Post # 665 ETERNAL GROUNDHOG DAY

The reader might save a tiny bit of money and, certainly, a great many beautiful trees, if he simply retains his day’s copy of the  New York Times and re-read it every day. Subsequent daily issues may arrange the “latest news” in a different manner, and vary the nuanced manner of their recitation somewhat, however, the published news, assuredly, will be a stylized replication of its predecessor(s).

In the movie, “Groundhog Day,” a news reporter on assignment to the annual pre-spring event at Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself reliving the same day, immutably, day after day. The theme may conceivably, be a symbolic “shout out”  to the many people, trapped in routine jobs they do not like and who are unable to form meaningful relationships. In this essay, we refer to the identical conceit, but as applicable to, and in doleful recognition that the daily and gloomy, World and National events, as reported, will be empirically congruent, and disappointingly, unchanging.

The television news media, like the responsible press, presents the latest current events, on an everyday basis, which, eternally, seem to consist of a replication of identical “latest” events of previous days.  

Accordingly, tomorrow’s “Ground Hog” print news and media, will predictably, feature the following:

  • The Covid virus has made deadly pathological advances in red States, (loyal to Trump) among those who adamantly refuse vaccination and masking
  • Afghan relocation is problematic, and conditions are fraught with uncertainty and concern
  • Global warming has already resulted in hurricanes and rainstorms causing substantial loss of life and property; glaciers are melting, horrendous flooding has begun to erase many  shorelines
  • Mass shootings continue in the Nation ; the NRA virulently opposes gun regulation
  • Voter interference with primary focus on black citizens continues apace in 40  State Legislatures
  • Mass demonstrations of the young, continue in Hong Kong against Mainline Chinese repression
  • War erupts in [pick one] Yemen, Ethiopia, Eritrea; famine and suffering continue, unabated
  • Donald Trump and sycophants still cry election foul; while shamelessly, and ironically, interfering with the right to vote of Americans [especially black] citizens
  •  Perennial police brutality against minorities persists
  • The fights over the filibuster; the “For the People Act” and the “Infrastructure Act,” are still in inconclusive debate in Congress
  • A few more January 6 insurrectionists are charged with criminal trespass and insurrection
  • Additional felonious crimes, committed by Donald Trump are newly uncovered by the FBI.

The list features the repetitive, familiar subjects to predictably appear in the daily press, and, as anticipated, in its future issues. We are tempted to conclude that the institution of daily newspaper, and media news reporting, may endure, but certainly not the fresh existence of novel events.

We would bravely and resolutely, venture a proposed fundamental, underlying basic cause for the groundhog nature of our repetitive news reports; or, stated otherwise, for the repetitive, round-robin, eternal reprise of identically, depressive news events. We are confident as to our opinion, regarding our attributed, fundamental, and ubiquitous cause, of such eternally repetitive events, and in that confidence, would resist any  [predictable] charges of thinking  reductively. Following our statement of fundamental cause, we would proffer some comments, relative to our list of eternally predictable events, as an illustrated explanation of our all-encompassing, albeit limited attribution.

In its analytical simplicity, the comprehensive, underlying cause for our Nations’ reoccurring man-made problems, in virtually every case, is as easily ascertained and diagnosed, as it is difficult to ameliorate; it is, at bottom, the chronic pandemic of “ignorance” i.e., universal  lack of information and knowledge.

The widely prevailing existence of insufficient education and knowledge constitutes and reveals, an empirical failure of evolution’s ultimate anthropological design, as demonstrated by its generous  grant to homo sapiens of an advanced brain. The choice of ignorance is disgraceful and an ungrateful response to, and an anthropological interference with,  evolution’s evident intention, viz., to cause the ultimate development of a unique, truly sentient, higher form of life. It is our view, that the regrettable outcomes of this singularly ungrateful failure, are demonstratively and ubiquitously, seen in every catastrophic facet of mankind’s constantly recurring failures and unsatisfactory outcomes. In fairness, some solution is deservedly owed to the larger portion of mankind, who, by contrast, are in proper possession of adequate knowledge and capable of informed perception, unjustly suffering due to the ignorance of so many others, responsible for the consistent regeneration of the recurring events.

The enduring element of profound ignorance is amply illustrated by the hundreds of thousands of Americans, unwilling to take the Covid preventative measures i.e., vaccination, and masking. Their tribal-like obeisance to Donald Trump, who has neurotically, made the avoidance of such salutary, preventative procedures, a gesture of political fealty to him, congruent to his wrongful disparagement of scientific and human progress. Such ignorant cultism has been inarguably responsible for the latest resurges of hospitalization and incidents of mortality.

Ignorance, similarly, is the probative cause of denial, of the scientific world’s authoritative warnings of the mortal effects of global warming, already in unrestrained progress as empirically evidenced by huge forest fires, unseasonal weather, major hurricanes, tidal flooding, and human devastation.

Ignorance is a mandatory ingredient in bigotry and xenophobia [national and religious]. The failure to acquire the informed understanding that differences in nationality, skin color or cultural beliefs, are merely external and natural features of other fellow humans who are, and remain, members in good standing, of the species, homo sapiens; and do not pose a challenge to those, otherwise described. They are not a rationally acceptable target of neurotic undervaluation or hatred. This simple principle of human equity appears, also, to be beyond the scope of understanding of errant police officers who mistreat black Americans and deserve immediate discharge and punishment.  The right-wing efforts to promote policies, designed to limit, or deny the black vote, as above stated, is an additional, bigoted and insidious, anti-democratic illustration of this perverse style of ignorance.

