Monday, December 31, 2007
Reading a James Carroll article is like listening to Miles Davis. It's very rewarding. It is awesome how he can put into a 700-word article so much meaning, as it is with Miles Davis putting so much musical meaning in 32 bars of improvisation.
If you could ask time about time, the answer would be a question in return: what's time? There is no such thing in the real world as chronological time – the arrow of time; time as with light, it just simply exists.
“New Year's is the joyful celebration of all that has ever transpired anywhere, aware of itself now in you.”
Happy New Year,
New Year's brooding
By James Carroll December 31, 2007
WHAT IS MORE worthless than the ripped off page of a calendar? Indeed, what is more brusque than that act of ripping off? On New Year's, you start over with a new calendar, and the fresh pages, each with its day or week or month, are innocent and beautiful. You move through time by sullying each page, tearing and discarding it. In the black-and-white cinema of your mind, a locomotive forever chugs along its tracks, while in the foreground, the pages of the calendar flip by, into the wind. Is that all there is to time?
The trouble with the image of time as a calendar with pages to be torn and tossed is that it can reinforce your general feeling of disconnectedness, as if the events of life cohere no more than one page does to another. All that stands between you and the cinder pile of history are a pair of staples. You, too, are a mere page on the calendar, and the dull roaring in the back of your head is that locomotive, bombing into the unknown, with no relationship to what it leaves behind. No relationship, finally, even to you - unless, of course, you are the train. Past, present, and future are nothing but a set of unchosen tracks along which you move, picking up speed - leaving behind the litter of what just happened. This is time experienced as mere chronology, one damn thing after another, and then it's over.
The benign brooding of New Year's suggests another way to think of time. The Greeks distinguished between chronos and kairos, one a railroad track spanning the surface of life, and the other, say, a spiral winding down into the depths of wisdom and true knowledge. There is chronological time, with its detritus, and there is contemplative time, where nothing is lost. The first depends on the skill of forgetfulness, while the second nurtures a feeling for the past through memory. To the first, the future is the next surprise; to the second, the future is familiar, because the past and the present prepare it.
The word contemplation has a Latin root, suggesting "time with," as if in contrast to chronology as time alone. But the "with" here is not merely social. Contemplative time is time in which connectedness is perceived as essential. There is no fully human knowing unless it is knowing "with"; knowing, especially, how one experience links with another. The connection is what matters, and in contemplative time, the connection is what shows itself. As the scientists tell you, there is homo sapiens, the creature who knows; and there is homo sapiens sapiens, the creature who knows that it knows. Who knows "with." And "knowing with," of course, comes to us from Latin as conscience.
That double knowing is the realm of meaning. It is what you live for, and why you aim to move from mere chronology to contemplation. The first is episodic, with events following each other as if randomly. The second is dramatic, with events joined not by mere sequence, but by causation. In contemplation, where you perceive the "with" in time, you see that the past, present, and future flow into one another not accidentally, but as choice flows into consequence, which flows into a new choice, and an ever-larger consequence. In the spiraled knowing of contemplation, you see that choice is the seat of connectedness, which makes time the realm of morality, as well as meaning. You grasp your part in the simple wholeness of all that is, a part defined by freedom and responsibility. The episodes of your life, therefore, are not discrete pages to be discarded one by one, but form a moral unity, the purpose of which is to be understood. Every day you have lived has been preparing you for this day - the fullness of time. Kairos.
The timespan of Earth stretches back across thousands of millions of years, with the cosmos stretching farther back through years without number. Your lifespan is less than a blink of the eye of time, and so, for that matter, is all of humanity's. The law of chronology suggests that, on such a scale, what you make of the turning calendar means nothing. But the law of contemplation is otherwise. Today, the previous span of cosmic incomprehensibility adds up in the sum of your thoughtfulness. New Year's is the joyful celebration of all that has ever transpired anywhere, aware of itself now in you.
James Carroll's column appears regularly in the Globe.
© Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Anyone who has read The Creature from Jekyll Island by Edward Griffin will instantaneously relate to this video. It's a long video, 47 minutes, so set the time necessary to watch. To comprehend it's message it must be watched multiple times, especially for those who are not familiar with Griffin's book.
Paul Grignon's 47-minute animated presentation of "Money as Debt" tells in very simple and effective graphic terms what money is and how it is being created. It is an entertaining way to get the message out.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Chris Hedges informs us “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.”
War has the same psychological effect on patriots, as any sporting competition has in success and failure, winning and losing, on the fan. When hostilities begin, patriots rally around the flag, regardless of whether it is right, wrong, moral, or immoral. The idea of losing always has its attendant shame and disgrace. In Iraq, everything is hunky-dory as long as there is a sense that America is winning; when there is a sense that we are losing, there is a need to bring the troops home.
For those who are the combatants’, “war forms its own culture.” Chris Hedges explains, “The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug, one I ingested for many years. It is peddled by myth makers, historians, war correspondents, filmmakers, novelists and the state -- all of whom endow it with qualities it often does possess: excitement, exoticism, power, chances to rise above our small stations in life, and a bizarre and fantastic universe that has a grotesque and dark beauty. It dominates culture, distorts memory, corrupts language and infects everything around it, even humor, which becomes preoccupied with the grim perversities of smut and death. Fundamental questions about the meaning, or meaninglessness, of our place on the planet are laid bare when we watch those around us sink to the lowest depths. War exposes the capacity for evil that lurks just below the surface within all of us.”
War is archaically evil. We must create a new way of thinking and make necessary changes so that violence is no longer appealing. Chopra tells us, “War has become a habit. We reach for it the way a chain smoker reaches for a cigarette, promising to quit but somehow never kicking the habit.” However, Chopra also tells us that peace has its own power, and our task now is to direct that power and multiply it one person at a time.
Peace Is the Way challenges each of us to take the next leap in our evolution. You aren’t asked to be a saint, or to give up any belief. You are only asked to stop reacting out of fear, to change your allegiance from violence to peace. ... Violence may be innate in human nature, but so is its opposite: love. The next stage of humanity, the leap which we are poised to take, will be guided by the force of that love. This is more than a hope or an aspiration. It is a new way of being in the world, giving each individual the power to end war in our time.
We must provide the leadership and be mentors for peace, creating memes for the evolution of peace.
Peace is the way. Do not let war be the force that gives us meaning, peace can also be the force that gives us meaning, for it is the natural way. Just as war forms its own culture, so can we create a culture of peace.
