IF the reader was born before the Vietnam War (1954), their core understanding of reality and related social values is outdated – functional but outdated. Life values accumulate via growth experiences until around the age of 25; developing pragmatic skills through adulthood by participating in society benefits society. The opportunity to successfully participate in society fades after the age of 60 because two younger generations have created a different reality during their growing and productive years.

A good analogy for elders is walking lost on a Manhattan sidewalk at noon. What is important to social stability is that everyone over 60 has earned and deserves a pleasant time during their retirement.

It is true that some personalities will insist on an active, decision-making role in this century but their values and experiences are not quite in tune with the needs of a newer society.


If the reader believes in the sanctity of the Universe, its tough and rugged rules for existence, its rules for sustaining a sensitive balance of life forms and further that all life forms are subject to the rules of Nature – then the reader tends toward being a naturalist. Perhaps the broadest philosophical point for a naturalist is sustaining Nature’s status quo, its balancing act among all matter living and nonliving.

Being a naturalist, the reader is aware that Homo sapiens has tinkered with longevity beyond what Nature would grant. Just in the modern era, the lifespan of humans in 1943 was 53; today it is close to 80. “Why,” the reader might ask, “has society nearly doubled the lifespan of humans but feels no responsibility for the overpopulated outcome not only concerning humans but their imbalance with the rest of the ecosystem?” Three alternatives have been tried that inadvertently limit population but have not become a sustained practice for balancing human population:

(1) Execution. Imposed death of family members and servants was practiced by Egypt for centuries; even today there is a voodoo group that still practices ceremonial sacrifice for the good of the family or society. A small remnant of ritual assassination remains through execution of unwanted criminals. And, of course, before the invention of explosives, changes in culture or climate forced relatively large armies to brutally kill each other in a war.

(2) Limited reproduction. From time to time, especially in Asian societies, a family was constrained by social rules to have only one child. A different variation existed recently when Asian families decided not to have that one child be female because males were more valued for their opportunity to work and bring more resources to the family. In 2015 Xi Jinping removed the offspring limitation for economic reasons.

(3) Prevented reproduction. These methods can be considered to be common practices to prevent pregnancy; for example, abortion, sexual preventatives like condoms and vaginal obstruction, and pharmaceuticals.

If one is a naturalist, given the overpopulation issue, one is confused by a culture that insists on enforcing the birth of children who may not be wanted or who will burden the life of the family beyond normal circumstances and at the same time other factions insist on pregnancy as a personal choice unaffected by reproduction issues.

As is almost always the case, Nature controls biological balance. Does the reader know that caucasians, Asians, Europeans, Russians, in fact the whole world is losing population? Just in the United States, where white supremacists are active, the white race will be a minority in the 2124 Presidential campaign and will disappear as a political entity by the end of the century.

Mariner is reminded of the noted mouse and rat studies in the 1960’s that showed when the caged population reached a point of imbalance in terms of space, mating environments and social bickering, the population suddenly dropped to about a third and stayed there for a long period.

Ancient Mariner

These are trying times

Trying times is an understatement.

The migration of tens of millions of people, exacerbated by a changing climate, will be one of the mega-trends of the 21st century, Bryan Walsh writes in Axios Future:

“For both humanitarian and political reasons, wealthy countries like the U.S. will need to figure out a way to handle a flow of people that may never stop. People make the difficult decision to leave their homes for many reasons, including conflict and crime, political persecution, and the simple desire for a better life.

“But a growing factor is the push of extreme weather and climate change, which disproportionately affect people living in poorer, hot countries that are already a major source of migrations to the U.S. That means the U.S., as well as the rich nations of Europe face a permanent and likely growing flow of climate migrants that they — and the international refugee system — are ill-equipped to handle.

“The catch: Climate change’s precise role in migration is tangled up with more immediate factors, like security and economic well-being.

