Post # 808   ASCRIBING GUILT: “ORIGINAL SIN”

`               It has been equally terrifying and satisfying, to take note of the many media accounts of individuals, incarcerated for decades, who are, ultimately, found to be innocent of the relevant crime by the utilization of new, scientific techniques, developed over the years in the crime lab. The earlier techniques, fingerprints, footprints and later, blood analysis, have advanced to include such factors as DNA analysis and other chemical and biological techniques. Contemporary, Statutory criminality, unlike earlier, criminality, can thus, be validly, attributed with science. History, by contrast, reveals an uncountable number of horrendous, human atrocities, by man against others of his species, only revealed, by educative reason and objective reading of factually validated, historical sources.

Errors in the just attribution of guilt, empirically, are, unfortunately, numerous and eternal. In an earlier essay, we take issue with the “Original Sin” conceit of many western religions. In our view, as has been observed, the choice of Biblical language, in this instance, is the “DNA” indicating the error in the very concept of Man’s universal sin, for which he is, responsibly, tasked, religiously, with lifetime repentance.

Adam (primitive) man, accompanied by his mate, early woman (Eve), come to the “Garden of Eden,” where they encounter the forbidden, “Tree of Knowledge,” on the bough of which, a snake lies coiled. The snake (“serpent”) induces Eve to give Adam an apple, which he sinfully, eats. Thereafter, the couple, as “punishment,” for the “eating fruit from the forbidden tree of knowledge, (“Original Sin”) are banished, forever from the Garden of Eden.

Any student of classical mythology is doubtlessly, aware that a snake (“serpent”) was the eternal symbol of fertility (possibly, a “Freudian” reference). It does not require much of a stretch of the imagination to, accordingly, see the snake (fertility) coiled on a bough of the “Tree of Knowledge,” as representing, mental fertility, or the capacity for self-awareness. Adam, thereafter, discovers his nakedness (awareness of self) and the first couple was, as punishment, banished, from the Garden of Eden (ignorance), forever. Is the acquisition of self-awareness, or the ability to reason, sinful?

 Moreover, the myth’s relation that Eve offered the apple (knowledge) to Adam has been perceived by us as an extremely laudatory assertion (to women) that Homo sapiens’ capability for intelligence, or awareness, was, originally, given by women to man. It is, nothing short of uncanny to note, in this respect, that women, like the Greek, (Prometheus), were thereafter, punished, as the bringer of knowledge to Mankind, in the latter case, by the general award of secondary status.

However, empirically, objective, instances, suitably labeled, “Original Sin,” historically, do exist, which, are in bright contrast to those that are mythical or Biblical. Empirical depictions of truly, venal, “Original Sin,” are shown for example, by the many revelations of mistreatment and cruelty, historically, and eternally, practiced, against indigenous peoples, in our nation, as well as elsewhere. It is an ineradicable blemish on the human persona, that such unspeakably, immoral and devastating acts, are perpetrated against vulnerable, or minority people, with the confirmation or disinterest of the dominant population.

Our Nation, the land of liberty and freedom is, forever charged, with the instances of kidnapping of uncountable hundreds of indigenous American children from their parents and families, to live in military barracks and be converted to “civilized,” Christianity.  We read and hear heard about, critical, r drug and alcohol use by such people, but eschew any understanding, of the acts of destruction of their supportive, venerable and stable culture by religiously, biased, Evangelical Christians.

Our Nation can also atone for the cruel, tragic and prejudiced, acts of displacement of peaceful Native Americans, from their ancient, arable lands of Southeastern United States, to territories thought, ”more suitable for redskins,” viz.,  the windswept non-arable plains of Oklahoma. Such wrongful displacement, referred to in the literature, as “The Trail of Tears,” resulted in great suffering, many deaths, and the uprooting of the culture and societal foundations of an admirable and self-sustaining people. This historical wrong may be also includable, in the misused phrase, “Original Sin.”   

During the halcyon days of the British Empire’s, Rudyard Kipling and Queen Victoria, the “civilizing” program, ethnocentrically, and evangelically, called, “The White Man’s Burden,” represented the reductive misunderstanding of the culture of many productively, peaceful, indigenous peoples and led to the decimation of their historic cultures. Belgium, Spain, France, Portugal, as well as America, have historically been, among such, sinful offenders. If there, conceivably, were any utility to the bizarre and empirically, irrational phrase, “Original Sin,” these arrogant, ethnocentric, nations, would justly, and deservedly, be entitled to its, censorious application.

We are responsibly required, to include in the list of wrongdoers who qualify for the subject phrase, those Americans, who kidnapped innocent, black human beings from their traditional homes in Africa and elsewhere, commercially separated their families, and, unforgivably, robbed them of their lives and humanity, for many generations of cruel chattel slavery. The full and just expiation, of this, American. “Original Sin,” unhappily, still seems to be a work in progress.

-p.

Post # 807 GALLERY CITY

It was just a same old, same old, pre-dawn, weekday morning in Gallery City. Marshal Artz,  so as not to awaken” Prudie” (Prudence), his wife of thirteen years, slid, stealthily, out of bed to perform his quotidian, morning duties which, importantly, included, switching off the two large, revolving searchlights on the roof, de-fusing the four landmines, strategically, located in the lawn, checking the ammo on the spring gun in the backyard, turning off two, of the four, home alarm systems and warming up his camouflaged, Humvee, for his later commutation to work.  

After breakfast, he, dutifully, reminded Prudie of the City Council Meeting, late that afternoon and the possibility, that he would be a little late coming home. As customary, Prudence woke the son and daughter, Audie (named in honor of military hero, Audie Murphy) and Annie (named in memory of Annie Oakley), for morning family muster and chow (breakfast).