It is a new way of thinking.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Monday, December 24, 2007
Those who are wise understand that all experience of sound, touch, smell, taste, sight, and perception are a result of chemical reactions and their interactions that occur within each one of us when sensations are experienced. The fruition of being from non-being in our world only works by way of life within our particular law of physics, which yields the dimension in which we live. And, so, it is only by being that non-being can be contemplated, and that a new way of thinking can be known. An unknown lies beneath our surface reality that may never be fully known, but we must be cognizant of its existence and continually endeavor to understand its ultimate reality.
The fruit rather than the flower are the concern of the wise. Each one of us must decide what it might be that we seek: the outer world flowery trapping of material and object value that comes to fullness first, or the fruit that comes from consciousness and the unknown ultimate reality that is beneath that is apprehended by the flower of knowledge and understanding.
The cosmos and all living things are formed by being, shaped by our creation of environment, and as a result nourished by virtue; the being from non-being. We are responsible for all creation, its direction, and for its health.
Morality and goodness are the result of this understanding. There are things that transcend our outer world reality that are the essence of the cosmos and of all life. We create all there is from this unseen reality. Ultimate reality lies in consciousness, the absolute, in which there is an absence of desire and wanting; within the parameters of this understanding, evil does not exist. Evil is the result of created desire and wanting. We create evil; morality and goodness are innate.
The efficacious, good, beneficial, and powerful force of the absolute ultimate reality is the natural way, in that all things are born of it. This is where the God of all resides.
Monday, December 10, 2007
“… what really endangers the United States today. Arguably, the single largest threat to national security [world peace] is the growing gulf between desperately impoverished peoples [ not only impoverished or poor, people with a loss of self-esteem, but indigent in many other human ways: for an example, the availability of a simple glass of clean water] and those who have what they need to live [only in the sense of affirming, and promoting equal political, economic, social, and civil rights; it does not mean to simply give them money to make them economically equal]. What is the Pentagon budget to that? Environmental degradation is also a massive national security threat. How do aircraft carriers help with that?”
Moreover, I might add, how do we develop an alternate source of energy and make a transformation for domestic purposes to include in that transformation an alternate to oil dependence a fuel for an M1 Abrams or a F-16 Fighting Falcon, or for that matter any of the other military assets that need gasoline, naphtha or kerosene to operate? How does this figure in our reluctance, seemingly (our postulations and desire seem only to be rhetorical), to find an alternate for oil? What would be the cost of transformation to another energy source for our military? Would we have the same capabilities or diminished capabilities? I am not an engineer, obviously, but in reality can it even be accomplished?
In a previous life, an incarnation where I was somewhat belligerent – a time when I thought war was probably necessary -- I operated an M47 Patton tank. It took a ton of diesel to fill it -- around 230 gallons. I would assume that the M1 Abrams is more fuel-efficient than the M47, which was manned by a five man crew and whose firepower utilized 90 mm rounds (weighty in and of themselves, and carried on board at full battle readiness 70 rounds) and a couple of machine guns. Nevertheless, the M1 still must take a ton of fuel to operate. It just makes me wonder how oil calculates into our need for hegemony in the Middle East, and, as a result of that need, the premeditated, preemptive Iraq War. Why our belligerent posture toward Iran? And, please don’t tell me it is because Saddam was a bad man as the reason we are in Iraq, or that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is another Hitler (the same rhetoric was used for Saddam) and needs to acquire WMD’s to dominate the world, therefore there is a need for regime change in Iran. It’s not complicated -- “It’s the oil, stupid!”
I agree that maybe the single largest threat to national security is the growing disparity between desperately impoverished peoples and those who have what they need to live. However, it is not the only threat, the need for oil as an energy source may be, arguably, the largest.
If you do not agree, please let me know.
James Carroll's column appears regularly in the Globe.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I thought the message was a good message and so I summarily forwarded the mail to friends and family. However, a good friend had a different take on this parable.
My friend’s email reply: “I appreciate the idea of sharing and taking care of loved ones. There is however some facts that I would like to draw your attention to. Observation over long periods of time concerning human behavior tell us in no uncertain terms that human beings are property acquisitive.They like to acquire all types of property. If you prohibit them from doing so they die. Unfortunately, you see, people are selfish. You may not want to acknowledge that fact but nonetheless it is true. Ann Rand spent the better part of her life trying to show the world that the great civilization that has come into being is a result of the accomplishments of selfishness. Galambos had a great way of illustrating this idea. He hypothesized a situation where two brothers inherited equal amounts of substantial wealth. One brother was an ‘humanitarian’. The other brother was a very selfish individual. The humanitarian brother decided to give all his money to the most needy people he could find. He and his brother had inherited 100 million dollars each. He did a study and turned up 10000 of the most needy people he could find. He gave them each 10000 dollars apiece. A very few invested the money. Most went on a buying spree and spent the money in short order as you can probably imagine. This action put them right back in the condition that they were in the first place. The other brother, being a very greedy selfish person, decided he was not satisfied with his inheritance. He wanted much more. He thought about it and decided that the thing for to do was to do research and find out what the market place would want to buy from him. He finally settled on a product. He acquired production facilities, hired workers, and went into business. Gradually his business increased and he expanded and hired more workers. After awhile he employed 10000 people. These people earned their pay year in and year out. They also earned something else. They earned their self-respect. Now the question is ‘Who is the real humanitarian?’”
There are many values: materialistic values – those values that have monetary value, which is the inference in my friend’s email, the philosophy of materialism of which everyone is familiar; object value – those values that people adopt in egocentrism, narcissism, and idolatry, and are coexistent in the adoption of material values; spiritual values – those values that are colloquially more closely related to religion, as opposed to the authentic relationship to the new paradigm of consciousness; and, then there are human values that attempt to put into balance all of these values in such a way that it benefits the evolution of consciousness and the world environment within the dimension that we live.
Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” is an outstanding metaphor for people helping people, although I am sure that his definition would not be the same as mine. The principle of the “Invisible Hand” should be interpreted beyond the economic scope of its meaning to include those things that people do to promote human values. The “Invisible Hand” principle incorporates material value, object value, and spiritual value into the values associated with human values, which benefit life and not the pocketbook or self-centeredness. It is the concept of the “Invisible Hand” that is metaphorically represented in this story.
I am deeply interested in economic principles because, as by example in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and Human Action by Ludwig von Mises as well as on the Ludwig von Mises website, of their close praxeological relationship with human values.
