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


Democratic Debate in New Hampshire

The mariner is pleased with the debate between Bernie and Hillary. For the first time in any 2016 presidential debate, republican or democrat, the voter was given a clear view of the personality and talents each candidate will bring to the office of President in 2016.

The heart of each candidate, that is, their desire to deliver to the electorate what is most needed by that electorate, is identical. Both are champions of human need, economic reform, and what’s best for the forgotten majority.

For the first time, the agenda of each candidate became clear. Bernie intends to fix the systemic issues that have led to oligarchy. Banks, Corporations, tax reform, bribery and collusion in the election process, and a plan to attack gerrymandering, are at the top of Bernie’s list. By fixing the political abuses, proper legislation and discretionary funding will right themselves and deliver programs to the people. However, Bernie will be prone to compromise when it comes to program specifics.

Hillary intends to develop programs first. She will attack current legislation that defeats the spirit of discretionary funding. Hillary will prioritize human rights, expand education funding, and reduce medical costs – but not through single payer. By fixing specific programs, the Ship of State trims its sails more in line with public interest. However, Hillary will be prone to compromise when it comes to fixing the oligarchy.

If the voter is interested in the programs of government, then Hillary sounds more appealing. If the voter is interested in the policies of governance, then Bernie sounds more appealing. The mariner is reminded of one of his father’s pop psychology tools: Bernie is a why-how person while Hillary is a how-what person1. That being the case, there are far more how-what folks in the population than why-how. For no other reason than the difference between their personalities, Hillary may fare better once the primaries leave liberal states and head into the prairie.

On such subliminal attributes, political success rises and falls.


1For more detail on Pop’s Psychology, see post from December 21, 2015.

The Congress has ninety days to vote for or against a fast track of the TPP trade agreement. Mariner is firmly opposed to fast track and prefers that the TPP be examined by Congress – that’s as close as citizen review is possible. Note that the majority of presidential candidates, including both democrats, are opposed to the trade agreement. For a good, clear, and easy read about the TPP, see:


President Obama is in favor of the TPP because, in his opinion, the TPP makes the United States a central player in future Asian economics, dampening the future influence of China. All well and good – but at what price to the common citizen? Corporations will have unfettered control of profits, taxes, human rights, and the future wellbeing of nine nations.

Ancient Mariner


Advanced Advocacy

Has the reader ever thought about running for office? It may be that the reader will lose. However, as an official candidate, one has access to reporters and journalists, is asked to speak at political gatherings, and may get radio and television interviews.

If the reader thinks this is absurd, 22 republican candidates for US President don’t agree.

Running for office is the fastest way to become influential in politics – even if you lose. The reader has reason to organize and sustain a political organization. This organization expands one’s voice by magnitudes.

In local politics, the fact that one runs may be enough to be elected! Especially in these times when politics grows more volatile in its philosophy of government, upsets are common. The reader’s influence begins at the smallest political level, usually a precinct or a politically oriented club (think Rotary, Lions, Masons, etc.) There are personalities in these organizations and precincts called “king makers.” If they like you, they will spread an influential word in your behalf.

Many readers may not want to step into politics as a candidate. There are many legitimate reasons to deny one’s self such an opportunity. The next best thing is for the reader to attach one’s self to an acceptable candidate. By attach, the mariner means become the candidate’s right-hand person. The reader will have access to policy and campaign meetings, become known as someone to listen to because the reader’s voice is the candidate’s voice, and if one is young enough and in a position to change careers, the candidate will win and take the reader with him/her to a job on staff. This happened to a close friend of the mariner’s daughter, who now is a speech writer in the White House.

The reader could become a member of a local advocacy group that plans marches, gatherings, trips to the offices of elected officials, and forms blockades at the entrance to abusive corporations.

The bottom line is the reader must feel in his/her heart that something must be done for the sake of humankind, for justice, for the wellbeing of the planet, for the health of governance.

Ancient Mariner


Are we all Americans?

The mariner is writing a lesson book. It talks about the change and stress brought on Christians and the Christian doctrine as societies around the world leave behind the predictable life that existed before 1980.

Most of us don’t see society change as we live our daily lives. Yet, moving about each day, we are encased in an invisible atmosphere that shapes our reality, our attitude, our finances, our family values, our jobs, even how long we live.

True, there were significant issues like the Korean and Vietnam wars, gas shortages and the 60’s generation that burned bras, draft cards and loosened the taboos that governed sexual behavior. But the attitude was still solidly American. Changes to society occurred in an orderly, generational way. In the seventies, America went into space, the Beatles broke up, MASH started, Roe v. Wade passed, Richard Nixon resigned, Microsoft was founded, the Tangshan earthquake killed 250,000 people, Elvis was found dead, first test tube baby was born, and Mother Teresa won the Nobel Prize for peace.

The changes of the seventies were part of a positive upswing in our culture. But it would be the last nationally unified era. The 1980’s began a swing toward less unity in the country. No one could say “We are all Americans” with the innocence that existed in the time after the Big War.