“A Gallup survey released this week found that more than a quarter of the population of the 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean — which would amount to 120 million people — would like to permanently move to another country.

“42 million of those want to come to the U.S.”

More and more folks recognize that global warming is real. In the United States the political resistance comes from fossil fuel interests, the Trumpist anti-science movement and twentieth century conservatives. The combination of global warming, social modification due to artificial intelligence, a global virus pandemic and an apocalyptic shift in global economy – all at the same time – easily is more disruptive socially than the eruption of Vesuvius was to Mediterranean society or the environmental disruption caused by Krakatoa.

It is true humans are their own worst enemy. There are some egregious habits like death by war, life by stunting the Earth’s natural threats of viruses, visceral disorders, unnaturally prolonged lifespan, and other relationships that would control human population.

Adam Smith’s concept of moralistic capitalism no longer serves the common people. For one thing, there are far too many common people; for another, capitalism is competitive and slowly has separated wealth from the far too many common people; and finally there are far too many common people for the amount of natural resources available.

Humans added to population by inventing self-propelled transportation that easily spreads population centers over greater areas, easily heated homes and technologies capable of wiping out any number of biomass balances from air and water pollution to the directly related extinction of over 16,000 species.

These are trying times!

The trouble is, we can’t go back. We’re stuck with this mess and finally must take drastic actions to restore order – actions that we should have been managing all along but didn’t bother.

Has anyone seen Chicken Little? Is it true Amos went back to the farm? Guru is taking strong antidepressant pills.

Ancient Mariner

Let’s check in on the real news

In 4.5 billion years the Sun will fry the Earth destroying all living matter.

The Moon is drifting away from the Earth at the rate of 1.5 inches per year. Today the Moon circles the Earth about every 27 days; in 50 billion years the Moon will settle into a wider orbit that will require 47 days to circle the Earth. But then there’s the Sun’s interference at 4.5 billion years . . .

Current new studies show that the Americas are drifting away from Europe and Africa at a rate of 4 centimeters per year.

Can survival lessons be taken from the lifestyles of the oldest living things? The oldest Spruce tree is 9,550 years old; a variety of parsley living in the high deserts of Chile is 2,000 years old; stromatolites, a primitive moss/rock creature, lives 2,000 years. Hmmm, as a group they don’t seem to ask for much.

Mariner could continue to list news items showing patience, tenacity and long-term stability. It reminds him that in comparison the destructive, trashy, often incoherent Homo sapiens is like a one-panel cartoon versus a twenty volume encyclopedia. Perhaps it is best that humans live a short life span and will be extinct in less than 5 million years – given no asteroids, climate collapses or chemical destruction occur first. That leaves 4.495 billion years for the biosphere to recover.

If God had a Sunday newspaper, humanity would be on the comics page.

Ancient Mariner


Freedom of Speech

A brief quote from Leon Wieseltier in White Rose Magazine:

“After everything that liberalism endured and survived, after the unimaginably savage assaults of fascism and communism, we must steadfastly fight for it all over again, and we must begin again at the beginning.”

Wieseltier defines liberalism as the antithesis of authoritarianism. Liberalism can be conservative or progressive but it exists as a willingness to let things evolve naturally and to stay within sight of individualism. In his article, Wieseltier takes a different view of the terrorists and racists and includes the opposite side of Black Lives Matter and protests against police brutality. All of them, he contends, are starting at the beginning to recapture the individualism that has disappeared more and more rapidly in the last fifty years.

He fears that it will get worse before it gets better. The reader can imagine the cost to individuality from the Internet and its many homogenizing activities; the psychology of orderliness is no longer a person-to-person experience rather it is a form of compliance with the status quo – the path of least resistance, the easiest way to comply with social norms.

Mariner often has cited the 1980 Reagan shift that separated profit and national commitment into the wealthy and their corporations while letting go of obligation to the citizenry at large. (Mariner is not alone in this opinion; it is a very popular assumption among economists and sociologists.) In a vague manner, the common citizen had to take what the plutocrats offered – top down instead of bottom up. Between automation of the soul and oppression of life’s rewards, liberalism has largely disappeared.

