Monday, January 08, 2018

The Enigma of Self

At this stage of my life, I have lost many dear friends and relatives.  Such occurrences naturally bring the reality and inevitability of death in sharp focus.  In my mind, this is necessarily a good thing for it is a sobering reminder how fragile and ephemeral life is.  It is a fleeting experience that deserves my full attention.

We are hapless creatures navigating this world of humans upon this most remarkable planet.  We also spend a good deal of our lives, regrettably, operating within an imagined belief in an ordered world and universe.  In fact, much of what we conceive of as representative of reality is in fact a product of the collective human endeavor to create an environment that provides some modicum of security and predictability that is many ways, delusional.
Take for example, the role that money and consumerism plays in our lives.  Money is a contrivance; it is inherently worthless; or, rather worth the paper and ink that was used in its manufacture.  Yet money and the wealth it engenders in modern human society, appears to be everything.  Its acquisition; its possession; its utility determines, in many ways, the quality of life or at least that quality of existence that is perceived to be beneficial.  In fact, its true value is minuscule; for, money is not inherently satisfying.
The pursuit of wealth is a significant distraction from a true connection with each other and our natural environment.  We are, after all, creatures of this earth; of the soil; of the air and wind; of the stars and the greater universe.  The rest is contrivance – imaginative, creative and alluring as it may, it is, nonetheless, a derivative of the hapless human search for order and significance.  The reality is that we live moment to moment and the forward movement of time ultimately leads to its inevitable conclusion – the final termination of individual consciousness.
We might speculate about the relative importance of the quality of life that we experience as compared to those around us, and derive some kind of satisfaction regarding our own perceived worth, yet in relation to the cosmic forces that drive the universe, it is all quite irrelevant.  Simply stated, A life is a life that requires no justification or explanation.
It is the individual continuum of choices in a lifetime that either grounds us to the reality of our own existence; or, effectively alienates us from all that is meaningful.  Regardless of the path we choose; however, we are all destined to join in the joy molecular and ultimately released from self.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The New Normal

There is a new normal in America.  The myopic and deeply disturbing worldview of the current administration has magnified the xenophobic, white-centered, bigoted and violent characteristics that are so deeply rooted within the American psyche.    It has given license to a pernicious ideology that embraces white supremacy, regards foreigners and immigrants as inimical to the so-called, “American way of life” and regards violent behavior as an acceptable alternative to reasoned thinking and a legitimate search for truth.  As a matter of fact, it is truth that is the unfortunate victim of this mindset.

There is a new normal in America.  It is exemplified by the unabashed use of the big lie that is portrayed as truth.  It regards science and scientists with mistrust and regards all data that challenges the tenets of the accepted ideology as inherently dangerous.  Most disturbing of all is the implicit acceptance of periodic and irrational acts of extreme violence as a normal aspect of societal behavior. 

It was not terribly long ago that such views were collectively regarded to be somewhat benign and relegated to fringe elements of the culture.  Currently, much of the world is beginning to perceive the United States in a very different light in which its polices no longer espouse the values it once embraced.

There is new normal in America that can only be countered by the collective voice of its people.  To accept this dangerous shift in our core values is to effectively legitimize this transformation – a very dangerous prospect.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The passage of the Republican-engineered tax cut bill exposes once again an underlying issue that haunts this country and may eventually be responsible for the unraveling of the socioeconomic order of this society.

The following link addresses this issue -

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Steady Decay in Retrograde America

With the American government currently in the hands of a mentally deranged and unstable president, who appears to be a pathological liar and narcissist bordering on psychosis, and a Republican Congress determined to propel this remarkably diverse country backwards to a time when the affluent controlled all aspects of ordinary life, there is a darkness that is beginning to permeate the nation’s future.

Within such a government, wealth, power and profit subsume all other considerations including the health of the nation and the well-being of its people.  This myopic view is so extreme that even the prospects of unabetted Climate Change will not compel them to action – it seems that that the primacy of profit supersedes any concern about the health and quality of the natural environment upon which all of humanity depends.

The reins of political power currently in the hands of predominantly white males – much akin to, “the old boys’ network” -  are inexorably pushing the nation to a state in which any remnants of the social safety net would be effectively dismantled.  The rationale for such a political ideology is that without imposing draconian constraints, the nation will plummet into economic chaos. in spite of the fact that their policies and affiliations are ever-increasing the gross inequities that exist regarding the distribution of wealth.  Such behavior makes such an argument pointedly spurious.

In fact, beneath the nearly transparent veneer of economic and moral certitude, lies a philosophy that enfolds racism, white supremacy, and is surprisingly devoid of compassion with a blatant disregard for social and economic justice.

