Post # 833         LOVEBYTES

N.B. [ Weighing the entire spectrum of tragic, losses of personal intimacy, occasioned by the universal shift from (natural) spoken conversation, to the transmission of impersonal, images, onto a small, hand-held, lighted screen, (i.e., “smartphone”) the romantic and memorable phrase, “ I love you,” has empirically, suffered a shameless decline, from first place, in consequence,  to a  pragmatic, second place, behind three, impersonal words, viz.,  “On” “Select,” and “Play”]

*Scenario # 1:

We arrange our mise- en- scene, to be, on an early evening, at a dimly lit, romantic, New York City, East Side Restaurant. On this rainy and cold, November, occasion, our attention is soon drawn to two well-dressed, attractive guests, both in their early 30’s, sitting, at an intimate table for two, in front of the ersatz (but warming) fireplace, as arranged in advance by the solicitous, male diner.

Before we proceed further, in this anecdotal romance, we would like to go back to late October, preceding the dining event. The young man’s name is Sheldon Lewis, (“Shelly’) a recent graduate of NYU Dental College. The young woman’s name is Florence (“Flo”) Gibson, a graduate research assistant, at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Laboratory for Research in Infectious Diseases. Shelly has never been married. Flo was married for a brief time, prior to her husband’s death from an aneurysm.   

They had met each other after a few, mutual, unsuccessful, searches on an internet dating service, specializing in college graduates under forty. For a period of approximately, ten days, prior to their arranged, dinner date, they had mutually exchanged several, lengthy introductory texts, and e-mails, plus two, (televised) “virtual, meetings.” Based upon their personal impressions, derived from these prior communications, they were mutually, desirous, of physically, getting together, perhaps, as suggested, at a dinner date to further their mutual acquaintance. After making a reservation at the restaurant, Shelly texted the details of the coming event and Flo e-mailed her enthusiastic acceptance.

The couple arrived, excitedly, each at precisely the agreed time, at the appointed restaurant, and, after warm, mutual, introductions, waited a short time, in the restaurant lounge for a table assignment. Each, from time to time, subtly, peered at the other to eliminate any possible doubt that the other transmitter of electronic messages and seen in their two past virtual meetings were, in fact, the same. Flo silently had been of the mind that Shelly was a bit, taller and had more hair; Shelly had the impression that Flo was slimmer and curvier. They were shown to the pre-arranged table (by the ersatz fireplace), and Flo, excused herself, nervously, to go to the restroom.

After she left, Shelly took out his smartphone, called his friend, Jeff, and in a somewhat, querulous voice, told him that his date might be a substitute, someone, a bit chubbier and less appealing than in the virtual meetings. As soon as Flo arrived at the ladies” rest room, she took out her smartphone and, shrewdly dialed Shelly’s e-mail number. Shelly, who had just completed his call to his friend, tapped his phone and was rather surprised to note that the caller was Flo, herself. “Is everything ok?” he typed.  Flo, after letting out an involuntary sigh of relief, at the recognition of his voice, typed the following e-mail response: I was going to ask you a specific question, but I can just as well, ask it when I return to the table. Upon her return, to the table, both parties, for the moment, remained strangely silent.

Shelly picked up his menu, pointing to Flo’s copy, and said, “I suppose we might as well order,” to which suggestion, she, a bit nervously, agreed. The diners, similarly, ordered a cup of onion soup and swordfish from the summoned, waiter who compliantly, noted their requests, typing the information on his smartphone, which was instantly, transmitted, to a computer in the technologically, modernized restaurant kitchen. The meal soon arrived and the couple, now, somewhat, more relaxed, chatted about their past, their families, work experiences, and interests.

Following a truly delicious dinner, they expressed their mutual intention to meet for dinner again in the very near future, and, hesitatingly, decided to go their respective ways home; identically, anxious and impatient, to return home to e-mail the other, to express just how very much the evening was enjoyed. After a few days of electronic communications, neither thereafter, contacted the other.

*Scenario #2:

John, an undergraduate Engineering student, at the Jesuit College, “Our Lady of the Holy Algorithm,” had been, energetically, engaged in the sweaty process of rushing to his twelve o’clock, mathematics class, at the Thomas Aquinas Building, when he happened to observe, what he considered, the most uncannily, attractive and appealing female student. She was sitting on a College bench, under a shaded, Elm tree, holding a textbook, which she was quietly and intently, engaged in studying. Normally, possessing a shy persona, John found himself, nevertheless, irresistibly, drawn to the far seat on her bench, all the while, unblinkingly, staring at her sunny, but intent, face,  her long, beautiful red hair, and, more subtly, at her crossed, shapely legs, protruding, from her argyle, pleated skirt.

John, somehow, conquering his customary shyness, ventured to say to the pretty, female student, “Excuse me… I don’t usually… I just wanted to talk…please do not think that I am aggressive, because, I never am… but you looked, forgive me, so nice, I felt that I wanted to come over and just say hello. There was no response, from the young woman, other than, calmly, and pleasantly, looking up from her book. My name is John, he continued. I am an engineering student here, at Our Lady College. She sweetly smiled and said that her name is Susan and that she too, is an engineering major, awaiting the commencement of the noon Mathematics class at the Aquinas Building. By good fortune, it was the same class, John was to attend, and, under the circumstances, they sat in adjacent seats, during the lecture demonstration.

Upon leaving, class, John ventured to invite Susan to lunch at the college cafeteria and she cheerfully accepted. At lunch, both spoke freely about their lives up to that point, their families, interests and likes and dislikes. The natural ease of their conversation resembled that of a date between two close and affectionate friends. At the end of a period of a full hour and one-half, they reluctantly parted, but, not before mutually exchanging cell phone numbers, and modestly, kissing on the lips. Each party, on the way to his and her next destination on campus, looked back, warmly smiled and waved.

