Arrived.

Ancient has arrived at an intellectual state not unlike running out of gas in the middle of nowhere; or it may be similar to arriving where one intended but there is nothing to be found; or it may be like arriving in a country ready to have a rich experience but no one speaks your language or cares to communicate.

In a word, Mariner, as Amos before him, euphemistically is retreating to shepherd his sheep.[1] The works of Amos in the Old Testament show that he was influenced by a very large Earthquake (8.0) that occurred north of Israel around 760BC. Amos 3.13-15 states the view of Amos about the collapse of the world:

13 “Hear and testify against the House of Jacob,” says the Lord God, the God of Hosts, 14 “that on the day I punish Israel for his transgressions, I will punish the altars of Bethel, and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground. 15 I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great house shall come to an end,” says the Lord.RSV In further verses, Amos makes it clear that no one will survive God’s wrath.

Today, we have no impending earthquake that will end civilization; perhaps a volcano may but none of the major volcanoes are due for thousands of years. Nevertheless, something is happening because God’s wrath has begun and moves ever faster.

 

The Dark Age

The model which defines the relationship of the present era to its future is the model of the Dark Ages, which lasted from the fall of Rome to the early years of the Middle Ages (450AD – 1000AD). It was a time when the social structure and ethic of the known western world had fallen into disarray. Governments (and the Church) disavowed responsibility for the underclass and anyone, for that matter, who could not participate in authoritarian power or its oligarchy. In that time, the general public lived a truly impoverished and brutalized life. The wealthy did not feel obligated to care about common folk. Food was scarce and never adequate; disease ran amok; the simplest barter economy was impossible because of abusive taxation; one third of all children died before age five; adults had an average life expectancy in the thirties; common land, where the populace lived, was treated as a permanent war zone where the powerful played constant war to improve personal power and wealth.

Does this sound relevant today?

The characters are the same. The failing cultural morality seems not to be restrained. War with inadequate purpose seems rampant. Governments ever increasingly seek to avoid responsibility for the growing underclasses. The Church lingers in the twentieth century with very little influence on twenty-first century society.

But ‘God’ is not waiting for an ultimate collapse. Even as the US Government denies the reality of global warming, the Earth is moving on to an environment that may not be suitable for humans. It certainly is not suitable for other species. Global leaders and the wealthy may grudgingly recognize that ocean levels are rising enough to be a nuisance. They do not acknowledge that as the Arctic Ocean and its accompanying permafrost melt, a rise of ocean levels to several feet is projected by the end of the century and that will not be the end of it – rising further in future centuries.

The weather is changing as well. The warming oceans evaporate unmeasurable amounts of water into the atmosphere – causing larger and more damaging weather patterns as well as drought zones that occur seemingly without reason.

‘God’ does not patronize authoritarian and otherwise imbalanced societies that disregard simple moral behaviors – behaviors that have deep genetic roots in a species with strong tribal social structures. The current US government reminds the mariner of a group of people grabbing as much wealth as they can before the end comes. ‘God’ will not be deterred.

There are too many humans. Far too many. Why is this? Give credit to man’s inventive abilities which produced the Iron Age, Industrial Age, the Fossil Fuel Age, the Technological Age and the current Age of Automation. Were humans still bound to the nature from which they evolved, there is no question that nature itself would oversee disproportional population. Man often is his own demise.

Even at this moment the US is fading from its leadership of the modern world. China understands global economics and is investing in newly defined trade and financing relationships with other countries that will ease transition from the twentieth century era. The US is doing its level best to return to cultural and fiscal values as they existed in the mid-twentieth century. True, that was the golden age but nothing escapes entropy.

Aside from the biosphere, world economies must change in concept if any country is to survive financially and culturally. Most critical is the relationship between jobs and income. The eight hour work day began in 1856. Accompanied by a concept of hourly wage, it has been the core device for redistribution of wealth ever since. But its role in the economy is waning. If the world population is to survive in any quantifiable measure, job and wage must be separated.