The ideological collapse of the Republican Party is a symptom of these times. So is the progressive democrat charge into socialist solutions. Lost in between are liberalism and the importance of individualism. Expressed in Constitutional terms, there is no right to freedom of speech.

Perhaps Wieseltier has it right: we must begin at the beginning, perhaps not in open violence but in rearranging the ethical core of our nation; fighting need not be abusive but it must take physical action.

Ancient Mariner

Yes, that finger

Look for a moment at the middle finger of your dominant hand. It’s the longest one that’s used to express irritable dissatisfaction. Yesterday mariner accidentally cut the tip of this finger with a kitchen knife. The cut is skin deep but quite small, perhaps three sixteenths long. The cut complains loudly whenever it is touched which is often because it is at that very point in curvature that is the first point of contact when using the finger.

Did you know there is no bandaid designed for this part of the body? Even a little dot bandage needs to be carefully trimmed to avoid edges that cause the bandaid to come off when brushed against anything; in this region there are no parallel surfaces for wrapping. Mariner’s solution, because this finger is in constant use, was a doctored dot over several applications of NewSkin.

Mariner challenges the reader to use the hand without using the middle finger. There are thousands of circumstances where the reader will unconsciously lead the use of the hand with this finger. Can you make a fist? A fist is used to pour morning coffee and hold a handsaw. Try washing dishes, washing the hand without getting the bandage wet, polish the furniture, use a pencil, type on a keyboard, do a jigsaw puzzle, turn a page, unscrew a lid, reset a clock, eat a sandwich or clean yourself after using the toilet.

The other four fingers are more specialized in their use. The ring finger has only to wear a ring; the little finger is little so it can clean the ear; the thumb and forefinger are famous for manipulative grasping – a big deal in evolution – but they aren’t capable of pulling anything without the other fingers, especially the middle finger. Try holding a deck screw and use a hand drill at the same time. Try threading a needle. When your eye itches, which finger comes to the rescue?

– – – –

Mariner frequently promotes a list of things to be fixed if our society is to operate successfully. One item on the list is a return to unionism. This piece from AXIOS:

Big Tech rose to power and wealth largely union-free. But a wave of labor organizing is catching the giants at a vulnerable moment, when they’re being challenged by antitrust suits, hostile regulators and employee doubts, managing editor Scott Rosenberg writes.

A high-profile unionization campaign underway among Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala., will culminate in a vote count on March 30 —the digital age’s most important labor vote.

A union effort among Google employees that began in January is taking an unconventional path — remaining a “minority union” for now, foregoing the possibility of collective bargaining but allowing the inclusion of contractors and even managers.

What we’re watching: There’s a split between conventional organizing pushes among blue-collar employees (wages, working conditions), and the animating concerns of white-collar employees (climate, diversity).

Our thought bubble: Unions are all about worker solidarity, and the two wings of tech labor would achieve a lot more if they worked together. But doing so would require breaking down a lot of barriers — social divides, and the industry’s ingrained ideology of individualism.”

– – – –

This tidbit from WIRED shows how scientific advancement is not a good thing without human-centric ethics – one of those moments when doing it because we can isn’t really a good thing (social media):

“When Erin and Justin decided to adopt a child at the beginning of 2016, they paid $25,000 to sign on with one of the largest, most reputable adoption agencies in the United States. They imagined an orderly process, facilitated by lawyers and social workers.

They didn’t foresee the internet trolls who would call them cunts and psychopaths. Nor did they imagine they’d be filing a police report, or pleading with Facebook to delete posts that called them human traffickers. They didn’t expect the internet to be involved in the process at all.”

As we watch a setting Sun become darkness, so too, we watch personal independence become amorphous.