John e-mailed an invitation to talk, via text and/or e-mail, a suggestion quickly accepted by Susan.  By perverse luck, it was the beginning of the Official Spring Break, and each party was, for two weeks, relegated, as a needed alternative to costly, long distance telephone calls, to communicate by e-mail or text.  In the absence of Susan’s lovely, personal presence and attractive voice, her remembered loveliness seemed to be a bit faded, in John’s memory. Susan was, as it happens, too busy with pressing family matters so that her electronic messages were somewhat, hurried and by virtue of the empirically impersonal nature of the chosen medium of communication, were perceived to lack the uniquely, spontaneous, energetic nuance, as recalled, of their exciting two weeks, preceding the Spring Break.  However, instead of growing increasingly ardent, by virtue of their separation, such electronic exchanges became more impersonal and mundane, caused, conceivably, in light of the selected, impersonal medium as well as their rather short, albeit, romantically. exciting, previous history.

On return to college, following the conclusion of the Spring Break, John and Susan saw each other, Tuesdays and Thursdays, in math class and somewhat uneasily, exchanged smiles and friendly greetings with the implicitly shared, realization that their previous romantic assumptions must have been misconstrued.    

-p

Post # 832  BOOKSHELF GESTAPO (redux)

The hubristic and philosophically, un-American practice of book censorship has been the critical subject of several of our past writings. The purported justification for its chronic continuance appears to be attributed, (or diagnosed as) to a ( neurotic,) self-appointed, elevated, “lay ministry,” arrogating to itself, a perceived, “moral,” duty, to the protection and perpetuation of its own ethnocentric, and reductive perception of human affairs. It may be more likely, that many of such miscreants, in reality, are merely seeking power and influence, by the sham representation of the dutiful enforcement of a construed code of morality. In any event, as appears to us, that, with respect to all-stereotypical, iterations of evangelical style enterprises, the motivations are all reductive, smugly arrogant and objectionable.

The creative and aesthetic literature of exceptionally talented and insightful authors constitute their beneficial legacy to an ever- continuing progress of human advancement. The hubristic book censor, by the bogus assumption of singular duty, arrogantly, purports to possess a more responsible moral compass than does the brilliant book author, or his readers, and whose arrogant determinations are relegated to a published “banned book list,” for determined, reader avoidance or, perhaps more effective, Gestapo style, burning.

Before we go further, on this revolting, “Dark Ages,” atavistic, dynamic, we would, revealingly, furnish a sample, of the high quality literature, now doing undeserved time on the current, banned list. It is felt, that an informed, note, of the recognized authors and their book titles, alone, would suffice as a cogent argument against book censorship:” The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald,” To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee, “Grapes of Wrath”- John Steinbeck, “Ulysses”- James Joyce, “Catcher In The Rye,”- J.D. Salinger, “ Beloved”-Tony Morrison, “Of Mice and Men,”- John Steinbeck, “Brave New World,”- Aldous Huxley, “American Tragedy,”- Theodore Dreiser, “1954,”- George Orwell, “As I Lay Dying,”- William Faulkner,” Call of the Wild,”-Jack London, “For Whom the Bell Tolls,”-Ernest Hemingway, “Gone With The Wind,”- Margaret Mitchell,” Blue Eyes,”- Toni Morrison. We could, without special difficulty, fill this page, and yet, another, with a continued list of great works of literature, which were relegated, ignorantly, or due to un-American, bias, to the dreaded, “Banned Books” list; the reading of which, salubriously, should be encouraged rather than abandoned, to the book Gestapo. As can be observed from the proffered sample, the same are among the plethora of fine written works that make for commendable and enlightening reading. Additionally, it has been shown that reading books, encapsulating all viewpoints, is a necessary stimulant to the development of a maturely somewhat, educated mind.

In all candor, we are, somewhat, inclined to doubt, that the “censors” and, certainly, the assemblage of compliant dupes, that support their pernicious, autocratic discipline, are (serious) readers, at all. We are confident, in our presumption, that the adherents to such Gestapo policy, thoughtlessly and loyally, ascribe to such “group think,” determinations, as the officially, shared, position of their unholy tribe.

It appears undeniable that primary among the various alleged purposes, the strategic policy of banning books has as its proponents’ ulterior motive, the autocratic control of individual thought, the universal and fundamental dynamic of reprehensible, totalitarian rule.    

–p.

Post # 831 TERMINAL DEMOCRACY

Mark Twain is known to have said,” The truth has no defense against a fool determined to believe a lie.”  The pragmatic wisdom of Twain’s observation was never so emphatically, confirmed, as it has been since the misfortune of Donald Trump’s surprise ascendance to political power and the American Presidency. Trump’s undemocratic, autocratic policies, exclusively founded on neurotic self-love, egoistic arrogance, aggravated by colossal ignorance and incapability, set in motion, a skewed, novel and unprecedented, perception of the office of the American Presidency. Of all his feckless, undemocratic and autocratic-style policies, the most fundamentally damaging was, (and is) his programmatic attack on factual truth, in favor of the subjective conception of a more acceptable, “alternate” reality, thus, injecting a new, corruptive element or pathology to infect the populist lexicon.    

Our nuanced, simile, that “Truth” is the “existential epoxy,” joining Man and Society, should require little argument. Accordingly, on weighing the pernicious effects of the full inventory of Trump misdeeds, presently, engorging his full to bursting, cornucopia of miscreant behavior, this was the most injurious; constituting a pernicious crime, in effect, no less fundamental and damaging, in reality, than the commission of felonious treason against human evolutionary anthropology.

As an aggravating feature, as revealed in our reading of World history, and the literature, from Walter Scott and William Shakespeare, to that of our contemporary authors, is the hazard to the functioning of human society, of large numbers of uninformed and guileless, citizens. Such useless individuals have been shown, among other presented challenges to human development, to be inclined to ascribe validity to false and irresponsible, political and social memes and tactical propaganda. These factors provide the foundational explanation for the unlimited number, as well as the bizarre nature, of the popularly, metastasized, pathology of delusional ideations, imparted by Donald Trump, and unhealthily, infiltrating the American blood stream. It is a bizarre and disturbing phenomenon, that loyal Trump sycophants, persistently, eschew empirical facts, and instead, cultishly, curate their Trump inspired, preference for delusional ideation (“conspiracy theory”).