One can ultimately conclude, given sufficient analytical thought and objective deliberation, that the all-encompassing pathology of systemic ignorance is the singularly underlying, common, and ubiquitous basis for man-made misery. It is harmful to the rational progress of human life and, like the Medieval Black Plague, is similarly ominous and infectious, on a ubiquitous basis.

 There is no, legally designated nor identified, “Groundhog Day,” respecting the atavistic and shameful dynamics of ignorance, which like the Black Plague, seems, with groundhog certainty, will persist in its unchanging spread of pathological metastases, causing manifold human misery and injustice, and unnaturally retarding the advancement of the human species.

-p.

Post # 664 HOME IS WHERE THE JOB IS *

With the advent of the “American Industrial Era,” workers became necessarily obligated to comply with fixed daily rituals of commutation to and from home and their place of employment, be it factory, shop, or office. Our readings reveal that, nevertheless, some people, continued to work  from their homes, which practice continued into the 19th and 20th Centuries; such home labor consisting of laundrywomen doing wash for pay, for outside customers, preparing food and baked goods to sell to factory workers or doing at home, “finishing work” for shoe and garment manufacturers.

Outside employment mandated attendant social strictures, requiring conformance in the routine ordering the worker’s day to be in sync with his employers production and business schedules; viz., a fixed time of arrival, commencement of work and finishing time; after which the employee would customarily return home, usually to dinner and family. As a logistical matter, family schedules, especially, breakfast and family dinner time, and to a degree, family bedtime, on weekdays  [i.e., workdays] were derivatively determined by the working agenda, of the wage earner.

Incident to the fixed and routine schedules, ritualistic, daily commutation to work became a fertile field for the establishment of social relationships with other commuters, sharing the same time schedules.  As the years went on, many of these transient relationships morphed into active friendships, albeit, communicating only by first names. Typically, on a commuter rail line they would sit together, some perhaps, playing cards, but all benefiting from the welcome respite from the boredom exacted by repetitive, daily commuting. One might hear someone say, “Jack, how is your son doing with his college applications?” or, “Sue, is Jeffery back to work yet ?” Such regular, ephemeral interaction served as an anesthesia ameliorating the boredom of the weekday commuting routine.

The unprecedented advent of the Covid pandemic had all-pervasive implications for society, aside from the specific peril of the pathology, itself.  By any measure, the most striking and impactful was the prophylactic necessity to curtail all societal interaction [quarantine] in addition to the wearing of a mask, distancing, and when it became available, the securing of the relevant vaccine. Avoiding the company of others, was markedly distressing and for many, virtually, traumatic. Aside from the serious pathological danger, of the virus, its sociological, or real- life, s  implications were ubiquitous, as well as disorienting and life-changing.

Places of societal assembly, including business entities had to shut down, thus effecting a quasi-traumatic reaction from individuals grown accustomed to living by a fixed and scheduled routine of weekday commutation and employment. Understandably, the disruption of years of repetitive, mundane routine, left many in a confused and agitated state. The impact was somewhat less drastic and was attenuated, for employees who were enabled by their job to work at home, “virtually,” with their computers. During the long period of quarantine, fixed and formerly immutable personal routines were challenged by their lack of necessity, and unlimited time for familial interaction seemed unnatural and uncomfortably strange. The mandate to stay home and  “shelter in place,”  resulted in an abundance of confused and disoriented daily wage earners, who, suddenly were no longer required to ascribe to their previous, mandated lifestyles, including commutation to work. Especially disconcerting,  was the vast amount of unsubscribed, or personal time, for those solely oriented to their weekly full-time work. Individuals who, in the interest of personal advancement and a fuller life, were wise enough to have cultivated outside elective interests, were far less stressed.

As society looks forward to the final demise of the Covid epidemic, an intriguing question arises as to its ability and willingness, to return to the inflexible schedules of the pre-Covid period’

-p.

* Taken from the aphorism, “Home is where the heart is.”

Blogpost # 663 AMERICA AND DON QUIXOTE [Addendum to # 662]

In the immediately preceding writing, we commented on what we see as America’s eternally unwise, possibly, delusional assumption, that, by virtue of its size and immense resources, it, morally and responsibly accrued the duties of World policeman. The contemporary  nightmare of the Afghanistan military withdrawal, and the past National shame and divisiveness, resulting from the historically unfounded Viet Nam War, were  both diagnosed in our previous piece as aspirationally, “Quixotic.” Any serious student of World History might observe that a Nation’s choice of engagement in bloody warfare, for the avowed purpose of righting perceived or actual wrongs, [with a tip of the hat to Cervantes], is “tilting at windmills,” and evincing traits that are plainly, arrogant, delusional, and historically, naïve.

America’s exemplary, era- changing, victories in two successive World Wars, afforded the Nation and the World, a new perception of its immense power, influence  and increased Worldwide perspective.

American movies and written fiction during such era, predictably had happy endings, reflecting the popular cinematic expectations and the exalted mood of the extant population. The freckled, high school boy with the speech impediment, in the end, got to take the pretty girl to the school prom, the Lone Ranger knocked out the bad cowboy and delivered him, bound, to the sheriff, the World was saved from the invading Martians by some funny geek’s ingenuity, the home team was eternally the winner against the visitors, might always eventuated in right, true  love conquered all, and Alice was, mercifully, and at long last, returned to Kansas. This happy ending genre seemed to be demonstrably, American. As illustrations, one might compare the dark and ominous [Swedish] films of Ingmar Bergman, viz.,” Virgin Spring” and “The Seventh Seal,” with the singularly upbeat and blissful Hollywood products, “It’s a Wonderful Day,” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”  

However, as time passed, World affairs remarkably changed, in context and complexity.   Demands were asserted for the severing of the ethnic, bonds of traditional European Statehood, the exponential growth in interactive computer-driven devices for communication and information [or disinformation], the rise of overt, popular opposition to long-standing, economic inequity, the sudden, demonstrated increase in damage to the Planet, caused by global warming,[ viz., heavy storms, melting of polar icebergs, flooding, eradication of shorelines, tsunamis, abnormal temperatures, enormous firestorms, and damages to buildings and crops]  has seriously renewed mankind’s primitive concern for its survival. Bloody religious wars persisted in their irrational and atavistic ignorance, but now, more lethally armed, and pernicious racial and ethnic bigotry and conflict continued in its eternal persistence.  The comforting assumption of a manageable World, one in which America might place confidence in its capability and prowess, to rectify wrongs, founded upon its past victories, if true at any time, now had become revealingly, unclear.