Galambos was one of those selfish individuals of whom the tale speaks. Galambos first came on the scene in the late 50’s or early 60’s, died in 1997, and he or his heirs have not accomplished anything to promote any human value, except for those things that have material and object value. Galambos or his heirs have not even benefited their own cause, except monetarily, because of their selfishness due to intellectual property concerns. It seems they want to keep their grand plan for society a deeply held secret.
Galambos was correct; we never help anyone by simply giving them money.
It is people, such as …
· Jesus Christ (not the bible, but the historical Jesus)
· Henry David Thoreau
· Ralph Waldo Emerson
· Mohandas Gandhi
· Albert Einstein
· Martin Luther King, Jr.
· Noam Chomsky
· Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev
· Dr. Helen Caldicott
· Jimmy Carter
· Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
· Muhammad Yunus
and so many others, who are the authentic humanitarians.
Andrew Galambos or Ayn Rand have not intrinsically contributed one iota to benefit humankind, except for those bent on avarice.
Monday, December 3, 2007
— President Dwight D. Eisenhower,
Farewell address, January 17, 1961
This monition of President Eisenhower clearly has not been heeded.
Americans, as far as I am concerned, have embraced the policies of Bush, Cheney, and their cabal. They have signed-off on the doctrine of the Project for a New American Century.
It has not been until recently that Americans have rebuked these policies, and only now, because their perception is that we are not winning the war.
It seems Americans will accept war, torture (but only by America, of course; everyone else would be scolded), suspension of habeas corpus, and give up their freedoms out of fear. Fear that we are not winning the battle, whether that is a war, immigration, or something else.
A fear carefully manipulated by our present government, as well as all previous governments. A real fear, imagined or created to garner support for some impending action they intend to take – Adolf Hitler creating a fear of Jews is a prime example.
For those who may be a naysayer, just look at history. Three examples, but there are so many more: Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, suspended civil law and enacted martial law, imprisoning 13,000 Americans who were simply practicing their right of free speech and freedom of assembly supposedly guaranteed to them under the Constitution of the United States of America; between 1942 and 1945, the U.S. government forced more than 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes, farms, schools, jobs and businesses, in violation of their constitutional civil rights and liberties, incarcerating them in internment camps; the Bush cabal Patriot Act with the issuance of National Security Letters, their policy and practice of extraordinary rendition and torture, the initiation of an illegal preemptive war, and now Senate Bill 1959 to Criminalize Thoughts, Blogs, Books and Free Speech Across America under the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act.
What is surreal is that the law has passed the House on a vote of 405 to 6, and it is now being considered in the Senate.
Do not take for granted that at sometime, somewhere, when you least expect it that this law will not apply to you.
Please consider these links for information:
Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act.
Senate Bill 1959 to Criminalize Thoughts, Blogs, Books and Free Speech Across America
Thursday, November 15, 2007
When man first met man, it aroused fear, ambivalence, and then curiosity. Curiosity led to social binding, even though there was no clear way of communicating. That first meeting was intuitive and came solely of the sense one had of the other -- a telepathic interaction; an interaction that was the result of the very essence of consciousness. This first interaction was completely void of any associative material value or objective value consideration. It was purely subjective. At some point, man met woman, or woman met man, and the inevitable resulting copulation was the progenitor of the human race.
After the first copulation, all other sexual relationships were incestuous, and there was inbreeding. Incest is considered immoral by today’s standards. Incest, and in some instances inbreeding is unlawful in our contemporary world. Evolutionary biology and evolved human psychology persisted and we grew out of the existential need of incest and inbreeding to a human aversion to it.
Social binding evolved into groupings of individuals. As these groups evolved and became larger groupings, they split into tribes. Cultures developed. Increasingly the competition for resources came into being. The first acquisition of property was the result of theft. This first acquisition of property may or may not have been violent, but surely, when there was no way of clandestinely acquiring property, coercion ruled the day. Evil and good became cofactors to a viable life.
As man evolved, he acquired knowledge of tool making, and developed language to communicate his knowledge. He developed concepts of law and justice, as well as a means of exchange. As he became more knowledgeable, the choice of evil over good became not as necessary. In our contemporary world, for entertainment we no longer roast a cat or throw men in arenas with lions; burn witches at the stake; embrace blatant misogyny; or embrace blatant racism. However, the psychology involved in some of this evil still persist, but has evolved and taken a different form: the brutality and violence of boxing and in other sports; the incivility we accept and even idolize in our viewing of reality shows and its voyeurism; the acceptance of expressions of incivility, immorality and evil in our music, art, and theaters, and in the decisions we make in our viewing preferences, which are clearly exemplified by the electronic and print media who elicit virulent reaction to maximize viewing or readership.
Exploitation of evil came into being with man’s invention of religion. The parable of Adam and Eve is a perfect metaphoric example of how man got it wrong.
Man created the universe. The first man in our universe created that first image of that other man. Man therefore created good and evil, and so man can eliminate evil if man’s desire is to do so.
So, evil is not a problem associated with free will; nor does it exist to complement good in that evil is the balance for all that is good; nor is it necessary to have the confliction of an omnipotent God, or any other theodicy of evil. A solution cannot be mandated nor can a solution be within the purview of religion, which is in itself archaic. It is going to take the process of evolution to a higher level of consciousness, a greater evolution to complete knowledge that will eventually marginalize evil.
There may be a day, and I am hopeful that there will be that day in the very, very distant future when our evolution has taken humans to a place where evil is not part of the decisional process. A place where man will have complete knowledge, knowledge amongst other considerations that religion (all religion) was, and is, a bad idea, and the evil option will be hopefully nonexistent.
War, in anyway one might define it, is the embodiment of evil. War causes destruction, injury, pain, and suffering characterized by hate, anger, maliciousness, and injustice. All evil by anyone’s definition are cofactors of war. In war, you will find every evil known to man. It is the greatest of all evil because in spite of its inherent immorality, man, whether religious or secular, still support military action as necessary, or will use the reasoning: after all, the bible says there will always be “wars and rumors of wars.” With our allegorical myths of war, we glorify war, and instill in our children that war has a benevolent association with nationalism and patriotism, heroics and idolatry, morality, and glory.
Peace Warriors must imbue in others that evil is a primitive impulse, that there is an underlying reality, a metaconsciousness, a better way, which is beyond and transcendent to our current understanding. A consciousness that was so authentically expressed when man first met man.
Peace Warriors must create an understanding in others that everyone has a different “here and now,” and how important to each of us is the discovery that “I Am.” We are the creator of our Universe. Consciousness is not inherent in the Universe but the Universe is inherent in consciousness.
