the amelioration of global warming and support environmental oversight, favor health and safety regulations and free trade.

The identifiable disparity (by specific issues) between right and left, seemed to have amalgamated into two opposing camps; those on the right apparently elected, as a tribe, to become avid supporters of Donald Trump, while those on the left, for the specified reasons, become staunch Trump opponents. Trump, himself, symbolically, due to his outlandish behavior, (perceived as anti- Washington) became the patriotic banner of the amalgamated right- wing.

So much did Trump become, effectively a patriotic icon, that staunch opponents of his immoral behavior and persona, like the White Evangelicals groups, who preach the inhalation and exhalation of strict, morally proper and religious action, are among his ardent supporters; despite his publicly revealed assignations with prostitutes and acts of bribery to attempt to keep them secret, his mendacity and lack of mainstream morality. In fact, in a previous writing, we classified and described the millions of his supporters as a populous cult not totally dissimilar to those of the loyal followers of Kim Jun Un, Mao Tse Tung, Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini. It could be empirically observed that the Nation was, in effect involved in an internal and dangerous at the Cold War; this time, not with a foreign opponent like the USSR, but intramurally and internally. Any doubters of this extreme conclusion might attempt to test it by an amicable attempt to discuss political or social issues with a neighbor or relative, known to be of divergent opinion, or take note of the many strained or broken friendships and relationships between individuals of many of individuals previously in close association.

The existential dangers to our Democratic Republic are many and worrisome. Initially, and perhaps, fundamentally, in our citizen, responsive Nation, views and desires not based upon individual citizen deliberation, but on affiliation are undemocratic and not objectively useful, nor assuredly a valid representation of the will of the greater number of the Nation’s voters. Elected choices or programs, based upon “group think,” or loyalty to any group, is decidedly useless, or harmful, since not based upon the rational consideration and deliberation of possible solutions of specific problems. Existentially needed is creative empirical solutions to issues as they arise, for the proper and successful guidance of the Nation and not neurotically blind loyalty to opinionated groups.

A divided Nation results in a perilous vulnerability to presenting challenges, including epidemics, warfare,  natural disasters such as flooding, forest fires, challenges to healthful drinking water and myriad others, as may appear. The current National pandemic, tragically responsible for many thousands of deaths and an untold amount of illness, suffering and the complete disruption of normal societal function, had been wrongfully and irresponsibly, downplayed in importance and consequently exacerbated, by our ignorant, irresponsible, and incapable Chief Executive. Consistent with our premise, his supporters, numbering in the millions, despite the evident danger, like him, have refrained from following the simple but vitally important prophylactic guidelines recommended by Dr, Anthony Fauci, of the National Institute of Health, (in sync with every credible physician Nationally and internationally) regarding mask-wearing and distancing. In a previous essay, we have deservedly bestowed the designation of “cult,” to those who follow Trump, despite his publicly boasted immoral behavior and irresponsibility, at the cost of the endangerment of health and life. Sad experience has shown society that the surrender of individuality and “self” to a cult, has predictable dire results. A great American President, Abraham Lincoln, said, “A House divided cannot stand.”

There is much hope in the defeat of Trump and in the successful election of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris. But all right-thinking American citizens, additionally, have to do everything in their power to resist the continuance of the present “Cold War” by listening patiently to diverse views and replying in a collegial manner, by socializing with members of society with whom we have differences in political or social matters, by expressly condemning bigotry in whatever form it presents itself, in trusting good science and encouraging other so do so, by keeping informed by reading one or more accredited newspapers the and by choosing non-biased radio and television news. Involvement in extra-curricular activities of choice will add self-confidence and individuality, as well as advancement in perspective.  We have always been of the view, additionally, that reading good literature and elective involvement in the arts improves perspective and individual confidence.

We have, in many of our writings in the five years of plinyblog’s existence, suggested most of the above routes to a more fulfilled life and the confident acquisition of self-determination. We would, however, repeat our recent suggestion, that candidates, as a pre-requisite for nomination to run for the singular position of the American Presidency, be initially interviewed, by competent and non-biased examiners; as is regularly deemed required in all other, more mundane employment.