Mariner is confident that we approach dark times. Dark times will prevail longer than we will like; let’s hope not as long as the model from the Middle Ages – 550 years. For the last four years, mariner has probed endless subjects, admonished many for lax insight, and promoted newly required ideas drawn from modern but ignored commentary. Were that we could describe the collapsing world; perhaps even glimpse the edges of our dissolution as we can see the edge of a storm cloud – but each of us is an integral piece of the storm…. We are the storm.

We, the electorate, are the storm and we have no intelligence with which to steer ourselves to pleasant weather. The human species denies several global issues that may well end as Amos predicted.

Ancient Mariner

[1] Apocryphal works say that Amos was killed by the son of Amaziah, priest of Bethel. It further states that before he died, Amos made his way back to his homeland and was buried there.

Racism et al.

It seems that racism has been in the news on a regular basis for some time. Pick any starting point – perhaps something obvious like the murders at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Since, there have been a number of race riots similar to Ferguson, the Trump racist movement, citizen backlash to the Muslims just in principle, and now the Boston treatment of black baseball players. Donald is doing his best to stir anti Mexican racism but that seems to be limping along. Still, unfair treatment of Hispanics runs deep in American culture.

Another prejudice raising its head is among conservative religious movements. There is an obvious attempt to make the US a theocracy. Why our representatives don’t stop this on Constitutional grounds is a quandary. We should never have put “In God We Trust” on our money. Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.” Can we agree we don’t need money in heaven?

Third, there is a violent class war going on and the common folk are losing big time. To save space, mariner will just mention Bernie – and Donald’s proposed tax reform – which doesn’t seem too out of line to the Republican representatives.

All this commotion seems elevated. In a decade or two, our economy is likely to fail; our role as an influential cultural influence around the world will dwindle; automation will decimate the workforce if redefining the relationship between income and jobs has not occurred.

It is like a home overrun by fleas which preoccupy us while the house burns down unattended.

Prejudice, of course, is more potent an interruption than fleas. Yet must we reconcile these ancient misbehaviors before we notice our burning nation?

Mariner takes the position that both can be addressed at the same time:

An intelligent, internationally balanced immigration policy will quell or at least placate the paranoia against foreign immigration – something the US desperately needs to help with its future economy.

Black racism is as strong as it ever was. Mariner doubts this deeply ingrained class structure will diminish until all the white guys in the victory photo for health reform are dead. As to Dixie, it’s more a money issue. If the South had tried manufacturing earlier instead of trying to grow crops without the slave economy, maybe things would be slightly different today. We tend to forget the intensity of this racial divide – intense enough for southern states to secede from their nation and suffer a civil war. A growing rate of interracial marriages seems to be the only positive strategy.

The severely imbalanced economy is the most dangerous issue. Combined with automation and international corporatism, the US could be an economic has been by 2050. Knowing that it takes a decade or two to significantly modify an economy, 2050 is frighteningly close. A real, undeniable statistic researched and declared many times is the fact that from 1939 to 1980, the wealthiest 10 percent of the population received 30 percent of income growth while the remaining 90 percent received 70 percent of income growth. Economically, things seemed to be working fine.

From 1980 (Reagan) to 2017, the wealthiest 10 percent of the population received 90 percent of growth income while the remaining 90 percent received less and less over that time. Today, 90 percent of the US population receives 40 percent less in gross adjusted income than they did in 1979.

This issue of a balanced sharing of the economy continues to be buried by all US governments – Federal, State and Local. Especially during the eight year filibuster of Barack by a do-no-business Republican Congress and now by the same Congress and an authoritarian, ignorant and immoral President.

The undeniable truth is that the real holdup in improving racism, balancing the concepts of freedom of religion and the existence of state authority, the clash between working classes and missing income, is the US Congress. It is a Congress dominated by the Reagan philosophy of culture and economics – imposed 37 years ago and by any measure clearly defunct today.

Until the Congress is completely revamped with modern politicians who understand 2017 racism, religious conflict and class struggles will continue. The fact that Donald is still around is another indicator of the antiquated Republicans stonewalling – their only Standard Operating Procedure.