The solution to solving the hard problem of evil is embedded in a new way of thinking. Evil is a result of not having complete knowledge, and so, because of man’s limited knowledge and therefore limited options, man’s choice continues to be a choice between good and evil, at least for the time being.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
A perfect world will never be achievable because our “internal world” of a conscious, wandering mind will continually contemplate both good or evil human action. This duality of good and evil is an apodictic fact. Nature made it that way. It is an important duality: without evil how would we recognize good; and without good how would we recognize evil. For thinking to be critical and rational, the deciphering of all possibilities must be explored by the mind; it will always include evil along with moral alternatives for human action. However, it will be human action directed toward the outer world of material pursuit, which will most likely dictate an outcome of evil over good.
In paraphrasing Ludwig von Mises: Human action, if successful, attains the end sought. Human action produces the outcomes. This production of outcomes is not an act of creation; it does not bring about something that did not exist before. It is a transformation of given elements through arrangement and combination. [Thought brought to its fruition produces outcomes.] The producer is not a creator. Man is creative only in thinking and in the realm of imagination. In the world of external phenomena, he is only a transformer. All that he can accomplish is to combine the means available in such a way that according to the laws of nature the result aimed at is bound to emerge. (1)
Unfortunately, the means available include this innate duality of good and evil. From a material and object point of view, everything has a beginning and an ending; there is nothing before or after. In the materialist mindset, life has a beginning and an ending with nothing existing before, nothing existing after and that in their afterlife their sins will be forgiven, and they will have the blessing of heaven. This mindset produces a material world of money chasers: money, power, greed, the pursuit of Middle Eastern oil, a large home, and new car are what make the “world go around.” Gathering as many material goods as one can become their passion. “You only go this way once” is their mantra. Most materialist believe in tabula rasa, the unformed at birth, featureless mind in the philosophy of John Locke, a Randian objectivist view of consciousness. An empty mind at nascency is fictional. It is an existential ontic view gleaned from tacit observation of our outer world realities.
These qualities of good and evil are not existentially learned; they are there in existence before any human birth. We inherited these qualities, qualities that are “part and parcel” of our consciousness: a consciousness that has existed since the very first seeds of our existence – at the genesis of all life. In our contemporary world, our human action either is directed at moral and good endeavors, or evil endeavors, based on how our conscious mind has experienced, perceived, and interpreted the external world of material and object values.
Human action that pursues outer world material or object values will more than likely produce undesirable outcomes with no benefit to our world.
There has to be a new way of thinking, for in the world of internal phenomena (recognition of human consciousness is a phenomenon) we are also transformers of an innate, internal noumenon that has existed ever since the genesis of the human species, and in the words of Peter Russell, “the inability of science to account for the existence of consciousness suggests we need a new paradigm, or superparadigm.” (2)
In addition, Peter Russell states: “The foundation stone of the emerging superparadigm is the distinction between the phenomenon, the reality generated in the mind, and the unknowable reality, or noumenon, that underlies it. When this distinction is clear, many anomalies and apparently intractable problems across a broad spectrum of human endeavor either dissolve or take on an entirely different nature.” “I believe it will eventually lead us to a new understanding of God.” (3)
No one should assume that a new way of thinking, a superparadigm, means that we should become ascetics. We will still need to comb our hair and brush our teeth. A new way of thinking does not mean deprivation. It does not mean an abandonment of material and object values.
Material value in the form of money is important as a means of exchange for the acquisition of life’s necessities. Material values such as food, shelter, mobility, and health are important human needs.
Object value is a measure of immediate desire for an object. Object values distinguish one thing from another thing. Object value distinguishes men from women, and identifies the different stages in the processes of aging. These values give humans absolute individual forms of identity that in their entireties never duplicate: fat or skinny; tall or short; brown, black, red or blond hair; yellow, brown, white, or black skinned; eye shapes and eye color differences; different nose shapes; facial qualities that differ; and other phenotypes, and physiological differences in human physical appearance from individual to individual. These values provide identity through our language and ethnicity, as well. These variations are so subtle that we can identify another from any visual perception.
In our life’s particular dimension, material and object values are not meant to be used as targets for our bigotry or reasons for our superiority over others; they are not to define a person’s character. Material and object values benefit and provide identity in our lives.
Superparadigm thought puts into equilibrium outer world material and object values with inner world absolute values of mind and consciousness – our soul.
So, this is the crux of my position: all people of benevolent character who wish to live in a world at peace must provide leadership to attain that end. When we understand the distinct differences between phenomenon and noumenon, the distinction between the outer world of material and object reality and the subjective absolute reality of our inner world, bringing this duality into balance with an understanding that in the dimension of the absolute, we will come to an understanding that we are all equal. Human action taken within the superparadigm mindset will bring solutions to war and we will evolve into a world at peace. Our perceived material and object differences concerning nationalism, patriotism, religionism, and our differences in political view, economics, social agenda, and in civil rights, brings about the violence and incivility we inflict on each other. Religious intolerance to life, chasing money for its seemingly material benefit, and the obsession we have for material possessions (including a perceived need to control other human beings as if they are possessions) can be traced as a source of religious fanaticism, and avarice that threatens the world today. Since these are innate conditions that will always be a condition of human life choice in the taking of human action they will always exist, but within a new superparadigm they can be marginalized.
The meaning of life on earth is our evolution. In the absolute, the realities of life are the ongoing evolutionary processes that are invisible to us. Just as the seasons of each year come and go, the subtleties of their changes, those micro changes invisible to us, are not apparent until that day we experience winter, spring, summer, and fall. Moreover, each subsequent change of season is not an identical copy of the last, even though from all appearances it is the same: “one can never step into the same stream twice.”
Within the context of the superparadigm a world at peace is attainable, but a perfect world is not.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Our world’s survival depends on humans entering that road on a transitional journey to a World At Peace. As we move forward all men and women of peace must enlist others to join them in that journey.
It starts with a new way of thinking
“By Changing Your Thinking, You change your beliefs;
When you change your beliefs, you change your expectations;
When you change your expectations, you change your attitude;
When you change your attitude, you change your behavior;
When you change your behavior, you change your performance;
When you change your performance, you Change Your Life!”
Cogito ergo sum. I think, therefore “I Am:” the recognition of our internal world, our consciousness.
Thinking is the dialectic thought process of reasoning, consideration, and attention leading to the intention of human action. Thinking is an evolutionary process that has the effect of creating change. Thinking, this dialectic process of thesis and antitheses, and its sublation leading to individual human action without the influence of propaganda, involves the induction of considerable facts, their analogy, as well as their perceptual deduction, which will lead to change by influencing others to the extent where there are viable and achievable outcomes.
