The Apocalypse is Nigh

Mariner often has touted the joy of being married to a professional librarian, serious poet, and bibliophile of the first order. Yet again, reading through the many books by her bedside, his wife came across this amazing likeness in C.S. Lewis’s book, “The Problem of Pain”, published in 1940. The quote below is found in the chapter on hell:

“. . . . Picture to yourself a man who has risen to wealth or power by a continued course of treachery and cruelty, by exploiting for purely selfish ends the noble motions of his victims, laughing the while at their simplicity; who, having thus attained success, uses it for the gratification of lust and hatred and finally parts with the last rag of honor among thieves by betraying his own accomplices and jeering at their last moments of bewildered disillusionment. Suppose further, that he does all this, not (as we like to imagine) tormented by remorse or even misgiving, but eating like a schoolboy and sleeping like a healthy infant – a jolly ruddy-cheeked man, without a care in the world, unshakably confident to the very end that he alone has found the answer to the riddle of life, that God and man are fools whom he has got the better of, that his way of life is utterly successful, satisfactory, unassailable. . . .

“. . . . Even mercy can hardly wish to such a man his eternal, contented continuance in such ghastly illusion.”

– – – –

In Apostle Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, he describes the antichrist:

“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.” [Thessalonians 2]

Is who we think we’re talking about the antichrist? Is his base the nonbelievers deceived by his message? He is eager to use nuclear war. Is the Apocalypse nigh?

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the Earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The Sun shall be turned into darkness,  and the Moon into blood, before the coming great and awesome Day of the Lord, and it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the Name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Joel 2:30-32)

Ancient Mariner

How to Make Order from Chaos

Mariner is not, what is the term – a neatnik. His home office is a replica of the human presence on Planet Earth. The office is a clutter sanctuary, a habitat of overgrown functions that dysfunction – lost in the mire of mismanagement, a Paleolithic collection of useless junk. Mariner decided in a godlike manner to restore order and spiritual beauty to his office. It is time for Armageddon.

Mariner discovered immediately that one must indeed have the power of God to restore functional and productive order to human disorder. God uses water and fire which seems excessive for this task. Mariner has no choice but to wade into the matter in the likeness of Jason and his Argonauts.

The home office is no 10 Downing Street. It is a 12×12 room beside the front door entry. The room has a 5×2 closet with a separate 2-foot storage area above which meets the ceiling. Someone in the past put shelves in the closet; it behooves mariner to say they had no sense of functionality. The closet has two sliding doors which means easy access is only at each end. Unfortunately, there are no shelves at each end – only in the middle behind the doors. This situation has led to intense jury rigging while storing supplies – certainly a contributing factor to the immense disorder at hand.

One immediately sees lying about the office towers of 8½ by 11 paper as tall as they will stay balanced. The reader will be entertained that the resident filing cabinet is half empty – suffering long ago from a failed filing system. An overgrown potted spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) contributes to the mayhem. Overstuffed oak bookcases dominate the walls. Any remaining wall space is filled with sailing charts, photographs of sailing trips and other memorabilia from the past (Why is an eight-foot boat hook leaning in the corner?). A small corner desk with a glass surface holds the computer and its paraphernalia.

Today, the closet has been cleared of everything, shelves and all. This means there is only a foot path from the door to the closet – a mere goat path among the hills. It is time to reorder things. What would God do? Mariner questions God’s judgment when God flooded the Earth but did not oversee reconstruction. Had God dealt with our home offices, perhaps the world of humans would be a more orderly place.

Ancient Mariner

Rajneesh

Mariner was a Methodist pastor during the 1960’s. He was interested in philosophical direction at the time; it was indeed a time of crossroads in contemporary thoughts about secularism, socialism, capitalism, theism, and the role in general of belief systems in modern society. For a college theology assignment, mariner researched an Indian philosopher named, for short, Rajneesh.

Rajneesh was sort of a rebel religious philosopher in India espousing normal Indian mysticism and spiritualism but Rajneesh injected a thread of spiritual humanism that made him known in the western world as well. Mariner has not thought of Rajneesh since his college days. Rajneesh is brought to mind by an article in this week’s New Yorker email.