At breakfast, Prudie, found it necessary to admonish the children for goldbricking in the performance of their morning assignments, lest they miss the daily, armed, military personnel carrier that takes them to school. After breakfast, Marshal kissed Audie and the children, holstered his loaded, Glock, and mounted his Humvee for commutation for work. The two children, dutifully  wearing their school-issued steel helmets and Kevlar jackets, from their, “Remember the Alamo,” High School,  waited for the armed personnel carrier while Prudie, quickly and securely, locked and bolted all of the doors and windows of the house, in time to be picked- up, for food shopping, by one of supermarket’s fleet of armored jeeps,

At the conclusion of his busy workday, Marshal, employed as an assistant chemist, at Ivermectin Laboratories, LLC, and an elected City Councilman, lost no time in proceeding to the meeting room of the Special Session of the Gallery City Council; the irregular meeting called to discuss the issue of the proposed purchase of a large, military howitzer, from the U.S. Defense Department, to, defensively, stand guard at the City entrance. A hotly contested issue had been raised, by certain, loudly objecting, Council Members, who preferred, as protection, the acquisition of two military-grade rocket launchers, to be defensively placed, at each of two entrances to Gallery City. The kernel of the contested issue was not financial, but rather the argumentative objection, that the howitzer’s single-shot canon, however devastating in impact, would not be as effective a defensive a deterrent, as the rapid multi-firing, rocket launcher. Marshal, a responsible husband, telephoned home, to indicate that he would not be returning for the family’s usual dinnertime. After a grueling and heated, four-hour debate, the parties reached a consensus agreement, to a military howitzer, one rocket launcher and four daisy chain land mines (viz., two, surface mines, undetectably, buried at each City entrance).

As extensively, reported in the Wistful Times, exactly, two months following the expensive purchase and installation of the defensive equipment, (as approved, officially, by the City Council),  the Wistful community, on a certain, Wednesday midnight, experienced a sudden and shocking, Hiroshima- size explosion, at both of its guarded entrances. The shock waves from the huge and unexpected, fiery explosion, as well as its thick black and gray fumes, were felt and seen, respectively, throughout Wistful City, itself, and, as well,  the surprised and traumatized, neighbor, the historic, and peaceable, indigenous Village, of “Sesame Y. Knot.” It was concluded, after investigation, by the City Council that it was the movement of squirrels or opossums, of which the area has a plentitude, must have set off both sets of mines, which were installed just beneath the surface, causing all of the ordinance, including the pile of howitzer shells, to ignite and explode.

It may be interesting and instructive, to note that the neighboring Indian Village, is known to have, eternally, lived in peace and safety, employing, as (rarely) necessary for its protection, simply, bows and arrows and the occasional long spear, throughout the history of its many centuries of residence.

Two weeks following the occurrence of the awesome fiery explosion, the City Council, appropriately, sent a delegation to the neighbor, the nearby, indigenous American Villagers, bearing gifts and expressing profuse apology for the effects, of the dangerous and horrific experience. The Chief and, leader, Wise Old Owl, was gracious and forgiving and had generously arranged for a sumptuous meal, for the delegation of City Councilmen, together with his own, extended family. During the deliciously prepared main course, consisting of sweet wild duck and fire-roasted vegetables, Marshal, could not resist, asking the wise, old and empathic Chief, a question, which had perseverated in his consciousness. “How can it be possible, that you and your tribe, with only bows and arrows for protection, have resided, for so many generations, in safety and peace; while we, with all of our protective ordinance and advanced military weapons, are not safe?”

The elderly, wise Chief, smiled and replied, somewhat condescendingly, “The threat of danger, all too often exists, as you painfully have learned, by the existence of, “protective” weapons, and their asinine and reductive, possessors.”  

-p.

Post # 806  ON VOLTAIRE AND VEGGIES

We would refer to Voltaire’s, satirical novel, “Candide,” read, decades ago, as college freshmen. In the plot, the protagonist, Candide, experiences crushing, disappointment upon, painfully, learning by experience, the complete fallacy in the (Leibnitz’s) optimistic philosophy, taught to him, by his childhood tutor, viz., “It is the best of all worlds,” and, “Everything happens for the best.”  At the conclusion of the novel, Voltaire portrays the miserable and defeated, protagonist, exhaustedly, as exclaiming (Voltaire’s lesson) that man should (just) “stay home and plant his own garden.”

At the time, we summarily dismissed Voltaire’s pessimistic advice, which served to negate our then, virtually, “Quixotic,” mindset, anticipating our bold, yet untested plans, for significant future contributions toward a more morally improved and societally advanced, mankind. We were dismayed, at age eighteen, at the pessimism of the great philosopher, and, reactively, questioned the purported greatness of his reputation as a referenced thinker. We, did also, subtly, speculate somewhat, at the remote possibility, that Voltaire’s pessimistic view was worthy of acceptance, and whether he was, in reality, sadly, declaring a sage, and empirically, analytic conclusion.

As time and maturity evolved, we became apprised of a profusion of unsavory periods in our National history and, unhappily, as well, in contemporary, society, and were, to a degree, prompted to understand and give proportionate acknowledgment to Voltaire’s pessimistic, observations. However, we did not, as Voltaire advised, “stay home and plant our own garden” (vegetables); albeit, apprising ourselves of certain empirical, negative phenomena, attributable to humanity and its less than perfect, innate persona. Fortunately, we were, also, greatly relieved to be enabled, by experience, to perceive, as well, a great many positive, uplifting, and admirable features evinced by man’s societal behavior.

On our Nation’s perceived, negative, side, the declarations, “that this is the best of all worlds,” and, “all things happen for the best,” are easily disproven, by its historical record of, enslavement of black people and the slow and contested, contemporary efforts toward universal equality, by the persistent, existence of its violent, Nazi-style, White Christian Militias and their sympathizers; by the existence of a vast number of inadequately, educated and ill- informed citizens, the latter, proven vulnerable, to demagogic influence and, accordingly, evincing  acceptance of instructed, “alternate facts” and delusional ideation, in derogation of metaphysical truth; by the inability to regulate its overabundance of firearms, despite countless instances of horrific shooting tragedies; by its angry divisiveness and partisan roadblocks to progress, in the attainment of universal equality, including, (unconstitutional, religious) prohibition of women’s natural authority as to their own bodies,; by widespread lack of concern, regarding environmental issues, including, global warming, and further, by selfish opposition to immigration (in a Nation, populated 100% by immigrants and their progeny).

Yet, on the positive side, weighed against such negative phenomena, specified above, are, many idealistically, positive features of the Nation. These include programs of compassionate capitalism, freedom of speech, and peaceable action, progress in civil and gender rights, citizen voting rights and the attendant dynamics, of a representative democracy, a steadily improving justice system, concern for safety and health, as declared in labor, food and medical regulations, a National Constitution,  limiting the rights of the federal government to interfere with the basic rights of citizens (Bill of Rights), schools, universities, professional schools and other institutions of learning and advancement, libraries and museums, hospitals and clinics, concert halls and other institutions of aesthetic experience and growth.

In the philosophy (of Leibnitz), satirized in Candide, it seems to us that the most egregious error is its, all-encompassing, universal generality, painting all human experience and the world, itself, in bright, Pollyannaish colors. A great deal of the World’s phenomena, good and bad, are not subject to human control. Among the good, are, rain, breezes, sunlight, and change of seasons, flowers, sun and moonlight; and bad,  global warming, windstorms, frigid weather, floods, landslides, disease and volcanic eruption. When the satirized philosopher, Leibnitz, declared that it was the “best of all possible worlds,” we shall dare to assume that he was not referring to the natural phenomena.

With specific reference to Leibnitz’s satirized philosophy that “everything happens for the best,” to the extent that it relates to human character and behavior,” we, as an empirical matter, need not require Voltaire’s, brilliant, literary novel for critical instruction. However, the philosopher’s chosen, symbolic recommendation, to “stay home and plant your garden,” understood, in its usual, literal meaning may have some practical and realistic merit.  

-p.

Post # 805  SLAUGHTER ON MAIN STREET

We would take the liberty, at the outset of this writing, to pose some pithy questions. What is the persona of a young man who, fully dressed in body armor, brings guns to his town’s elementary school (grades two to four), and intentionally, kills (nineteen) little children and a schoolteacher? What, indeed, is the essential character of a Nation that possesses a far greater number of firearms than people? What is the moral compass of Congress and the many State Legislatures that do nothing to ameliorate the many replications of such tragic events, as the above referenced, school shooting at Uvalde Texas, and similar tragedies, at venues such as Columbine, Park Lane, Sandy Hook, Buffalo and so many others? Why do analogous shootings of peaceful American citizens and their children, take place, at public spaces, like supermarkets, parking lots, streets, parks and jogging trails? Why are the school shooters, usually, teen-age males? Why, disturbingly, and shamefully, do such horrible events occur fifty-seven times more often in our country than others? Why does our Congress, unconscionably, persist in valuing weapons of war, above human life? It all seems, bizarre and incomprehensible.

Reports indicate that in the year ending 2021, mass casualty shootings in our Nation totaled, six hundred and ninety-three and for the previous two years, six hundred eleven, and four hundred seventeen;   despite the fact that, eighty-five percent of Americans favor gun registration and regulation. In the context of our representative democracy, the situation seems, logically, and empirically, questionable.

Since the partisan (Republican Party), reading, of the Second Amendment was approved by the Supreme Court, viz., that every American has the right to own and use weapons, the rich and powerful gun lobby has, joyfully, experienced great financial success, and the vulnerable American citizen and his family, have experienced terror and tragedy.

 Accurately read, in the context of the relevant period’s history, the Second Amendment, was intended to inscribe a negotiated settlement of an early, hotly contested, dispute, regarding the issue of the desirability of a central (Federal) government ( the Federalists) versus independent State rule (State’s Rightists). The hard fought, historical, settlement, affirmed the establishment of a Central government,(Federal) and, as well, left the individual States independent but permitted, respectively, to have standing militias (“the People”), the latter to have the right to bear arms. Our once, revered Supreme Court incorrectly, and irresponsibly, gave gun interests, the franchise to reap great profits at the evident expense of the imperiled American citizen. Scores of politically, motivated and improper rulings by the much-diminished SCOTUS, relative to other issues, were to follow.

The fundamental problem is that the gun issue has inappropriately, and essentially, become political and partisan, as sadly contrasted with the inarguably, relevant and vital matter, of citizen safety. The Nation’s paramount issue of the life and welfare of American citizens, was, shockingly, overridden, (“Trumped”) by, undemocratic political, and money interests; supported, largely by the Republican right, whose influence has, unhealthily, metastasized to the majority of the current constituency of the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is no less than, shamefully, irresponsible, that nothing to ameliorate the problem has, to date, been done, by Congress, regarding the issue of easily accessible, guns in the hands of the wrong people. It is, empirically, evident that such inaction is perceived as an implicit government endorsement of unregulated firearms ownership.  As was said by the late, poetic, Ellie Wiesel, in a slightly different context, “The opposite of love, is not hate, but indifference.” In the context of this writing, we feel that the absence of respect for life is money’s influence on political ambition and humanistic morality.