 Ancient Mariner

In the news

֎ An interesting poll from GALLUP. What’s interesting is that in one year China jumped significantly over Russia as the greatest enemy of the United States:

Americans’ Perceptions of the U.S.’s Greatest Enemy

What one country anywhere in the world do you consider to be the United States’ greatest enemy today?

Feb 3-21    Feb 3-20      Change
%    % pct. pts.
China 45 22 23
Russia 26 23 3
North Korea/Korea 9 12 -3
Iran 4 19 -15
Iraq 2 7 -5
Afghanistan 1 1 0
United States itself 1 1 0
Mexico 1 1
Saudi Arabia 1 -1
Middle East (non-specific) 1 -1
Japan 1 -1
Israel 2 -2
Syria 1 -1
Pakistan 1 -1

The reader must take note that this poll coincides with the coronavirus pandemic. Still, despite the economic catastrophe affecting every nation, China’s size and fast rising GDP (7 percent) makes that nation look more healthy and successful than the US. Further, the cultural differences cause concern as China continues to squeeze individual rights and continues virtual genocide against the Uighur and Kazak Muslims in Xinjiang Province. Finally, modern technology has opened a new arena in spying and warfare that makes every nation paranoid.

֎ While the politicians, public, fossil fuel corporations, press and social media continue bickering whether global warming exists, Federal agencies are taking scientific information seriously. The agencies are trying to figure out models of projection that will predict damage.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Housing Finance Agency and NASA all have met with analytical firms to explore tools that will help protect taxpayers, banks and homes from rising seas, worsening rainstorms and severe droughts linked to climate change.

Mariner advises readers not to invest in coastal properties – especially in Florida where the peninsula will shrink by one fifth including everything below Lake Okeechobee – places like West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Naples and the Keys.

֎ Has the reader seen the news clips of folks on spring break? Sigh. Because mariner’s wife is brave and dutiful and has ventured into the outside world, he has been in virtual quarantine. He has spoken in person only to three other individuals in a year. The vaccination occurred so fast that he didn’t even speak to the technician. Mariner is old and fossilized but he is concerned what this year of isolation has done to elementary school children. Prepubescent children suffer subconsciously and will carry silent aberrations for the rest of their lives.

֎ A growing strategy by the GOP is to blame Joe for immigration numbers. Mariner suggests no President of any party, no authoritarian figurehead can alter the growing migration issue not only from Latin countries but from every country into every country around the globe. The reason: weak global economics and changing climate. Even squirrels know to migrate to mariner’s feeding station when there’s a foot of snow on the ground.

֎ Not in the news but referencing the post about pop psych, mariner is reminded that the pop psych terms ‘inductive’ and ‘deductive’ are similar to ‘what’ and ‘why’.

Ancient Mariner


Nation Tectonics

Recently mariner wrote a post describing the new international strategy of nations integrating responsibility for economics and other international issues rather than using traditional treaties and trade agreements. He learned that Joe Biden already has started dialogue with this strategy in mind. From Axios:

“President Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken meet virtually Friday with the other leaders of “The Quad” — an alliance of Australia, India, Japan and the U.S. that aims at being a counterweight to China, which the administration calls “the biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century.”

The reader may recall in the post that there was a ‘sumo’ league forming around the Pacific Ocean. The quad mentioned includes two of the three sumos: the US and India. Australia already is feeling China deliberately undermining its fishing industry and comically if not seriously, India and China are in a battle using the number of toilets each has to represent modernity.

While the Quad may tie up GDP and political influence among the larger Pacific nations, China also has the ‘Belt and Road’ strategy to bind the Far East, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia into a giant supply chain. It’s almost like plate tectonics except it is nations slowly moving into a new economic era.

Mariner is eager for North and South America to establish a similar supply line dependency. Think how many issues could be normalized if both continents had better governments and economies. Maybe immigration would go away if there were no reason to flee failing governments.