The most efficient analysis of his approach to spiritualism is to examine his effort to write his own ten commandments (very much a restrictive western gesture). Bless Wikipedia for having Rajneesh’s ten commandments clearly presented!

1.Never obey anyone’s command unless it is coming from within you also.

2.There is no God other than life itself.

3.Truth is within you, do not search for it elsewhere.

4.Love is prayer.

5.To become a nothingness is the door to truth. Nothingness itself is the means, the goal and attainment.

6.Life is now and here.

7.Live wakefully.

8.Do not swim—float.

9.Die each moment so that you can be new each moment.

10.Do not search. That which is, is. Stop and see.

Bring a copy of the commandments to your next Sunday School class for discussion. Mariner guarantees there will be discussion. Certain commandments, particularly 5, 8, 9 and 10, can raise the blood pressure of western capitalists; socialists struggle with 3, 5 and 6; theists are stopped by 1, 2, 3 and 6; western society in general finds 5 an anathema.

Mariner gleaned many sermons from Rajneesh by integrating his spiritual elements with western pragmatism.

Being a bit older, mariner has in his mental library many forgotten moments to discover again. Welcome back, Rajneesh.

Ancient Mariner

 

Old Testament Christians in America

Politico.com headlined an article about millions of voters who believe God arranged for Donald to be President. It turns out it was primarily Pentecostals early in his campaign. Still, polls show a lot more citizens than just Pentecostals believe God interceded (He must have His reasons). The theme ‘Make America Great Again’ has a lot to do with Pentecostal support and with other fundamentalist-leaning believers who have an increasingly difficult time as American culture drifts left.

An interceding God who would do such things as impose Donald on a population is a God the vast majority of Americans accept. It is rare to visit with an individual who believes God is an unchanging, nonjudgmental power of love that does not interfere with our daily lives but requires us to use God’s power to improve the wellbeing of everyone – including ourselves. The disturbing issue to mariner is that it is the Old Testament God who plays pranks like anointing Donald. It is the Hebrew God – a theology that dates back to when theology and faith were just beginning to coalesce.

Mariner could find no polls specific to the preference for an interceding God or a God with a universal, constant presence that leaves history to humans. Based on his readings and personal experiences over a lifetime, mariner speculates that Christian believers in the New Testament (Christian) God are at best 1 in every 500; 1 in every 5000 if nonbelievers (called ‘nons’ today) are counted.

Aside from the Trinity being irrelevant when one believes God can play with history, God immediately becomes our own belief in who God is. If God is not a singular, universal presence, then God can have opinions – maybe opinions just like each of us. God can be prejudiced, racist, allow wealth to reflect faith – just like each of us. We end up believing in ourselves – conveniently blaming a sham God if things don’t go our way.

All of us are aware that theology of any kind is under stress today. We must be careful not to humanize our theology else there is no ultimate truth to our being. One will have only one’s self to be God.

Ancient Mariner

 

Governance in Flux

Like many, many folks around the world today, mariner notices not just a few but a majority of nations suffering from disruptions to their cultural and national ideology. Examples of disruption are environment, technology, computerization, population, globalization, shifts in energy sources, and other international product markets affected by political and entrepreneurial winds.

Mariner asks the reader to indulge the following description of nations and their status in the world of nations.

With 197 nations in the world, government concepts could be a real jigsaw puzzle. But it isn’t. If the nations can be categorized only by overall philosophies of government, there are not too many concepts. Consider:

Democracies – United States and many other nations. Mariner found that democracies in general are struggling with competing philosophies of governance. In the US, the nation is very close to being a cross between democracy and corporatocracy wherein a republic form of government exists with legislators and judges but the direction of policy is controlled by corporate interests. Further, many democracies struggle with succession, for example the collaboration of democracies called the European Union, independents like Syria, Turkey, and Iraq in the Middle East, and all the sub-Saharan nations of Africa.

Dictatorships, including variations on the theme such as totalitarianism, Plutocracies, autocracies, and Anarcho-capitalists (Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan). Africa is overrun with dictatorships preventing affected nations from stabilizing and establishing institutional functions.