What can a rational person conclude, about a democracy, respecting a Nation, in which a vast number of voters favor the regulation of firearms (in Governor Abbot’s Texas, it is reported that only 18% of the voters oppose background checks), and yet, their elected representatives, selfishly and irresponsibly, act otherwise, in their financial, or political, self-interest, in favor of special interests?

We are at the present, apprehensively, awaiting yet another, predictably, partisan (Republican) political travesty, founded on analogous, political ambition and selfish disregard for the welfare of the citizen. The political gurus seem confident, in their prediction that the current politically tainted, SCOTUS, will, similarly, responsive to special interests, overturn the settled, half-century, precedential, decision, in Roe v. Wade, which constitutionally and legally, assured to women the natural and basic liberty to make, medically safe, decisions concerning their own body.

It is ineluctably clear, that our contemporary, problems are not founded, specifically, on the issues of the propriety of guns or of abortion, per se, but arise, fundamentally, as a by-product of the selfish ambition, greed and irresponsibility, of many of our political leaders and lawmakers.

-p.

Post # 804 A SPRINGTIME BETROTHAL

Last Friday’s edition of the local newspaper for the tiny hamlet of Wistful Vista, Vermont, (pop. 186),  carried a notice of the betrothal of the town’s endocrinologist, Doctor Hugh Fingerstick, to his former high school squeeze, Elvira Swine, the latter, his nurse of forty-two years. Notably, as reported in the Village Newspaper, this will be the fourth marriage celebrated between the parties; the seemingly, indecisive, couple has been previously, married to each other, and mutually divorced, three times. Both are a healthy, chipper, 82 years of age.

The lavish wedding ceremony, as reported, is to take place, June 12, 1:30 P.M., rain or shine (guests are advised to bring sturdy umbrellas), at the large batting cage of the Wistful Vista Little League Field, located behind the Village Hall. The location was specifically, selected for its symbolical significance, in the optimistic hope, this time, of a late-inning, successful and enduring, outcome.

The newspaper further stated that, as a practical matter, there is scant expectation of a significantly large turnout since most invited (and still surviving), guests, have previously, been through the analogous experience, no less than three times; but, perhaps, most notably, since the bride, has resolutely, announced that she, despite, popular, negative advice, is planning to wear her new, platinum blond wig, recently purchased by her at the beauty counter of the local Walmart, for the occasion.

Their only child, (born of their second marriage), Ms. Willa Swine Fingerstick, is expected to attend. It may be remembered, that Willa is known to be an academic professional, teaching, as full professor, the didactic course, “Baroque Barnyard Architecture,” at Southern Jejune University, and additionally, the renowned author of the naturalist textbook, “The Sex Life of Rock Lichens,” as well as a  best-selling and incisive, action- sports- romance novel, ”Ping Pong Marriage.”

The Village newspaper announced that the pastor, to preside over the wedding, is to be, Dr. Carlos I. Yonosay. The Reverend is an accomplished, Biblical Scholar, long affiliated, with the prestigious, Community Church, “Our Lady of Rare Indiscretion,” located in the adjoining township of Sesame Falls. The wedding sermon, as advised, will be entitled, “A Bridge Too Far.” The sumptuous wedding feast is to be catered by the local, recently sanctioned and now re-opened, Wistful Burger King, and is to take place, following the nuptials, at its recently, renovated and expertly, fumigated, franchise store.

At an interview of the groom, conducted by Wistful Newspaper’s, society columnist, Ms. Shirley M. Nosey, The groom, prudently, declared: “Couples should allow themselves, ample time to know each other.

The soon to be, newly (re-) married couple, has joyously, announced plans to spend the entire, ten-day honeymoon, at the posh, freshly painted, art deco style, screen porch, located at the rear of the groom’s, longtime, residence (sporting the blond bearskin rug, lava lamp and the newly upholstered, leather,” hot pink” colored swing).

Guests have been advised, that no presents are expected for those who have generously, provided the couple with wedding gifts, for no less than, two, of their previous, three, wedding ceremonies. As announced, the appropriate dress is entirely, optional, with a sole and specific interdiction, regarding soiled, blue jeans. Music, for the wedding procession, and dancing will be provided by the much celebrated, six-man, rock group, “Spastic Colon.”

With the exception of guests, planning to attend the wedding, patients of Dr. Fingerstick,  are encouraged to” lay off” sweets, cake and soda, until he re-opens his office in eleven days. 

The entire Wistful Vista Community wishes the redundantly loving, bride and groom, great happiness and, ultimate, decisive finality.

-p.

Post # 803      ON HEALING AMERICA

Commencing with our attainment of that level of maturity, requisite to the objective perception of the history of the Nation into which we were born, we, albeit, first-generation offspring of European immigrants, have eternally, felt a derivative sense of guilt, regarding America’s period of inhumane enslavement and mistreatment, of black human beings. As we expanded our experience, we were able to discern the plethora of instances of unequal and immoral, treatment of people of color, as, contrasted with “white” members of society. Due to the happenstance of being born, with more melanin in their skin, their future, in this” land of the free”, societally and otherwise, would be, destined to undergo personal challenges, to which we, and other white citizens, are exempt. This automatic exemption, acquired, solely and reductively, on the involuntary happenstance, of our birth with light skin color, is, generally, and acceptably described,  as “white privilege.”

One, understandably, may cultivate a personal sense of innocence, based upon his, inarguable, absence of participation in such hierarchical and unfair, mode of interaction; and, indeed, may deeply despise it, as an atavistic and purely, evil, social phenomenon. Nevertheless, all American citizens, of moral rectitude, it is submitted, are dutifully and responsibly, taxed, with the moral obligation to oppose the existence of prejudicial and cruel behaviors, and to actively, seek universal equality, as inscribed in our National mantra.