Yet, notwithstanding the objective dynamics of the all-pervasive alteration of the international world, American confidence in its ability and manifest duty, as self-anointed policeman, to defend justice, a full 75 years after its confirming victory in the  Second World War, seems, irrationally, to have persisted. The Viet Nam and  Afghan Wars empirically demonstrated the fatal, empirical flaw in this facile assumption. Our themed conundrum exists as to the endurance of the surreal and unattainable presumption, that America continues as the omnipotent and dedicated, World policeman,  which falsely idealized presumption proximately led to its engagement and abject defeat in those specified wars.

A brief reference to a few of American popularly revered heroes, real and fictional, may, conceivably, be sufficient to provide a useful, demonstration of the Nation’s, irrational modern age persistence in what has unhealthily morphed into the confident, Quixotic, and presumptuous conceit, as being the capable occupier of the [non-existent] and presumed role of Global morality’s dedicated guardian.

Such excessive confidence may have been encouraged by real-life major accomplishments, by such human super-heroes as Jonas Salk, John Glenn, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Audie Murphy, and the scientists who quickly developed the vaccines for the Covid pandemic. Institutional reverence for fictional heroes, such as Superman, Robin Hood, and the Lone Ranger, are demonstrative of America’s unreal fantasies about heroically enforcing Justice and rectitude. The concept that “America,” the “good guy” was invulnerable, may have had its origin or was transmogrified from the tales of these heroes.

However, modern history shows that our supremely confident and well-intentioned Nation is not equipped, materially or culturally, to arrogate to itself, the singular role of enforcer of justice and peace in the World. Such assignment is capably and appropriately, the responsibility of a joint police force, comprised of successful, well-intended Nations, [including the U.S.], mutually combining their nuanced and persuasive capabilities to the attainment of the aspirational goals of World peace and moral justice.

In sum, America, as a moral, but, prudent Nation, would, for valid historical and empirical reasons, be significantly advantaged, if it ceased its costly and Quixotic tilting against Windmills.

-p.

Post # 662 WHEN CONSTABULARY DUTY’S TO BE DONE [pliny editorial]

The acceptance of the presumptive, challenging role of “the world’s sole superpower,” with the implicitly assumed responsibilities of World policeman, has proven to be unwise, in addition to being Quixotic. The latest, decades long, fiasco, known as the Afghan War, so costly in lives and treasure [and U.S. prestige] has proved to be a contemporary second catalyst, for our criticism of such undertaking, since the colossal tragedy of the ill-conceived and erroneously based Viet Nam War. The latter was declared to be based upon the then Administration’s proclaimed, existential fear of America’s future annihilation by a solid Asian- Communist bloc. After America’s costly defeat it [insincerely] apologized for the same, in Robert McNamara’s subsequent book, alleging a “sudden realization” [after twenty years of bloody horror and irreparable National division] that the relevant Asian Nations have aways been, historically, bitter mutual enemies. McNamara was a Harvard graduate.[!]

The government’s officially asserted aim, in America’s participation in the Afghan War, following 9/11,  to the extent that we are able to comprehend, was to prevent the Taliban from providing  Al-Qaeda a safe haven for their terrorist activities. It is disconcerting to note the jarring fact that the Taliban were in fact, the successors  of certain guerilla groups jointly called, the Mujaheddin, who, in its conflict with Russia, [1979-1992] had been fully supported by the United States and others, with arms and treasure. In the chronological logic of these events, it would not be much of an ironical stretch to see the United States as a successor enemy of its personally [suicidally] armed Taliban.

The “rebuilt” Afghan Army’s hasty desertion, in the applicable words of the eloquent Abba Ebon, in remarks to the U.N, on the subject of the sudden withdrawal of the U.N. Peacekeeping Forces at the surprise attack of the Arabic military [commencing  the Arab Israeli, Yom Kippur War], “What is the value of a fire department that disappears at the first sign of smoke?”

The result of America’s retaliatory decision to commence, an historically demonstrated, unwinnable war against a Stateless country like Afghanistan, has cost many lives and disabling injuries, has destroyed families and has depleted a great amount of America’s National treasure. Our Nation, the avowed universal moral exemplar and universal protector of rectitude, has left many thousands of Afghans, especially semi-liberated women, with targets on their back, or the sublime contemplation of expected decapitation. A great many female Judges have, to date, already been eliminated, and we have yet to assuredly prevent the execution of many hundreds of cooperative Afghans who have helped the U.S. forces, i.e., interpreters, guides, reconnaissance.

As a richly endowed  Nation, America affirmatively has a responsibly moral and empathic obligation to render assistance to needy countries, with medicines, vaccines, food, clean water, and other necessaries. Yet, in addition to the empirically considerate issues of sufficiency of resources and limitation of cultural knowledge, America  should, as a regular and realistic policy, withhold the rendition of its military assistance, unless it has knowledgeably been determined to be appropriate.

