About Rights

The mariner was skimming through internet news sources when he came upon the following news item:

“For the first time in U.S. history, a supreme court has granted a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of two lab chimpanzees, effectively recognizing them as legal persons. While the future of the chimps has not yet been decided, it’s a huge step forward in establishing personhood status for highly sapient animals.


The chimps, Hercules and Leo, are being used for biomedical experiments at Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York…..Animals granted legal personhood status would be subject to many of the rights naturally afforded to human beings, including the right to not be detained without cause, to not be experimented upon, or to have to perform against their will.”

This is the latest attempt at giving smart animals their rights. Incidents already exist for circus elephants, seals, walruses and whales, pets who are heirs, and, for common animals used for pets or consumption, there are innumerable cases involving specific treatment or abuse. A recent issue is the sow stalls for pigs that are pregnant. A corpse has more room in a casket.gestation cages copy

[A gestation crate, also known as a sow stall, is a metal enclosure used in intensive pig farming, in which a female breeding pig (sow) may be kept during pregnancy, and in effect for most of her adult life. The enclosures measure 6.6 ft × 2.0 ft (2 m × 60 cm) and house sows that weigh up to 900 lbs (408 kg). Source: Wikipedia]

Chris Christie(R) , New Jersey’s Governor, was about to sign a bill banning this practice when he backed off because Iowa Governor Terry Branstad(R) and the American Future Fund (pronounced Koch) asked him to veto the bill. The mariner assumes Iowa pig farmers use sow stalls, too.

Australia has banned the use of sow stalls.

Back to the chimpanzee habeas corpus, the judge removed the habeas corpus language the next day but the lawsuit still will be heard with the original intent. The mariner is befuddled because sapient animals, as smart as they are, don’t read. Further, they don’t speak human languages, although a complaint was filed by a neighbor against a parrot that would not shut up. Does a chimpanzee know its rights? Does a pig know its rights? They are at the mercy of the humans that own them. Would they prefer not to be around abusive humans? Of course. However, preferences are not rights. The mariner imagines that until the African slaves could speak English and observe white behavior, they also had preferences but no rights and likely suffered similar abuses.

He has the thought that if the chimpanzees knew about all the wars of history, all the killing, slavery, stealing, murders, rapes, cheating and family abuse, the chimps may think twice about having human rights. The advantage of being sapient but not human is that bad happenings are more rational than they are for humans. Sapient species don’t need presidents, congress, courts, dictators, terrorists or money. Sapient species don’t need torture or death, either – Homo sapiens’s contribution to their lives.

Abuse goes beyond hands-on maltreatment by humans. Humans also have little regard for the ecosystems that are required by every kind of specie. For many years, developers in Maryland bought estuaries of the Chesapeake Bay, backfilled them and built houses and factories. Finally, but too late, the legislature passed laws that restricted conversion of estuaries. The Chesapeake Bay, once an unbelievably rich source of marine life, is no more.

The mariner had another thought about habeas corpus. It won’t be too many decades before sapient robots exist. Granted, robots will be manufactured with specialized intelligence but in some ways, they may be more sapient then we are. We ourselves may be part robot! Perhaps we should go to the movies and watch a few of these futuristic robot movies. For the mariner, the Matrix is scary enough!

Ancient Mariner


Spiritual Worth

The mariner writes this post for several readers. The quandary is “how does one measure spiritual value at a time in the world’s history that it is overcome with empirical success, scientific wonderment that explains everything, and a social mandate that one MUST place cash value at the top of their measure of personal value?”

Everyone, whether a religious believer or an atheist, requires a way to measure personal value. “What am I?” “What am I worth- even to myself?” “Who depends on me?” “How will I know I am successful?” It is hard today to answer these questions. The entire world is in the midst of a time whorl changing so rapidly that one cannot take root in an identity that is permanent.

In the old days (not so long ago), one had a job or career that would last until retirement. One could marry successfully and financial strife was of little concern that it would lead to divorce. Today, and for the ensuing years, the definition of “job” is changing dramatically. One thinks of working from home but that is just a predecessor. As computers and computerized devices take over more and more functions that used to require humans, how do the masses earn a living?

There will come a time when the current conflict between government conservatives and liberals will no longer have ideological pedestals upon which to stand. The capitalistic structure will fail because of the need to sustain the citizens of the nation. That nasty word, “democratic socialism” will become a path to human decency.

This is hard to believe today but already the division between haves and have-nots is approaching dysfunction. Must we have another French Revolution?

The mariner could go on infinitely with transition but the original question is this: “How does one measure spiritual value?”

First, we must recognize that spiritual worth and empirical worth is not the same thing. One could be held in a tortuous prison and still have strength derived from what one believes within oneself about personal worth in an orderly universe. Spiritual worth is not dependent on empirical reality.