Instances of immoral racial inequality, are, unfortunately, legion and readily, observable in matters, such as housing and home purchase, employment and job promotion, finance (including mortgage financing), educational opportunities, health services, brutal police treatment, the justice system, social and residential exclusion, tactical denial of the Nation’s history of slavery, real estate red-lining, interference with minority voting, and, in its more vapid insensitivity, “flesh-colored,” band-aids.

The epitome of anti-American, racial and religious bias has, too often,  been publically demonstrated, by the right-wing extremist groups, known as  White Christian Militias, whose Nazi-style, false propaganda and violence are bitter, nostalgic, reminders of Messrs. Hitler and Mousseline. Their mindset is a paranoid and psychopathic belief, and desire, to eliminate (kill) all individuals who, with the alleged, tactical assistance of wily Jewish advisors, are intent on replacing white Christians them and the established Christian American Nation. Their delusional belief is that “White Man’s Survival,” depends upon the elimination of People of Color. This conspiracy ideation, in common with other lunatic conspiracies, is clearly, insane, and delusional, but also factually skewed. The Founders clearly, articulated, their express, intention to establish a secular (not a “Christian”) Nation and, one, benefiting from, and affording equity to, a foreseeable, diverse, population of citizens, i.e., “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”  In addition to their paranoiac, delusional ideations, these Nazi, look-alikes, violently, pose an existential threat not only to minority Americans but as well, the ultimate survival of our Democratic Republic.

In addition to the personal, moral aspiration of “color blindness,” Americans, notably, white American citizens, have the moral responsibility to ally themselves with their fellow black Americans, in active and affirmative opposition to bigotry and privilege, and in favor of America’s promise:  universal equality and mutual, inter-racial and ethnic, citizen, brotherhood.

It appears to be no longer sufficient, for the ethical white citizen, to, merely, to be “in favor” of universal equity and civil rights. When appropriate, he, as a mainstream American, is morally obliged to, clearly and emphatically, give voice to his principled rejection of racial and ethnic, prejudice,  and anti-democratic screed.

-p.

Post # 802  TERRA FIRMA: Boundaries

The assertion of exclusive ownership of land or “territory,” ownership, individually or tribally, undoubtedly, was one of Mankind’s earliest conceits. It is our assumption that pragmatic considerations of accessibility, safety, availability of natural resources, such as food and water, were among the criteria for desirable domiciliary selection. It would seem likely, that the choicest sites, generally, were allocated, to the more powerful or influential members of the resident tribal society. It is our further presumption that in stationary society, (as compared with nomadic ones), such respective designations of home sites were recognized by members of that society, and were coterminous with its existence and/or the lives of its occupants and their progeny. Our present thematic consideration relates to the metaphysical context of societal recognition of individual assertions of title to real estate ownership.

Initially, it may be useful, to refer, to an earlier writing, concerning the sad story, of our two pear trees. To summarize, we received, as a present, in the late fall season, two “bare root,” (no soil) pear trees. Planting season was two seasons away, but we “miraculously,” were able to keep the precarious, bare branches alive by keeping them moist and very cold (by an open window). We, optimistically, planted them in the spring and, were delighted that they “took,” and thereafter, survived the winter. However, despite their planting in close proximity for pollination purposes, they did not flower for a full eight years. The ninth year they did present white flowers, but only produced one pear (which, for fun, was ceremonially, shared and eaten.) The next (11th) year they flowered and, happily, bore a small amount of fruit. In Spring, of the twelfth, year, the white flowers being profuse, we arrived at our country house, having purchased a long fruit harvester implement, expecting, at long last, a full, bumper crop of pears, only to find (with the impact of a classic Greek tragedy), that beavers, from the nearby pond, had  chewed down and completely, destroyed both trees.

As we recall, following some pitiful and frustrated, expostulations, we soon were successful in the attainment of a rational evaluation of the experience. The beavers, of course, were properly, doing, that which beavers normally, do, viz., cut down trees, for food and hut building. “Our” trees, indeed, our basic concept of owned property, is, obviously, beyond any cognition or relevance to them. In fact, we soon arrived at the metaphysical conclusion that, from the viewpoint of the natural world, it was not “owned,” by anyone. The ceremonial real estate “closing,” at which papers, were signed and notarized, and funds transferred, was a dance, to which the natural world was not a party. We then came to discern, that, other than to knowledgeable human beings, the utter irrelevance of the established, legal process (of “closing”) of real estate conveyance. Empirically, real estate, with all of its trees, rocks and shrubbery, like all the planet, eternally was, and remains, notwithstanding, the proper domicile and operating franchise of the natural world and its non-human inhabitants and no officially executed documents can make it otherwise.

With the exception of compliant humankind, all of our established and cognizable boundaries, are illusory or perhaps, delusional. Birds, sea life and animals, migrate, heedlessly, as needed, throughout the planet, without fear of trespass or awareness of man’s (time-changing) borders, expressed, assertively, by  the latter, in assertive lines on periodically changing, political or proprietary, maps.

Nevertheless, from what is discernable from Paleolithic times to the present, human land ownership, has been the signature of wealth, power, political and societal legitimacy. In the early days of our constitutional republic, despite its mantra of equality, only (white) men who owned land were afforded the voting franchise. American society, fortunately, has significantly, evolved, and, among other, salient advances, the right to vote is deemed personal, and not dependent upon the ownership of property.

With our embarrassed, and profuse apologies to the Earth’s fauna and flora, Man’s lust for the (recognized illusion) of land ownership as a criterion of prestige and power, has been a recurrent human pathology, and his entire history appears to be smitten with the horrific epidemic of land wars.