Ancient Mariner

One Nation, One God, One Answer.

Originally, 15 thousand years or more ago, religion, politics, cultural norms and common behavior among neighbors, all had one source of evaluation – one undeniable power that dictated the rules for ethics, politics, religion, even dickering with a neighbor. Fallible but relatively consistent, the source was a designated priest of sorts. The priest interpreted what was acceptable, right, timely, or not. Having a local ‘judge’ of proper morality was very convenient – very much like shopping at Walmart.

This model of maintaining morality and ethical behavior still exists in parts of the world and still is convenient. In truth, however, it is uneven in application and so dependent on unproven myth and prejudice that it can be as brutal as to condemn women and children to death as presumed witches on the whim of the priest. In perspective, this practice is more sacrificial than judgmental.

Singular authority to pass moral judgment exists in modern times as well. Excluding cultish movements that come and go, covens and the like, there are a few places where ethics and morality are meted locally. For example, in many common Amish parishes, the local parish is led by a local team comprised of a bishop and two or three ministers – all drawn from the local congregation. The interpretive power of this leadership is far ranging and covers virtually all behavior and beliefs of parish members. Further, to sustain the culture, the state has little if any authority under normal circumstances.

An irregularity in Amish practices made the news several years ago. It seemed an older brother was regularly raping his younger sister. When caught and brought before the leadership, the brother confessed his sins, was forgiven by the leadership (as God would forgive) and allowed to return to his family. As you might expect, the boy, forgiven of his behavior, resumed raping his sister. This forgiveness loop was exercised often and resulted in the state interfering – a far greater sin not worthy of forgiveness.

Today, Western Culture is in turmoil. No one, it seems, is responsible for ethical behavior, the meaning of fairness, or protection of human rights. The two largest religions, Christianity and Islam, remain embroiled in antique rituals and are preoccupied with property rights from gold plated art to the clitoris of young women. The religions have been left without moral leverage by extremely rapid changes in technology that have stripped the gears of normal cultural change.

What remain intact are the false religions of capitalism, corporatism and authoritarianism. None have moral constructs for human wellbeing. It is the nature of our technological improvements that it grows easier to skim massive wealth from old, labor sharing economies – leaving hundreds of millions of people with questionable survivability.

As a consequence, across the western world populism has emerged as the disrupting force it should be – rising only in the midst of highly imbalanced wellbeing and fairness. As usual, the populists want a ‘person’ to be able to straighten things out; the status quo abusers are not to be trusted.

It feels nice to have a priest with moral authority in place again. It’s nice to have a Walmart in town again. Alas, the simple solution never works. The old priest method ‘solves’ problems quickly and authoritatively but, as suggested above, the singular priest in charge is a questionable choice – especially today when singular authority over a planet, nuclear war, cultural values with no roots, and millions of uncared for humans around the globe are not the type of issues left to one priest’s whim.

But history will repeat itself at the visceral levels of human behavior. So here we are.

Ancient Mariner

 

Yes, Virginia, there is more than Donald

One grows tired of reacting to a failed democracy – especially when the faithful electorate hires a demolition expert to finish the job. Yet, we must be diligent; there is no second inning in this ball game. Nevertheless, the mariner must have a reprieve; who thought religion would be considered a haven?

Mariner was up late a few weeks ago browsing late night – AKA early morning – television. He stopped to watch one of those New Testament films about the life of Jesus. It was wholly graphic in nature, typical of these productions, with no nuances about philosophy, Judaism, Christianity, culture, dogma or doctrine. The kind with Jesus portrayed by a blue-eyed European with coifed hair.

Also typical was the straight-line portrayal of the best of the Synoptic Gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke. (Admitting Matthew is mariner’s favorite gospel because it is a sociological dance between the Old Testament and the New Testament.) Poor gospel John is always denied recognition because he doesn’t tell the same story as the Synoptic Three.