Ancient Mariner


֎ From NEWSY:

“A White nationalist movement that fueled a new rise for Europe’s far-right continues to gain momentum around the world and is helping to lure in and radicalize new recruits, according to terrorism experts. The French government dissolved the world’s first major “Identitarian” group in February, but not before its underlying ideology spread to at least 16 countries, including the U.S. White nationalist groups have become increasingly emboldened in their efforts to recruit. An explosion of propaganda, stickers and banners warn of a coming “invasion” of immigrants.”

The article documents the growth of far-right vigilantism around the world – perhaps because the numbers of immigrants grow due to collapsed economies and shifting climate and aided by social media. Here in the United States there is enough economy at the moment to curtail the use of field artillery and military assaults. Still, the political force is growing. The target will be the democratic concepts of any government: the government itself (January 6), voting (GOP?) and civil liberties (elect Donald again).

Mariner doesn’t believe that within the United States there will be a collapse of democracy – which already has happened within NATO and middle-eastern nations but for the US it will be a thorn in the side of progress through these difficult times.

֎ GOP: When is it time to put the ol’ horse down?

Here’s the current breakdown of all Senators by age:

80s: 7
70s: 24
60s: 38
50s: 19
40s: 12

So around a third are aged over 70 and around two thirds are over 60.

Term limits would solve the problem. A maximum of three six year terms should be enough to make a decent contribution (mariner believes there should be an age limit as well). The point is this: The GOP perception of conservative government hasn’t changed since 1980. It hasn’t changed because the old fogeys, who grew up and established their career in a time that no longer exists, are still in charge of GOP politics. The turtle is 79; mariner’s senator is 87. Don’t forget our Presidents: Donald left office at 75 and Joe is 78.

The entire Senate is over the hill; of 100 senators, 69 are over 60! What saves the democrats from the same extent of criticism is that the democrats always are trying to change something rather than defend the status quo.

The coronavirus, introduced by godly forces tired of lagging progress, has short-sheeted the GOP. The GOP quickly must remake their bed – much more quickly than the normal evolution of economics and culture would require.

In case a reader doesn’t know how to put the ol’ horse down, it is quick and bloodless: don’t vote for them. Not only that, vote for someone under 55.

֎ Make note of the term XR (extended reality – a term from gaming corporations that has become a term meaning take as much human activity and responsibility as possible and put it on the Internet). Many corporations are redefining their dream income model to be completely online and, this is the interesting part, be the sole owner of entire segments of society. AirB&B sees itself as the Department of Housing and Urban Development for all homes in the US; Uber imagines that all cars – repeat, ALL cars – will belong to Uber. Already Zuckerberg is challenging antitrust lawsuits by saying the Internet is the competition. All money, too, will be bitcoins. A big question: which corporation will own all the banks and credit card companies?

So the government will have a lot less to worry about since corporations will automate everything using proprietary software. Who will own all the votes?

Ancient Mariner

What kind of a person are you?

When mariner was young his father was attending seminary. His father was entertained by pop psychology, a term that implied, through simplistic descriptions, the behaviorisms of human beings. Mariner has carried this shorthand forward and often identifies someone in simplistic ‘pop psych’ terms. Below are two examples which the reader may recall from older posts but are worth rereading to distract you from the doldrums of being sheltered-in.

֎ Human behavior is of three types: What people, Why people and How people. The ‘what’ person must understand what actions the situation requires; often they have lists of what to do and through these lists understand the reality of things. ‘Why’ people can’t understand the reality of things unless they know why something exists and its relationship to a multifaceted reality. Understand that everyone makes lists; ‘what’ needs the list first to comprehend – ‘why’ makes the list last after comprehending. Mariner confesses to being an extreme ‘why’ person.

At one point in his life, mariner was a supervisor for a computer programming unit. A time came when another supervisor, a woman, was leaving the company. The manager decided to merge the two groups keeping mariner as the supervisor. Mariner had to learn the functions of the other group so he visited the woman to learn about its operation.