A partial list of  illustrative examples, of such bizarre  conspiracy theories are: the delusional belief that the Presidential election, which Trump lost, was “stolen,” that Israel sends rockets to earth from outer space,  that Covid vaccine contains tiny computerized, government trackers, that the 9/11 events were an American, false flag operation, that immigrants, per se, are prostitutes and drug dealers, that America was founded as a “Christian Nation,” that horse anti-worm medicine cures the Covid virus,  that  Americans, with black and brown colored-skin, are plotting to replace Americans with white colored skin,” that liberals are sub-rosa, child molesters and sex traffickers, that the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants to every American, he right to carry deadly weapons, that there are evil  books, such as, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “Huckleberry Finn,” “Grapes of Wrath,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Beloved,” and, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” that inspire evil thoughts and are included in the copious list, of  “prohibited reading,” that “birth” occurs at the very moment of conception, that government empathic programs are (the dreaded) “Socialism,” that there is a secret, world-wide conspiracy, of Jewish Bankers, to rule the world, that Global Warming is a tactical ruse  by the left wing, that coastal liberals desire to take over the Nation, that there is a voluminous number, of “caravans”, of undesirable Mexicans and Central Americans, intent on emigration to the U.S, for nefarious purposes, and many more, factually, unsupported and delusional, ideations. It boggles the ordinary mind to take note of the many adherents to the mad cult of Trump, who are ardent perpetuators of such paranoid ideations, and would, simultaneously, assert any cognizable claim, whatsoever, to human sanity.

We can recall reading and noting the following statement, but regrettably, did not, also, note the attribution: “History will speak of [this] cult, and how easily they were gaslighted, how they embraced the most flawed leader in cultish history; how they rallied against their own personal interests, (see earlier, plinyblog, “LEMMINGS”) behind an obvious con. But the true disaster was the normalization of a madman.”

Contrasted, for example, with a purely theoretical situation, of a National dividedness, founded in differences in political philosophy, the schism might, in such case, at a minimum, be rationally, comprehended. However, political or economic principles have little to do with this veritable, “Cold War,” between the cultish supporters of the autocratic, Donald Trump, and the mainstream citizens who favor the continuation of our democratic form of government. We have speculated,  in earlier writings, as to the etiology of the observably, large number of supporters of Donald J. Trump, the latter, a persona which, in reality, calls for an extended therapeutic seat on a psychiatrist’s couch for critically needed psychotherapy and appropriate medication.

The rationale for such large support for such an artless, immoral and incapable persona may appear unexplainable; but the existential threat to democracy is all too evident. The dire consequences of autocracy, thoughtlessly, ignored, by the Trump cult, in its quasi- religious adoration of the Orangutan haired, Pied Piper, if successfully, implemented, will bite them every bit as deeply and painfully, as it would the presently, concerned, mainstream, American citizens.

-p.    

Post # 830      THE META UMBRELLA

The applicable venue of this writing can reliably, be set, in that distinct, inner area of the psyche, wherein reside, the most intimate and private of our thoughts, which we choose to call, the “Meta Umbrella” area. It is, precisely, here that our often referenced, “life-long, private conversation with ourselves,” takes place. It is that sensitive and discreet neighborhood, of the psyche, where the empirically, established and determinative, guide, viz., the self-image, has its functional sway and introspective jurisdiction in the resolution of moral ambiguities.  Uncountable, personal experiences of self-validation, as well as remorse, are referentially, stored at this home office, or library, of morally, overriding determinations. When necessary, the inner psyche can also perform yeoman duty as an intermediary, by way of its abiding, protective, Meta- psychic umbrella, selectively, repelling the storm of falsity and other repulsive stimuli.   

The private nature of each individual is, empirically, confirmed, and easily, demonstrated, by his own, exclusive reaction to external stimuli. An illustration of such singular, Meta level, response, may take place, at bedtime, following the conclusion of a busy and tiring day. Thereafter, a subtle turn of the pillow to its cool side, the consequent, sigh and an inner feeling of comfort, at times, to the degree of evoking an unwitnessed, half-smile of contentment. (See early blog, “The Cooler Side of the Pillow.”) Singularly, exclusive, and personalized pleasure, is likewise, experienced, by the removal of tight-fitting shoes upon arriving home, at the end of a working day. These uniquely, private, personal responses emanate from our referenced, deeply private portion of our psyche, the essential intimate, “Meta Umbrella.” Like the actual, handheld, appliance, utilized on rainy days, the scope and effect of this psychic umbrella are only wide enough, for each, distinct person. These intimate and exclusive, sensations, respectively, each serve as a contextual reminder of our universal and distinct individuality.

It is our principal theme, that such inner “self,” viz., the rationally profound, metaphysical portion of the psyche, is universally and eternally, available, as a fixed, personal, guide to selective choices, or found solutions to problems, and reliably guided (and consistent), as stated, with one’s personal and long-established, self-image. The personal exercise of mature judgment, valuably, contributes to Man’s society, in bright contrast with the mindless, uninformed, “group think” of popularly existing “tribal” cults. Confident reliance upon one’s own personally acquired, standards of rectitude and equity (i.e., within his own personal umbrella) as opposed to reliance on outside, populist influences, in the determination of moral and political issues, is the hallmark for useful and informed citizens.

The personalized, psychic umbrella of mature perception is likewise, capable of rendering yeoman service, when needed, in the nature of a shield or buffer, against criticism or unjust attack, and is eternally, available as a comforting, inner assurance of one’s individual perception of rectitude. The curation of an inner- self, which is determinative, moral and confident, is of existential importance to being a valuable citizen, and the fitting, or useful, response to Trump’s, tactical, demagogic influence to his large, amorphous cult and his pernicious delusion of “alternative facts.”  

We would recommend that one’s next, personal experience of ephemeral pleasure, derived, perhaps, from contact with the cooler side of his pillow, ought to serve as an enduring and meaningful reminder of his independent, singularity, and his individualized capability, in fact, his mature responsibility, to maintain and express his own independently derived, determinations, ( i.e., under his exclusive) psychic umbrella).

-p.

Post #829   SQUATTERS: Redux

A few years ago, as was revealed in an earlier essay, we experienced an exasperating loss, but one which, on reflection, later usefully raised our consciousness and enlarged our previous reductive perception, as to a common assumption. The nature of such enlightenment is the theme of this writing.