Thinking is the being and becoming of human action, the generative process of change.
We must change our thinking to a belief where war as necessary to a belief that peace is attainable and viable; change our expectations that all conflict can be managed without violence; change so that we understand that we are in control of our attitude toward adversity; change so that we understand that our behavior is important to setting best examples and best practices; and change our thinking to an understanding that as a consequence our performance must be to provide leadership for peace: We must be a voice for peace.
Changing our thinking, and consequently our attitude toward religious ideology and avarice, which are the main causes of violence, and acting in opposition and in deterrence to their inevitable, visceral consequences, is a matter of conscience.
Trita Parsi, the author of “Treacherous Alliance,” states that as long as we treat our differences as ideological (political, cultural, and religious) rather than as solvable strategic tasks, violent or vitriolic threats of violent conflict will continue. Although Dr. Parsi is speaking of the dealings between Israel, Iran, and the United States, this statement has universal application.
For there to be a world at peace there has to be a completely new way of thinking.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
On vacation, I attended a concert during which one of the performances was “God Bless the USA,” a short stanza patriotic song that is lacking of any profound message. One of the repetitive lyrics is “And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.” Everyone in the audience exuberantly sang along. They sang along and flagged their hands above their heads in collective exuberance as if they were truly proud to be an American, and not just caught up in the moment.
As the performers and audience sang, a melancholy came over me. I was saddened that here we were enjoying a beautiful summer evening while so much misery was imposed on so many American families, because of the war in Iraq. My thoughts included Matthew Bean, a Pembroke man recently killed in Iraq, and Christian Golczynski, the son of Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski who, also, was recently killed in Iraq. I remembered the image of Christian and the pain he was enduring during his father’s funeral. And, I thought of all the needless deaths that are a result of the Iraq War, and of our governments ambivalence and dereliction. That our government has been deceitful. That it is willing to kill Americans and others based on deceit. That it has desired, and has gotten away with operating in secrecy. That we have destroyed the respect that other nations once had for America. That we have a government that has fascist tendencies and is knowingly destroying our constitutional freedoms, and sadly, Americans do not seem to have any recognition of what is happening. Deceit and secrecy have become an intrinsic part of our government.
My melancholy was a result of my recognition that I am not proud to be an American. I don’t know who, if they are honest with themelves, can be. The people we have elected to political office have let us down. They have failed America miserably.
The America of my childhood was conceived by Americans and the World as an exemplary country offering opportunity, freedom, justice, equality, and a democracy given to trust and transparency. It was viewed as country imbued with human values.
Without elucidation, for there are numerous, documentary evidences, that America has failed at maintaining these values:
America has failed at providing opportunities in education, affordable housing and healthcare, because we have not provided opportunities for many to earn a living wage. The gap between low, medium, and high income is exponentially increasing year after year.
In the words of Jimmy Carter: “Our government has abandoned fiscal responsibility by unprecedented favours to the rich, while neglecting America's working families. Members of Congress have increased their own pay by $30,000 per year since freezing the minimum wage at $5.15 per hour (the lowest among industrialised nations) [$5.85 an hour as of July 24, 2007].” (1)
When America through their very overt action attempt to marginalize the poor, those who have an infirmity, or those who may not have had the “luck of the draw,” America is denying those Americans the same opportunities from which the rest of us benefit. A good example is New Orleans and the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, exposing Americas disregard for the indigent.
Our freedoms have been seriously compromised because of the Patriot Act.
As Naomi Wolf has stated, “After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it [what an excuse, since when does anyone validate anything without thorough understanding]. We were told we were now on a ‘war footing’; we were in a ‘global war’ against a ‘global caliphate’ intending to ‘wipe out civilisation’. There have been other times of crisis in which the US accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space - the globe itself is the battlefield. ‘This time,’ Fein says, ‘there will be no defined end.’” (2)
Hate and fear have been the postulation of our government. It has instilled in Americans that if you criticize America you are not a patriot – you are un-American. This is denying freedom of speech to many of us who are critical of America. For many are afraid to speak out because of the fear of retaliation.
Justice -- defined as the quality or state of being just and unbiased; the state, action, or principle of treating all persons equally in accordance with the law – has been seriously impaired in America. Justice viewed as punishment rather than rehabilitation. What we need to do is to change behaviors.
“… imprisonment rates have continued to rise while crime rates have fallen because we have become progressively more punitive: not because crime has continued to explode (it hasn’t), not because we made a smart policy choice, but because we have made a collective decision to increase the rate of punishment.” (3)
Because of America’s view of Justice as punishment, and that those accused of a crime should be denied their civil liberties, the abrogation of the civil liberties of Jose Padilla occurred, and America supported the use of torture to gain confessions. (4)
America has embraced interrogation techniques that were in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions.
America has not been in conformity with international law.
Our government has violated the Constitution of the United States of America.
Without reason, Americans today view themselves today as I did in the America of my childhood. They accept America’s leadership repetitive claims that we still have and hold these values. They, with this vision, have an arrogant attitude in their relationship to the world. A very unacceptable hubris exists. The reality is that America does not comply with this view. America has not given critical thought to the views they hold. America no longer provides the leadership that it at one time provided through its example. Americans have not recognized that fact. “We Americans are better than they are,” is the view.
With all the rhetoric Americans give to embracing diversity, the fact is that Americans do not embrace diversity. Americans do not consider themselves equal to others. ”Diverse communities … show dysfunction,” says Robert Putnam, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. (5) This dysfunction is due to our underlying prejudices.
Americas debate over legal as well as illegal immigration -- albeit the issues involved do have merit for action. However, for most Americans the issue is inflamed, not based on the merit of the issues, but our oppositions are based on our prejudices.
Trust and transparency
Our democracy has not given to trust and transparency in American governance. There are many examples of American governance acting in secrecy, but none as blatant as in the Bush White House:
“John Dean, the former White House counsel who blew the whistle on Watergate nearly 30 years ago, told a Los Angeles audience that the Bush administration's obsession with secrecy and executive privilege has "turned back the clock to before Watergate" -- to before, that is, Nixon's crimes forced a national reckoning and led to a string of laws designed to prevent presidents from keeping too many secrets. It was then that the republic relearned an old lesson: The institutions built up to guard a secret can do more damage than openness could ever have done.” (6)
“This has been the drift of our politics for some 20 years. In a profound failure of the civic imagination, we now behave in a way that our founders never intended us to: When it comes to the actions of our government, we have surrendered to trust.” (6)
Bush signed an executive order that denied the public access to documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act, which limits access to all public records from living presidents, as well to other documents..