Second, we must recognize that spirituality is a very personal value system. It may draw from great literature, art, music, or personal insight. However you construct the pillars of your soul, they are yours regardless of the empirical world.

From spirituality comes morality and ethics. Today, morality and ethics are in short supply. Do not presume that you are soulless. Identify your pillars of spiritual strength and secure them for the trials of the future. Regardless of the empirical confusion of our world, you will know your spiritual worth.

Ancient Mariner



The Matrix

Some readers sought an understanding as to why the mariner uses the movie The Matrix as an allegory in several posts where government or corporations are the theme. All the information you would like to know about the movie, a trilogy, can be found at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Matrix#Philosophical_influences .

An exegesis: many years ago, computer networks and robots took over the world. Humans fought back by making the atmosphere permanently full of storm clouds, denying the Sun as a source of energy. In turn, the robots began breeding human beings as a source of energy, AKA human batteries that were kept alive in casket-like pods. These humans were fed a false reality such that they believed they were living normal lives as their ancestors had done. This false reality is called the Matrix. A small team of free humans fight to destroy the Matrix in typical science fiction manner. The trilogy is an entertaining set of movies to watch.

The idea of a “false realty” goes far back in history and encompasses many theoretical speculations that the world we engage in is not real but rather a figment of our imagination and greatly limited by our five paltry senses.

The mariner uses the “human battery” as an example that represents when citizens are ignored or impugned upon in favor of profit or false political authority rather than to be properly represented by our governments and corporations.

Perhaps most memorable was his reference to candidate Romney when he derided behind closed doors that 47% of American citizens were nothing but overhead (Oneness IV):

The 2012 presidential race caught candidate Romney admitting that forty-seven percent of the US population depended on government handouts. It was spoken with derision and contempt….. The woes of a beaten middle class would not be an element of reconciliation between lesser and greater realities. There is no act of compassion. To Romney and the attendees in that room, people are Matrix batteries.

During the 2014 election, it was obvious that gerrymandering had achieved the same effect making the majority of the population irrelevant – more or less batteries. While national polls showed 80-90% of the population preferred taking automatic weapons off the street, candidates were elected across the board that would defend gun rights to include not only weapons but armored vehicles and rocket launchers.

To counter the Matrix effect, we need only to rise up as citizens and demand two changes:

Remove census redistricting from party domination and gerrymandering.

Impose a term limit election rule that no candidate may run for public office if the term in question extends beyond the candidate’s sixtieth birthday.

The term limit issue is not as irrational as one may expect. What is the average age of all citizens? At what age does current culture and experience begin to pass by an elected official? We need only to look at the Supreme Court to see the damage outdated and myopic judgment can cause.

Ancient Mariner


Sailing Through Life

The mariner frequently writes of doom and gloom. He writes because he cares about the reader’s exposure to those issues that may hurt the reader and all people for that matter, reader or not. He writes to make sure the reader knows of troublesome things that the reader may prepare for them or take steps to address them. The mariner is a weather service for ships at sea.

Yet, it is not the clarion call of the mariner that is important. It is the reader’s satisfaction with his or her own spot in life. Can the reader, in that warped, beaten, abused soul that defines you, feel accomplished? That you have done the best you can. Are you able to find pleasantness on a daily basis? Importantly, have you done something quite frequently that brings you joy? Joy is such a curative that it is required to be an intentioned purpose in life.

Every stage of life, from an infant to a centenarian, must deal with the rainbow of happiness, sadness, laughter, tears, fear, pride, satisfaction, grief, and the sense of self that is our consciousness. Each decade, each generation, makes different demands on these emotions.

When one is trained in sailing, one is taught that all reality is seen from the boat as the center of that reality. That is why wind is expressed not in terms of its absolute direction but the direction from which it approaches the boat. Listen to the TV weather announcer; the wind is described as coming from someplace to the viewer, not the direction it is moving to. The relationship to other boats underway has 37 different rules for right of way. How one’s boat relates to these rules always is seen from one’s perspective: their own boat. There are no traffic lights or stop signs at sea.

This analogy applies to life in general. The world is always seen from the reader’s position. If your life is moving in a certain direction, you will feel reality pushing into you while another person may feel the same reality pushing them forward. It is a telling thing if one wishes to be on the other boat and its reality. You have let your boat drift without direction and it has lost its position relative to reality. You will have no joy, no satisfaction, no accomplishment in your life. Indeed, the reader may have difficulty living according to the numerous rules of right of way for living a good life.

Stay at your own helm, whether it is a dingy or a 100-foot schooner. Set your sails, that is use your attitude and smartness, to catch as favorable a wind as you can. You may have to tack against a headwind but at least you have confidence that you are making progress.

Fair winds, mate.

Ancient Mariner