As related in the prior essay, two, rather precarious, “bare root,” pear tree saplings, generously, but, by inexperience, given to us in October, were miraculously, kept alive until the spring planting season, by their continuous maintenance and nurturance in a second bathroom kept cold by an open window.

Subsequently, good fortune, tantalizingly, shined its capricious light on us. In spring, the pear saplings, which had, by some secular, miracle, survived the entire bare root winter in our cold second bathroom, were very gently scraped at the roots, and, optimistically, planted by us in such a fashion that the wind might enable their cross-pollination and, hopefully, consequent fruit production. After the passage of many anxious weeks and dutiful watering sessions, verdant leaves did appear and we joyfully celebrated the hoped-for, woodland miracle of the trees’ survival.

Sadly, our short-lived, arboreal good fortune seemed to wane. To condense several years into a modest paragraph, we would indicate that rather than, predictably flowering in the coming year or, perhaps, two, it took a full ten years before the two young, leafy trees flowered, and thereafter, two more years to bear noticeable fruit. We purchased a long fruit picker and arrived at our (then) weekend home with high expectations of being, rewarded, finally, with an indisputably, well-deserved bumper crop of pears.

Did we mention that our summer residential property, at the time, was near a pond? Perhaps not, in this retrospective redux, of the event. In any case, when, as previously, stated, we arrived, at our then country residence, with excited anticipation and the intention to harvest a long-awaited (12 yrs.), bumper crop of pears, we discovered to our great dismay, that both young pear trees had been chewed down to pointy stumps, evidently, by the pond’s local beavers. Our initial reaction of shock and disappointment, as stated, did, in time, however, lead to a truly revelatory, enlightenment; one, which we feel, would be useful to again articulate, most especially, to other” landowners.”   

Our shocked discovery of the arboreal tragedy, was, as stated, responded to, with major angst, disappointment, and annoyance, even anger, directed towards the beavers, as the unquestioned, perpetrators of the tragic event. A few days passed, and such anger morphed, in stages, to peaceful resignation, and thereafter, to a more comforting perception and realistic understanding of the normalcy of the incident, and finally, to a more valuable, metaphysical and enlightened understanding.

In common with the  “homeowner,” who expresses righteous anger at the deer who ate “her” planted flowers or the rabbits that ate “her” veggies, our salient error was the unshakeable assumption that such natural acts constituted a theft of (our) private property, “our” flowers, “our” pear trees. It is, rationally, certain that the hungry critters have no knowledge or instructive instincts, regarding Man’s, ethnocentric, conception of property ownership and property lines; they live in nature, and are simply, and existentially, hungry, respecting which, they do, in fact, have existentially instructive instincts.

In the rarified dimension of Planet Earth’s human society, exclusive ownership or transfer, of designated, real property, can be changed by legally approved purchase or sale. However, this writing’s spotlight is not focused upon the acquittal of animal guilt, by their defense of lack of proprietary perceptions; it is instead, focused upon what may be the human singular (ethnocentric or hubristic), arrogated, assumptions of presumptive “ownership” of selective, portions of the Planet.

Among the developed folkways of the human inhabitants of the Planet, is the legal capability to purchase “exclusive ownership” of identified pieces, or, “parcels” of property, from other “owners,”  desirous of selling the same by contract, culminating in an event of actual transfer of ownership (the Closing”). The signature, event, is attended by the seller and purchaser, their respective, attorneys, a representative from a “Title” company (to insure the accuracy of the recited boundaries of the transacted property, etc.), and, possibly, a representative of a Mortgage Company. The event concludes with the “delivery” of a new deed signifying transferred ownership to the purchaser, which is referentially, filed in the local Land Office (County Clerk).

It is a matter of irrefutable fact, that neither, beavers, deer, rabbits, or any other forest critters are customarily, afforded formal notice or invitation, to participate in the ceremony of real estate conveyance. One cogent reason may conceivably, be that the legal and practical effect of this civil dance, as a practical matter, is of interest to, and binding, only on other interested or affected members of the species, Homo sapiens. Thereafter, any unauthorized attempt to exert rights, upon the subject land, by non-owning, Homo sapiens, without permission, such as trespass or harvesting fruit, is a legal wrong, and legally, addressable. 

It may confidently, be said, that the existence of the local fauna and their naturally based, franchise to freely, partake of the local eatables, is millennia’s older than the advent of Man’s recognition of real estate ownership. The latter concept is singular to modern man, who, we gradually came to realize, conveniently, arrogates to himself, self-serving rules of exclusive ownership rights, respecting personally desired, portions of the Planet. “Critters” have existed long prior to evolution’s radical revelation, of a so-called, “sentient” being.

In empirically candid fact, the beavers gnawed down two young pear trees, not “our” two pear trees, the local deer prefer to survive on eating sweet flora, such as flower petals, irrespective of “the legal owner’s” aesthetic arrangements, and rabbits, as ever was their wont, munch away on available lettuce.

In the realistic and rational context applicable to Mother Nature, no money or real estate ceremony can elevate humankind’s essential Planetary, status above recently-arrived, “Squatters.”

-p.   

Post # 828 THE WHISTLESTOP

In common with other mainstream members of society we, continue to lament, the widespread continuance, of reprehensible, selfish human behavior totally, devoid of considerations of empathy and charity.  Should such observation, require contemporary, illustration, we might easily, cite,  Russia’s cruel incursion into Ukraine, the warlike, the saber-rattling actions of North Korea, in its bellicose display of rocket barrages into the Ocean, and on the domestic scene, the egregious, ignorance and racial mindset of Trump and his large swath of cultish devotees.

For some time, we resignedly attributed the regrettable panoply of Man’s inappropriate behavior to the possible, innate, protective persona of Man. Those of us, imbued with the more traditional, positive, perceptions of mainstream America, conceivably, have been devastated, at what appeared to be an existential defect in the extant persona, or ultimate essence, of Homo sapiens, which conceivably, might, portend its ultimate, self-destruction.

We are pleased to declare, to the reader, that we have arrived at an alternate, more promising, and empirically, plausible, theory, which we present to the reader for his thoughtful consideration.