The recent barbarous and unjustified land war, launched by Putin’s, Russia on peaceful Ukraine is a striking example of this chronic human pathology; for which we, on behalf of the entire family of Homo sapiens, profusely, and with great shame, apologize to Man’s fellow inhabitants of the planet, including all beavers.

-p. 

Post # 801         PANARMAGEDDON

The Book of “Revelations,” added to the New Testament in Central Asia, (96 CE), reportedly, is the product of “John of Patmos,” a creative, over-zealous, adherent to the Christian dogma. It recites the punitive, “End of Days ” to be imposed by the Deity, featuring, among its horrific conceits, many nightmarish participants, including the Four Horsemen and fear-inspiring, red-horned beasts.

In the selection of this essay’s title, our intent was not to, imminently, predict the “final days,” of our Nation, but to alarmingly, indicate that its basic philosophical, tenets and foundational structure, are observably, in the perilous process of existential erosion. In the familiar context of a “representative democracy,” such as ours, both the people and government are mutually contributory, to its nature and quality; nevertheless, we have elected, for the purposes of clarity and emphasis, to treat them separately. Thematically, it has been our personal estimation that the hyperactive, contemporary, anti-democracy interests are unwittingly, thereby [see: 657, “American Lemmings”] providing, as well, for their own civic suicide; if democracy’s roof were to cave in, the debris will fall on them, as well.

The political architecture of the American government, prudently, designed by our prescient Founders, was so construed that each branch of the tripartite, government, Executive, Legislative and Judicial, was granted the right, and duty, to veto (“check”) any other, for abuse of power. Such constitutionally, protective, and mutual supervisory policy is commonly, referred to, as “Checks and Balances.” 

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches)

[Executive] The steep decline in stature, of the historically, august, Office of the American Presidency, following, one term in office, of the ignorant, incapable and immoral Donald J. Trump, may be difficult to resurrect. President Joseph Biden is hampered and beset by a large horde of cultish Trump supporters in the Federal and State legislatures, radicalized, sitting State governors and most ominously, a large, population of ignorant, reductionist and bigoted, citizenry. From our viewpoint, Biden appears to be doing a competent job at governance, but is hampered, by this “Trumpish” cult, including, most perniciously, a number of racist, anti-Semitic and anti-democratic, militant organizations, identified as, “White Christian Supremacists”.

It is extremely frustrating, that, inconsistent with the Nation’s avowed standard of universally equal justice, Mr. Trump, has been shown to have committed numerous serious criminal acts, (inclusive of treason and incitement to insurrection, in his autocratic attempts to, overturn the certified results of a democratic election), which are undeniable, having been viewed, publicly, on television. Yet this, celebrated, egotistical, miscreant continues, Teflon-like, free of legal retribution and is, quite shockingly, expected to run again. The Nation’s ignorant, “underbelly,” seems, threateningly, and disgracefully, to possess a measure of decisive influence as to who, and what is appropriate to our Nation’s highest office.

[Legislative] (Senate and House of Representatives) A large number of vociferous, right-wing, Trump- loyalist, legislators, appealing to such numerous “underbelly,” by their loud and, raucous objection to universal equality, lack of respect for democratic norms, ignorant and reductive opposition to mainstream traditions, and preference for convenient, “alternate facts,” including false, conspiracy ideations, have caused many Democratic, legislative representatives to fear for their own re-election. Consequently, rather than dutifully, supporting legislation, pursuant to their solemn oaths to defend democracy, and, responsibly, represent the interest of their constituents, have self-interestedly, and irresponsibly, supported, anti-democratic, bigoted, right-wing, positions. One, shameful, but illustrative, example is their tactical opposition to gun regulation, in contradiction to the will of their constituents, and despite the fact that schools, houses of worship, supermarkets, playgrounds, streets and private living rooms have, tragically, become killing fields, for militarily armed psychopaths.

 Nevertheless, we choose to repeat our (themed) view, that the destruction of the American way of life, would, ultimately have an equally, devastating effect, on the lives of such perpetrators.  

(JUDICIAL)  [SCOTUS] The third, Judicial, branch of the designed government, headed by the highest Court, the Supreme Court of the United States, SCOTUS”) was established, to settle the Nation’s disputed legal issues and thereby, create a uniformly, referential, National precedent. Consistent with the constitutionally, mandated, “Separation of Powers,” the high court was forbidden to adjudicate cases that contain any political nuance, whatsoever. Parties with legal controversies sought to be accepted and adjudicated by SCOTUS, as a mandatory prerequisite, were taxed with successfully, proving the complete absence of legal implications in the matter, by a prescribed, formal proceeding, known as a “Writ of Certiorari.” 

With some notable and unfortunate exceptions, (ex., Dred Scott case), SCOTUS, the designated, avatar of a conceptual fairness and impartiality, was highly revered, for its performance, fulfilling  America’s need for settled, and precedential Law, free of any partisan interest. This was admiringly true, in any event, until the sea change, following the Bush v. Gore case, in the year, 2000. The constitutionally restrictive, non-political discipline of Scotus, by that, inarguably, political, case seemed to usher in a devastating decline, of that previously austere and reverenced institution, to the far lesser status of a perceived, political and partisan entity.

The zenith of such recent decline and historic downgrading, of SCOTUS, was attained in the “Citizens Union” case. The decision in that case, undemocratically, magnified the perverse effect of money, donated by wealthy interest groups, on voter democracy, by removing all restrictions on corporate donations to political candidates. This ruling, inarguably, worsened an already existing, undemocratic trend, whereby large donors might money skew elections in their favor.