To avoid misconception, we are not advocates, to any degree, of the long past and unrealistic policies of  isolationism; however, we agree fully, with  Gilbert and Sullivan’s* choral refrain in their satirical opera, “Pirates of Penzance:” “When constabulary duty’s to be done, to be done, a policeman’s lot, is not a happy one, happy one.…”

-p.

Blogpost # 661 LEAVE THE LIGHT ON [Sci-fi]

The Hubble Telescope reveals no less than one hundred billion galaxies, and it is predicted by Astro- scientists that in the not-too-distant future, as space telescopic technology improves, the official count will, predictably, grow to a number in excess of 200 billion. As comprehended, we can see light only from those galaxies, in which the emitted light had enough time to reach Planet Earth. Without the vital presence of adequate navigational light, necessary future space exploration, travel and required colonization would predictably be circumscribed.

Of yet greater importance is the existential possibility of emergency emigration to available planet venues, empirically capable of supporting sentient life,  in the event of the occurrence of planetary catastrophe, such as asteroid collision, sudden marked change in atmospheric chemical composition, or extreme alteration of temperature. To study and regularly monitor these vital issues, an inter-planetary board, democratically elected within the inter-planetary, “Milky Way Protective System” [“MWPS”], was formed, several eons ago. The Board, comprised of heterogenous, sentient beings, each respectively representing the intra- galaxy planets [which evolved long prior to the relatively recent formation of the Earth’s Solar System] with the arcane and specialized knowledge required to oversee Galaxy or intra-Galaxy matters. The Board reports directly to the August, “Executive Directorship of Milky Way Affairs.”

A special committee was selected to investigate the possible tragic occurrence, which conceivably took place in the vicinity of Planet Earth [known to Earthlings, as the “Moon”], amounting to a complete degradation of, what is presumed to have existed as a verdant, lush planet; presently, lifeless and barren, functioning merely as a large mass of light- reflective rock. The specific premise and motivation for the study was to ferret out the possible existence of analogous dynamics leading to such degradation, extant on Planet Earth, Moon’s nearby [240,000 mi.] neighbor.  

The Committee decided to send to Earth, the experienced, dedicated, sentient being, from the galaxy, one, XJT  Gnynlf, who, by good fortune, happened to most physically resemble  Earth’s homo sapiens. He would wear a large hat, which would cover his rearview third eye, and also hide his small, sharp, head fins [the latter being a vestigial organ remaining, after the ancient evolution which took place on his home Planet, “Astragon”].  He had been trained, over the years, to communicate in spoken words, [in this case, English words] rather than, the Galaxy’s faster, more accurate, mind-transmitted thought. It was so contrived that, the multi-talented, Gnynlf, would overtly appear to the Earthlings, as speaking in words, but in reality, would be listening telepathically, and would thereafter, record his findings in basic, mind-stimulating symbols.

The sage Gnynif, tactically chose, as the best laboratory for his anticipated interviews, the area of Planet Earth, known as the  “United States of America.”  Said choice was founded upon the assumption that the much-advertised phenomenon of free speech, would result in the most candid and useful responses. Rather than attempt to furnish the extraordinary number and variety of responses in full, his Galaxy Board Report, was thereafter categorized by subject, and the responses to the overt English- seeming questions, presented in summary collective fashion in written symbols.  The reported interviews were conducted at random venues throughout the American Nation for a period of four months. The Report to the Galaxy Board, translated, for Earthlings as accurately as possible, into our [written-spoken] tongue, by language academics, in tandem with sound-voice engineers] appears to read as follows:

  • No earthling could furnish any information on the subject concerning  a possible past condition of the  present rocky, infertile surface of the Moon. Some were startled, even astounded, by the question. As far as they were able to relevantly respond, the consistent remark was to the effect that the Moon had always appeared that way. However, based upon an incisive review of the nature of the responses of the Earthlings to later questions, on a variety of topics, a confident prediction will be ventured on the specific subject of the present inquiry, which will appear at the conclusion section of this Official Report.
  • The nature of the responses to questions on virtually all subjects, seemed to markedly, indicate the bifurcation of American humans into two generalized categories. [1]  adequately educated earthlings, evincing mainstream societal adjustment, and staunchly relying on evidenced- based knowledge, and [2] those lacking adequate education,  unknowingly ignorant, reliant upon self-serving  construed facts, and who are insular, or selectively tribal and generally, disconsolate outliers of their society.
  • With reference to category “[1]” the general impression, consistently garnered from the plethora of virtually identical answers, was one of moral responsibility, to family, society, Nation and most relevantly, to the environment and the health of the planet. The evident sense of moral empathy and universal equality as demonstrated, was commendable, and without doubt, consistent with their morally responsible concern for Planet Earth and its environment.
  • Category [2] seemed to evince a demonstrable detachment from the mainstream conception of societal responsibility. Although committed, in varying degrees, to  loyalty to their biological family, they predictably, lack compassion or empathy, for their fellow man; especially immigrants and earthlings of any other color than their own pale white. Much discord and suffering on the part of American society has been the result of this prejudiced, inadequately educated and less than factually informed, [to the extreme point of denial of Natural Evolution] portion of the American society. More relevant to the purpose of our inquiry, this category of people is an obviously harmful menace to the Planet, by its careless pollution of the air and atmosphere, it’s ignorantly expressed denial of its dangerous global warming, and evident lack of responsibility for the preservation and maintenance their fortunate verdant environment.
  • At present, the citizens of the Nation under study, are engaged in a serious dispute concerning their recent certified as accurate, legal and constitutional choice of leadership, disfavored by category [2]; the latter, immorally engaged in conspiratorial mendacity and insurrection against the legally elected administration and ultimately, democracy, itself. The policy of denial of truthful fact and maintenance of arbitrarily and tactically chosen “alternative facts,” endangers the existence of the Nation’s many dedicated freedoms and fosters the advent of pernicious autocracy.  Relevantly, it puts in doubt Planet Earth’s desirability for colonization, and, perhaps,  ultimately, the Planet’s ultimate  existence.
  • CONCLUSION: No  evidence was available, concerning the subject of the possible conception of a long past degradation of a possibly lush, verdant planet, to the lifeless and barren condition of the Earth’s nearby Moon, as stated above. However, the following, somewhat suppositional, view is respectfully tendered for the Board’s thoughtful consideration.