We will posit that every enlightened thinker is in accord with the scientifically confirmed “Darwinian Theory of Evolution.” The entire universe of renowned scholars in the disciplines of, anthropology, sociology, biology, chemistry, geology and medicine, have ratified the empirically, demonstrated, eons-long, steady development of improved and complex function, from simple-cell organisms and primitive flora, to the contemporary stage of capabilities of the sentient human being and the present, aesthetic wonder, of a magnificent chrysanthemum.

Empirical evidence has reliably, acknowledged, that it was evolution’s slow, plodding, journey from ape-like, brachiating biped, to today’s, functional and mental iteration of a sentient, Homo sapiens. In this essay, we have chosen to confess to established academic heresy, by positing that Man’s contemporary iteration might indeed, not be the ultimate one, biologically intended, by a still ongoing process of human evolution. We will elucidate our radical and optimistic theme, in the paragraphs that follow.

Fundamentally, we would dare to pose our thematic question, as to what reductionist or egotistic, basis exists, for man’s fixed and declared assumption that evolution has (already) run its course? On what guiding principle can we not look forward to its future dynamic developments? Evolutionary dynamics, has to date, wondrously, produced a superior functioning, sentient human being; nevertheless, why assume that the present state of his evolution, viz., the nascent capacity for enlightenment and psychic growth (for example, empathy, judgment) has attained its potential zenith? Is it not conceivable, that, at present, that Mankind may only be at a brief “whistle stop,” in a biologically, determined journey, to its ultimate and potential, evolutionary destination?  To be clear, we suggest that humankind’s evolutionary advances to Man’s present physical configuration, do not, necessarily, comprehend its full, potential development, as to the refinement of his inner persona and the sanctity of his moral compass.

As a contextual, illustration, one might imagine, a prehistoric scene, in which, two, growling Neanderthal men, are, hungrily, fighting over a carcass of a killed small animal, as compared to that of two, non-growling contemporary, husky, workman, hungrily, and sociably, eating their lunch at noon break, or perhaps, an elderly, senior citizen being assisted across a busy street, by a younger person, contrasted with the ancient practice, of the Norse culture, to abandon the elderly, on the glacial ice, to die. Picture the well-attended, spectator-blood sport of gladiators, fighting to the death, as compared with today’s non-contact rule in basketball. Consider the recent rise of charitable programs, soup kitchens and public health programs, in historic contrast, to the mandatory incarceration of paupers and debtors, in the days of Victorian England. Think of the speed at which modern medical science, dedicatedly, produced an effective vaccine against covid, contrasted with the hapless chanting of medicine men of the first Americans. These illustrations are emblematic of an inarguable, developing evolution of man’s spiritual recognition of a humanistic, moral responsibility, to help others.

The Dark Ages practices, of cruel and barbaric religious persuasion, have, over time, morphed to that of more peaceable, evangelical propaganda; today, mentally unwell individuals are properly perceived, as “ill,” rather than possessed by demons. These are empirical examples of an improving, humanistic, persona, reflective of a developing, empathic awareness of others, which we maintain, thematically, is properly, ascribed to the dynamics of a still ongoing (psychic) evolution, of humankind.

Notwithstanding contemporary reports of humankind’s acts of cruelty, unrestrained ambition, and absence of moral compass, it is our newly attained, belief, that the present point of evolutionary improvement may be characterized or perceived as reduced speed at an evolutionary, whistle-stop; yet, is eternally, pursuing its way towards its natural destination. The relevant proviso, however, is that pending arrival, at that destination, those thoughtless humanoids who are heedlessly, engaged in their irresponsible and atavistic tendencies, do not, prior thereto, effect the destruction of the Planet, and its naturally, evolving, dynamic processes.

-p.      

Post # 827    REMEMBERING THE WHITMAN SAMPLER

Readers doubtless will recall the classic Whitman Sampler, an item, somewhat in vogue. in the era in which it was still “cool,” for an invited dinner guest to bring one as a gift. The item was, and, it still appears to be, a handsome, boxed assortment of chocolate-covered candies containing, raisin, nut, crème, nougat, coconut and others. The salient feature, unique to of this box of treats was the element of personal choice; our personal favorites, as recalled, were the nut and the coconut.

Manifestly, in direct contrast to the freely selective, Whitman Sampler, many concepts, foundational to the existence and proper functioning of human society, are not subject to nuanced preference, but are mandated, by empirical necessity, and thus, are fixed and immutable. The most fundamental of the latter is the recognition and perpetuation of factual truth. The maintenance of acceptable interpersonal relationships, safety, health, the feasibility of communal enterprise, conduct of commerce, integrity of family and social integrity, learning and advancement, in essence, the dynamics of society itself, is existentially, reliant on the universal assumption of unaltered, truth.

 As a consequence, it is alarming, to note that said ageless and universally, accepted, supporting pillar of organized society, became degraded, and, tactically, forced into a tenuous back seat to personal expediency, under the dystopic term of Donald Trump. The former President, known for his unabashed, serial mendacity, was the irresponsible and bizarre creator of the. “Alice in Wonderland,” artifice of “alternate facts,” (intended to shield his incapacity and ignorance) to subjectively, and tactically, distort reality. In aid of the same, he vociferously impugned the veracity of authentic, reports of the Nation’s institutional and legitimate media. Man’s empirically, existential reliance on the assumption of factual truth, with his atavistic assistance, descended into a new venal franchise, analogous, in its casual and arbitrary significance to the nuanced selection of a bonbon from a Whitman Sampler.

In the present writing, we seek to express our, deliberated, attribution of the etiology of the bizarre phenomenon, in which, Trump’s acolytes choose to disbelieve confirmed facts, yet, accept Trump’s, arbitrary version of “alternate facts” and fabricated distortions of reality, and bizarrely, find a facile credulity in paranoiac, conspiratorial ideations.

