Dear Mister Trump

Dear Mr. Trump:

It is hard to steer a boat in stormy seas. The nations of the world, each and every one, are sailing in extraordinarily stormy seas – each and every one including the United States.

It is especially hard for the United States. Intentionally, the nation was founded with importance given to the spirit of freedom and equality – a new perspective on governance by law that evolved over many centuries of European history. The new perspective paid off with the United States becoming the premier nation of the world – the most powerful, the wealthiest, and the leader of all nations. Some say that the golden years occurred in the middle of the last century. Too soon we have discovered these troubled seas.

We learn from history that humans reorganize themselves according to the circumstances at hand. Some say that in a natural environment we are happiest being members of a tribe. But reality drives a hard bargain. Soon humans had to reorganize into territorial kingdoms. After that, problems were too sophisticated for simple kingdoms. Nations had to be formed usually with authoritarian leadership like Russia and Turkey have at the moment.

However, reality now calls the people of the world to smudge the edges of a nation’s independence. Reality calls not for authoritarians, and not for personal riches that temporarily protect the super wealthy. Reality calls for a global mentality because the problems are too big for individual nations to solve.

Collaboration in economics, population management and planetary behavior is the solution today. Nations are linked together according to the issues they have in common. Today, many issues truly are global – no country can stand alone anymore. The Earth is moving into a new planetary age. It will take all of us participating together to survive.

Blog of the Ancient Mariner

 

Blame it on the Weather.

The late winter weather in Iowa has been exceedingly warm. Consequently, many fruiting and ornamental trees have started to waken much too early and are subject to damage if the temperature drops to normal levels before spring really arrives. Weather all over the US has been temperamental this year. We have been conditioned to ponder whether the weather is affected by global warming. Meteorologists suggest that the weather is still just the weather but also suggest that global conditions are changing.

In other words, our major weather patterns still follow familiar seasonal patterns. What may be new are annual averages of temperatures across regions, stronger storms, and near the polar zones more ice and permafrost melting than in the past.

Global warming changes planetary conditions more rapidly than it shifts weather patterns. In the oceans, three significant global circumstances are apparent: (1) Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed into the oceans making the water noticeably more acidic – killing coral reefs and shellfish and generally making life difficult for ocean plant life. (2) Melting ice at the poles is altering ocean temperatures to the point that major currents that flow from the tropics toward the poles (e.g. Gulf Stream) are slowing down and further, the sinking cycles which recharge nutrients in the currents as they flow back to the tropics are not as defined as in the past and nutrients behave differently. (3) The change every one hears about is the rising depth of the world’s oceans due to melting icecaps, threatening shorelines by estimates between 9 and 30 feet; current measurements indicate that oceans have risen 3 to 6 inches at an unusually rapid rate.

Most scientists who study the Earth believe no one will alter the impact of global warming. It has been suggested that global warming is on a 2,000 year path that is the Earth’s cycle[1]; humans only have exacerbated the effect. This insight enables some oil-dependent politicians to deny that people cause climate change. In fact, people do – to a damaging degree. People make the next 2,000 years a lot, lot worse than they need be.

The insult added to injury is that H. sapiens is so trashy and disrespectful toward their planet. Elizabeth Kolbert[2] is right: we are the cause of the Sixth Great Extinction. Some thinkers, most notably Stephen Hawking, believe our species will be counted among the extinct.

Ancient Mariner

[1] Ends with major ice age due to orbit tugs from Jupiter and Saturn.

[2] Author of best selling The Sixth Extinction, stating that there have been five major extinctions during Earth’s history that wiped out 90 percent of all living species. Most are aware of the fifth extinction caused by a meteorite that killed off the dinosaurs. Humans are causing the sixth.

Too Smart

As a creature on this planet, we weren’t supposed to be super smart. We were supposed to be the smartest primate, perhaps, but not super smart. We’ve always known it was a mistake. To be honest, as a primate, humans aren’t developed enough intellectually to mess with their biosphere. The Jewish Bible has a story about it; it is carried forward from an older version from ancient Babylon. God built his earthly garden and all that was in it obeyed God without question.

God created two last primates, a man and a woman, who were his pride and joy. In the story, a snake represents improper behavior (If we modernize the myth, the snake represents unexpected genes). The snake encourages the woman to eat a fruit she is not supposed to eat. It is the fruit of the tree of knowledge and awareness of good and evil, that is, ethics and morality on the one hand and disingenuous and immoral behavior on the other. Being aware of intellectual judgment, suddenly the two primates become super smart; they know things only God should know. God’s earthly garden is about to be trashed. Passing centuries have exposed the truth: this primate can’t handle super smartness. Super smartness must coexist with super sensitivity to orderliness – one of four words used to describe God’s presence (love, truth, beauty and order) and required to sustain God’s garden. Had the man and woman also eaten of the tree of Eternal Life in the garden, maybe human history would have been better off.