 In addition to this impactful injury to representative democracy, the so-called, High Court, “justified” its undemocratic decision by reasoning which would not hold up, even in a local Small Claims Court.

The Court, bizarrely, ruled that corporations, legally, were “people,” so that any restrictions on campaign donations would violate their constitutional rights, including, free speech. This specious and, and inapt reasoning, revealed the irrational and unprecedented, lengths to which the recently, constituted, SCOTUS would now go, to justify a partisan cause. Most business people, and, certainly, every law school freshman, know that the legal reference to corporations, as “persons,” has reference only, to the ability to enter into contracts and, generally do business, in the corporate name. It has historically, and consistently, been restrictively defined, and legally treated as a “legal fiction,” enabling an entrepreneur, operating his business in the corporate name, to protect himself, thereby achieving  permissible, “limited liability.” If every law school freshman knows this concept, does it not, inarguably, follow, that the eminent Justices, sitting at SCOTUS, knew it, at least as well?

It has eternally, been the law that the legislatively, created, “fictional,” commercial entity of the “Corporation,” was a practical, legal “fiction” since its conception by the Victorian, English Parliament,  (which America continued) for the purpose of granting, “ limited liability,” to encourage business investment and, avoid the times’ extant, English debtor’s prison, in the event of insolvency. It was never legally, intended, that the corporate “person” be vested with any of the rights or character of humanity.

The Citizens’ Union case drove a deep, partisan wedge into the American foundational, concept of equal and representative democracy. SCOTUS, at present, additionally, seems to be poised to drive such a deeply injurious spike, into the, publically accepted, half- century old, Supreme Court, legal precedent, insuring the personal rights of women to make decisions regarding their own pregnancy; a  partisan violation of women’s liberty, one, in blatant derogation of the Constitution’s “Establishment Clause.”

(THE PEOPLE) It is our view, that such contemporary, challenging alterations to the Nation’s previous salutary governmental structure, and the general decline in tenor and quality of its supporting institutions, are essentially, founded in empirical changes in the character of the American citizenry; or, more specifically related to our theme, a significant, ignorant and unwittingly, suicidal number of that population.

We had for some time, assumed that the recent challenges to American democracy were directly due to the immoral influence of that orange-horned Armageddon monster, Donald J. Trump. More recently, however, we have rather concluded, that said disreputable and incapable creature, was elected, because he was perceived as reflecting them, in their ignorance, biased mindset, and  lack of moral compass, including, rejection of the existential reverence for society’s existential, concept of “truth.”

We, as other mainstream, traditional, democracy loving citizens, have been troubled in our awareness of such large horde of right-wing citizens, who denigrate education, intellectual and aesthetic advancement and republican democracy itself; and who, atavistically favor race and ethnic prejudice, anti-immigration policies, gun ownership, repression of women’s liberty, censorship of education and books, and autocratic government control.

We find ourselves, regularly informed of shocking acts of racial and ethnic homicide, committed by the legions of White Christian militias, on the paranoid, delusional and psychopathic ideation, that the communities of color, allegedly, managed by ” influential and devious Jews,” are intent on “replacing” “their” “white Christian Nation”, with non-whites and immigrants.

Their mission is as dangerously, pathological and delusional, as it is un-American and criminal. A relevantly, empirical and intriguing fact, additionally, is that the Biblical accounts of Jesus, certify him as Jewish, Middle Eastern, and non-white. Moreover, the Founders expressed their wise, mutual, and secular intention, as they famously, articulated, not to refer to a Deity, in our Constitution. We were never, intended to be a Christian nation, but rather, a unified, national combination of diverse peoples, i.e., “E Pluribus Unum.”

We have arrived at the fundamental realization that the true scope and expanse of the problem, goes far beyond the level of political differences or disputed issues. It has metastasized to an existential, life and death, universal, battle for all American citizens, regardless of party affiliation, for the continued existence of freedom and democracy, as an alternative to repressive, Putin style, autocracy.

-p.

Post # 800   OUR LATTER DAY AXIS ENEMIES

History wasted little time in its, emphatic, demonstration that the popular slogan, assigned to the First World War, “The War to End All Wars,” was, realistically, naïve and Pollyannaish. In a matter of two decades, Germany and Italy, with Japan, (“The Axis”) instituted the devastating, Second World War.

Although the United States and its Allies were successful in defeating said autocratic enemies of freedom and democracy, such consequential events lent further credence to the empirically, derived conclusion, that Mankind’s inclination to conflict was a chronic one and a permanent blemish on his innate persona. Subsequent international conflicts, such as the Korean and Vietnamese Wars, were additionally, probative of that pessimistic, but historically, empirical, conclusion.

Yet, more insidious and devastating, than international conflicts, are internal (intra-national) wars, not the least of which was the Civil War; an American 19th Century colossal tragedy with far-reaching implications, metastasizing its societal suffering to today’s extant, chronic pathology.

In the years following 2000, the citizen, began to experience an American Nation, engaged in a domestic, “Cold War,” between (a) mainstream American citizens, with adequate, to advanced education, ardently, supporting the tenets of the U.S. Constitution, and the American traditional institutions, (making slow, but steady, progress towards the avowed goal of universal equality), and (b)  witless citizens, who, in ignorant, insecure and cultish, lock-step with Donald Trump, would denigrate the existential, importance of factual “truth,” universal citizen liberties and, in suicidal, lemming- type behavior, ostensibly, favor the establishment of autocracy with a racial and ethnic hierarchy.

We have, with great concern, deliberated upon such divisive and alarming National developments, and have set forth, for the consideration of the reader, a summary of our, resultant, personal views as to the attribution of such mindless and parochial inclinations, within the selected context, of three, concluded, causative, categories: (1) The “smartphone,” (2) Covid-19 and (3) the widely, misused internet.