We are not in sync with those diners who are reflexively express disappointment upon the advice that the awaited family meal is comprised of “leftovers.” Experience has taught us that such instinctive reaction is empirically premature, since such announcements, generally, are predictably nonspecific. Should the predecessor meal have been excellent, the leftovers, themselves, will be acceptable, if not similarly excellent. A similar derivative anticipation is applicable regarding poorly cooked prior meals.

We use a food analogy in aid of the articulation of our present theme, viz., that while most of the provisions of the U.S. Constitution were well-conceived and, in their continued application, just and useful, there exist some which, if they ever had a valid rationale at the time of their drafting, like good leftovers from a previously acceptable meal, are now unpalatable and unacceptable.

These unpalatable, “warmed- over,” provisions include  (a) the Electoral College, (b) the uniform allocation of two Senators per State, irrespective of disparity in population and (c) the Presidential pardon.


As generally known, the Electoral College is comprised of a group of Presidential electors, required by the Constitution (Amend 12), to convene every fourth year for the purpose of electing the President and Vice President. Each state appoints electors equal in number to its Congressional delegation.

Some of the Founding Fathers were of the view that the common man lacked the resources to be engaged with and informed about, current affairs and that, accordingly, the President should be chosen by the vote of Congress; others feared the “huddling mob” would steer the nation in the wrong direction, while a third group feared that a “Populist President,” who could appeal to directly to the people, might dangerously assert unlimited power.

It is apparent that the purported quadrennial need for this protective filter, like the warmed-over leftovers of a poorly conceived meal, is anachronistic and no longer eatable. Assuming it had some sociological value, in the 18th Century, thereafter, with the advent of widely distributed newspapers and popular attendance to the broadcast media,  voters fully have the opportunity to engage with and be informed about, current events with the result that the argument on this point is entirely stale.

Regarding the fear of the “huddling mob,” it was the recent sad experience that a populist, an ignorant and immoral former second-rate gameshow host and real estate gonif, Donald Trump, the choice of the uninformed, under-educated, flat-earth denizens of the planet was elected, by the vote of the Electoral College; the popular vote, interestingly. was in favor of his more capable educated and experienced, Hillary Clinton.

History tells us that there were, in total, five Presidents chosen by the Electoral College who lost the popular vote. One man, one vote, means that all popular votes should be counted and consequential. To do otherwise is to cause severe gastric upset to America’s claim of equality.


Article 2, Sec.2 Clause 7 of the Constitution gives an American President the unlimited right to set aside a conviction and to pardon any individual for a Federal crime, regardless how reprehensible; and apparently, regardless of his relationship, personal, political or otherwise, to the President. This arbitrary and unlimited license seems to us, to bizarrely and inconsistently emulate an unjust feature of monarchial autocracy which the Founders seem to have emphatically opposed, in favor of liberty, justice, and above all, equality. We have been completely unable to find a rational basis for this Devine Right, which is diametrically opposed to the tenets of Republican Democracy, especially considering the expressed emphasis which the Founders expressly placed upon the constructs of equality and justice. This is a choice of cuisine that a believer in those constructs could never digest.

The question as to whether a President has the power to pardon himself for the commission of a crime, we note, has been taken up, but never resolved. Our question has, eternally, been as to whether a President, such as the miscreant, Donald Trump, can pardon individuals for crimes in which he is complicit. The entire general subject of Presidential pardon is fully capable of giving any American, truly concerned with equal justice, ptomaine poisoning.


We have never been able to satisfy ourselves that the equal allocation of two Senators for each State, regardless of their great diversity in population, is compatible with the intention of the 14t,h, 15,th 19,th 24th and 26th Amendments, nor to any rational understanding of equality under the law, equal treatment and representative democracy, As one (of many) illustrations, the voting power of Wyoming, the least populated State, has been calculated by political scientists, to be sixty-seven times the voting power of a citizen of California, our most populous State. It is interesting to additionally, take note of the fact that the less populated States are reported to have smaller black populations than the more populous ones.

In their (partial) defense, the Founders could never have imagined the future immense expansion of the United States in terms of territory and the diversity of its future citizens. There would appear, however, to exist no current, moral rationalization for this significant misappropriation, contrary to the tenets of representative government and essential fairness.

As ardent supporters of the ideal of Republican Democracy, truly intended for America, we look forward to the rectification of the above three instances of indigestible inequality.