With commensurate respect and empathy for the Earthlings included in Category “[1],” one would be remiss in his fiduciary duty to responsibly consider Planet Earth as a feasible, alternate home, in the event of planetary disaster. Those categorized as  “[2], while less in number than those in “[1],” are far too numerous and aggressive, in their ignorantly unaware, drive to planetary disaster, to be sufficiently offset by those humans, in “[1],” properly socialized and responsibly inclined, albeit more numerous than those in category “[2].” The latter’s universally reductive ignorance, particularly regarding vital environmental and planetary issues, makes Earth a  questionable haven for any planetary refugee. The disastrous impact of ignored global warming, observably, is already in rapid advance, evidenced by enormous fires, existential glacial melting, enormous flooding, seasonal change, tsunamis, erosion of coastlines; all in expeditious process. It is indeed conceivable that, at the present rate, ignorant disrespect for Nature and irresponsible environmental behavior, of so vast a number of humans, could ultimately and disastrously, lead to Planet Earth’s profound s degradation to the sad state of another lifeless inert planetary rock, like its nearby Moon.

The sole [unsought] benefit would be the addition of another small source of reflective illumination to the Solar System.

Respectfully submitted,

XJ T Gnyff, Sr. Inspector, 1st Class.

-p. 

Post # 660 THE GUISE OF MODERNITY

The noted American novelist, William Faulkner, empirically observed “The past is not dead, it is not even past.” Faulkner, especially interested in the Southern dynamic during the Civil War postbellum period, is revealed to be brilliantly prescient by, among many other probative illustrations, the shameful perpetuation of Jim Crow prejudice among many white citizens in the contemporary United States. The identical ignorance, unfounded fear, and biased perception, constituting the signature components of racial prejudice, seem to constitute a chronic pathology, prolonging its virulent sepsis over the decades. Ingrained prejudice has proven to be a resistant part of the bigot’s psyche, empirically, as amenable to amendment, as the ignorant bigot’s systemic resistance to enlightenment.

Such atavistic replication was made demonstrably evident and was typified, by a poster boy of the pernicious Dark Ages, Donald J. Trump; who, himself, conceivably, was as much a tragic product, as a disruptor, of our overblown presumptions of significant progress in rational enlightenment and modernity. It does not require a sociologist or anthropologist, to observe the analogous replication of many Dark Ages, inhumane practices, and irrational beliefs, prevalent in our “modern” society.

Faulkner’s literary observation is ubiquitously valid in all contexts, literary, empirical, and historical. Although contemporary America may be externally perceived as glamorously adorned in the glitzy costume of contemporary digital electronics, in competently construing medical marvels such as anti-virus vaccines, in exponentially improving devices for inter-active communication capability and most remarkably, human probing of the borders of outer space.  Nevertheless, as we see it, objective and incisive analysis will predictably result in the observation that “modern America” is, fundamentally  replicating many of the appalling features of mankind in Medieval Europe’s “Dark Ages.”

The cruel practice of capital punishment persists. While the signature sadistic practices of torture and killing in Medieval days, have been stylistically replaced by modern high voltage and lethal injection, we remain sufficiently savage to administer painful death to convicted criminals [at times, erroneously].

The Dark Ages’ rejection of secular advancement through science and enlightenment, is today replicated by millions of “modern” American citizens, who, for advice and information, refer to the body of superstitious beliefs, contained in the “Good Book,” [written, 2nd Century BCE],  and to empirically disproven aphorisms, myths, and delusionally based conspiracies. Trump tactically utilized such inclination to irrationality, to amass a base of upwards of 70 million loyal and ignorant sycophants.

The many thousands of lives lost through cultish compliance with Trump’s populist style and ignorance, in advising inaction  [non-protection] against a world pandemic of an infectious and aggressively mutating virus, is not entirely distinguishable from the context of bells and black uniforms and chanting, of the Medieval period of the Black Plague. Unfortunately, our contemporary plague still thrives in its unrelenting infection and lethality, due to the prevailing ignorance of millions of Americans, i.e., Trump “anti-vaxers”  and the irrational believers in propitiation by non-worldly agents.

Our “modern” nation is a replicative study of Medieval, Dark History, in its xenophobia and resistance to foreign immigration; the eternally perceived threat of malevolent “others” continues, full bore. Agreements or Concords between Nations are in most part, essentially, compacts for alignment in the event of war. National hatreds, viz., North and South Korea. Russia and the United States, Ethiopia, Yemen and Eritrea, Iran v. Israel, Palestinians against Israel,  Russia v, Belarus, Mainland China against Taiwan, China against Hong Kong, and far too many others; not to exclude the many bloody, religious wars between respective, Sunni and Shia Middle East Countries.

We might as well candidly confess to the Nation’s religious hatred, sexual travesties, unabated murder by zealous gun owners, racial and ethnic prejudice, reductionist ignorance, acts of sociopathic hatred against the gay community, privileged class treatment [ re: taxes, university, employment], unjust criminal system, irresponsible despoiling of the environment, crass worship of wealth and influence above enlightenment and wisdom, tribal, insular divisiveness, populist false dogma, and generally and embarrassingly, to slightly less than half of the Nation, being insufficiently schooled and informed.