  • [The Smartphone]: Readers of this blogspace are, undoubtedly, familiar with our view that the regular use of the cellular smartphone, is a foolhardy surrender of the natural pleasure of personal, or telephone interaction,( featuring the benefits of interactive conviviality, recognition of personal nuance, spontaneity of response and the comfort of socialization), in an unwise, exchange for the speed and convenience of a hand-held, small appliance. Such device replicates, in computer-like symbols, the message of the caller, but necessarily, lacks conviviality, expressive emotion, timeliness, nuance, comforting personal recognition, as well as spontaneous expression and timeliness of response. Such minimal exchanges are formally denominated, “conversations,” but, in reality, constitute unsatisfying, ersatz interactions.

The ultimate result of such separate, one-party transmissions has been loneliness and introspection, rather than mutually shared, personal experiences.  It is today’s general feelings of loneliness and isolation, that provide the neurotic background for personal insecurity, and often, ultimately, mindless, “groupthink,” characterized by its loyal, unthinking and militant, divisiveness with other such blocs and individuals, of divergent opinion.

  • [Covid-19]: The Covid pandemic had, and still, has, momentous implications, not limited to its pathological implications, the latter, including the potential of mortality. The direct effect of the societally defensive, response, necessarily, was an up-setter and destroyer, of existing societal norms and long-held, societal expectations. Its salient and most impactful, non-medical harm was caused by the necessary prophylactic, but societally, devastating, curtailment of social interaction. We have often declared that social interaction is the epoxy of society. We might, indeed, more accurately, have declared that social exchange between known individuals is society. The mandatory avoidance of contact with others, in combination with the instructed, universal public wearing of dystopic- appearing, and expression- negating masks, makes strangers of neighbors and friends, and unmercifully, stymies social contact and interactive expression, The worst effect, reportedly, is the impact upon young children, who have, observably, suffered from the significant social and psychological impact, of unnatural isolation from playmates and schoolchildren, and the deprivation of healthy developmental growth and social maturity, normally derived from such interactions.

The effects of virus-related interruptions in adult routine, in family and employment, were so fundamentally impactful, that we see a cogent possibility that individuals, long after the exigencies of the pandemic have become irrelevant, will not resume them. These prominently include commutation to, and performance of, employment responsibilities at their former office or other places of employment.  As is the case with smartphones, the pandemic, effectively, demonstrates that social and physical separation of the citizen from his normal associations, results, among other problems, in an unfamiliar sense of singularity, loneliness and divisive vulnerability to influence, by demagogues and tactical inciters of belief in “alternate facts,”  inclusive of delusional, conspiracy ideations.

  • [The internet]: [N.B.: We exclude from this critical essay, the legitimate writings and literary essays, the research facility, factual content and the several usefully, informative, applications for which the internet is beneficially, known. Our critique is, relevantly, limited in application, to the public dynamics of a “Facebook,” or similar function.]

The necessarily created, disturbing and vulnerable sense of personal loneliness, and the consequent, protective, coarsening of the Nation, as observed above, was, and is, in sync with, its impactful effect on the citizen’s personal use of the internet; the rare, remaining facility for inter-personal communication  [supra., (1), (2)]; such nuanced use of the Facebook function of the internet, itself, playing a major role in the Nation’s exacerbated, divisive, character.

The isolated citizen, in his resultant insecurity, is empirically susceptible to misinformation. Having few or no communicants, and little or no personal resources, with which to test its validation, subjects him to the facile and irresponsible, transmission of falsity and gives voice to widespread political extremism and conspiracy ideation. All manner of claims of alleged government conspiracy, the universal spread of tactically, intentional, or imagined, misinformation, regarding any subject, person or class of persons are freely, publishable, without editorial scrutiny. Social media thus, unrestrained and unedited, contributes to the ignorance, reductive prejudices, hatred and divisiveness, and, at times, the anti-social behavior of the Nation’s citizenry; especially vulnerable, are those who are insufficiently, educated and poorly, informed.

The readily discernible, common denominator, applicable to these three, component, axis of existential danger to our democracy, is the impactful factor of isolation, voluntarily chosen, or mandatorily, imposed, on the individual citizen. It is plausible to assume that, after the many eons since the advent of Man’s experiential election to live in society, he confidently, thinks and performs best, when his individuality and self-worth, are regularly, confirmed through the dynamics of his association and communication with others.  

One suggested way to ameliorate such challenging condition of the Nation, might be, to construe “virtual” meeting places, regularly scheduled, social occasions, at which citizens can healthily, interact and thereby, recover their previously established, self-image and mature perspective; suspended during the stubborn persistence of the Covid virus. At such occasions, one, conceivably, might recollect the personal pleasure and self-confirmation of personal human interaction and naturally converse with each other, as contrasted with un-social, mutual transmissions to each other’s hand-held, digital appliance.

-p 

Post # 700 (poesie) THE EMANATION

Down and deep descending, into head-bumping dark
To a putrid, chamber, dingy and cold
He was led, by the somber-civic- townsfolk
No tactual door, nor windows nor walls,
No North, South, East, West, just gloom
His knees badly shook, as if distempered
He sensed boney frailty beneath his trembling robe
Thus abandoned, he resolutely awaited mortality.

His bent elbow then met an unseen switch
The room soon lit, it freshened and warmed,
Windows and high clerestories did appear
He could now discern, a continuous shelf, with
Titles like, Paine, Hume, Darwin, Erasmus
Soon came blue-sky, verdant fields, leafy trees
Nature’s vista, lit by its empirical solar magic–
The holy emanation of Human Enlightenment.

-p.
Leonard N. Shapiro, 5/8/22