Stratocracies (ruled by military) – As one would expect, nations under severe duress often are taken over by military juntas. Recently, a duly elected government in Egypt was thrown out by a military coup. It ruled until another election could be held. Myanmar (Burma) has become a stratocracy where the military has taken control of a powerless government still in place.

Communist Republics – Like democracies, the few communist nations that remain (primarily China) are experiencing philosophical changes in governance. China, while still ruled by one party and one very powerful president, struggles with socialist policies in an effort to improve society enough to compete in the new age of the 21st century.

Socialist Republics – Socialism was a common philosophy at the turn of the 20th century but today only a few socialist governments remain among the Nordic nations. Otherwise, the criterion for being a socialist nation is self-determined. Virtually all active socialist countries actually are variations on communism (Russia and China) or awkward descriptions claiming the rights of citizens as the primary goal of government (Albania, Viet Nam, Laos, Afghanistan and other –stans.

Theocracies – The Holy See or Vatican City is not the only theocracy. Also governed strictly by religious doctrine are Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen. In a muted way, religious influence exists in most nations and frequently can cause difficulty in governance. The United States has an active minority hardening against the secularist nature that pulls the nation into the 21st century. Islamic nations suffer even more difficulty as 8th century dogma fails to fit modern cultural demands.

Aristocracies and monarchies – Great Britain is a democracy that retains a very weak role for a national monarchy. Monaco is free of French control as long as the royal family in Monaco can produce a male heir. Sweden is a constitutional monarchy but the monarchy has little authority in legislative processes. There are several other nations that have this pattern.

Corporatocracies and oligarchies – In every case where this category has a presence, it is conjoined with another philosophy of government; it doesn’t stand alone because it needs an organized source of cash. Nevertheless, Corporatocracies and oligarchies have a growing advantage as global markets emerge. The new world economy can easily lose nationalist authority as traditional rules of commerce and outdated concepts associated with Gross National Product lose meaning.

Beyond this list, one wanders into heavily crossbred variations.

– – – –

Mariner thanks readers who suffered reading this litany about the changing philosophy of most governments in the world. It is a necessary task to grasp the unbelievably large phenomenon that is washing away old standards of authority in governance and, amid unending change in technology, international relations, free range economies and shifting populations, there are neither precedents to follow nor a part of the world stable enough to be an example for troubled nations.

Always through the history of nations, destabilizing change was local. Even the Roman Empire and the Ming Dynasty were local compared to today’s universal, planet-wide upheaval.

Add to the high storm waves that wash over a nation’s culture the battle for supremacy among the giant nations, e.g., Russia, United States, European Union, China and, in the near future, continental consortiums like Mexico, Canada and the US, or China, South America and the Pacific Rim, or Russia, Brazil and Eastern Europe, or India and Africa.

Then add economic wars like oil versus alternative energy, international control of information, and dozens of money versus culture conflicts (Greece et al). Finally, add the gross changes in jobs and family sustenance affected by artificial intelligence and the control of thought represented by the novel 1984 and the movie, Matrix – already beginning to control our personal decision-making. Beware that piece of candy called a smartphone – it’s the Matrix connection to your life. Yes, mariner is old fashioned but he is intellectually independent.

Well. Don’t expect a solution from mariner. This conundrum reminds him of a gift he received during Christmas. It’s a nine-piece puzzle with imagery so highly redundant that there are over 50 million possible placements for each piece – but only one solution for all nine pieces.

As Roy used to say, “Happy Trails…..”

Ancient Mariner

Gifting – Again

Mariner has written a time or two about gifting. He thinks gifting, as a core habit among daily life, will correct the world’s preoccupation with money, indifference, social abuse, and the pall of inadequacy hanging over each of us. Feel free to use the mariner’s search box to find other posts using the word ‘gifting.’

A quick description of giving versus gifting: Giving is when one authorizes a perfunctory distribution of one’s physical or fiduciary assets for personal reasons; gifting is when one deliberately distributes one’s physical or fiduciary assets founded on a desire to be compassionate and a desire to create positive relations within human nature. Mariner’s frequent example is the behavior known as ‘passing it forward.’ That act is intentional in its desire to make another person’s life a bit better; not because one is aware that it is a form of courtesy.