Assassinations were attempted on the Pope and Ronald Reagan. AIDS was identified and the American culture ostracized homosexuals. Reagan announced his military Star Wars program. The US Embassy in Beirut was bombed. Indira Gandhi was assassinated. A hole in the Ozone layer was discovered. Rock Hudson died of AIDS. The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was sunk. Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded. US bombed Libya. New York Stock Exchange suffered Black Monday. The World Wide Web was invented.

By the 1990’s it was obvious that the middle class was squeezed out of the new profits generated by big corporations. By 2000, generational change had disappeared. The world was changing too fast. Telephone and Internet technologies had merged, providing new ways to learn, shop, communicate, receive medical treatment, even order groceries delivered to the door. Watch a movie, watch the news (world-wide and instantaneous), watch your house, and play endless games electronically. What Americans did with their time shifted dramatically. To a great extent, individuals became more isolated as the need for family routine in daily life dwindled.

Socially, the gap between generations became a canyon. If one was over 65 in 2000, they were not Americans anymore. They were seniors. If one wanted an abortion, they were a criminal, not an American. National banking practices created a nation of credit card debt. Slowly an oligarchy was emerging. No one was an American; they were rich or poor. Those who depended on welfare and unemployment were beggars and lazy – certainly not Americans.

The Christian ethic has taken a severe beating since 1980. Capitalism is the national religion. One hopes that Christ’s ethic can emerge like the phoenix to play a role in a culture that is increasingly shallow. The Earth is in trouble and capitalism makes it worse and further cannot fix the Earth’s plight. It is time for everyone to pay back to the planet for our indiscretions – without the need to make a profit. It is also the time to revive the spirit of the song, “We are the World” (1985)

Ancient Mariner

Ten Ways to Trim Sails in a Paradigm Shift

The mariner doesn’t have ten ways. He always has been puzzled that one who presents a list of ten items can encompass a subject in ten definitions – no more, no less. The fascination is with the number ten and its influence on how one describes a subject. Other common numbers are three and five. He supposes the five and ten items are influenced by ancient Arabic and Roman counting systems greatly dependent on the number of fingers we have. However, there are numbering systems based on twelve and the infamous binary system based on two, which is the basis for the bar code one sees on any purchase and also the communication skills of a computer. Then there’s texting – a topic worthy of its own space.

So the mariner will use three, which seems reasonable for this space. Most of us, except Governor Perry of Texas, can retain three thoughts about a similar subject. However, none of us can remember the three silly words we’re asked to remember in those dementia tests. One must always have a memory tree at hand for such circumstances. The mariner digresses.

ONE: Stow and secure the boat. Every item in its place, every locker closed and latched. This is an allegory that says know what is important in your life, including family, finance, home and belongings. Take steps to assure that no matter how things may change, the core of your life and happiness will suffer little damage.

Stow and secure the family requires consistent reinforcement of habitual values and practices. If your family principles are led by religious practices, stay with them; even increase them as a purposeful compass. Assure that regular activities continue. If the paradigm shift involves moving to another location and a new job, the first order of business is to stow and secure common activities in the new location. Little league at the old location is ensconced as soon as possible at the new location, etc. Friday night out, a common rehabilitative exercise, must continue uninterrupted at the new location. Children in secondary school especially need additional attention and reinforcement that was not needed at the old location. The reader understands that as the changes of a paradigm shift arrive, the first action is family planning to minimize the effect of those changes.

TWO: Trim the sails. Sails are a metaphor for finances. In a storm at sea, normal sail configuration can change dramatically and involve survival methods not used under ordinary conditions. The same is true of finances – and this is not limited to salaried and retired folks, paradigm shifts occur in all social classes. What may be trimmed is a planned new car, a trip to Disney World, pricey cuisine, buying that island retreat, hosting a big family reunion at Christmas. Place emphasis on paying debt and, if possible, save as much as possible even if it’s only a dollar or two each week. If the cause of the paradigm shift is job loss or layoff, try to keep family activity and values as unchanged as possible and find ways to adjust the budget in unseen ways.

Similar issues arise even when the paradigm shift brings financial success. No matter, the same routines are just as necessary. A paradigm shift is a paradigm shift – stow and lock. Keep family activity as normal as possible.

THREE: Set a new course. No matter how high or turbulent the seas become, one must set a course to navigate through the paradigm shift. The new course may take you to unknown waters. It is important to establish a good compass reading and know your new location on new charts as quickly as possible. It is one thing to be stuck riding a storm at sea for several days and another to change course to move away from the storm.

If the paradigm shift is a new home location, chart the neighborhood, its churches, recreation and other places of interest so that family practices can be restored as soon as possible. If the shift is a new job, quickly determine new daily routines.

As the boat passes the storm, if all has been stowed and locked and sails have been trimmed, it will be easy to restore normal sailing practices. Put some seafood on the grill and sail into the new reality.

That’s three items. If the mariner continues, he must think of two new thoughts so as to reach five items. It may be possible to talk about little things like cap your beverages or put your underwear in a high locker, but he feels further metaphors would only dilute the seriousness of surviving a large change in the reader’s life.

May your sails be full and your winds favorable.

Ancient Mariner