PBS has an introduction to the Gospel John that is better than mariner can produce so he copied the paragraphs and inserted them below:

John’s gospel is different from the other three in the New Testament. That fact has been recognized since the early church itself. Already by the year 200, John’s gospel was called the spiritual gospel precisely because it told the story of Jesus in symbolic ways that differ sharply at times from the other three. For example, Jesus dies on a different day in John’s gospel than in Matthew, Mark and Luke…. Whereas in the three synoptic gospels Jesus actually eats a Passover meal before he dies, in John’s gospel he doesn’t. The last supper is actually eaten before the beginning of Passover so that the sequence of events leading up to the actual crucifixion are very different for John’s gospel. And one has to look at it and say, why is the story so different? How do we account for these differences in terms of the way the story-telling developed? And the answer becomes fairly clear when we realize that Jesus has had the last supper a day before so that he’s hanging on the cross during the day of preparation before the beginning of Passover.

So here’s the scene in John’s gospel: on the day leading up to Passover, and Passover will commence at 6 o’clock with the evening meal, on the day leading up to that Passover meal is the day when all the lambs are slaughtered and everyone goes to the temple to get their lamb for the Passover meal. In Jerusalem this would have meant thousands of lambs being slaughtered all at one time. And in John’s gospel that’s the day on which Jesus is crucified. So that quite literally the dramatic scene in John’s gospel has Jesus hanging on the cross while the lambs are being slaughtered for Passover. John’s gospel is forcing us, dramatically at least, through the storytelling mode, to think of Jesus as a Passover lamb. Jesus doesn’t eat a Passover meal, Jesus is the Passover meal, at least within the Christian mind in the way that John tells the story.

PBS did an excellent job of showing why John is less popular. Unlike Matthew, who plays ping-pong back and forth between Judaism and Christianity, John tells the gospel story in the context of the Old Testament. The reader must be familiar with both religions in order to see the spiritual differences. That being possible, the Old Testament, compiled in stages since 4000 BC, and the new New Testament being compiled as we read, have very different beliefs in God, spirituality, ethics, and doctrine.

If one of these late-night Jesus productions used John, not only would the storyline be different, the purpose of dialogue would be to articulate differences between Judaism and Christianity – which is the true motivation for John. John clearly does not intend to accept any Jewish dogma. Hence the reputation for spiritual clarity rather than historical sequencing.

That was refreshing, wasn’t it?

Ancient Mariner

Can Love Create Matter?

Today, religious folk are having a hard time with spiritual icons. Viewing the main religions over two thousand years, it is obvious religious institutions have inserted disciplined belief systems which largely benefit continuity of the institution rather than enriching the lives of believers.

Uncountable numbers of books have been written about religion; too many have had to explain again for each historical era what the icons mean and have had to reinterpret the complex integration of spirituality and cultural morality. Now, in the Information Age, principles of religious belief are drowned in a waterfall of instant and constant speculation, experimentation, and analytical second guessing. The mariner confesses to be a part of the deluge. Even so, his motivation is to ease the angst prevalent today.

Believers of many religions are caught today without an acceptable story describing the power of faith and spirituality. On the one hand, the traditional stories are increasingly defined as myths which are not the core value but rather the value is an extended and often confusing meaning of the myths. What is the new creative force? What is the replacement story not of belief but of the powerful reality that still catches our awareness today?

A few clarifications are in order from which we may construct a modern story.

As a broad overview, there have been only three distinct forms of animals in Earth’s history: invertebrates, reptiles and mammals. Only mammals have a brain with a limbic function. The limbic is the source of emotions; emotions are required for mammals because they must manage the early lives of their offspring – therefore requiring a means of sensing the state of offspring. Emotional feelings like sympathy, empathy, and compassion, just to name a few emotions, are the means by which parental awareness is managed. We call these emotions ‘love.’ There are emotions like hate, disdain, possessiveness and many more which ignore the caring emotions – the emotions that grow sustainable life.

The creation story begins many religious histories. The element that is still very much a value today is the awareness that an event or thing is good or that it is bad. The human sense of judgment is far more sensitive than any other mammal’s – even other simians and modern dogs.

The final clarification is imagination. Only humans can perceive what a Universe is; only humans can perceive a different state of being after death and even in inspirational moments while alive; only humans can perceive a nuclear weapon….

A new story about the creative power of God can be derived from our power to create life by using love. Is the act of loving a creative power in the Universe? The old stories hold firmly to the idea that God is Love – the most powerful myth!

The cultural morality derived from love has suffered the most. Early civilizations placed human authority above the larger but less abrasive power of love. Humans drifted from the purity imagined by their religions to follow other emotions like greed, capitalism, nationalism and authoritarianism. Humans used emotions to manufacture selfish benefits rather than support the power that comes from acts of love.

The twenty-first century is a hellish scene: a troubled planet, a restless Sun, a drifting Moon – all props for an Armageddon movie. Then there is the intense greediness of all organizations from governments to corporations to religious institutions – all equating righteousness to numbers of dollars or political favoritism. Sympathy, empathy and compassion are not in control of creation and the situation demonstrates that non-love destroys.

What God looks like is not important. God doesn’t look like anything we can imagine. But what does God do? God loves. There is our doctrine. The twenty-first century needs someone to love it.

NOTES

Errata – the URL for the Atlantic magazine is www.theatlantic.com Pardon the error.

The frequency of mariner’s posts will drop a bit as the gardening season approaches. He still will send an email notice so look for an email that a new post is on the website. Anyone wanting to email the mariner please write to skipper@iowa-mariner.com

Ancient Mariner

Religion Starter Kit – III

There are a few satanic religions and a few pragmatic religions, for example, capitalism, communism, socialism, Nazism, etc. But many hundreds of standard religions have the premise that a religion is here to do some spiritual good; god in whatever form is a positive force from which followers can draw positive influence or at least perform ethical behavior.

What every devout practitioner must possess is a feeling of liberation from negativity and failure and in addition a sense of being in a singular state of being – knowing one has transcended duality if even for a microsecond. In order to move on from the Starter Kit, one must experience positive buoyancy from one’s faith. Buoyancy gives one conviction in the day-to-day tumult of duality.

The traditional religions were documented at a time when there was little scientific knowledge and mythical explanations filled the gaps. Further, cultures have come and gone and our planet spins around with a different set of issues. It is not suggested that the religions have failed; the altruistic intent is as pure and valid as it has ever been. What is required in today’s society, one of technical solutions to every issue without perseverance, without obligation to biosphere or human value – or a bond to singularity and Grace (a church word meaning basking in goodness), is a travel pack that has resonance in situational ethics and a solution backed by god’s influence – as Father Fletcher said in his book, an act of love. Religion today is executed on the run.

One of mariner’s favorite ‘executions’ is the act of benefitting another person’s life without reparation of any kind – just making it a nicer day for someone; it has a street term: pass it forward, implying that the person who benefitted from your execution will execute one of their own. Note that both of you had a liberating experience.

Returning religion to society, however, is a large challenge. The past election illustrates clearly that the common citizen does not possess the confidence, the religiously reasoned morality, the unbiased ability to judge duality, or any obligation to the singularity intrinsic in our planet and our own species. These absences are of the spirit of life, not technology or the importance of machine rules.

Just the disorder for religion to repair!

Continuously use the measuring sticks like divining rods to find good duality and avoid reinforcing bad duality. A simple phrase is “two wrongs don’t make a right.” There are eight measuring sticks:

  • Is this event, thought or motive good duality or bad duality?
  • How much of god’s singularity is present?
  • How much beauty?
  • How much love?
  • How much order?
  • How much truth?
  • How much empathy?
  • How much compassion?

Some steering suggestions: Don’t fall into the trap of compensating for negative duality; one will end up fixing situations with more negatives and machine rules. Stick to using positive duality and acts of god to enhance the good things that need help. Joseph Campbell, another favorite of mariner, said the arc of life, the path of the hero, flows from negative circumstances (negative duality) into achievement (positive duality) and ultimately into a state of perfection (singularity).

Good luck.

Ancient Mariner

Religion Starter Kit – II

Review your accomplishments.

You are aware that there is a different kind of existence than you know in your current life; your current life exists in a state of duality. The different existence is a state of perfect being, perfect in the sense that decisions are not required as in duality. There is only one experience: perfectness. Therefore, having only one experience, this existence is a singularity.

You use the word ‘god’ which is a metaphor for singularity; saying or thinking god means you are saying or thinking about the meaning or influence of singularity in your life; god is neither the manager nor an emissary – god is a word that identifies the fact that the state of singularity is on your mind. Briefly, your relationship between duality and singularity is to shape your understanding and habitual behavior in a way that improves your experience of singularity – an experience of perfection replacing the turmoil of constant duality.

This is only a starter kit. On a relative religious completeness scale the kit is similar to a flashlight with bad batteries at midnight versus the Sun at Noon.

A few ideological/theological comments to help you start thinking about the role of religion:

The naturalist and empiricist dilemma.

Humans were born into a combative, sinful world AKA born into duality. Humans are cursed to have superior brains capable of making human centric decisions. Therefore humans can violate god’s balanced creation and continually do. God’s balanced reality is constantly unbalanced by disregard for nature and the cosmos. Humans demonstrate their lack of divine morality even among themselves with wars, violent abuse and disregard for the quality of H. sapiens wellbeing.

The ritualist conflict.

Every organized religion has the ritualist conflict. In sum, god handed down rules of obedience, humans are to adhere to these rules and thereby be rescued from duality. The conflict is that to a great degree, it is the same dilemma the naturalists and empiricists have – humans keep changing god’s rules. Disciplining structures are based on negative duality AKA machine rules (machine rules are rules that have ulterior motives not related to god’s perspective on things; rules are more about the wellbeing of the machine).

The spiritualist’s and conspirator’s escape.

Spiritualism and conspiracy theories are pursued because in their hearts these folks know the rest of us don’t know what we’re doing. They avoid dualistic conflict by believing in a back door that looks like reality but is beyond their ability to alter – a kind of faux singularity.

Atheism, humanism, deism and other deniers of god – life without singularity.

Simply put for atheism, no gods exist. Repeat no gods exist. It is difficult, in the whole universe, to adopt an authoritative ethic not subject to human frailty but atheists can live with that. Humanists live by a cocktail of ideologies which include traditional religious practices and verbal commitment to holistic Grace but refuse to conjure dominance over human competence. Pantheists believe god was here for a while but left when creation was complete.

There are other ideologies but these are the most common. Before you move on in the Starter Kit, ponder these to decide what relationship seems to influence you as you put together your theology and how you may accommodate your role between duality and singularity – or not.

Your religious purpose, ethics and social behavior are built on your theology.

Ancient Mariner

 

Do we at least still love our mothers?

In one way or another, the past three posts deal with H. sapiens’ relationship with the physical world. Other post series deal with H. sapiens’ treatment of fellow humans and some deal with how H. sapiens has allowed the machine ethic to take over theology, government, economic priority over life, and morality.

Just to highlight each subject:

Humans have started the sixth major extinction of life in the history of the planet.

Humans have destroyed the orderliness of the planet’s biosphere to the point humans will join other creatures in unnecessarily becoming extinct with them.

Humans have chemically altered the chemistry of the planet sufficiently to receive their own geologic epoch – the Anthropocene Epoch; Geologic epochs usually last two or three million years but humans ended the Holocene Epoch after just 11,500 years.

Economics continually grows more abusive to the planet population as international scope and computerization focus on an intense gathering of wealth for the few and in addition, without conscience increase the hardship on the quality of life for the rest.

Similarly, governments support corporate interests and refuse to openly and fairly care for all their citizens equally.

The measure of human worth and virtue is measured in dollars.

In sociology, a machine is any entity that is used to more easily achieve a goal. Machines can be a hammer, sunglasses, nuclear weapons, governments, organizations and prejudices. Humans have replaced religion with machines. Life according to a higher plane of existence and transcendent ethos is disappearing very rapidly. Today, it’s the machines that dictate morality.

