Wednesday, March 15, 2017

We are at Risk

We – humans – have a formidable task ahead of us. I believe the species is now at a crossroads in its development. In my estimation, at no other time in its relatively brief history on planet earth is it absolutely imperative to be “smart.” We have momentous decisions to make that revolve around the rather simple yet daunting question – “What kind of world do we want for future generations of members of our own and other species?” – we are at risk

We are all fragile creatures with a brief lifespan. Collectively, we need to think and act beyond the often-stifling bounds of “place” and embrace all of humanity; for, we exist in the same lifeboat on this wondrous planet that has no particular concern for whatever destiny awaits us as a consequence of the continuum of choices we have made in the past and continue to make in the present.

At its best, science seeks to uncover the true nature of things and is global in form and texture. For that reason, it is humanity’s beacon. We need to come together in support of seeking knowledge and using whatever we discover to benefit those who are destined to follow us.

Collectively, if we choose to ignore, discard or close our minds to the truth about ourselves and the natural world, we do so at our own peril.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Heath Care in America - A Prognosis

I have provided a link to a Kaiser Family Foundation Report on

the Key Facts about the Uninsured Population in the US. This report details the advances made by so-called "Obamacare" (legislation he should be proud of) during its lifetime. We are about to see all this go away and be replaced by a "health reform bill" that will most likely have a devastating impact on the poorest of us. Once again profit is placed above all other considerations. No matter that many men, women and their children will be terribly impacted by the fact that they will no longer be able to afford adequate health care. Is this kind of country we want where longevity is determined by one's economic status?

This change is being brought about by government leaders with a bankrupt social and political philosophy who are apparently devoid of human compassion and have no real connection with ordinary reality. The enactment of this bill will have disastrous consequences for no good reason. It will bring with it untold and unnecessary human suffering.

Unfortunately it will be but the first of an entire series of changes that will bring us collective grief foremost among them the unrelenting impact of unfettered use and development of fossil fuels on the natural environment.

In order to sustain this "idiocy" these leaders are mounting an assault upon truth itself; for, they understand that real data is their worst enemy.

I am disheartened and sickened by the stark reality that reveals so much about the national character. I wish us all the best of luck in these coming years. Stay engaged and stay focused.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Future Revisited

There are many possible futures we can envision for ourselves and, more importantly, for our children.   As sentient beings in this remarkable country on this beleaguered planet, we seem to have chosen a President, his name Donald Trump, whose vision, if it becomes reality, would effectively lead us to a society bleak in character, conformist in attitude, devoid of compassion and imagination, full of hate, bigotry and intolerance and prone to indiscriminate and senseless violence.

This view of the future does not come from my own imagining but directly from the ideas expressed by the man himself and espoused by those who follow him.  This deeply disturbed, lonely and essentially unhappy human being – apparently devoid of even the most elemental compassion and humility - has on various occasions and in the starkest of terms –
  • Belittled the appearance and character of those women who had the temerity to oppose him
  • Attempted to berate and mimic the physical behavior of the disabled over which they have no control
  • Stretched the truth to the point that it has become a poor representation of its former self
  • Maligned the entire religion of Islam whose numbers exceed one and one-half billion people
  • Effectively fashioned undocumented migrants into the primary domestic enemy of the American people to be feared and persecuted as essentially less than human.  He has vowed to get “rid of them all.”
  • Has suggested using violence against those who oppose him
  • Alluded to his own self-congratulatory sexual prowess and inherent manliness
  • Represented himself on numerous occasions as the one person capable of fixing what is, in reality, not even broken.  He has never suggested that he is even capable of error and responds to any suggestion that he may have been mistaken with childish hostility
  • Attempted to humiliate those whose intellect far overshadows his own
  • Made a mockery of science especially in regards to climate change and envisions no place for science within the purview and authority of his position as President.
  • Expressed a vision of fortress America surrounded by “impenetrable” walls and buoyed up by an over-inflated military that will effectively diminish if not obliterate the ever-disappearing social safety net.
As sentient beings in this remarkable country on this beleaguered planet in the midst of the 21st century, do we really want such a future for ourselves and our children where the natural environment will eventually expose our collective neglect and put all of humanity at risk?

Do we really want a future for ourselves and our children where a two-tiered society will be very much in evidence in which a very small percentage of the entire population holds almost all the wealth and wields all the effective power?  This reality is not far from fruition – all one has to do is to examine the actual statistics and the current economic trends.

Do we really want a future for ourselves and our children where conformity and intolerance represent the ideal and there is no compassion for the many who suffer needlessly – the homeless, the sick, the deeply impoverished, the hungry, the mentally ill and all who do not fall within the favored whiteness of the “chosen?”

Do we really want a future for ourselves and our children within the boundaries of a Police State where our borders are secured from all incursions?  Such a society will become, by necessity, absent of imagination, bereft of the truth and beholding to the darkest aspects of the human character.

Do we really want to live in such a place?

I am profoundly convinced that love, compassion, intelligence, reason and generosity of the spirit are the best politics and represent the route to our true salvation.  Without these qualities in the forefront of our intentions and our collective imagination, we are all truly lost.

Monday, January 23, 2017

This Retrograde Presidency

Donald Trump had managed to convince a near plurality of voters to elect a presidential candidate who never disguised his intention of moving the country backwards to a darker era of the nation’s past.  Now that he his president, those who voted for him should not be surprised at the cabinet he has chosen, and those he has assigned to provide him the advice he needs to make momentous decisions.