This seems easily understood. A single individual could alter one’s attitude with practice and become a kinder, gentler and self-confident person while simultaneously improving the lives of others. But this is a global issue. Lack of compassion has infected whole cultures, societies, governments and even belief systems that explain the universe. One cannot simply say, “Everyone . . . be more compassionate!”

We will know compassion is part of American society when –

Health services cease to be a profit market and becomes an obligation to those in need of health services.

Immigration is considered a chance to help those who come to assimilate and receive from them their gift of knowledge and life experience that will enhance the nation.

Commerce has returned to its understanding that commerce has an obligation not to greed but to the wellbeing of communities.

Class prejudice is replaced by a desire to consider every citizen equal in value and importance.

Every citizen maintains loyalty to each other through the machinations of government.

Tax policy is a tool to fairly share the wealth of the nation with every citizen.

Mariner could go on but the reader has the basic idea.

 

REFERENCE SECTION

Now may be a good time to recommend some exceptionally insightful sources:

֍When it comes to theology, religion and its role in society, one cannot find a more enlightened individual than Reza Aslan. Mariner learned of Aslan a few years ago watching an interview on Fox television which tore into him from the outset about how could an Iranian Hindu understand Christianity. He never had the chance to speak about his book or any of his ideas. Aslan has educated himself around the world not only by gaining a stellar educational résumé but by personally visiting every acknowledged religion, every religious culture and with surprising insight, understanding the effect of religion from a sociological perspective. The book mariner recommends is:

God: A Human History, Reza Aslan, Random House, 2017

on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac from Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com $13.99; text hard copy $17.63

One can pass on the book to watch a first class interview about the book on CSPAN. See: https://www.c-span.org/video/?437532-2/god

֍It is more difficult than one may think to find a moderate thinker in the United States today. Mariner has found one in the most unexpected place: CNN – Fareed Zakaria, host of Global Public Square (GPS) on Sunday morning. Mariner recommends his television show on CNN, his column in the Washington Post and his twitter account, @fareedzakaria; his website is https://fareedzakaria.com . Fareed is particularly keen on the subject of a fading United States, suggesting other nations will step in to fill the gap of a dysfunctional US. The recommended book, a nice read, is:

The Post-American World, Release 2.0, Fareed Zakaria, W.W. Norton, 2011

Also available on digital readers.

֍For those with a liberal arts bent, put the following website in your favorites list and subscribe to the email service. Each week you are offered interesting sources from literature and other esoteric subjects:

https://us9.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=8cbd654fc43afe6be9455ae3b&id=bcec0a1a30

Ancient Mariner

Church v State

In the early days church v state was not an issue. Before Jesus the government function known today as the ‘upper house’ (House of Lords?) was occupied by a collection of anthropomorphic gods. The lower house and the executive branch spent most of their time trying to guess what the gods were going to do next in their own interests and what twists of fate would they impose on the citizenry. The Old Testament in the Holy Bible spends a significant amount of time trying to have a relationship between Israel and one god, let alone a pantheon of gods. In Greece, military leaders had to visit an oracle to get the final say on whether the next war was worthwhile.

In the western world, Christianity took hold as the major religion. During the Roman Empire era and the expansion of Christianity into Europe, Christianity dominated human politics; all governments were theocracies to the point that the Pope could depose Kings with a thumb pointed downward. To realize how dominant church was over society, read about the Spanish Inquisition or the first oligarchs AKA Christian monasteries or the life and times of Galileo imprisoned because he said the Earth was not the center of the Galaxy or the Universe. However, human self-interest would not go away. Remember Henry VIII?

In the far reaches of Northern Europe, beyond the original advances of Rome and its theocracy, early Christianity was more of a wild card. Theology and theocracy were owned by local kingdoms like Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland. Along with the Nordic countries, these emerging nations lived on a frontier of war for centuries. Eventually, especially in England, the barons found they were spending too much on war and sought an agreement that would limit the power of the King and assure a degree of political independence within each baron’s territory.

They had a big meeting in 1215 and signed the Magna Carta Libertatum[1].

Church v state was born.

The Magna Carta was a deal between human factions. For the first time, human rights were based on common agreement rather than religious proclamation. The Magna Carta had a profound influence on Western political governance. In the United States, one can see the direct and overwhelming influence in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The United States is a nation based on the rule of law – not the beliefs of a given religion. Nevertheless, in all the documents, religion is granted the practice of religious principles without restriction.