Mariner believes this is overwhelming evidence that religion has been obliterated in the West; the East is catching up quickly. People today have lost faith in themselves which is what religion is all about. People chase the machines. It is a plastic world with no ethos, no reward for life, and no intrinsic value for achievement.

Consequently, the mariner will offer a generic religion starter kit for those who feel the absence of spiritual happiness.

 

RELIGION STARTER KIT

First, you need a god. How you envision god is very, very important. Many of you are aware that several practicing religions forbid any image of god – not even writing a name for god. There are two reasons for this: first, god has no shape; god is not a thing. God is a state of perfect being. Second, you can’t worship images, not even presumptions of images. The Jews call this Baal worship. The Christian Bible cites god in several places saying “you will have no other gods before me.” That includes pictures and words of god; they truly don’t look like god at all[1]. God is a singularity. This will have meaning in a moment.

Many religions have the same creation story where god creates a perfect world in a special location. God puts a male and most often a female at the location and they do something they aren’t supposed to do. This creation story is very important to the manner in which we utilize god in our lives. The story establishes something called ‘duality.’

Duality is a condition of existence. Everything – everything – has two or more sides or values. Examples: start and stop; top and bottom; light and dark; far and near; man and woman; good and evil, and so on. Do not try to find an exception. There is only one exception: god. In perfection, god cannot have more than one state of being. God by definition is a singularity.

Duality is our opportunity to sense more than one value for something. To move through life, we are constantly bombarded with things which require us to judge the correct value. In the area of religion, this judgment is about good or evil values; whether something is right or wrong in merit. There is an affinity between singularity and good judgments; there is a rejection of singularity when judgments are bad.

Now you must add an item to the starter kit: faith that a state of perfect being exists. You should seek feelings of perfection and what that does to your feelings of self. A hint about what perfection feels like is a transcendent sensation that lifts you above duality and is very, very peaceful. It isn’t so important that you imagine some literal moment; remember god isn’t a thing; god is a state of perfection. Further, your human desires likely do not reflect perfection – you exist in a dualistic reality. Speaking anthropomorphically, god draws you to be like god – to exist in a state of singularity. But first you need a god.

In the starter kit is a set of measuring devices which you use to measure the amount of perfection in an event, thought or motive in your life. These measuring tools are sort of like handy decision aids like a pregnancy stick or a ruler to measure legal fish or the air pressure in your tires. The scale on each of these tools has words to help with measuring:

Is this event, thought or motive good duality or bad duality? How much of god’s singularity is present? How much beauty? How much love? How much order? How much truth? How much empathy? How much compassion? This set of words determines the quality of an event that is created by humans. It is not advised that you invent your own sticks. Usually they measure bad duality. For example, common measuring sticks of bad duality are opportunism, prejudice, pride, greed and avarice. When you think about it, a state of perfection doesn’t have much that can be measured. However, all of dual reality can be measured for compliance with a state of perfection.

When you have this much of the kit assembled, it is time to practice your religion. Always carry your measuring sticks with you; your measurements will help you focus on god’s singularity and to live a happier and more satisfying life. The remaining parts of the starter kit require some seasoning on your part before you can assemble them.

Ancient Mariner

 

[1] Religion is about answering ‘why’ we exist and ‘what’ provides goodness in our lives. The mariner references old religions to help with understanding; the starter kit is quite transparent when it comes to sanctification, ritual, interpretation of goodness and what a transcendent being looks like or how it is identified. The generic identification of god is up to you. Joseph Campbell suggested that the term ‘myth’ always gets in trouble because people place their faith in the myth rather than in what the myth represents (Baal worship). Campbell said, “A myth is a metaphor for things we cannot easily explain or articulate.” So it is with the term ‘god.’ A common metaphor is “Goodness is godliness.”

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 Relentless Presence of Donald.