Neither should they be shocked by the actions he intends to take to propel the national government to a time when power was deeply entrenched within the domain of white males; when corporate power controlled all aspects of American life; when the central government played no role in regulating the influence, policies and reach of the powerful; when the natural environment was not considered in the formulation of public policy; when diverse opinions were regarded as essentially irrelevant; when civil rights and human rights had no place in the national discourse and when keeping the population as ignorant as possible - especially in the realm of science - was seen as a necessary tool of governance.

For the most powerful nation on the planet to move in such a direction in the 21st century is an astounding prospect and is deeply troubling.  There is no time like the present for all of us to awaken to the inherent dangers of these political developments. 

Friday, January 06, 2017

Men of Power

Yet another cold, lonely and exceedingly frightened man
will assume leadership in a divided land,
frightened by the realization that
in his quest for power and prestige
he sacrificed the capacity to love,
frightened that
for a bit of gold dust and
possession,
too much was lost,
frightened by the dreams
that haunt him, and
the power he must assume
but cannot command,
beneath all the bluster
all the witless vehemence
lies a small and inadequate
human being
hollowed out by his own hatred.

He is not alone for
the world is filled with such men
deadened to the reality that surrounds them,
deadened to themselves,
digested alive from the inside
by the venom they produce
and the bitterness they entomb
within their withered spirits.

We should mourn for them,
sympathy is not made easy by
the unnecessary suffering, they engender.

The Problem of Choice

A human lifetime Is marked by a compendium of choices all bearing their unique and particular sets of consequences.  The kind of choices that are made can be trivial or profound and the consequences can range from the benign to inspired or at the other extreme, disastrous.  It is these choices and their consequences, intended or otherwise, that shape the character and substance of a lifetime.

In my thinking, there are essentially two kinds of choices – those that involve decisions made in regards to some aspect of the external environment i.e. the choice of career, deciding on a life’s partner or what kind of car to purchase and those that are made internally purely within the domain of the self.  I would like to focus my attention on internal choices for, I feel, that these are the most important kinds of choices an individual does make over a lifetime.

Life experience and personality have a way of interacting and shaping attitudes and philosophical world view in infinitesimal ways over a wide and expansive gradient of values.  Each of these ways represent particular choices.  For example, an abusive father may well steer his strong-willed son into an adult with mean-spirited attitudes, but not necessarily; for, a particular set of choices have to be made to produce those particular resulting attitudes.  Similarly, even within the most benign and peaceful environments, individuals may react violently against the world that surrounds them.  There are, after all, many interactive and complex variables involved within the domain of the human mind.

As sentient beings, humans always have the capacity to counter the dynamic forces that shape the individual; this ability has been demonstrated many times in the lives of people on their personal journeys.  Every waking hour within the conscious mind, a continuum of choices is being made.  As individuals, we can only hope for the best possible outcomes.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A View Towards the Future

Currently (circa 2016), human societies are in a state of disarray around the planet; many of these societies are in an apparent state of severe crisis engulfed in wars of aggression.  These disturbing developments have no simple explanations: the history of humanity cannot be summed by using some Star Wars-like analogy where it is simply a universal struggle between good and evil.  Usually, those who propose such a simplistic explanation conveniently find themselves on the side of the good and never consorting with “bad guys.”

Historic developments are shaped over time and ultimately reflect the internal struggle that confronts all individuals – the fragile and volatile nature of human consciousness as it navigates through the real world and attempts to make sense out of reality and find a suitable place within it.  This internal struggle involves the tenuous integration between two aspects of consciousness that are embedded within the architecture of the human brain – the lower brain that is the seat of the stark and explosive emotions and the upper brain that is the source of intelligence, the capacity to reason, the ability to analyze complex situations, the inclination towards love, compassion and harmony and ultimately the drive to find solutions and to progress.

Worldwide it appears that human societies are highly conflicted and that the apparent differences between peoples have been so magnified and amplified that violence and senseless aggression are commonplace.  This reality has, of course, been a common denominator throughout human history and is more the rule than the exception.

Overshadowing this unfortunate aspect of the human condition, however, is a far more ominous reality and that is the ineluctable unfolding of the consequences of climate change.  This should be the pivotal concern of the human species; for it will ultimately determine the survivability of humans on planet earth.

In my mind, the choice is clear.  Either humans begin to perceive themselves as individuals of the same species that spans all countries and continents and become determined to work together to salvage the natural environment we all depend upon or choose to remain mired in the differences we impose upon ourselves and others concerning religious, racial, ethnic, political and economic differences.

This choice will determine the future of humanity  No amount of wishful thinking or religious sentiment or allegiance to any particular economic or social system will temper the natural environment as human activity continues to upset the delicate balance that has permitted humanity to live and prosper for thousands of years.  To remain fractured by differences, to squander way too much precious conscious time within the restricted and confining prison of the lower brain is to consign future generations to a dark and ominous future.

Currently, the possibility that the human species will save itself through united action motivated by the desire to compromise, collaborate and find intelligent solutions to real world problems seems rather unlikely; we do seem to be hopelessly inclined towards petty and trivial pursuits, confined by oppressive and self-defeating belief systems and inured to violent aggression as a means to settle differences.
 
But, change is always possible even of the seemingly radical variety.  There are a multitude of voices in the world that constantly attempt to remind us of what we, as a species, are truly capable of if only we would awaken to the better aspects of ourselves.
I remain hopeful that we will collectively come to our senses and rediscover the majesty and magnificence of this place called home and will become enlivened to action and make this transient journey called life all that it can be for everyone.