She sat at a computer screen and proceeded to read a list of sixteen tasks. When she finished, she said to mariner, “Got it?” Mariner said “No”. She turned back to the computer screen and repeated the list. “Are we good?” she said. Mariner said “No”. Showing frustration and disdain, she said “How in the hell did you ever become a supervisor?” It is true that ‘what’ and ‘why’ people don’t mix well. Fortunately for organizations, there are ‘how’ people. ‘How’ people make good managers because they understand the perspective of both ‘what’ and ‘why’ people. ‘How’ people are good problem solvers; their downside is their preoccupation with pragmatism and have little regard for the artful side of life. Interestingly, many trades have high numbers of ‘how’ people.

֎ A second pop psych example is derived from the shapes below. Decide which one you like best before reading on.

If you chose the circle, you are a person sensitive to unity, stability and compatibility. If you chose the square, you are sensitive to conservative values, control and dislike change. If you chose the triangle, you are confrontational, insistent and unforgiving. The squiggly line means you are unconventional, artistic and free-spirited.

֎ Pop psych became mainstream in the 70’s and 80’s with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Mariner and many others think it was an example of jumping the shark. How many readers are old enough for someone to have said to them in a condescending way, “I’m an INTJ”.

What makes pop psych less than prophetic is the fact that no one is a pure type. Virtually everyone has a dominant characteristic along with one or more subordinate characteristics. Still, many folks clearly represent one type or another.

Have fun pigeonholing everyone you know.

Ancient Mariner

The truth shall make you whole

As part of his Great Culling Project, mariner was thumbing through an old college book about philosophy when he came across the word ‘epistemology’. The definition from a philosophy book reads: Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge.

It occurs to mariner that the lack of knowing real truths is a serious problem today when millions of voters believe, despite all evidence, that the election was stolen, that vaccines are dangerous, and that a secret group of child predators rule the world from the basement of a pizza parlor, it becomes clear that we cannot afford to ignore how knowledge is formed and distorted. We are living through an epistemological crisis. To avoid using philosophical jargon, mariner substitutes the word ‘truth’ to mean knowledge and the study of knowledge (epistemology).

It seems how to know truth should be a class in high school along with civics and ethics; it seems all three of these topics would provide a core set of tools with which to survive in a society which, at this moment of massive change in global culture, is foundering. It occurs to mariner that his distrust of the electorate stems from its disregard for these subjects but he will focus on truth.

It seems logical to say that there can be only one truth but this is not so. Even one household cannot agree on what is true. Even learning the same set of hard facts will not eliminate opinion – a form of truth subject to individual attitudes and circumstances. What must be agreed upon is what source represents the closest definition of generic truth from which everyone can draw an opinion.

An excellent example today is the conflict between Donald and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Donald’s source of truth lay deep in his mind and is extremely self-perceived. The CDC is comprised of professional, career-long medical professionals who are experts at managing medical truth and applying it to a nation’s circumstances. The false perceptions that Donald’s followers believe are, in fact, true if Donald is the agreed upon source of generic truth.

Keeping this treatise short, everyone should learn to identify what provides generic truth without bias from other self-righteous sources; this is a simple tool everyone should learn in high school. Mariner’s focus on how the brain makes decisions is his own effort at defining truth between subconscious emotional truth and the conscious truth of external reality.

Those who are wise when buying automobiles know that the car salesman has his own set of truths which likely are self-righteous in nature. The wise car buyer will investigate independent, generic resources to use as a guide. How can we teach the electorate to practice this method with admittedly more complex social, political and economic issues? A classic observation from an Axios newsletter:

“The Texas power failure is the latest in a series of disasters that will be harder to fix — or prevent from happening again — because Americans are retreating to partisan and cultural corners instead of trying to solve problems.”

Ancient Mariner