With great resistance, mariner must turn his attention to Donald. It has become a spiritual duty. The mariner prides himself on not following policy backed by ulterior motive, hearsay rumors, unjustified gossip, fake news, inadequately thought out if not childish tweets, Facebook abuses and a campaign of empty commentary based on vapors of nothingness backed only by petty, childish name calling. In cultural reality, this makes the mariner old fashioned and increasingly irrelevant to the essence of American culture in 2017.

Mariner vets his information first by reliable sources, then by cultural valuation, then by his own twisted rationale. Mariner has the assistance of his three reliable cohorts, Chicken Little, a compulsive alter ego, Amos, a skeptic of the first order, and Guru, incapable of evaluating an opinion without tracing it out to its ultimate end – usually the end of the Earth or beyond.

All three requested a meeting yesterday to complain about Donald. Chicken Little said, “I’m afraid of him.” Amos said, “Don’t these idiots in government understand he’s a sham? Why won’t they just trash him?” Guru said, “If you value what’s left of decent human values in government and an economy that can launch any positive future, his narcissism, his identity with wealth and his fetish with gold are inadequate to make the transition.”

Well, what can the mariner say? He agreed to make Donald the subject of a post even though he believes it will be tantamount to urinating into a 100 mph gale.

– – – –

After listening to and reading all feasible news sources, reading a few relevant books, and applying his unique cultural valuation, the mariner arrived at this overarching view: Donald is a symptom, not a cause. The Christian caveat about casting the moat from one’s own eye before judging other people applies absolutely to the American citizen’s philosophy of government. “Americanism,” the spirit our founding fathers sought to underwrite freedom, democracy, liberty and prevent oppression, tyranny and populism, the mariner fears, has run its course. A civil war, four significant failures of the nation’s economy, internationalism of economy and a planet that has never balanced its global population with reality in any manner, has eroded the spirit (meaning the spirit of the individual) to the point that the US has retreated to the classic mores of the Roman Empire: leaders of any ilk make their own rules, have their own rights and privileges, are not responsible for the wellbeing of citizens except to stratify liberties to given classes; the common good is an extraction of “What’s good for me?”

This has become a nation (and an international community) that folks like Donald can thrive in. He is in his element. Ethics, morality, practicality and the job of caring and sharing left a few decades ago. Righteousness is found in “the deal.” Donald has only two platforms to sustain morality: Whatever happens, it must have an element to it that benefits him personally; second, he must glean an image of egotistical success and supremacy – even if it is only in his own mind. This second principle is a weakness that smart leaders will take advantage of in areas that truly affect morality and fairness but are of no interest to Donald. As the mariner said, among us, he is among his kind.

Debris lies all around.

Just recently, it was mentioned that the nation who fostered modern democracy ranks 27th out of 35 functioning democratic nations; out of every 100 voters, 43 don’t and 16 are denied the privilege.

The nation’s economy is at its peak and expanding as an oligarchy; out of every 100 voters, one shares in 90% of the nation’s wealth. Turned around, 99 voters share .001% of the nation’s wealth.

The cultural engine, business, aggressively moves away from any cultural responsibility; taxes are avoided to the point of hiding massive profits like pirates in places outside the world of visible commerce and salaries are at their lowest as a percentage of GNP for as long as such records have been kept.

The ethos of religiosity and the divine worth of a soul are but a skeleton, a memory of their worthiness. The driving factors of organized religion are rife with the distractions of ritual and selfishness. The individual soul is not worth saving at the expense of self-gratification or sacrifice. For every deal made by Donald, religion makes a hundred deals to avoid the responsibilities of compassion, sharing, and weaving the fabric of empathy.

So our culture has come to this in 2017. Acknowledging that a thread, a residue of graciousness still exists, our body of faith, of compassion, of industriousness, of sharing, of tempered discipline, lay on the planet’s trashed floor looking like a carcass picked over by our vulturous selves.

There is little left in man’s coffers. The mariner speaks occasionally of ‘world bounces.’ What is left to bounce to? The bread of life needs a starter but searches an empty refrigerator.

Welcome, Donald. Make us a deal.

Ancient Mariner