– – – –

Nothing in history is automatic. In fact, mankind does everything it can to muddy the waters of change. From the start, religious authority is implied because God is printed on all US money. Citizens are warned to tell the truth by God’s standards (so help you God…). How quickly we ignored the Christian guide book in Matthew 20:21 that says …”give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

What clobbered the clear principles of US founding documents was the Reformation. America simultaneously was populated and grew with opportunists and religious zealots. The church led early settlement across the nation as it moved west and insisted on strict commitment to the faith. On the other hand, opportunists wanted as little regulation and interference from the government as possible. Generations of citizens grew up with close scrutiny by their parish leadership and virtually none from the government. Consequently, threads of theocratic governance persist to this day. The rule of sanctuary in a religious building still is granted credence; the Amish have their own justice system. Ironically, a beautiful, poetic religion was obliterated when the US destroyed the culture of the North American Indian.

– – – –

So here the US is today – having to go to the Supreme Court to interpret the line between church and state. Not just once but for every piddling conflict: abortion, gays and trannies, commercial restrictions, race, non-Christian religious practices, wedding cakes, and marriage licenses. Amos grows tired of tolerance.

The simple rule is a person is allowed to practice and express their religion in ritual, within family, within any realm of personal possession or likeminded group – even in their personally owned business (without violating state law). On the other hand, that person cannot deny the right of others or the state to have beliefs and legislation of their own that may not be compatible with that person’s religion.

It sounds blunt but if one doesn’t believe in abortion don’t practice it. On the other hand, one cannot dictate the beliefs or rules of others or the state where there are differences in practice.

Mariner leaves it to the reader to decide the rights of Kim Davis who is an elected clerk in a state government post who denies marriage licenses to gays. Do we need the Supreme Court to determine Kim’s responsibility to the freedom of religion clause or the state to act independent of religious proclamation?

Ancient Mariner

[1] (Great Charter of Liberation) For a full and helpful translation of the Magna Carta, see: http://www.magnacartaplus.org/magnacarta/

Witness to the Acceleration of Change

Addressing the older folks for a moment, remember when . . .

Reality was dependable. It was familiar. There was time to pause. Weather was the common conversation. Religion had been around a long time and played a stabilizing role in the community. Families lived through generations without much change between them. Without giving it a thought, jobs lasted a lifetime and often multiple generations worked at the same place. Daily life was stable and dependable – so much so Norman Rockwell could freeze American life on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. Music was friendly and fun. Dancing was ebullient and expressive, or a slow, romantic melody that left time to share feelings with a partner. It was the forties and fifties. It was the last time American culture stood still. Considered only an irritation to the public at the time, the public did not realize that McCarthyism ignited the fuse of change, separatism and social divisiveness that would last to the present day.

Innocently, society wandered into the sixties: Kennedy was shot. King was shot. Bobby was shot. Civil Rights stirred prejudice and violence that hearkened back to slavery; whole neighborhoods were set afire. The Cold War increased. Then the Viet Nam war; college students were shot on campus for protesting – by the National Guard! No one talked about the weather anymore or had time to pause and enjoy reality. Reality couldn’t be trusted anymore; it was full of angst, prejudice and social conflict. By the seventies, ‘one nation indivisible’ no longer existed.

The seventies finally eradicated the memory of that stable culture back in the post war years when Ozzie and Harriet seemed a reasonable interpretation of America. The seventies were dominated by Russia, the cold war, a viable threat of nuclear war, Richard Nixon, and US inflation climbed to 17%. George Wallace was shot. America was growing weary of conflict not only in war but in society as well. The role of religion was under attack by secularists. It was the end of Jimmy Carter and the beginning of Ronald Reagan.

In the eighties, Ronald introduced policies that diminished the influence of a citizenry over their government. Ronald fathered an economy that favored entrepreneurship and capitalization as the power of change. While these policies quieted the populist nature of the citizenry, only today is the Reagan Doctrine declining. As a result of Ronald’s economic policies, assets and income of the citizenry no longer grow at the same pace as the nation; assets began to assimilate unevenly toward the elite classes.