It is with great concern and dismay, that we have noted the perverse influence and cult-like reverence, afforded to Donald Trump, evident in the Nation’s under-educated, and atavistically bigoted, population. It is our best estimate that the etiology of this phenomenon is revealed in their perceived, personal identification with Trump’s purported stance against the (non-existent), influential, “intellectual-elite,” and roadblocks to programs seeking the amelioration of inequality and social needs. The foregoing, supplemented, by the presumed, discontent with their limited, personal lives, Trump’s tactical, snake oil, demagoguery, and, most effectively, a perceived and personally redeeming, identification with Trump’s societal irreverence and brash, barroom quality pronouncements. Such large, horde of “underbelly” Americans, in their elective choice of their orange-haired, social avatar, as President, had been financially supported by industrial polluters, who, sociopathically, afford to profits, a higher priority over governmental health regulations; the latter, famously, opposed by Trump.

We, at first, found it, extremely, challenging to comprehend, or at minimum, to derive a conceivable rationale, for the preferred choice of bizarre beliefs and denials of belief, on the part of these devotees of Donald Trump, in contrast to their uniformly persistent denial of verified fact. In their own, irrational and undemocratic, (analogous) iteration of boxed candy samplers,” not one of their presented choices might emulate any reasonable standard of acceptability of the traditional American options, here analogously, represented by those of the venerable, Whitman Sampler.

We would choose to state our deliberated, understanding of the dynamics of the seemingly unfathomable choices by the Trump devotees, with a cursory analysis and attained conclusion.

In aid of understanding, we start with the subject of Evolution, the rejection of man’s rational, acceptance of which, cannot be objectively, based. The World’s acknowledged scientists have determined the age of our Planet, at more than three million years ( not six days before an “omnipotent,” Deity needed to rest), blood studies, anthropological and fossil proofs of fauna and flora, the instructive order, level and contextual setting in which fossils are discovered, decades of geological research and the persistence of archaic, vestigial organs in man, constitute demonstrable proof, of the universal scientific and mainstream accepted, Darwinian theory of evolution.

The irresponsible denial, by Donald Trump, of the existence and danger of Global Warming and its visibly, disastrous effects over the past decades, as well, remains, loyally and persistently, denied, by his followers; this despite the ratification of its potential for planetary destruction, by the World’s great scientists, including oceanographers, meteorologists and relevant scientists. The perturbing off-season weather, unprecedented typhoons, storms, forest fires and, even national boundary erasing, tsunamis, do not seem to attract their acceptability to the factually accurate, impending danger.

At the advent of the covid pandemic, our former, ignorant and irresponsible President, by his public disparaging remarks, was responsible for the cynical disbelief of many of his cult, of the warning of the Nation’s top medical scientists, to the effect that we were in substantial jeopardy from the spread of the potentially, mortal virus. Trump’s false downplaying of the seriousness of the contagious viral infection, led many of his followers to refrain from the prophylactic measures, universally recommended by medical profession to wear facemasks, distance oneself from others, and be vaccinated. The non-wearing of masks and avoidance of vaccination, as a defined partisan show of support for Trump, resulted, in hundreds of thousands of misled citizens, who, predictably, were infected and died.  “Dr.” Trump had initially, “prescribed” bathroom solvent and thereafter, horse warmer, as his, Whitman Sampler, style of preferences.

In singular contrast, to the loyal, unified, non – acceptance of objectively certified, fact, the Trump loyalists, regularly, maintain and defend a wide array of irrational conspiratorial ideations, all of which, we submit, might, appropriately, be pathologically, diagnosed, as paranoid. These include, bizarre ideations, such as:  the U.S. Government was responsible for the 9/11 event, as a false flag operation; that there are conspiracies to take over the country, by, the (non-existent) “intellectual elite”, or, alternatively, the “ bi- coastal liberals;” that the State of Israel launches rockets to the Earth from outer space that horse worm medicine is effective prevention against the covid virus; that an international cabal of Jewish bankers has been secretly, conspiring to take over and dominate the World; that the vaccine against covid contains intrusive, microscopic transmitters, that the communities of color, aspire to replace their fellow white Americans; that abortion, albeit, performed at the earliest stage, is an act of homicide, (since “birth commences at conception”), that same sex marriage is an unnatural abomination; that the previous, (certified as accurate and fair) Presidential election was stolen, despite its multiple certifications as fair and accurate, and with absolutely,  no evidence to the contrary, that America was intended by its founders, to be a white and Christian nation, and, most charmingly, that liberals are child abusers and sex  traffickers.

We have concluded that the bifurcation of mainstream citizens, who accept empirically certified facts, and those who immoderately reject them, yet, give credence to irrational and bizarre ideations, has a tenable rationale.  In our view, the dilemma had its origin in the many citizens who (for various reasons) chose to accept Trump’s all-out war on truth, his exaltation of the concept of “alternate facts” and his pathological approval of a tailored, reality subjectively, deemed more satisfactory.

Such obdurate denial of empirical reality, amounts to, no less than an unforgivable, and ungrateful heresy, against evolution’s sentient (anthropological) accomplishment, and predictably, destructive of any conceivable form of functioning society. The maintenance of “truth,” is the essential epoxy that binds individuals and their society.

No analogous iteration of the dynamics of the Whitman Sampler’s arbitrary, franchise, can exist in the existential human choices, between fact and selective reality, one, completely, unrelated to personal taste or circumstance.

-p.

Post # 826  THE REMAINS OF THE DAY*

The classic and enlightening, declaration of the Greek moral philosopher, Socrates that, the “unexamined life” results in a lifetime of no value, was so heretically revolutionary, in the context of the tyrannically ignorant, times in which he lived, that it led to his punishment and execution (for the alleged crime of “corruption of the youth.”) Nevertheless, Socrates, would later, justly and appropriately, be anointed the singular tribute, of being the “First Western Philosopher.”

As the readers of this blogspace are doubtlessly, aware, our ever-present, conceit, viz., “one’s lifelong, inner conversation with himself,” is an analogous, rivulet, flowing pertinently, and cogently, through the contextual stream of all our 826 essays.  Its proper flow and direction during one’s lifetime can serve as comforting reassurance that his personal conception of “self,” is consonant, with his empirical one. An inner audit of one’s personal acts and statements, objectively, reviewed in their factual context, is spiritually, analogous, to having available, the critical supervision of a candid, silent partner.