Until its recent exposition, Patriot Act I and II were clothed in secrecy, and although there have been some revelations, they are primarily opaque programs.
The New York Times says, “Congress accidentally gave President George Bush the power to conduct warrantless searches and seizures when it passed a wiretapping bill earlier this month. Democrats are embarrassed they voted without understanding language that would allow—among other things—some physical searches, and the collection of business records, without a court order.” (7)
"The Bush administration is arguing that: a) It's no big deal, since they'll try to minimize the amount of spying on average Americans; and b) Who cares? Under the DoJ interpretation of the Constitution, the law ‘is just advisory. The President can still do whatever he wants to do.’ "(7)
George Orwell’s 1984 is alive and well, and its premise seems to be acceptable to America.
“Many reasons are given for our preemptive wars and military approach for spreading the American message of freedom and prosperity, which is an obvious impossibility. Our vital interests are always cited for justification, and it’s inferred that those who do not support our militancy are unpatriotic. Yet the opposite is actually the case: Wise resistance to one’s own government doing bad things requires a love of country, devotion to idealism, and respect for the Rule of Law.” (8)
In order to turn this country around to the America of my childhood, every American must be a leader. Every American must think critically and “Walk the Talk.” We cannot depend on those who we vote into political office to provide leadership in exemplifying opportunity, freedom, justice, equality, and a democracy given to trust and transparency. We must lead those who we have empowered with America’s leadership. It is every American’s responsibility to let America’s leadership know “where it’s at.”
(1) Jimmy Carter. This is Not the Country that I Once Knew November 20, 2005.
Former President Jimmy Carter believes that a warring America is abandoning its fundamental values.
(2) Naomi Wolf. Fascist America, in 10 easy steps Tuesday April 24, 2007.
(3) Glenn C. Loury. Why Are So Many Americans in Prison? Boston Review. Race and the transformation of criminal justice.
(4) The Rights of Jose Padilla NPR “Here and Now.” Story aired Monday, June 30, 2003
(5) Robert Putnam, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. Diversity and Community NPR “On Point.” Aired: Thursday, August 09, 2007
(6) Rick Perlstein. A Surrender to Trust July/August 2002. Mother Jones. Commentary: Richard Nixon taught the nation a painful lesson about secrecy and the White House. How soon we forget.
(7) Barron YoungSmith. I Tapped That Slate Magazine. Posted Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007.
(8) HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS. Big Government Solutions Don't Work/ The Law of Opposites September 7, 2006. Before the U.S. House of Representatives
Saturday, August 4, 2007
The woman who made this statement is one of those naïve and ignorant Americans who don't understand the reality of war: "'No one who knew him believed he could ever do the things they said he did,' said Mary Hale, a neighbor who has known Hutchins since he was a small boy. 'You just can't picture it. It's just impossible for us to believe.'"
War is intoxication, a drug, it affects every combat soldier; it is a potent and lethal addiction. War destroys lives, it as simple as that.
I feel badly that every American, with the most responsible American being George W. Bush, and I, have put Sergeant Hutchins, his family and friends, in this position, not that overwhelming responsibility does not belong to Sergeant Hutchins.
Support our troops -- bring them home!
For the complete article: Marine found guilty in death of Iraq civilian
Thursday, August 2, 2007
His views, from my point of view, are not arguable.
If he should become the republican presidential candidate, I will vote for him, no question about it.
“Many reasons are given for our preemptive wars and military approach for spreading the American message of freedom and prosperity, which is an obvious impossibility. Our vital interests are always cited for justification, and it’s inferred that those who do not support our militancy are unpatriotic. Yet the opposite is actually the case: Wise resistance to one’s own government doing bad things requires a love of country, devotion to idealism, and respect for the Rule of Law.” Congressional representative, Dr. Ron Paul
Take the time to read, “Big Government Solutions Don’t Work/The Law of Opposites.”
Monday, July 9, 2007
An excerpt:“My wife and I attended funeral services for Christian's father, Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski, on April 4, along with our six year-old son, dozens of Marines, and several hundred others who came to pay tribute to this fallen hero.
As one would expect, many of your readers were touched by this incredible picture. Staff Sergeant Golczynski had previously served one full tour in Iraq. Shortly before his death on March 27 he wrote to his family that he had volunteered to do this a second time due to our deep desire to finish the job we started. In his letter he said, "We fight and sometimes die so that our families don't have to." Tragically, Staff Sergeant Golczynski had only two weeks remaining on his second tour. We look at the photograph of Christian every day. It is displayed prominently in our home. Our hearts ache for Christian and for all those who have lost loved ones in this controversial conflict.
Our nation is at a historical crossroads. Do we call an end to the struggle in Iraq or press on? Staff Sergeant Golczynski eloquently told his son how he felt about not giving up. Perhaps there is a lesson for all of us in this man's life and the choices he made. He was undeniably a man of tremendous courage and conviction. America must now choose whether to complete the job.
When looking at the face of Christian Golczynski I am reminded that doing what is right is not always easy and doing what is easy is not always right. Christian's dad knew that too.”
As this email states, "When looking at the face of Christian Golczynski I am reminded that doing what is right is not always easy and doing what is easy is not always right."
It is an emotional and thought provoking picture.
In the very first place we should not have gone to war. This was the easy thing for Bush and Cheney, et al, to do. Now, the hard thing, not easy, is to admit you were wrong, understanding that you are following a iniquitous and futile course, to continue is only going to take more lives and create more grief in our country. Grief, as is so vividly displayed on the face of Christian Golcyzynski.
When I look into (not at) the face of Christian Golcyzynski, I am reminded of the fact that Mr. Bush has put in force a premeditated, preemptive war, one not out of necessity but because of an ideology, with dishonesty, and with trumped-up reasoning, that simply was not the right thing, and certainly not moral. It was the easy choice when compared to the difficult and more sophisticated work of resisting the hawks and finding a better solution; that would have been the "Hard Work” our Mr. Bush is always talking about. What America needs is resilience, which is hard, but right and moral. Resilience is needed in every conflict to avoid a not well thought-out and chaotic confrontation; resilience, in order to make the right choice: a choice of probity, to abort the mission in Iraq.
As with Matthew Bean, you and me -- "We the People" -- are complicit in the death of Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski, and we are collectively responsible for the grief of Christian.
