Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Are tweets created by twits?"

"The need for tolerance must not deny the right to criticize."

"Honest criticism is never bigotry."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Diamond Mines

I had a dream once. I was poised standing over a diamond mine. The diamonds were beneath my feet, covered with a faint covering of dust.

The diamonds were my tears, the carbon residue of pain, shed over a lifetime, now hardened into jewels by the pressures of my yearning.

The rich legacy of my life was right beneath my feet! All I had to do was bend over, wipe some of the dust away, and gather my life’s riches in my arms.

I couldn't move.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Matter of Perception

"A view on the underclass: They are brighter and more capable than I think; they are duller and less capable than they think."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Thought Up For Grabs: Consciousness

May I offer: Consciousness is the passive awareness of, but not active participation in, the pre-determined cause-effect operation of our human neural sysytem.

In consciousness we watch ourselves (are conscious of) our own predetermined patterns of behavior to external events as they start out from primitive inner responses (anger or sexual attraction, for example); then we watch as our system measures those primitive flows against our historical precedents, stored in our memory. Then we watch further as new pathways are carved into our action circuits due to the inner primative/memory negotiation; creating final either inward (remaining as thought) or outward actions in the service of what our system perceives as its best interests.

All that 'watching' is called consciousness; 'being present'--but I would argue--not necessarily participating in, an automatic process.

The 'watching', especially the awareness of the resultant new action/response patterns, gives us the illusion of 'conscious free-will', of choosing those newer actions of our life; when in truth, all those inner-process activities, the primitive response as well as the subsequent interaction of our memory banks modifying the primitive responses are pre-determined; that is, beyond any exercise of any free will.

Consciousness is real; free will is its illusion.

It is like being present at a war, emotionally experiencing it, and then believing we fought in it and determined it's outcome.

A similar analogy: we become aware we have a fever (the primitive body in its disease fighting mode) and we assume we 'choose' to take our temperature and then an aspirin, and watch/register the temperature-reading and taking of an aspirin as if we have made a 'free-will' decision; we think we are choosing/determining to take them, when in truth, we are just watching the process of how our inner neural circuit's experience of, and memory of, fevers, temperatures and aspirin modulates and determines is own next activity: the taking of the aspirin.

Watching 'pre-determined activity', and assuming consciousness's active engagement in, is, as such, an illusion...creating the glorious but sadly erroneous concept of free-will.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Beer-Induced Middle-Eastern Enlightenment

Over 3 pints of Miller Light I have finally solved the Arab-Israeli conflict!!!

The first things the Israelis have got to do is ask the Arabs if its OK for them to stay there. I don't think they ever really did that, at least not right, certainly not the first time in 1948...nor have they found a way to effectively do it ever since.

In 1948 The UN issued a mandate establishing the State of Israel, A mandate doesn't sound much like a popularly or democratically determined process, does it? It isn't. It sounds like someone tells you what to do; in this case the British, who had control of Palestine (now Israel) having gotten control of it by defeating the Ottoman Empire in WW I (1918), the Ottomans having had previous control of it.

So in 1948, all local Palestine people (SOME of whom were Jews, most of whom were Arab) were told that they were now going to live under Israeli and Arab
(Palestinian) separate control (according to some ridiculous checkerboard pattern laid down by the UN); a lot of this came because the Jewish settlers of Palestine were bombing British local hotels with a lot of British in them and the British wanted to get out from under. (For those wanting to brush up on the Jewish terrorist groups, look up Irgun and Haggenah, in Wikipedia.)

Of course no one in the UN 1948 ever asked the local indigenous Arabs if the Jews could have Israel in the first place. The World was suffering under post WW II guilt over the Jewish Holocaust (I don't think the Local Arabs were involved in that Nazi action, by the way. Maybe the Jews should have been given Germany). So guilt was the determining factor in the handing over of part of the Palestine UN-checkerboard to the Jews.

After the UN mandate, a war between the unhappy local Arabs and Jews broke out. Arab land was confiscated. Arabs fled. the Jewish pieces of the checkerboard (some would say they were forced out) the Jews took over...and now it's sixty years later: and the Middle East is a cauldron of hatred-beleaguered Israel surrounded by a lot of displaced refugee Palestinians, and a lot of support for them in varying degrees by other Arab and non-Arab Muslim countries surrounding Israel.

Solution: Israel should do what they have never done before: ask the Arabs if its OK to have a religious nation in the Arab-Muslim midst.