After a requisite number of years have elapsed in the lifetime of the thoughtful and introspective person, he, empirically, becomes enabled, to make privately held and useful, evaluative conclusions about himself; based upon his perceptive consideration of the nature of his past responses to analogous stimuli. Such enduring, inner, “selfie,” might indeed, serve a purpose, in addition to the crucial rendering of the enlightening, revelation of his particular persona; it also has the virtue of providing needed, guidance respecting, esoterically troubling, future choices. The universal contemplative, issue, if it were capable of intimate, expression, would translate to “Am I being really true to myself” One’s candid, retrospective review of his actions and statements, (“the remains of the day”) on a regular and idiomatic event- induced basis, is the key to realistic, self-understanding and essential to personal growth.

With regard to the vital subject of teaching young children the concept and moral value of honesty, we have thoroughly, castigated the usual, thoughtless and atavistic system of “rewards and punishments,” as constituting an irrational, morally, repugnant and ineffective, “tactical” devise for encouragement of secular and religious, morality. We have strongly, emphasized, that the only, rationally, moral and effective encouragement of proper principle and empathic behavior, is the individual’s lifelong awareness of, and desire for compliance with, his established, principled self-image, with which, the performance of an immoral act would be abhorrent and reflexively, rejected.

The development of a stable, sense of inner, privately ratified, self-image, in general, is vitally, essential, to living a contemplative and meaningful, life. It functions as a stable, point of reference, for mature perception and provides the opportunity for the rational attainment of happiness (ultimate, self-fulfillment). It is private, privileged, personally meaningful and essential, in the alignment of a lifetime of, personally examined and objectively appropriate, rational behavior, and therefore, the operational key to successful self-efficacy, security and happiness. The criteria for objective attainment may indeed, be universal, nevertheless, the salutary assurance, of their appropriate application, should be private.

The relevant criteria, despite the possible appearance of exotic, or nuanced, differences in cultural circumstance, and environment, inarguably, are universally and eternally, identical. The measure of honesty, relevant to fair business practices in Denmark, is unmistakably, evaluated by the same principled standards as in Cairo, Belgium or Cancun. The universally, acknowledged, basis of societally, accepted canons of moral human behavior, (which underlie business practices and life in general) are of existential importance, to the ultimate, success of society and to the goals of felt worth, stability, and well-being, of its members. Those who choose to eschew a lifetime of self- reflective, examination, are less likely to evidence the human, aspirational qualities of fairness and plain justice, of good fellowship, empathy and personal growth.

A well-spent, lifetime of internally reviewed and considered, familiarity with the “self,” achieved in dutiful contemplation of the remains of the day, enables stable identification, self-confidence, mature perception, and the wise use, of humankind’s brief franchise of life.

-p.      

* Apologies for the borrowed title, to the English, Nobel Prize novelist, Kazuo Ishiguro.                                                                        

Post # 825 ELECTIVE HEATHENISM

Recently, we were assigned the title, “heathen,” by a Facebook “friend.” Such attribution was undoubtedly, intended as a charge or a negative epithet, responsive to one of our published statements. The responsive effect, instead, was one of stimulation of thought on the ubiquity of “faith,” as a chosen substitute, for empirical truth, with especial, relevance to the issues of life, death and creation, itself.

We would fundamentally, raise the salient question as to whether it is useful, or responsible, to dispose of empirically, unanswerable questions, by their comfortable and facile assignment, to the existence or actions of an alleged, and non-provable, Supernatural, or Supreme Being? The universal subscription, to such useless, and delusionary, solutions have been evident, since early Homo sapiens, worshipped and anthromorphisized their existential “Sun God.”

 It is contemporaneously, enlightening to learn, that, as objective “proof” of the ultimate faith in the conceit of death and resurrection, worshippers of the Sun God, were able to reprise their Deity, from his winter death each spring, by seasonal, “saturnalia ceremonies,” giving especial homage to the evergreen tree; which miraculously lived on, in the season of winter death. The undeniable, proof of the Sun God’s death and perennial resurrection, were annually seen in the consistent appearance of the verdant spring season, with bunnies, birds’ eggs and mild weather. The foregoing, factual, observation, may predictably, be resisted by the Hallmark Card Company, and by concerned proprietors of evergreen tree farms, but does reveal the (Neolithic) precursor of the religious holidays of Christmas and Easter.  

The foundational need of society to ascribe societally acceptable answers to the unknown, ultimate questions, consistent with the cultural perception of themselves and their environment, resulted in nuanced, mythological answers (religious belief), the latter, successively, passed along in oral history, and thereafter, expressed by culturally nuanced, symbolic art and later, writing.

A quick dip into any standard encyclopedic reference will reveal the existence of upwards of four thousand divergent, religions, each asserting authenticity and numerous, adhering believers, and possessing its own “Good Book,” or some other authoritative inscription, analogous to the Bible and the Koran, of the Abrahamic religions. Every divergent belief is, invariably, possessed with its own, nuanced, holy “truth,” notably including, dogma on creation, life and mortality. It has unfortunately, appeared to be the case, that many such organizations of believers, imperiously, declared that any denial or reconsideration, of the culture’s religious tenets, is immoral and criminally, culpable.  In the Christian and occasionally in the Hebrew, contextual vocabulary, a doubter, or denier, of the traditionally accepted belief, historically, mandated by, his culture, is critically,  denominated, a “heathen;” as we have, been, as stated in our opening paragraph.

As a predictable, matter, belief in the respective, non-empirical or supernatural, versions of reality, based solely on societally, resolved, faith, would vary, for that reason, founded in differences in persona, individual experience and (especially) secular education. History has revealed the varied and inhumane innovations on the style of death, cruelty, torture and misery, which was “justly” imposed on those, capable of concluding that his society’s mythological faith was suspect. Non-believers and enlightened thinkers, who historically varied, albeit, in any minor way, thought or action, from the accepted, religious dogma, requisite to perpetuate the myths of his assigned faith, (“heretics”) were tortured, flayed alive, burnt at the stake, or excommunicated and banished from his country. The uncountable numbers of enlightened, non-believers, punished, by illustration, include such martyrs to human enlightenment as Socrates (for the enlightened teaching of the youth) on the grounds of “corrupting the young,” or Galileo, for the heretical belief that the Earth travels about the Sun (the heliocentric theory), later proposed by Copernicus. Religious belief, empirically, was not simply, a consensus of cultural, explanation of the World, to fill the gaps in human understanding, caused by the inability of Man, but a mandatory, life and death decree. Despite the understanding that religious belief is totally beholden to faith, any, albeit, minor, notion of disbelief or disparate practice was, deadly, lethal heresy.

The respective faith, concurred in, by each culture, eternally, seems to become, transmogrified, into the mandatorily, accepted and universal truth. Religious wars, seeking to impose one culture’s “true belief” on another, have constituted a shameful, but regular, part of man’s consistent history. In the European, 30 Years War, dedicated and vicious religious contenders learned the contact sport of “defenestration”, i.e., punitively, throwing” dissidents out of the windows of tall buildings in Prague, and elsewhere. Another remarkable example of ”heresy,” arising from contentious belief, to any degree, with accepted religious dogma is starkly, proven by the eternally, ongoing bloody war, between the Shiite, and Sunni Muslims. The war, which has, terrifyingly, and incredulously, continued since the 7th Century, is solely founded upon the contentious issue as to whether the Prophet Muhammad is to be succeeded by a blood relative (as in England) or democratically elected.

It is empirically undeniable, that religious zealots have, historically, sought to forcibly impose their culturally and electively, chosen, faith on others, whose beliefs are different, or on those relatively, few, who rationally, choose to accept the reality, that Mankind does not know everything, and refuse to, facilely, ascribe to supernatural explanations.

As time and scientific advancements in objective knowledge, steadily continue, many phenomena,  in the past, ignorantly ascribed to Devine causes, we trust,  will become revealed, as naturally or empirically based (like fire, thunder and lightning). We have patiently waited to see the rational explanation for phenomena, whose causation was previously unknown (and perhaps, therefore, assigned to an irrational or superstitious causation.) At the same time that we have modestly accepted the principle, that many of the answers to ultimate questions are presently unknown, but do not flatter our status as Homo sapiens by the unrealistic aspiration to ascribe explanations to every earthly phenomenon. Moreover, all, facile, Alice in Wonderland explanations, are completely, useless, and as history, unfailingly, demonstrates, dangerous, as well as, degrading to the developing human intellect.

-p.     

Post # 824 OBDURATE HAPPINESS

In the preceding ,two essays, (#822, “THE COARSENING OF AMERICA” and (#823, “EXHAUSTION”)  we dealt, respectively first,, with the observable decline in the nature of social interaction of our citizens, from one of traditional, “bonhomie,” to one of insular diffidence and vulnerability, and,  second, the feelings of frustration, in the minds of mainstream America, resulting from the recently, observed failure, of the Nation’s leaders and representatives to consistently, maintain the obligatory, acceptable, standards of civic responsibility and moral compass, which until recently, had characterized, our Republic.

The nature and extent of angst and disappointment of the mainstream American citizen, responsive to such negative changes and demonstrated failures of moral compass, would presumably, vary with the persona of the individual. Nevertheless, we have taken the liberty to express our own personal reactions, which we assume, generally, to be in accord with other like- minded, citizens, as well as  our ultimate, mind-set, which, conceivably, may not.

The title of #823, “EXHAUSTION,” was selected, with the intention to express, in a cogent and expressive manner, the universal reaction of frustration, of the traditional, American citizen,( raised up to believe in the avowed American ideals of justice, rectitude and fair play), to the plethora of undemocratic and unjust developments, of late, in the Nation. Too many American citizens have chosen to ignore the foundational mantras of equality, civic morality, and the confident, expectation of empirical legitimacy of our democratically responsive polity. The desire for wealth and continued retention of governmental position, have, in too many cases, triumphed, over civic morality and justice. The latter abomination, incredibly, has been devastatingly, accommodated, by the Nation’s highest Court, which has recently, succumbed to the historically and legal anathema of “partisan,” and “political,” and has, among its other juridical, monstrosities, strained both logic and foundational, democratic principles, in permitting large corporations to donate unlimited funds to political campaigns.

Mainstream believers in  America’s foundational principles, have been virtually, traumatized, by the partisan injustice, demonstrated by Congress, in, among other behaviors,  sucking up to” Trumpian,” autocratic, behaviors, including, “the Big Lie,” and the tactical disrespect for factual reality. They have been stunned, as well, by the SCOTUS surprise attack, on Constitutional protections (such as the “Establishment Clause”), in banning the half-century old, precedential, right of women to seek an abortion, and, yet again, in the latter’s consequential and partisan, confirmation of the ( highly profitable, self-serving)   inaccurate, NRA misreading, of the Second Amendment; permitting any, unidentified and unregistered, Yahoo on North Main Street, U.S.A., to arm himself, “to the teeth.” The horrific lethal toll for such shameful, anti-societal, misfeasance is regularly attested to in the daily press.

Our personal response to such disheartening developments, is adequately described in  #824 “EXHAUSTION” which assumedly, is common to a great many other, traditionally, oriented American citizen, viz., one of frustration and a desire to return to democratic normalcy. Our acquired perception of the nature of the classically, recurring, negative developments, however, may differ somewhat from the reaction of some others.

Initially, we would like to express our unlimited gratitude and homage to authors and poets such as, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, James Joyce, George Eliot, William Faulkner, Joseph Conrad, Walt Whitman, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Philip Roth, and so many more, talented and insightful authors and poets. These and other, brilliant writers have provided much needed, insight and perspective, on life, and on the universal nature, and  shifting persona of man. We have been, thus, fortunately, enabled, to understand that man’s foibles are classic; as are his, predictably, better times.

For the accomplished degree of our enlightened and rational thought, we would award the highest kudos to John Locke, and the other great thinkers of the Empirical School of Philosophy. Locke’s essential teaching, viz., that man is born with a clean slate, and that his knowledge is acquired solely by experience, has safely, protected us from irrational belief in non-reality, and, like a philosophical GPI, has eternally pointed us in the direction of healthy enlightenment, as opposed to atavistic, darkness. In sum, it is our developed confidence and natural optimism, derived from the life-long study of the classic, universal character of humankind, which constitutes our firm armament, a peaceful sanctuary for optimism in bad times, and contextually, a staunch basis for our “obdurate happiness.”

-p.