It will not profit America to continue to content itself with the rationalization, founded on a comparative basis, that it is the most progressive and democratic of Nations.  We cannot realistically aspire to the goal of a truly rational, moral, and desirable society, unless and until, we beneficially comprehend and face, the grim American reality of widespread, illiteracy, bias, irrational belief systems, xenophobia, and  paucity of universal empathy.  

We might profitably start, with a candid and objective look at the evils of American Black Slavery and as well, the history of the Federal Government’s duplicitous treatment of the first Americans. It well may be that a thoughtful, albeit at times painful, glance into the National looking glass is ultimately, the best impetus, toward the desired achievement of the classic American promise.

-p.

Post # 659 A RATIONAL APPROACH TO 9/11

Nearly two decades have passed since the unprecedented, shocking, and tragic event of 9/11, which is slated to be commemorated in a manner of weeks. In general, Americans hold varying perceptions of the tragic event and its significance, both symbolic and empirical. After a great deal of objective deliberation concerning the event, most particularly, America’s reactive response, we have arrived at the following [perhaps, nuanced] view.

Pollyannaish inclined citizens, who declared that the horrendous event resulted in, at the very least, a short period of  universally desired national unity, were shown to be dead wrong. The Nation had, for some time, been rancorously divisive and to our perception, the terrorist action did nothing to lessen the divisiveness. Notwithstanding a universal abhorrence of the event, each of the disparate cohorts appears to have imposed its own disparate and nuanced doctrinaire meaning and significance to the event. In our view, it would not be too much of a stretch to speculate that, among other evils the event, ultimately, played its relevant part in the later insurrection against the government’s Capitol Building.

Predictably, the divisive groups respectively, construed a significance to 9/11, consistent with, and supportive of, the views previously held by them. The xenophobic right-wing favored the “retaliatory war” undertaken by George Bush, which resulted in tens of thousands of American and Muslim deaths and incapacitating injuries. The systemically biased portion of the Nation initiated a shameful, ignorant, anti-Muslim pogrom [“Islamophobia”] against any individual with tan skin and a turban including, Indians, Sikhs, and members of other unrelated ethnos as well as terrorist reprisals against Mosques. No newly developed, unifying feeling of National brotherhood regarding American citizens of color, was created, rather, the hateful White Christian Nationalists, simply chose to enlarge their repugnant list of perceived enemies.

Disagreement with the governmental response to the 9/11 attack, apparently caused America’s crop of shameful, underbelly citizens, to believe that the government has not been in the right hands; a feeling which we would venture, helped prepare the various White Christian Nationalist groups for the later, Trump sponsored, January 6 insurrection. 9/11 was also the fertile greenhouse, for the evolution of the bizarre phenomenon of today’s plethora of delusional conspiracy theories, and the Bedlam-babbling, “Qu anon.” Anti-Semitic falsehoods, such as the tactically perfidious assertion that no Jews died in the catastrophe  [in fact, there were a great many Jewish and Muslim casualties and deaths], or that our government, cynically played a part in it, are examples of the contemporary hazard of paranoiac fantasies which, frighteningly, metastasized, to a dangerous degree, into Congress. The fertile seeds of false propagandic assertions, reached its zenith with the Trump, neurotically created falsehood, that the election was stolen from him, as cultishly and violently asserted by the January 6, insurrectionists.

We need to take a good look at the grim facts of 9/11, to determine the appropriate context in which the subject event is seen and remembered. We adamantly object to any possible perception of the historical event as being, to any degree, analogous to the celebratory context, appropriate to such holidays as, Independence Day, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Hannukah or Christmas. Rather, it should be an elegiac occasion, appropriately remembering and mourning  the casualties and destroyed families, on all sides, resulting from the terrorist incident including the shameful, responsive aftermath. It is our recommendation that 9/11 should properly be contextually understood as a sad commemoration for the many losses and notably, for the frustrating endurance of mankind’s failed aspiration for a peaceful and just world.

-p.

[ Addendum]: This essay, like the Valentine’s Day essay, “True Love and Bulbs,” will be perennially republished similarly, because of its felt eternality.

Post # 658 FANFARE FOR UNSUNG INGENUITY

Benjamin Franklin is known to have said:” Happiness consists more in the small conveniences and pleasures that occur every day, than in those pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to man in the course of his life.”

Clearly, Dr. Franklin did not live in an age analogous to ours; one jaded by a universal plethora of modern marvels, undreamed of merely a few decades ago. We seem to have become accommodated to a society where rich men’s egos no longer compete with their favorite yearlings at the race- track but demonstrate their felt singularity by flying vehicles to the edge of outer space. It is a society where small hand-held computers answer factual questions, transmit speech and text, afford telephone access to people who are away from home, furnish needed directions, take, and store photos, and play music, in addition to the regular services of its predecessor, the home connected, tabletop telephone.

We have reached an age where computers, by virtue of their internal dynamics, come to be acquainted with the nuance of their users’ persona,  i.e., where they shop, what they shop for, and their regular tastes and preferences in many areas of their life,  [this rather intrusive function, bears the tactically, inoffensive name, “cookies”]. Computer use is all-pervasive and ubiquitous, in surgical operations, hospital informatics and patient record-keeping, performing data gathering services for financial, accounting, insurance, meteorological and other sciences, as well as finance and business services such as inventory and sales, operations for libraries and other institutions,  university, traffic [air and highway], furnishing directional advice, and is in constant utilization in almost every aspect of man’s life, inclusive of entertainment and sports. The latest development, “echo” technology” [“Alexa”] enables users to obtain computer compliance merely by oral request.[ See our earlier critical essay on electronic technology, ”WHO INVITED ALEXA?”]