The subliminal and insidious message of this email promotes war as being noble and necessary, which it is not. Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski is “undeniably a man of tremendous courage and conviction” a noble man, but those, “We the People,” who put him in harms way, and those who imbue Marcus and Americans with the “pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war,” are not. We need in America men and women of courage and conviction, men and women of noble character; the way we sustain them is certainly not by killing them.
Commendations and a ceremonially folded flag are not much of a replacement for a man’s future, for taking all his possessions, or for causing the trauma inflicted on children such as Christian.
“There is a lesson for all of us in this man’s life and the choices he made.” Sergeant Golczynski would have contributed much more to the commitment of a better America if he had not gone to war, and instead, as a father, provided leadership and nurturing for his son.
“It's been said that one picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is this one worth?”
I can only say, it certainly is worth a thousand words, and that there are not enough words that can authentically describe the immorality of this war, or what I see when I look into the face of Christian Golcyzynski.
How badly do “Our hearts ache for Christian and for all those who have lost loved ones in this controversial conflict?” I say, apparently, our hearts do not ache badly enough to make a difference.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
It was a beautiful morning. Men, women, and children were gathering to pay their respect. Yellow ribbons and the “Red, White, and Blue” were everywhere. With yellow “Road Closed” easels ready to be put in place, and some street access denied by police
However, for me, it was like Bush and Cheney had poured salt into my already open wound inflicted by the Iraq War. How dare they kill a young man like Matty Bean, and continue to conduct their lives as if nothing has happened -- those “SOB’s!” For, in fact, they are killing men, like Matty, and women to satisfy their own personal ideology. Continuing this immoral war even though it is has failed. IT IS BUSH’S AND CHENEY’S WAR!
How can we sit back and watch Soap Operas, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, celebrate in every imaginable way, and refuse to watch the News because it’s always about Iraq and violence, while at the same time standing by and doing absolutely nothing.
So, we are complicit in Matthew’s death, also. Most Americans promoted the war with Iraq, and many now are promoting military action against Iran, and only are against the Iraq War because we are not winning; not because young men and women are dying on our behalf.
Matthew was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and an Army Commendation Medal. Not much of a replacement for a man’s future, for taking all his possessions. Totally meaningless; they treat us like children presenting our soldiers or their families with pretty ribbons, and shiny, glistening medals; imbuing Americans with the “pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!".
Matthew Bean is a typical of the young men we are sending into harm’s way.
FOR WHAT?! WHAT A LOSS!
From the Pembroke Mariner & Reporter
Matthew Bean’s casket, draped in the Stars and Stripes, is tended to by members of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division.
Army Pfc. Matthew Bean, 22, a 2003 graduate of Silver Lake Regional High School, was shot by a sniper on May 19 while searching for three missing soldiers in the Sunni Triangle region of Iraq. He was taken off life support at Bethesda Naval Hospital on May 31, when it became clear that he would not recover from his injury.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
How does the illegal immigration debacle square with Galambos and his Science of Volition?
I guess he would say that the first problem is the problem of state. Illegality is a condition of the state. If so, I do agree. Democrats, Republicans, or Independents, for the most part, are not working on Immigration reform with the best of intentions – there is no moral compass directing their decisions. It’s appalling.
Second, the illegal immigrant problem is a direct result of 9/11: our overwhelming concern over security from terrorism, and not a concern for illegal immigration, per se. If it wasn’t for 9/11 illegal immigration would not even be on the radar screen.
Fear reigns. Fear gives birth to hate and brings out the very worst in us: our prejudices, our racism.
The majority of illegal immigrants are not miscreants, but are people with the noblest of intentions and with the best of reasons who take great risk to get here (I realize these statements I cannot prove, it only comes from my gut, my humanity, and my empathy for the human condition). I know for a fact, from people I have met, that they were here illegally because what ever permission they had for being here in the first place had expired. Some did not simply have the wherewithal to take the necessary action to negate the illegality of their stay -- to “make it right.” No one with the knowledge and ability to help would help.
I realize, for those who live in a state in or near our southern border, South American immigration, legal or illegal, can be an existential problem; but, as Galambos I would assume would say: you are free to make the choice to leave or stay. One may not be free 100% of the time, but in this case one is certainly free to remove themselves from the situation if it’s that unsettling or annoying.
We need to work on the conditions in those countries that force people to take such risks, and compassionately enforce the immigration laws that are already applicable.
Enlighten me with a Galambosian solution.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
"No, 'democratic' State practice is nothing more or less than State practice. It does not differ from Marxist State practice, Fascist State practice, or any other. Here is the Golden Rule of sound citizenship, the first and greatest lesson in the study of politics: you get the same order of criminality from any State to which you give power to exercise it; and whatever power you give the State to do things for you carries with it the equivalent power to do things to you. A citizenry which has learned that one short lesson has but little more left to learn."
Is there a solution?
Yes! There is!
The process towards a solution for violent behavior will always inherit the complexities of mental illness, brain injury, abuse, and just plainly, evil people. There is no solution to this reality, but a change in Americas attitude towards violence can, in some cases, minimize a disposition towards violence and can limit, or even eliminate the resources necessary to commit the violence: guns, violent video games, the violent lyrics of Rap Music, and other media presentations of violence beyond what maybe necessary, as well as correcting Americas insensitivity toward each other. We need to bring civility into the lives of Americans who have the psychological wherewithal to be civil, and work to understand, help, and marginalize the conditions in which violence festers in those who do not.
We will never be able to prevent all violence but we can minimize and marginalize it.
There are voices that point to the lack of satisfactory gun control laws. Hunters have limitations placed on them on the type of weapon and ammunition they can use for killing an animal. Why do we have no limitations on the weapons and ammunition that are intended to be used on humans? We desperately need a comprehensive federal gun control law.
“The federal law banning the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons, known as the federal assault weapons ban, has expired. It was passed as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. President Clinton signed it into law on September 13, 1994. Despite his promise to renew the ban, President George W. Bush and Congress allowed the ban to "sunset" in September of 2004.” (1)
“… we value more their killer Cho Seung Hui's untrammeled right to purchase not only a Glock 19 and a Walther P22, but also the ammunition clips that, according to the April 18 Washington Post, would have been impossible to obtain legally had Congress not allowed President Clinton's assault-weapon ban to expire three years ago.” (2)
“The semiautomatic, lightweight Glock, a favorite of police and gangbangers alike, can fire five rounds a second. A magazine of ammo, holding up to 33 hollow-point bullets (effective at tearing up internal organs), can be swapped out for another in under two seconds.” (3)
There will always be people who are violent but we do not need to give them the resources to be deadly.