If this path that the nation is presently on is not altered by massive public involvement in the political process and the full use of our collective democratic rights and responsibility to fashion our own future, that future may, indeed, be a grim one.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

American Federal Government 2017

Since the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, an era has begun that could very well lead to the final phase of the “corporatization” of the American government and way of life.  If we are not vigilant, we could witness the effective demise of our democratic political system.  The United State government was supposed to be a government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” as so eloquently stated in President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (Nov. 19, 1863).  That goal began to erode soon after the new nation declared its independence from British rule (July 4, 1776).  The failure to live up to this commitment was made apparent when slavery was allowed to continue unabated suggesting that it wasn’t a government for all the people.  Despite this grievous inconsistency, the desire to honor this commitment to its people has heretofore remained in place and a great deal of progress has been made especially within the area of civil rights.

There are a number of built in safeguards that were instituted as specified in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to help ensure that this overriding purpose is fulfilled.  These include ensuring that members of Congress are chosen by the people to fulfill their wishes, a well-established system of law, and a system of checks and balances established to protect and serve the public good. 

Over the life of the nation, agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, were established through law in response to deleterious conditions that were the direct result of corporate overreach, negligence and malfeasance.  However, these agencies have been systematically corrupted by those interests that would directly profit from their loss of empowerment.

Lobbyists from powerful corporate interest groups have effectively subverted the will of the people by using monetary incentives in the form of unfettered campaign contributions to steer legislation and direct administrative policies that favor these interests often at the expense of the health and safety of the nation’s people.  The current government is particularly onerous; since, the President and his Cabinet have acted repeatedly to enact policies that subvert the common good.  In literally every department, leaders have been chosen whose goal is to undermine the very authority of the agencies that they are in charge of.  Their one guiding principle seems to be the unfettered pursuit of profit and the further enrichment of the powerful regardless of the actual and real cost to the nation and its future.  In fact, I believe that the current administration is probably the most toxic and woefully ignorant government in the history of the United States.

It is my contention that this kind of government will be short-lived; for, the simple reason that there are far too many smart people who recognize the difference between enlightened, well-reasoned and balanced government and the profound idiocy of the present leadership.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Human World in Disarray

As the number of human beings populating planet earth continues to grow resulting in greater pressure placed upon the resources necessary to sustain twenty-first century human existence; as the climate of the earth is changing and deteriorating as a direct result of human activity and as human wealth continues to be concentrated in the hands of a very few of the world’s people, acts of irrational and crazed violence are growing at an alarming rate.

Living in the so-called, “developed world,” we have become accustomed to expect that life will provide us with a wide range of comforts and ever-expanding opportunities for enjoyment and fulfillment that is far in excess of the expectations of billions of our fellow humans. 

Primarily due to the time and place of birth, vast numbers of our species are subjected to a life of constant turmoil, violence and hardship denied access to the essentials that we naturally take for granted.  Within the limited boundaries of such an existence lies a trying and shortened existence. 

The peoples of the developed world choose to remain oblivious to the price their affluence is exacting upon those less fortunate by siphoning both wealth and resources from much of world.  Ironically, the most telling example of this is the fact that in order to sustain the lifestyle we have grown accustomed to we are producing an over-abundance of greenhouse gases that will ultimately negatively impact the entire human population regardless of place of origin or economic status.

Unfortunately, and tragically, all of this extreme suffering is unnecessary.  Life is a fleeting experience and one that should be cherished and appreciated.  Nonetheless it is all too often squandered in the myopic pursuit of self-interest at the expense of the common good.  We could live in a peaceful and harmonious world if only we could regard everyone as our equals and deserving of meaningful and fulfilling existence.  After all, there is certainly an abundance of intelligence, resourcefulness, creativity, ingenuity and skill within the human community to confront and overcome the problems that we all face as human beings on this most remarkable planet.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Regarding the Notion of White Supremacy

The current president of the United States is remarkably transparent in his affiliation with white supremacists and the enshrinement of the “ideals” of this movement.  It is this worldview that a disturbing number of Americans actually embrace and also explains the irrational and blinding hatred that so many felt towards the presidency of Barack Obama.

The movement embodied in white supremacy is particularly dangerous for it gives license and justification for true believers to indulge in violent acts of aggression when confronted by the reality of the absurdity of this worldview.  Beneath the self-righteous fa├žade of those who profess unwavering adherence to the white supremacist dogma lies a strong and compelling inner sense of inadequacy and personal failure.  This movement constantly reassures them that their personal plight can be blamed on the encroachment of inherently “inferior” non-whites into their lives.  They are, therefore, not to be held personally accountable for their choices.

History has repeatedly demonstrated that white supremacy, as embodied in fascism, is remarkably self-destructive on account of the preeminent loss of reason and the its tendency towards exceedingly violent behavior.  The fact that a significant number of individuals have aligned themselves with this ideology should be a cause of grave concern; for it is a path that necessarily leads to social chaos and disruption that stymies human progress.

If we truly wish to encourage the causes of peace and human harmony as a people, we need to wholeheartedly reject white supremacy in all of its manifestations.