The nineties were a sort of halftime, a pause to enjoy an amiable President and to enjoy the growth in entrepreneurship that led to a relatively strong economy. It was a time to catch a breath in the unending changes society had passed through since the forties. Beneath the respite, however, corporatism and governments diseased by excessive cash from the new entrepreneurs began to damage the culture in a new way. The idea of a job for life was disappearing; regulations controlling the business environment began to protect corporations over the wellbeing of human beings. By 1998, computers and artificial intelligence threw their own wood on the fire that was reducing middleclass comfort, security and identity. John Henry would roll in his grave.

So here we are in the new millennium. Our lives are jammed into a splintered information age stuffed into devices and databases that rapidly take control of that thing called ‘personal freedom.’ The old societal watch guards like religion, human value, the common good, trust in our nation, and equality among the populace, all are gone. Today our society struggles mightily to gain control of rapidly changing cultural values; we seek protection from raucous abuses in an uncontrolled society. To add insult to our injury, we have Donald.

Anyone care to stop over to binge watch some old Ozzie and Harriet episodes?

Ancient Mariner

 

 

What is it?

You can feel it. Everyone can. It is similar to flying through the Universe faster than the speed of light. It feels like a tennis match using a dozen balls instead of one. It whirls you about like a carnival ride. It feels like you are crawling under barbed wire in the mud while bullets fly around you.

It is change. Change in religion; change in life style; change in deep-rooted national values; change in economic dependability; change in the Earth’s environment; change in self-confidence; change in the workplace. It is change. Change happening faster than ever before. Change so pervasive as to leave the entire world in disarray.

War is changing. Fresh water is disappearing. Work is changing. Seas are rising. Vital food chains are disappearing. Human life lives too long to be supported. Changing weather drives millions out of their habitat into starvation. The mammalian age is fragmenting. Sea life is dying.

If you are older than the Millennials, it feels like passing out in a spinning centrifuge. If you are a Millennial, reality is a hodge podge of artificial experiences that lead nowhere.

Change is so disruptive it begs the question, “How can we change change?” We can’t. Change is not arbitrary; change has no speed control; change cannot be reversed. And, to identify the cause of change, as Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Broadcast news services cannot bring us all the changes. There are too many changes from too many diverse sources. News agencies are busy chasing down nothing more than political frivolity and gossip. Most viewers aren’t interested in change; viewers are interested in viewing frivolity and gossip which require little thought and action. Yet change rumbles the ground beneath us. Rock solid virtuosity is changing to flowing currents of ineptitude. Human life is in the midst of the largest quake in human history.

Ancient Mariner

 

Becoming Really Old

Mariner’s household watched HBO’s clip ‘If you’re not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast’ produced by Carl Reiner. It’s a fluff piece about the secret to living happily into one’s nineties. The sociological statistics one gleans from the show produce the following priorities for longevity:

Be a friend of Carl Reiner.

Be Jewish.

Be wealthy.

Have no life ending health issues.

Have no psychological entrapments – let go and enjoy success.

Be an artist.

Be in a profession that allows one to keep working into one’s nineties.

 

Amos thinks it was a way to get Carl’s friends together on a project that would be fun and also make money. Actually, it is a thought provoking film once one discounts the upbeat atmosphere of highly successful comedians and obviously better than average income. Mariner as well would have enjoyed seeing Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca and Howard Morris – fellow comedians from that magical era.

Generally, the underlying message was to cast off the mental issues and daily hardships that plague all of us through life: feelings of inadequacy, emotional pains, persistent failure, meager circumstances, even physical disabilities. Instead, have full confidence that nothing is wrong about us. We are not focused on burdens; we are focused on lighthearted participation in whatever is going on – something that is entertaining or challenging or charitable. Pay no attention to internal thoughts that may constrain or restrict us; pay no attention to social judgment of our lifestyle. It’s not about us. It’s about everyone else.

Mariner has been blessed to know many nonagenarians. Many were suffering the ravages of age. Nevertheless, it was clear they were self-confident and focused on participating in life as best they could. Very few, if any of us, live a stress-free life; still, becoming a nonagenarian seems to require focus on the world beyond our nose.

Ancient Mariner