Why do Americans accept this deplorable need for guns; why do Americans have a violent nature? The reason is because we have a gun cult in America; Americans are addicted to violence; Americans are addicted to killing: “War Is The Force That Gives Us Meaning” (4), abortion, capital punishment (the death penalty); Americas insatiable need for revenge; Americas insatiable need for retaliation; Americas schadenfreude; Americas avarice; Americas voyeurism; Americas lack of civility.
Many will argue that some of these conditions are not related. However they all have interlocking threads. I would argue that you cannot have one without the other in some way, shape or form. They are at the core of what is wrong with America.
“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” is the best-known slogan of the National Rifle Association, the most effective pro-gun lobbying organization in the United States. But it’s really a cultural thing: the British have bad teeth, the French smell of garlic, Americans tend to have more bullet-holes in them than other people. Despite the nationality of the Virginia Tech killer, the slogan should actually go: “Guns don’t kill Americans; Americans kill Americans.” (5)
(Interestingly, all of the reasons for violence are the same reasons for war.)
Man is addicted to hate; the sibling of hate is fear; and fear creates a need to have a weapon. The greater man’s fear the greater the need to increase weapon lethalness. This perpetuates the need for an American to own a gun and for those who posses weapons, law enforcement and militias, to increase the lethalness of their weaponry. This is perpetuation, where violence begets violence, which creates the need for weapons of greater destructive power and there intensity to do harm; an ever increasing need for a personal WMD.
Just look how we have evolved: from the Musket, Six-Shooter and the Thompson Sub Machine Gun to AK47 Assault Rifles and the Glock 19. When police forces adopted the Glock 19 it was argued, at the time, that they needed increased firepower to combat the criminals who were arming themselves with weapons of increasingly deadliness.
There are those who advocate an armed citizenry in order for all of us to be able to protect ourselves and others. No one would dare to be violent if everyone had a gun to respond to the violence, or so the argument is expressed. This mindset is nothing more than an advancement of the perpetual need for weapons, and of which would result only in a perpetuation of violence: It’s the “cowboy mentality.
”There are other voices who direct their concerns at the lack of our ability to detect psychological conditions: Abuse, mental illness, brain injury and evilness. (6) Yes, we need to learn more.
Our attempts at solutions have been reactive. All police and militia actions are reactionary. We cannot rely on the police or other agencies as a way to resolve violence or to protect us from it. Their entity and the environment within which they work is violent in nature. They must have a violent response in the reactionary world in which they work. Their work is investigatory. They show-up after the crime has been committed.
No one addresses the question: What can we do proactively to minimize violence? Although there have been some meager attempts.
There are no voices expressing our lack of sensitivity towards each other. There is a very ubiquitous lack of civility. Two recent examples: Don Imus’s faux pas and Actor Alex Baldwin recent visceral response to some disagreement with his daughter.
Our lack of civility is represented everyday in realty shows, news reporting, sports and in particular extreme boxing, boxing, wrestling (why not bring back the blood sport of the Roman Colosseum!), and our comedy. Don Imus’s remark was intended to be considered funny (?).
Seung Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech Campus murderer, through his behavior, demeanor and countenance, and his writing, raised many “red flags,” but few cared enough to take the action necessary to prevent this tragedy. There was insensitivity towards this man as a human being. We only looked at his mental condition, and so there was a failure to act. There were those who showed their concern and took extraordinary action to curb what appeared to them as an extremely disturbed individual, but there was not a satisfactory protocol or societal commitment to address their concerns; again, they were looking at the psychology and not the man when they needed to look at both. Americans use the phrase “falling through the cracks.”
At the outset, news programs reporting the Virginia Tech shootings were more concerned with delineating the gory details of the massacre, the psychology of Seung Hui Cho, the police response and technicalities of law and security, whom to blame, and the heartbreak of people, than with an authentic concern for human beings and how we got to this point in time. That’s because the gory details and technicalities are what Americans want, it sells. But the story of how we got to this point in time needs to be told.
We do everything to desensitize our response to violence. We do everything to promote violence in the way we conduct our lives; our acceptance of war; our acceptance of abortion; our acceptance of violence in sports, our acceptance to retaliate or take revenge in the form of war and the death penalty for capital offenses.
We say its okay under some circumstances to kill. We say it’s okay to violently react in retaliation and revenge. Its examples are all around us — just consider the Iraq War.
We express our outrage of the University of Texas massacre, the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh, the Columbine High School massacre, and the Virginia Tech massacre by Seung Hui Cho, as we should, but we do not have any outrage when it comes to firebombing of Germany during World War II, the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Vietnam War, or the Iraq War, or the possibility of the United States using a Nuclear Weapon in order to win a conflict in the Middle East or elsewhere.
As bad as the Virginia Tech massacre was, violence is day-by-day getting exponentially worse in Iraq. The number of murders, as a result of our chosen war, each day far exceeds any one of these tragedies. No one was concerned until it was apparent that we were not winning, but not before that realization. We were more concerned with winning than the lives of people.
We do not conduct our lives within the paradigms of moral leadership or moral best practices. We do not provide the best example as a nation or as individuals.
We must have greater expectations of ourselves.
We lack respect and compassion for the poor and disenfranchised, the mentally ill, the abused and those who are different than ourselves. We accept poverty and homelessness. We are not compassionate nor do we care enough for others. We need to respect all life, our earth, and our universe. We need civility.
For success, Americans and the people of other nations must live a value-added life. Each of us has an individual responsibility in our attitude, our behavior, our demeanor, our countenance and in our voices to demonstrate against violence.
Until we start proactive processes we will continue to have an unmitigated solution.
That proactive process begins with you and me.
Meekness is strength not a weakness
(1) The Assault Weapons Ban: Frequently asked questions http://www.bradycampaign.org/facts/faqs/?page=awb
(2) How Sorry Are We? For Blacksburg, not enough. By Timothy Noah http://www.slate.com/id/2164381/
(3) Making of a Massacre by Evan Thomas, Newsweek http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18248298/site/newsweek/?nav=slate?from=rss
(4) “War Is the Force That Gives Us Meaning” by Chris Hedges http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=62-1400034639-0
(5) “With Liberty and Guns for All” “The tragedy at Virginia Tech isn’t likely to change our violent nation.” By Gwynne Dyer http://www.fwweekly.com/content.asp?article=4794
(6) The Anatomy of Violence: Pathological genes, a disturbed mind, social isolation and a gun culture are not enough. Mass murderers also need the individual will to pull the trigger. By Sharon Begley, Newsweek http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18248728/site/newsweek/