Physiologically, there is no difference between the human primate and other primates. Habitat is identical consisting of vegetation, insects and meat and similar landscape and weather. Humans behave no differently than other primates except they are a little less demonstrative than chimpanzees and more like silverbacks and gibbons. As a rough comparison, adult simian (ape branch of primate evolution) primates behave like adult humans but demonstrate the comprehension of a five-year old human.

But humans have awareness; we have judgment; we have choice; we can choose disorder.

At first, humans didn’t disturb the biosphere. About 12,000 years ago humans began tinkering with their habitat: seed casting was discovered to increase preferred vegetation; domesticating animals already was part of migrating lifestyles; weapons and tools were made of stone, antler and other natural resources. The first disturbance of the natural environment occurred when humans combined tin with copper to make bronze, then soon after discovered iron and carbon combined make steel. By 7000 BC it was de rigeuer and moral for this super smart primate to use the surface of the Earth willy-nilly for human activities. We have refined this behavior, of course, so that today it is moral to have open tin mines that cover several miles in diameter. Profit making activities like a combined energy zone in Alaska seems perfectly moral to entrepreneurs. The energy zone will cover hundreds of miles and literally destroy several major species of animals by poisoning or destroying habitat.

By human standards, this is acceptable but is it orderly? Are we disregarding the fact that this is God’s garden not ours? Which comes first, God’s intentions[1] or that of a super smart primate who cannot respect the intrinsic requirements for a garden of love, truth, beauty and order? The traditional choice between God and mammon is avoided by the super smart primate; apparently we cannot control our desire for disorder. Perhaps we should not be so smart.

Examples of human disorder abound and will not be listed here. The point is that humans have pretty much destroyed order across the planet. Nowhere, absolutely nowhere the super smart primate has gone, has touched, has tinkered with, remains orderly and functioning properly within this biosphere. But there are signs our disorderliness will not be tolerated much longer in Earth time. The super smart primate emerged six million years ago and by all measures has around 10 thousand years left before the garden will oust all primates. It could have lasted longer in an orderly garden.

Ancient Mariner

[1] Interpret laws belonging to the universe rather than to humans in any theological model that is comfortable. Mariner uses the Judeo-Christian model because it is familiar and practiced widely.

The Real News

Tom Friedman, a prolific writer of politics and economy, has a favorite phrase to describe the behavior of human society. In regards to our attention to really important issues like global warming, environmental destruction, over population and critical resources like water, he says, “Humans are really enjoying the golden age of doing anything we want to the Earth to indulge our overconsumption and indifference about the planet’s resources. It’s like jumping off a tall skyscraper and saying, ‘Look, I’m flying!’ which is enjoyable until the first floor where everything goes splat.”

From the Earth’s perspective, we are easily distracted by bright lights and noise – things like war, Donald, flagrant disregard for the side effects of mass destruction of irretrievable habitat and disruption to the Earth’s sensitive balance of our biosphere. Despite severe warnings from our birth mother, we are trashing ourselves into extinction. “Yes, old news – I’ve heard all this before.” That indifference is the very issue!

We are no more sensitive to the finer threads of existence than our brother monkeys, who in ignorance at least follow the rules. Lust and primitive satisfaction are all we can handle. The dollar bill, an ignorant interpretation of intrinsic value, dominates our self-control. We have no feeling of debt to our planet and in Trumpian fashion, don’t hear what we don’t want to hear.

Our planet is in charge, however, and will tolerate only so much obnoxious abuse and destruction. It will have the last say.

So the primitive and simplistic economy of capitalism – a mistake sanctified only by the industrial age near the end of the 1800’s because it was easy and self-serving – will permit the dollar wealthy to fly in first class to the first floor.

Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation in 1517. It wasn’t the first attempt but this time it succeeded. For the first time in western civilization, man’s spiritual core was no longer bound to theological virtue. Western Christianity hadn’t always been the wisest ethical guide, what with wars, murder and intense judgmental abuse but still, it was theological and as such had a place for planet stewardship – if only by reference and not by obligation; Adam and Eve had to alight somewhere.

If one thinks about the entire history of religion and faith covering 12,000 years, one is aware in the beginning that the faith part was more the guide to our ethical lives than mortal achievement. Of course it wasn’t perfect but religion played the role of managing our morals from beyond our petty perimeter of day to day life. Then, it still was God’s world; we had an obligation of some sort to planet stewardship and the living environment on it.

Then steam and oil were discovered and new ways through chemistry and engineering were found to increase the cost to the planet for each human. But the big deal was the discovery of the Americas. Humans had their own brand new planet – a blank canvas that God hadn’t mentioned. Western civilization needed a new bible for this opportunity. In 1904, Max Weber wrote the new bible: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and in 1915 the new testament, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. Max Weber was no intellectual slouch; he was well educated and has an impressive bibliography. Max, along with Karl Marx and a few others, emulated Martin Luther in that they opened a new era of human-managed ethics called ‘sociology.’ In very broad terms, according to Guru, ‘sociology’ is a term that implies that human behavior is human-managed behavior.

At that moment in western history, we became our own god. “Why do we behave this way?” Just ask Freud or Yung or Max or Karl – our new set of apostles. What little obligation we had to care for God’s world was replaced by a profit spirited pocketbook in a godless world. It was a Trump moment.

Today, despite many different theologies, disciplines and practices, there is no way for us to reach beyond our belief in our own social behavior. We are our destiny; we need no validation at the Holy Gate.

It was Madeleine Albright who commented, “You can’t expect Congressmen to tackle global issues; they were elected to bring home the goods today.”

The mariner has mentioned in the past many, many times that we are in the midst of great universal change – greater even than just the Earth’s biosphere. We are on increasingly stormy seas. Where is our compass? Is it whatever provides us the most dollars? Is it even more humans? Is it war? What device among us is not tarnished by us? What will give us guidance to focus on issues of humanity and not on issues of our ego? Dare we restore discarded religious virtues cast in a modern perspective? Where is our compass to show us the way to care beyond our simian prerogative?

ADDENDUM – Mariner received an email from his advocacy organization, Food and Water Watch.; a very above board, independent and serious group that looks out for our wellbeing:

Food & Water Watch

Everett,

We just got our hands on Trump's to-do 
list for the EPA - and as expected, it's 
horrifying. Starting today, the Trump 
administration will start trying to methodically 
gut the Environmental Protection Agency.

On inauguration day, the Trump 
Administration took all references to climate 
change off of the White House website. Now, 
they're beginning a months-long rollout of 
budget cuts and roll backs of key regulations 
designed to protect our air, water and climate 
from corporate polluters.
The leaked to-do list makes it clear that 
Trump will follow through on promises to gut 
the agency.
*  The document identifies opportunities to 
cut programs, including $513 million from 
"state and tribal assistance grants," $193 
million from ending climate programs and 
$109 million from "environmental programs 
and management."
*  The administration outlines initiatives 
they want to stop, including "Clean Air Act 
greenhouse gas regulations," clean car 
standards and clean water protections.
*  The to-do list also includes a plan to 
permanently change how the EPA uses 
science to prevent the agency from returning 
to "its bad old ways as soon as an 
establishment administration takes office."

Ancient Mariner

 

Whither We Go?

Welcome to 2017. As we roll into our new year, the entire world is beginning a new bounce. Politics is part of the bounce but looks more like blowing trash; economy is part of the bounce but looks more like a vacuum cleaner; environment is part of the bounce but looks more like a starving dog; technology is part of the bounce but looks more like an algae bloom sucking all the oxygen out of a pond; human management is part of the bounce but looks more like Times Square on New Year’s Eve and the attendees have no home to which to return.

American party politics looks like it did in 1890: What are democrats? What is democracy? Aristocracy, oligarchy and authoritarianism are America’s choices as we ride the current bounce to its end. Donald has emulated Ronald by appointing a Cabinet with harsh ideologues who are philosophically opposed to the existence of their own Departments. Do not look for egalitarianism any time soon – like maybe a generation or more if ever again.

International politics are more frightening. The European Union was wobbling under a unification intended to be a transition to a more solid cultural and economic relationship. But the EU was shot down like a flight over Lockerbie by massive immigration from Northern Africa and everywhere in the Middle East. A slowly growing effort by EU to strengthen the economies of Moldovia, Romania and Albania among others were trampled to nothing by the immigration.

China’s solution to inadequate food and a seacoast of threatening internationalism is to take over and own the whole geographic area – not very different from the relationship between the US and the Caribbean and Gulf islands if the US decided to make them part of the United States of America. It’s bad enough pirate-minded billionaires are stealing these wonderful islands and their economies – and kicking unique cultures into the sea. The mariner has sailed most of these islands; it is a tearful thing to watch.

To his fellow citizens, mariner apologizes to say that the top ten socialist democracies are in better shape to ride the world bounce than the top ten capitalist or authoritarian nations. Unlike capitalist and authoritarian nations, socialist nations pay for health, education, and enforce financial and social equality. As the world bounce continues, work for greater profit and the indifference of socially controlling corporatism will run out of playing field. Mariner never wanted his sports arena named after a corporation anyway. (Apologies for the flood of metaphors)

Regarding the global economy, this is how it works: If you own something, I’ll give you a faster depreciating something if you let me be a partner with you in your longer lasting personal worth; if you have wealth, partner with me to maximize our joint wealth; if you are in a position to help me increase my wealth faster than yours, I will give you money. This economy underwrites aristocracy, plutocracy and oligarchy and undermines democracy and favorable treatments of the environment and human management.

There has been a recent spate of technologies, shifts in economic opportunity and, importantly, even some political decency toward environmentally friendly intentions. The appropriate response to these intentions is “show me the money; show me the real change.” Still, the oil industry’s next frontier is destruction of Canada’s Great Northern Wilderness where oil drilling will expand 300 percent in the next few years; the pure, clean rivers are becoming toxic just like the salmon breeding grounds in Northern Alaska and Canada near the Arctic Circle. And Donald is opposed to wind power because windmills are unattractive – mariner suspects he never visited a coal burning power plant or sailed down the Mississippi River past endless fuel fabricating factories.

As the world writes off 600 mammalian species because of habitat abuse and the oceans increase acidity in ocean water to the point that uncounted hundreds of species disappear every year and climate change will likely swamp major edifices of humanity like London, Manhattan, Hong Cong, Miami, and Rio de Janeiro, a starving dog is about the norm as an icon for the planet to survive the bounce.

Human management is the issue that no one wants to manage. Talk about overhead! We’re talking about our own species – talk about troublesome! It’s a lot easier to manage money, brutalize nature and fight wars.

What does mariner mean by a bounce? He mentioned “part of the bounce.” A world bounce is 120 years long, give or take a few years. For example, it is clear that momentous things are about to happen; 120 years ago was around 1900. That’s when a lot of stuff was invented that launched the bounce that’s ending now; a belated part of the current bounce was the invention of the transistor in 1948 by German scientists – the beginning of the Technical Age. 120 years before 1900 was 1780. The start of the industrial age is pegged to 1790; the USA popped up on the world scene about then (1776-78) which clearly contributed to a new bounce and 120 years before that was 1660 – a significant event reflecting on Christianity in America: Jun 1 1660 Mary Dyer is hanged for defying a law banning Quakers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Christian commandment to love everyone clearly has survived until today’s bounce; Jamestown Virginia was established; England returned to being a monarchy with the return of Charles II; Thirty Years War began between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Galileo made science news observing the moons of Jupiter. And so on.

So what changes can we anticipate in the next bounce? It appears to be starting in good form for a bounce: lots of commotion, misunderstood decisions, growing populism, growing wealth of the few, failing international associations, inadequate statesmanship all over, new and old religious beliefs filling cultural voids, etc.

In other words, the world’s peoples will know why change is not wanted. It’s the same as changing a baby’s diapers – a real mess. So this is our mission in 2017: Get rid of junk in your life, streamline your circumstances similar to preparing for a tornado, have your financial future secured as much as possible, get a valium prescription, and then don’t forget to have a good time!

REFERENCE SECTION

Some Notable Quotes.

“The ballot box in itself is not enough to render a system a ‘democracy.’ A true democracy needs separation of powers, rule of law, freedom of speech, women’s rights, LGBT rights, free and diverse media and independent academia. Without all these institutions and values you can only have ‘majoritarianism.’ And majoritarianism is not the same thing as democracy.”

–       Turkish novelist Elif Shafak

“Companies like Google profit enormously from data mining of your personal searches, behavior and habits,” he said. “There is more money in selling that data than in selling a product. It’s surveillance capitalism. It really is a new kind of totalitarianism.”

–       Writer and director Oliver Stone

In the 2015 WorldPost Year-End Roundup, we observed that we were then “on the cusp of a tipping point” in the race between a world coming together and one falling apart. In 2016, we have indeed tipped over into a new era.

The profound upheavals of this year were anticipated in an essay we published in March titled “Why the World Is Falling Apart.” In that piece I wrote, “The fearful and fearsome reaction against growing inequality, social dislocation and loss of identity in the midst of vast wealth creation, unprecedented mobility and ubiquitous connectivity, is a mutiny, really, against globalization so audacious and technological change so rapid that it can barely be absorbed by our incremental nature….The determination to “take back control” across the Western democracies among those dispossessed by change was explosively expressed in 2016 in a widespread revolt against the elite custodians of the status quo through Brexit, the Trump victory and the ongoing anti-establishment insurgency in Europe.

–       Editor-in-chief, WorldPost, Nathan Gardels

Ancient Mariner

Why Have Elections?

Mariner has lamented from time to time that his fellow electors never see politicians running for office the same as he does. For many (but not enough to win an election) who are disgruntled by all the candidates, there is little to celebrate as elections roll by year after year after decade after decade. JFK and LBJ was the last successful vote cast by the mariner and Lyndon chose not to run for a full term. Undercard elections are worse.

Constantly rejected in this manner, mariner is ever hopeful but more skeptical that ethical culture one day will emerge in his nation. Guru, mariner’s alter ego that looks far into the future, considers his vision a pastime; masses of voters will see to it that it is never achieved. Just call mariner a dreamer.

Mariner’s downfall is not the wrong ideology; it is not racial, sexist or subject to class accouterments. If all the sources he checked since the 2016 election are correct, (in his heart mariner knew it all along) he knows voters vote for themselves or at least the most like themselves in the election. Fareed Zakaria brought this home painfully in his show today: No one, no one votes for policy. No one votes for new plateaus or spiritual caring or conscientiousness. Voters vote for candidates who make them feel most comfortable about themselves – after all, this isn’t the time to go messing with one’s gestalt!

Quite seriously, in 2016 the entire world is in disarray: global understanding of economy is becoming unraveled; industrially based cultures are at the end of machinations to hold on to the way we get jobs, solve serious problems (as examples Brexit, Donald, and the playboys in France and Italy). Beyond the western world, Africa holds onto the word ‘civilization’ by a thread; China has internal conflict and an unbalanced national sense of self (they still debate birth policy and have begun imposing on all the small nations across Indonesia, the China Sea, and even moving toward India. Only India is large like China – both are sumo wrestling metaphors much larger than the US. India has a region in the northeastern part that has no government. If India had cowboys, NE India could be the US wild, wild, west all over again.

Wherever one looks, there is weakening economics, disappearing environment, tumbling governments, and collapsing cultural morality. Like the global warming issue, if one believes these silly rumors, one will not make as much profit if one must face the inconvenience and cost involved. This point is made in the household as well as the boardroom. Observing coal workers will tell us we have only to lose if we vote to feel good and think not at all.

Freedom is all we have in this unique nation of the United States. The electors don’t even know what it looks like.

Ancient Mariner

 

Consider This . . .

The last post did a short analysis of the causes and voting behavior of the electorate’s response to the candidates. In this post, we look forward – not so much about the cabinet and key players in the White House, which looks neither republican nor democrat but certainly a team who will fumble as the weight of running a democratic republic falls upon them. We must give them time to fumble and see how they recover.

The Guru still is contributing to the mariner’s thoughts so our focus will address – in the looong view – well rooted troubles evidenced by the election and the consequences that will occur if they are not addressed.

Consider religion –

Guru blames our religious difficulties on Puritans and other fundamentalists who relocated in America because their practices did not fit well with a rapidly liberalizing Church in Europe. Even today, employees of Planned Parenthood may be shot, burned off the property, forced by a government who ignores the US Constitution to dismantle financial support, lay debilitating regulations upon them and otherwise ostracize Planned Parenthood from their presumed right to pursue basic human rights. When was it that Protestants stopped slitting open the length of every Quaker’s nose just because they were Quakers?

The current fundamentalist unrest should not even be an issue. The nation was clearly founded on freedom of religion. The pettiness is not really religious; it is the belief that because our money references God, the nation is a theocracy – just the conflict our founders wanted to avoid. If this conflict cannot be put to rest, the conservative theocratic movement will keep our politicians from dealing with tough issues through politically democratic compromise. The tea party folks came close to bringing down the US for good. Further, throughout time since the beginning, religious practices have changed as society changed – but not without questionable abuses of religious doctrine in defense of tradition. It is not enough to be an American Citizen and be safe from beheadings and genocide by ISIL; we owe our own nation loyalty to its premise of freedom for all citizens. Being citizens of the only nation in the world that defines itself as ‘freedom for all citizens’ requires even the religiously devout to – in this nation at least – be loyal to that principle. Religious faith is relevant or it becomes destructive if not meaningless.

We need all three branches of the Federal Government and state governments as well to deal successfully with international politics, greed-based corporatism, scientific knowledge that may leave us on a pile of extinct species before we may want to do that and a planet that is pretty much fed up with us. The new world of governance cannot be held back by regional faith; virtually every issue will require international agreements involving many faiths, cultures and races.

 

Consider economics –

The United States is founded on principles never before used to run a nation. US citizens were required to manage themselves. True, there was a republic but that was for serious things like war, taxation, balance of national economy, and dealing with other nations. In practice, citizens believed in freedom – the principle that everyone could pursue a successful life without oppression; they were free to believe independent religious beliefs – the principle that ethnicity and prejudice would not interfere with the pursuit of happiness; and they believed in loyalty to their fellow citizens to support the principles of freedom of faith, freedom of opportunity, and the personal and cultural loyalty to believe in freedom for everyone. In other words, citizens had to believe in their nation’s principle and manage themselves as keepers of freedom.

Freedom includes citizen wellbeing. If one citizen takes from another unjustly, or prevents a citizen from opportunity, or fair exchange for labor, in public discourse protects a citizen’s equal rights under the Constitution but consciously interferes with citizen freedom as a shared right, to a just and fair economy owned by everyone, then the US concept that everyone has freedom to pursue life and liberty has disappeared. Mariner does not suggest every citizen be equal in assets but taking more than is deserved, necessary or leveraging dishonestly is not in the interest of the US – which depends on each citizen to be loyal to the right of equality and freedom.

Corporatism is the belief in profit above freedom; Corporatism provokes class prejudice; Corporatism is free of allegiance to freedom, compounded by guaranteed protection as a human participant, a corporation is a double-barreled abuse of the founding fathers’ intentions.

 

Consider Globalism.

The mariner groups several diverse movements under this term: corporatism, technology, biological progress through medicine and chemistry, protection of the biosphere, and competition by war for greedy and ideological reasons. All these activities have one thing in common: they are not based on the concept of nationalism; they are not based on one nation’s philosophy of government; and by definition, globalism cannot be allocated to nations individually.

If the reader thinks it has been a hard row to move humanity from 1760 to 2016, prepare for even more from 2016 to 2272. A person alive today cannot fathom what civilization will be like 256 years from now.

One wonders what events, provocations, inventions and changes in principles of governance will be required – either collaboratively or with great conflict – to achieve insights and rules that achieve solutions to global issues humanity has never experienced – let alone survive in the process. The triangle of strength and success written by Os Guinness[1] and resurrected by Eric Mataxas[2], that is, “Freedom requires virtue; virtue requires faith; faith requires freedom” is the only tool set available. Considering advancing historical eras by government ideologies, The United States is the beginning of a new, common governance that may be the only ideology capable to take on Globalism:

Freedom, if you can keep it.

 

[1] Os Guinness is an English author and social critic. Born in China, where his parents were medical missionaries, he is the great-great-great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, the Dublin brewer. He was a witness to the climax of the Chinese revolution in 1949, and returned to England in 1951, where he went to school and college. He received a B.D. from University of London in 1966 and a D.Phil from Oriel College, Oxford in 1981. Guinness first stated the Freedom Triangle when promoting his book, A Free People’s Suicide. Guinness is still alive at age 75.

[2] Reference to the Freedom Triangle is resurrected by Mataxas in his book If You Can Keep it, the Forgotten Promise of American Liberty. 2016 best seller. Mariner believes this book is required reading for every American citizen.

Ancient Mariner

Blame it on Fire

The mariner visited his primary care physician yesterday. He is a delightful young man – bright, well organized, efficient and knowledgeable in his thoughts as a doctor should be. But he is more than that. In our brief encounter in that small examination room, we fulfill our medical obligations in short clips of Q&A. Otherwise, the mariner has found a fellow human being who thinks about things the same way as the mariner. In the same clipped, shorthand style, we toss ideas and obscure metaphors back and forth. And the doctor said the mariner does not need to have colonoscopies anymore. What more can a patient ask for?

Yesterday, of course, the conversation largely was about Donald. Donald had not become President yet but there were ominous signs on the horizon. The doctor and the mariner, in that clipped conversation mentioned above, were speculating why H. sapiens was unable to integrate with anything meaningful in a positive way – humans seemed to be their own worst enemy.

The doctor quickly blamed fire. “The one thing humans have that no other creature has is fire.” The mariner understood his theme and responded by rattling off several societal roles fire has played over the millennia. The doctor responded in short phrases contributing similar roles and metaphors that used fire as a central feature.

What was refreshing, even therapeutic, was sharing a common perception of reality: A reality seen through ideas, science, social history, nuances of religion, government and anthropology, and inquisitiveness about the future.

The examination was over and we proceeded our separate ways.

In just fifteen or twenty minutes, the doctor and the mariner had a fully understood discussion about how fire was the turning point of human evolution; fire was the Pandora’s box fostering all subsequent Pandora Boxes. Wikipedia was not needed. The ideologies, history, touchstones, all already were in place like a ready-to-bake dessert. Just eat.

– – – –

Having returned to the mariner’s own Pandora’s Box containing among other things a disingenuous electorate who definitely needs a Wikipedia but finds no use for it and a racist narcissist as President, mariner is giving thought to what color burqa he should wear. Black would imply defeat and retreat; red may suggest belligerence; white would mistakenly propose innocence. Perhaps plaid. Yes plaid – that will reflect the mariner’s attitude.

The mariner will not live long enough to see humanity get back on track. The thought occurs that, like a malformed creature amid evolution’s procession of creatures, humans were not expected to last too long anyway. Too bad humans will unravel the planet’s ecology and take it down with them. Blame it on fire.

Ancient Mariner

 

 

 

What is Empathy?

In the mariner’s last post, “The Greatest Sin is Prejudice,” it was suggested that the real measure of successful evolution was not intellectual prowess but empathy. The post prompted notable interest in the midst of confusion about the differences between sympathy, pathos, compassion, empathy, etc. It is important to understand empathy as a unique experience because the post suggests that empathy is a positive phenomenon capable of shaping evolution.

This post will focus on words that often are mistaken for empathy and a focused note about empathy as an evolutionary influence.

Aware – On the scale of emotional interaction, being aware of human behavior in others is more a result of the five senses behaving normally. At best, ‘sensitive’ may mean the same. For example, ‘I am aware that you are a democrat. Being aware of that opinion helps me adjust my sociability when interacting with you.’

Pathos – Often used to express ‘sympathy,’ it is not the same. Pathos is an intense response to a situation usually intensified by art or other imagery.

Pity – While pathos can be an intense response, it lacks personal engagement. Pity, on the other hand, suggests that you are aware that the person(s) do not deserve their difficulty; you have a perspective about the circumstances in which they find themselves but rarely stop to involve yourself in easing their plight unless they already have a bonded relationship with you.

Passion – The key to recognizing passion is that you are at the center of the emotion. Passion is a self-serving response which drives your focus to accomplish something that has captured your emotions. Examples are infatuation, personality tendencies, response to a perceived threat, perseverance to modify an important social situation, etc.

Sympathy – Surprisingly, rather than being focused primarily on one person, sympathy is an allegiance to a group ethic or morality. Sympathy means your reality is intertwined with values and experiences of others. Sympathy is the feeling that binds you to what is important to others – enabling you to experience the ebb and flow of group or individual values. Often used erroneously in place of pity, a closer synonym would be ‘loyalty.’

Compassion – A common expression among married couples of long standing is “Passion turns into compassion.” The meaning of the phrase represents the replacement of personal passion with a commitment to the wellbeing of the spouse, that is, your personal emotions become integrated with your spouse’s emotions such that neither stands alone. This same allegiance, when applied to social situations, means you and others experiencing that situation are bound to support the well being of others involved, engaging physically in real time response to achieve solutions. A popular distinction in literature follows the theme, “A warrior has passion; a hero has compassion.”

Empathy – Empathy obviously is derived from the same Greek root as pathos. Empathy carries the same intensity as pathos but has an added dimension: empathy also means the ability to infuse one’s understanding of another’s inner feelings so amazingly that it seems as if you could become that being. One becomes so obsessed with the other being’s gestalt that the two beings appear twin-like in behavior, motivation and awareness. This does not suggest magic or weird music; rather, you become so aware of the internal feelings and values of the other person that you can fully represent their gestalt.

A simplified example of not exercising empathy by choice is common among dog owners. Animal psychologists have determined the following:[1]

Dogs do not like to be hugged. They feel trapped and unable to escape if necessary.

Dogs are born to run. They are hunters very much like their wolf ancestors – even if it is a Shih Tzu. Life in a pocketbook or at the end of a chain or locked up in a house all day must be hard.

A great experiment (and something that will probably have your dog sighing with relief) is to try to spend a whole day not saying a word to your dog, but communicating only with your body. You’ll realize just how much you “talk” with your body without realizing it.

Most humans think that dogs like being patted on the head. The reality is that while many dogs will put up with this if it’s someone they know and trust, most dogs don’t enjoy it. You may notice that even the loving family dog might lean away slightly when you reach for her face to pet her. She’ll let you because you’re the boss, but she doesn’t like it.

Fortunately, over thousands of years of breeding, we have made dogs more empathetic than we are.

The future for the current environment and all its inhabitants is not bright. Homo sapiens has overrun the planet in a savage way and every day is driving species of every kind into extinction. Already humans consume more than the Earth can provide each year; the oceans show rates of depletion that suggest the oceans will be fished out by the end of this century. The Earth itself is slowly shifting to a warmer environment that in time will stress all living creatures.

The philosophical question is, how will whatever is still alive continue to exist? Futurists are suggesting competition between species and between ourselves will only hasten extinction. The opposite of conflict is empathy – living in close harmony with the best interest of any living thing as closely managed as we can. That may grant our biosphere a few more centuries.

Empathy is a parallel behavior to what religions have been espousing for 8,000 years: love and giving is the true key to survival. There will be no room for expensive idiosyncrasies, greed, or waste. Love and giving, i.e., empathy may be our best chance to evolve properly for the end of our age.

Ancient Mariner

[1] From Jaymi Heimbuck, http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/11-things-humans-do-that-dogs-hate

Is Homo sapiens too Expensive for its Habitat?

Through his retirement years, mariner has had more time to sit aside and watch the world go by. What has emerged is awareness that Homo sapiens will have a relatively short, finite time as a member of living things on Mother Earth. For the last five hundred thousand years or so, H. sapiens has used superior skills to garner excessive resources beyond the amount required given the type of animal spawned within its natural environment.

It began when H. sapiens invented the spear. The invention of weapons to hunt game has been used by a few other primates but not with the intellectual capability to leverage weaponry as its own, organized thing.