Mankind has become so enraptured and accommodated with the innumerable marvels of the computer era, that it has responsively morphed his vocabulary to accommodate a new and copious computer-speak. Words like “scroll down,” “download,” “upload,” “data entry,” “e-mail,” “g- mail, “google,” “facemail,” “ encrypt,” “enter,” “app,” “hardware,” “ software,” “malware,” “bots,” “algorithm,” “caps lock”, “reboot,” “firewall,” “home page,”“ back up,” “ byte,” “gigabyte,” “ analog,” firewall,” “wireless,” “bandwidth,” to cite merely a sample. Natural and expressive interactive speech has been reduced to the electrical transmission of data-like symbols, to small lighted screens and has in significant part, displaced expressive conversation; letter writing exists now only as a personal and romantic memory.

Society’s universal love affair with automation and robotic living has caused it to favor speed and efficiency to the significant detriment of natural and expressive human interaction. The latter by its nature is wreaking an unfortunate toll on mankind’s inclination toward educational and cultural interests; the latter, being the fundamental source of personal growth, mature perception, and the empirical route to the attainment of wisdom. However, this subject is one upon which we have often written and is not directly relevant to our present theme viz., the unsung products of man’s ingenuity which have been overshadowed by the dramatic speed and facile efficiency of the computer age.

Our tribute [“Fanfare”] is deservedly awarded to the many mundane contrivances, that go unrecognized and whose valued and ubiquitous use, has become virtually subliminal, despite the implicit unsung brilliance of their creation; having been forced offstage by the modern, glitzy, computer age. This writing is our attempt to raise the consciousness of the reader, as needed, to a renewed respect and a due appreciation for the creative genius behind these routinely ignored, but vitally essential phenomena. The reader may initially, react with a bit of surprised humor, at the unusual exaltation of these simple, devices, but on second thought, may, indeed, re-discover some felt gratitude for such mundane items and the earned appreciation for the inventive mechanical genius of their respective creators.

We have chosen, at random, a few [of the limitless] illustrations:

[The paper clip]. This small, unappreciated item has the empirical virtue of universal and eternal use and has long remained our favorite in this category, as being the simplest, most ingenious, and useful of all unsung marvels. It is simply a small steel wire, bent in such an ingenious way as to hold papers together. Its universal utility and fundamental simplicity make the inventor of this item deserving of great kudos.

[The pencil].  This taken-for-granted item is now made from a solid core of pigment of graphite, clay, and water, enclosed in a protective wood covering to protect the core from breaking. We recommend a fresh appraisal of the ordinary pencil and an appreciation for its  17th Century inventor.

[The safety pin]. This excellent example of man’s aptitude for mechanical creativity is of common use in fastening fabrics together and is indispensable in diapering babies. It is a creative variation of the straight pin, inclusive of a simple spring mechanism and a clasp. The clasp serves to keep the pin fastened to whatever it is applied to and to cover the sharp point. Bravo to its ancient inventors!

[The friction match]. This handy, everyday item, man’s tool for starting a fire, is made of small wooden sticks or stiff paper, one end of which is coated with a chemical substance that can be ignited by friction. It was a vital replacement in past times of emergency, for methods that took too much time. i.e., to light a lamp. Despite its constant use, its creative formulation and development, have been unappreciated. 

 [The wristwatch]. This useful item is simply described as a watch on a strap, usually of leather, worn about the wrist. No thought is given to the ingenuity of its development, which, unlike its predecessor, the pocket watch, freed the wearer’s two hands for handling machinery or a steering wheel.

[The umbrella]. This is a common and useful device, consists of a circular canopy of material on a folding metal frame, supported by a central rod. It faithfully does service against the possibility or actual existence of rain; but does any user ever take the time to recognize the inventor’s mechanical creativity which proved to be far more efficient than sheltering under trees or holding up large palm leaves?

[The toothbrush]. Did you know that the toothbrush was chosen by an MIT study in January 2003, to be “the number one invention that Americans could not live without?” Its modern iteration, is deserving of especial appreciation, when one learns of its bizarrely fabricated predecessors, viz., twigs with frayed ends, rags with soot and salt, and other unappealing concoctions. The toothbrush is not only totally unrecognized and unappreciated as a highly valued implement, but is routinely employed in a robotically thoughtless, unappreciative, during a semi-somnolent state.

It would present a Herculean, or Quixotic challenge, to attempt to construe a more representational enumeration of the multitudinous contents of the cornucopia of accessorial items, in our contemporary life, whose past implicit inventive genius and current, utilitarian value, are thoughtlessly unappreciated and entirely overshadowed, by the brightly exotic footlights of society’s computer capability.                               

 -p.

Post # 657 SOCIETAL DROP-OUTS

The self-destructive and societally endangering, elevation of “Trumpism,” above the existential importance of constructive reason, is notably highlighted by the acrimonious refusal of its loyal adherents to abide by governmental recommendations of vaccination and mask-wearing. The programs announced by the Federal Government are strictly based upon empirical science and have been proven to be prophylactically efficient, in avoiding infection and possible death from the Covid virus, inclusive of its mutational varieties. Notwithstanding a virtual plethora of empirical evidence demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of the recently developed vaccines and the practical wisdom of wearing a mask, the MAGA cult vociferously, and ignorantly, claims that such government initiatives infringe upon personal liberty. We will return to this bizarre claim, following some observations on background.   

The 18th Century philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau, employed the words, “Social Contract,” to describe the dynamics of human society. Finding it empirically preferable to the hazards of living alone in Nature, man chose to live in society with others. Pursuant to Rousseau’s “Social Compact” or “Social Contract,” mankind willingly forfeits some of its liberty and rights, in exchange for the numerous benefits of living in society. Society, in turn, renders to its members the shared advantages of living together, including safety and defense, food and water and interactive socialization. The benefits of living in society, pursuant to that contract, carried with it the personal sense of member responsibility.