I think Israel should stop looking West to the American Empire and look to the East, to the Arabs, Palestinians and their supporters, and ask: what would it take to be allowed to stay here peacefully in your midst as a Jewish country?

The Israeli's sould say: "Look, we've got this little identity thing about remaining purely Jewish. You Muslim nations should understand and empathize with that. Most of you around here are trying to do the same thing. Can we have our little sliver of heaven here, a nation with Jewish control and dominance?

"We can do much for you in return. We're very smart, capable people. We always economically and socially benefit others when we're included in a the group and asked to contribute. We could be of great help to the region. We're not such bad guys.

"Understand how we got a little paranoid after the Holocaust. But you can understand that. 6 million dead! Can't we start get along?"

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Who Are You?

Who are you?

Are you simply your memory of you,
Or are you other's daily memory of you?
I would agrue that while you are alive, YOUR memory predominates.
You are the you as defined by yourself.
Your unfolding existence--what you do--come from
you think you are.
You daily recall who you are.
You think you are (which includes your feelings of you). Based on that,
you do, you become.
You become what you recall, think, feel you should become.
Memory--your memory--drives you.

Then you die,
and your memory dies with you.
Which is to say
you are no longer YOUR 'you'.
Your life is no longer relealed to the world by you, subjectively: by that I mean you are no longer there to remember what you are (that is, from within); and to act accordingly.
You are gone.
You are history.
Your life is now 'from without'.

You have become nothing more (or less) than the cumulative subjective memory of others, which we call the 'objective' you.
(You are the loudest and most useful memory of us, the one that defines the FOREVER you.)
That irony of your life: that other-hood's memory of you replaces your moemory.
You are gone from us (that subjective you); the objective you remains for others to say (from their memory and need)
who you are.

I ask again: Who are you?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The rewards of achievement are great; the rewards of effort are greater.

Friday, April 03, 2009


I was at a party the other day. The topic turned to Bush-bashing. I found it passe, and even more, boorrrring!!

I didn't vote for him; either time: in 2000 nor in 2004. I agree that his was a failed Presidency: Iraq, financial regulation, immigration...but come on now... George Bush II wasn't the problem: he was the symptom of the problem. In a democracy, the leaders are simply a reflection of the led...the voters were deficient. (And don't give me the BS about Florida in 2000. If I remember right, a majority of Americans voted for him in 2004; and the opposition failed to excite the crowd in either election.)

Bashing Bush is a convenient way to avoid our own collective responsibility: it's time we stop bashing Bush and accept that for decades we liked the low prices, the reduced taxes, the cheap mortgages, the nannies we didn't have to pay taxes for. We were a greedy society; and we 'average working folk' were no less greedy than the derivative people on Wall Street. The latter were just more successful at greed.

Bashing Bush, at a party or in general, is a party-goer's (it was a thirty-year American party, by the way) attempt of avoiding collective responsibility, and thereby sadly delaying the necesary national and personal self-correctives.

Face it: the last thirty years have been a CULTURAL--meaning ALL OF US--rejection of the old fashioned American traditions of sacrifice, community, financial carefulness and pay-as-you-go. Bush was merely the oozing pimple at the head of our collective, social, American greedy pus pocket.

The corrective? Well, kiddies...are we ready to take our medicine?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sofia, the Rooster

"Cock-a-doo-la-doo," she screamed.

Sofia ran into the room. "Grandpa! Grandpa! Wake-up! COCK-A-DOO-LA-DOO!!"

And so my day began, with the sweet chant of the rooster.

The rest of each day was: "Why?"

"Why are the ugly stepsisters mean?" (watching Cinderella)

Why is Paulina (the eight year old neighbor child Sofia was expecting to see this trip) not home?'

Followed by:

"Why is she on vacation?"

"Why is there vacation?"

"Why did she go to Washington, DC."

"I live in Washington, DC. Will I see her when I go home?"

Other times of the day:

"Why can't we see the moon?"

"Why is it cloudy?"

"Why can't we go on the same rides of the pier we went on last summer?"

"Why are they closed down"

"Why are they repairing the rides now?"

Nine days were spent with her questions and my incomplete answers; her exploding mind and my bewildered one: realizing how much we humans take for granted and how a child can puncture the balloon of our automatic assumptions.

She is gone now, and the world has retreated to its hazy acceptance of things as they are, unquestioned daily activities, as I and other adults (including her Mommy and her Gammy) automatically accept truths (or are they lies?); indistinguishable facts without a child's demand for logic and reason.

Life is easier now, but far more lonely...and much, much less vivid and alive.