Humans (AKA H. sapiens et al) elevated hunting with team management and scientific advancements like the atlatl; it was the advantage needed for earliest humans to overhunt environmental resources. Humans still overhunt species today (American Bison, Carrier Pigeon) – or intentionally eliminate them only because they interfere with other prerogatives (estuary and otherwise rare habitat, coral, useless specimen hunting) – from overhunting African wildlife to being, as of today, the cause for the extinction of 50% of all living species – plant and animal. Humans have so decimated the Earth’s biosphere they have added to cataclysmic events by causing the Sixth Great Extinction. The other five were caused by the greater laws of astrophysics.

Humans have extended hunting to the mineral and chemical world, also known today as science and technology, until we accomplished the following effects:

Better weapons for hunting using iron, steel, copper, and unnatural chemicals like Roundup and agent orange to make it easier than weed pulling by hand or landscaping large areas with axes and brushhogs. The primary reasons to impose these aberrations then, would be ‘it’s easier than by hand’ and ‘why not; we can do it.’ Humans pay little note to the infringement on nature’s way of running the biosphere.

Better weapons for destruction using chemicals and metals that have total disregard for ramifications to the biosphere, which, on the good side eliminates some of the dangerously overpopulated species (H sapiens) but on the other hand demonstrates the continuous devastation humans have on the biosphere. Mariner will mention only Hiroshima as an example and let intentional military destruction go at that. Did you know that nuclear warhead testing and use is responsible for Strontium 90 being present in our tobacco and similar broadleaf plants?

The mariner thinks all human abuse on the biosphere can be traced to the thought that it takes idle minds to invent trouble – why aren’t we busy cultivating common weeds into a food source and otherwise weeding them from our gardens by hand? As the ‘intelligent’ creature, why aren’t humans doing their share to help the biosphere for the betterment of all creatures? After all, the biosphere is the perpetual uterus for everything – including humans.

Humans ignore the sophisticated balance of the biosphere – how every living thing has a niche that provides enough to survive but limits its imposition on the balance of nature. 90% of Monarch butterflies are gone. The human impact continues as if humans want them all gone – or at least are indifferent to our unwelcome behavior that sends so many creatures from tree frogs to elephants into extinction in this century. Is this a sign of the apocalypse? If it is, it includes humans.

A conundrum arises if humans reset their attitude: There aren’t enough resources to support seven billion soon to be twelve billion humans who want to drink percolated coffee every morning before each human drives off in its own expensive seashell. [the hermit crab shares our plight] Point made. Not to mention the six hundred-thread bed sheets and Donald’s Mar a Lago. The biosphere will deal with that last one shortly.

Humans are pretending they aren’t aware that anything is wrong. HAH. Why are the following terms worthy of mention in most nations?

Grass fed – No Hormones – Not genetically modified food – Nature’s choice – Naturally caught seafood – No additives – Not commercially owned water source – Not made from ivory – Not manufactured from coal – and on and on. Think of a few on your own.

Accountable to readers for some kind of advice, mariner has the following:

No amount of effort will turn things around. Planet Earth has decided to end this age. Being the boss, Earth neither requires permission nor will accept suggestions.

Within the reader’s own biosphere, assume a lifestyle that respects simplistic, natural habits. Methuselah lived over nine hundred years without airplanes, trains, or automobiles. It took Noah’s flood to kill him off. Many of mariner’s closest friends travel frequently; the mariner admits to a few passage sailing trips. Bon voyage, he says. A simplistic solution may be to set aside a trip every now and then to use the unexpended resources to help our uterus (yes, graphic but the entire subject is contained within).

Remain aware of cultural impact. Many times biosphere issues can help lawmakers and voters decide the better direction for legislation, e.g., too much carbon for the biosphere.

Remain educated on the relationship between humans and the biosphere generally. It helps with awareness. Visit the following website to keep in touch.

http://www.overshootday.org/

Check out Earth Overshoot Day which this year is August 8.

A general news source for interesting and important topics: One article describes a day in the life of an orphaned hippopotamus; the main article headline reads, “Humans Stripping Earth of Its Resources – Global biodiversity has fallen 30 percent in 40 years, the new report says.” See:

http://www.seeker.com/humans-stripping-earth-of-its-resources-1765773906.html#news.discovery.  Otherwise, be aware that with a little more human-biocentric awareness, how can you simplify your life without the over-abundant dependence on the “plastic/electronic” aspects of your culture?

Further, definitely assign yourself the responsibility to grow some milkweed for the Monarchs, have a place on your property – if only your fourth story windowsill – to provide water to birds and food in the winter. Like the good Samaritan, don’t pass up opportunities to rescue the plight of any creature including Homo Sapiens.

Today’s comfort and sense of accomplishment is most important now rather than waiting 10,000 years to the end of our age when there will be no Homo sapiens.

Ancient Mariner