Rancorous and stridently enunciated cries of outrage have been heard from Trump cult members, regarding the governmentally expressed advice, to wear a mask and be vaccinated; to the effect that they will resist such an “unreasonable limitation” on their rights. They selfishly brush aside, the reality that their falling ill will impose serious challenges and costs to the community, and far worse, implement the danger of communication of the virus to others. The advice inarguably is societally reasonable, indeed mandatory. The so-called interference with the protesters’ rights is in this instance, but a minor and mandated forfeit to society under their social contract.

One should think that equally “limiting their rights” are such matters as required stopping at red lights, observing the speed limit when driving, paying taxes, complying with health and safety regulations, mandatory childhood education, licensure for driving, motorcycling, food handling, barbershops, liquor sales and distribution, fishing, brokerage and the practice of the professions, food marketing, marriage, fairs, and public events. There is a limitation regarding expected behavior in the public square, and at theaters, opera houses, museums, movies, and schools. Every right that we enjoy, constitutional or otherwise has its own, relevant, limitation, usually for purposes of health and welfare.

It seems unfair, if not bizarre, that these anti-vax, anti-mask people are perfectly content to receive the many benefits of living in society, i.e., clean water, food and air regulations, fire, and police protection, traffic lights, schools and hospitals, ambulance services, libraries, theaters, heat, electricity and power, snow cleaning, garbage collection, postal services, street and highway repair and maintenance, public conveyances, parks, gardens and schoolyards, markets, and considerably more. Those who, laughably, claim that their personal freedom is abridged by the salubrious suggestion that they protect themselves and the community by getting vaccinated and wearing a disease-preventing mask, especially, for this more highly transmissible and more impactful “Delta Variant,” to energetically search out a relatively mild word, are delusionary.

It has been authoritatively reported that the currently circulating, “Delta Variant” of Covid-19, in fact, is more dangerous, and freely transmissible than the dreaded African disease, Ebola.

Analogous to Donald J. Trump’s prescriptive advice to drink bathroom cleanser to eliminate Covid-19, his sycophants’ adamant refusal to be vaccinated and wear a mask, is characteristically and individually ignorant and, from a  societal perspective, morally irresponsible.

-p.

Post # 656 DEFINITELY, BUT

Recently, while enjoying some moments of relaxed contemplation, we were unexpectedly confronted with the uncomfortable realization that, at certain times in the past, we had thoughtlessly failed to properly acknowledge services rendered to us, the absence of which, would be most problematic.

 As we have often declared, the existential epoxy joining together members of society is the existence of a mutually communicative language. Without functional and meaningful interaction, mankind would be solitary, vulnerable, unduly taxed with personal survival; and further, would anthropologically, lack cultural identity and opportunity for personal advancement. Thus, although normally, the stereotypic “unsung hero,” furnishing the valued service is a human being, we have respectfully chosen, for the suitable reasons, set forth below, [please bear with us] to nominate for that honored and exalted role, the ubiquitous noun, “but.”

It takes but a moment to empirically observe that the word, “but,”  itself, faithfully and without limit, focuses one’s interactive communication, precisely, on the intended nature, and more to the point, on the desired extent of our declarations or observations, and, as well, to qualifications [he is quiet, but very friendly, singularizing or generalizing, [it is the coldest region in Michigan] moderating [ he was angry but not violent] or emphasizing, [it was John Dillinger who robbed the most banks], contrasting, [Obama was one of our best Presidents, but Trump was the worst], excluding, [ all but Selwin agreed], negating, [he gave us directions, but they were wrong], specifying, [I like vegetables, but I hate radishes] , conceptualizing,[what  we tried, was everything but heat],  explaining, [ he couldn’t come for health reasons] distinguishing, { I would prefer all but the dark tie], reconciling, [but you have to be in her shoes to understand], enhancing, [ but the spotlight made her even more beautiful], degrading, [ but he is really a charlatan] , expressing, [ I stand for progress, but your suggestion is  untimely], suggesting, [you can try it, but it is very spicy], implying good or bad quality, [the cheese looked rotten, but it tasted fine] and is functionally ubiquitous in all communication, speech or writing.

Unfortunately, the contemporary scene is replete with extreme divisiveness and rancor, evincing extremist declarations of diverse dogma and divergent views. The latter extremes may, to a degree, be capable of moderation or clarification, if desired, by the filtered use of words of distinction or limitation, following the simple employment of the ombudsman-like word “but,” in order to signify exceptions or intended degree. Illustrations of such use may be noted in: “She is in generally in favor of Federal assistance, but certainly not a believer in Socialism”, “She came home after midnight but was with her aunt”, “He is very fat, but has a very handsome face”, “Bob prefers steak but ordered fish”, “He is, generally a stingy man, but good to his family” “We can deliver the lumber, but not before Wednesday.” “It tasted sweet, but not too cloying.” “ How can you forget, it happened but one week ago.”

In the brief sample, cited above, the essential and ultimate observations or factual statements will be remembered, as intentionally and meaningfully modified, or filtered by our ubiquitous verbal hero, “but,” so  that the desired degree of undertaking, conclusion, or expectation is qualified, by means of the subject noun giving them the intended degree of effectuation, viz., “but.”

It would be a salutary development, if the prevalent, and harmful National divisiveness could, somehow, be qualified, or delimited by a functionally moderating word or analogous concept such as the celebrated noun, “but.” But, judging the tenor of the times, it could not. But, if it only could!

-p.