Today’s post has a number of reflections. There is somewhat of a theme in that they all relate to current reality but are derived from separate disciplines.
The first reflection is derived from the mathematical theory of chaos. Chaos Theory is a real system in mathematics. The most popular example is: If a butterfly flaps its wings in Africa and other physical influences are present, the fluttering will be the beginning of a Hurricane in the United States – or not.
Not to indulge in mathematics too much, chaos is a measure of change. Certain events and conditions occur which change the value of currently accepted values. These new values are in turn influenced by changes in other values. Eventually, everything that was accepted has changed and new, unanticipated values emerge. The US is in a whorl of change; it is chaotic because so many events seem not to be what was expected; around every corner are new extremes, unexpected crises and turbulence. The changes come faster and faster and there are few dependable expectations; chaos will take its course with little regard for history.
For example, US citizens did not expect the rise and influence of the tea party movement. It changed the Republican Party in ways that were not expected. This led to a breakdown in the ability of Congress to achieve legislation as expected. One bill was passed by the House more than forty times in an attempt to overturn The Affordable Care Act. Something is changing. What are the new rules? Who would predict the US would be at war with the Middle East for twenty-five years? Who knew that perniciously the industrial age would bring the Earth to a state of unacceptable pollution? So many situations have new, unexpected consequences.
Has a presidential campaign ever had more than twenty candidates? Values have changed. What are the nation’s new values that Donald Trump can be so popular? An amazing phenomenon is that a Nazi-style authoritarian is running against a democratic socialist in the same presidential year! There obviously is change occurring in America’s gestalt.
In recent weeks, killing innocents has become de rigueur. In the West, French and American atrocities have held the headlines – should it be said the news organizations have held the headlines. Beyond the Western nations, terrorist attacks have killed 147 at a University in Kenya, 43 people were killed and 239 wounded in Beirut, Lebanon; in recent weeks, Al-Shabaab, a militant group based in Somalia, attacked a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, leaving 67 dead; 49 people died when rebels shot down an Ukrainian plane; 224 died in the Russian plane bombed in Egypt; suicide bombers killed 81 at a church in Pakistan; and the Taliban took credit for killing two police officers with a car bomb in Afghanistan. Terrorism is a recent phenomenon, widespread, and not necessarily acting in behalf of a religion. Something has changed. Will the world ever be able to restore civility? What values must change to reconcile random murder performed by third-nation rebels? No one knows yet. The entire world seems to be caught in a tornado of chaos.
Recently, mariner offered a book by Gene Baur, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: the Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day. The mariner suggested it was an upbeat book about animal rights and proper dieting – an unusual approach, that is, being upbeat. The mariner tinkers in the kitchen. He found the recipes – the largest part of the book – were unusual and intriguing. Many of us have read vegan books and find the recipes mundane and make an attempt at competing with omnivore diets. Baur’s recipes often are unique and out of the norm for a vegan recipe book. Vegan and vegetarian readers will be well served to give this book a read.
The Atlantic Magazine has an article describing reactions to Donald from around the world. It may be a comforting read. See:
“What the World Is Saying About Donald Trump’s Comments About Muslims”
Expanding the Liberal Arts Mind:
In the 17th century, Thomas Hobbes was a proponent of determinism. Generally, this philosophy means that every act is the result of previous acts. The battle was about free will and whether it could exist if everything was deterministic. This dialogue went on for centuries. In 1960, Edward Lorentz wrote a computer program that mimicked weather. He discovered that each time he loaded the first values, he received a different prediction. In a word, there was an element of “chaos” that prohibited predictability. This is why we cannot predict infallible weather more than a day or two ahead. For a great presentation that is as entertaining as it is enlightening, see: