Who are you?

As we live each day, dealing with the nitty-gritty of each hour and minute, as we get pushed around by schedules and interpersonal dialogue, as we absorb the distractions of the world at large, we lose track of who we are.  We are a montage of feelings, responsibilities, and social obligations. But how do we manage this montage? How do we create sensible order and priority using the guiding principles of our behavior?

What follows is an informal examination of the core principles that guide an individual’s priorities and opinions. It isn’t absolute, of course, but it is an interesting opportunity to focus on our own motivators.

The examination is very general, focusing on the rules of general behavior and belief rather than habits and idiosyncrasies.


Philosophy of life is the Bible for your attitude. What kind of treatment can other people expect from you? Is it “Every man for himself” or perhaps “What’s best for everybody” or “Do it right or forget it”? Another way of putting it is, “What do I owe to the world?”


For 300,000 years, evolution carefully crafted a creature whose survival depended on groups; the deep processes of the brain gave priority to interpersonal awareness. Limited by physical capability and an environment full of life-threatening situations, the human found safety in family and inter-family (tribal) association. In less than 5,000 years, this balance has shifted as humans chose to neutralize the environment, which lessened the need for families, groups and tribes. Still, using the time clock of evolution, humans haven’t changed and remain a social creature. Consequently, certain social aberrations have become common; many would classify murdering fellow humans with an assault rifle to be an example; hoarding excessive wealth would be another; castigating people for differences in sexual hormone balance could be another. Loneliness and suicides are rising.

But the objective in this examination is your perspective. Do you behave among others in a manner that reflects your philosophy of life? If your philosophy is ‘every man for himself’ why would you be concerned about the characteristics of another person? If you follow a righteous doctrine, why would you advocate racist and sexual castigation? Another way of putting it is, “What do I owe to protect the world?”

It is the existence of imbalance between your philosophical categories and actual behavior that causes general irritability, sadness or an attitude of laissez faire toward society in general. Biologically, humans still need groups. Some may call it fellowship.


Economics is a practical interpretation of your philosophy of life. You may need to pause a moment to recognize how what makes you feel secure in life relates to your philosophy of life. You should note contradictions because this suggests you are not self-aware regarding your behavior.

As an example, a person who says “My philosophy is what’s best for everyone” but advocates capitalist priorities does not have a matching philosophy of life and economics. From the other end, a person who believes in communistic economics may be ignorant of their contradiction having a philosophy that advocates ‘every man for himself’. Another way of putting it is, “What should I share with the world?”

If you have not given thought to the relationship in your life between ethics and economics, you may be surprised that you have some reconciliation to do.


It is obvious that the body requires continuous attention and further, is a component affected by your philosophy of life. Medical studies indicate that ignoring the health and physical capacity of the body undercuts the ambition to fulfill any philosophy of life, whichever it may be. In other words, your desire to sustain your philosophy of life requires a body to match. If your philosophy is ‘what’s best for everybody’, your desire to participate in that philosophy requires energy, positive attitude and other energies that require a healthy and energetic body. There are disabling influences at every turn from television to soft recliners to petty prejudices. Another way of putting it is, “How do I pull my weight in the world?”

֎ So that is the self-examination. Does your behavior, habits, commitments, and finances match your philosophy of life? Whichever philosophy you choose isn’t the point – it’s a matter of your lifestyle matching that philosophy.

In retrospect, there may be some readers who would say the examination is upside down, that it is a person’s personal attributes that define their philosophy of life. This suggestion reflects a legitimate approach to problem solving; mariner often has referred to ‘what’ versus ‘why’ problem solving. This examination requires a general declaration first to assure continuity and expose contradictions in life that make life more awkward. One significant example will show the importance of stating a philosophy of life first:

There are many who consider themselves Christians but in terms of behavior are not. The New Testament sets a standard of behavior (philosophy) that must be practiced. There are many ways to ignore or abuse the New Testament and still pretend one is a Christian. In practice, one has fooled themselves into thinking they are a person they are not. By answering the question ‘what do I owe the world’ first, it will be easier to discover discordant practices.

The objective of this examination is to iron out wrinkles and discover who one really is. Answering the question “What do I owe the world?” first provides a ruler or standard that may require an adjustment in behavior. Conversely, one may have to go back and declare a different philosophy that encompasses a different way of measuring behavior.

Ancient Mariner



John Della Volpe, of the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, used a term that speaks not only to the youth of American society but to the whole population. He used the phrase, “This is a generation that feels besieged.” Mariner suggests it is an entire society that is besieged.

Consider the pressures that everyone faces every day. It is a haunting, unforgiving existential life. A person is not rich enough, does not live in the right neighborhood, is pressed to survive on insufficient income, lives a socially isolated life, involuntarily contributes to a growing split between haves and have-nots.

But where are the forces of unification? Where are unions, social clubs, charity clubs, hobby clubs, churches, guaranteed careers with bonding gestures like pensions, livable wages, and willingly provided health care? Where are local political parties that determine the definition of Americanism?

Unregulated plutocracy, capitalism, corporatism, and the impact of AI and ChatGPT erode a person’s psyche. Personal identity is erased like sandpaper cuts wood. Even the most stable careers have become shaky.

But the most important bond, when it is missing and exposes a person to feeling as though they are one person against the world, is family.

If a person’s family is not readily available or may be fractured and spread around the Earth, the person will have a conscious reaction when they visit a friend who may have several generations, aunts, uncles, and cousins who live within visiting distance. There will be a platform of associations which foster special feelings about the self and the ability to bond and share life.

The experienced reader of the blog will know that mariner blames everything from the invention of the wheel, the car, the highway and telecommunications as the evils that conflict with the evolutionary creature called Homo sapiens. True or not, the world is besieged today. The booster shot is called “family”.

Ancient Mariner

Odd-lot stuff

֎ The use of extracted Phosphorus by humans is becoming a serious issue. Every living thing in nature uses Phosphorus to survive but it is in a chemically bound form that exists in nature. It is part of bones, part of plant material, part of rock, part of every known plant and animal.

As early as the 1600s humans learned to concentrate Phosphorus using various forms of composting. Today huge chemical factories extract Phosphorus so pure it bursts into flame if not kept under water. The Phosphorus is rebound with inert fillers which become the second number in garden fertilizers. Agriculture worldwide uses concentrated Phosphorus to grow more productive products. Unfortunately, farming is the source of major amounts of Phosphorus draining into bodies of water.

Nature is not used to having free Phosphorus any more than we are used to having free health care. Extracted, free-form Phosphorus is what causes algae bloom in water and was chemically severe enough to shut down public water drawn from the Great Lakes.

֎ From the other end of the climate change field, local fishing companies along the Atlantic Ocean are being threatened by wind towers. It seems private equity has invested in wind farms and has the money and political power to disregard concerns about local fishing industries. Wind tower property would be off limits to fishing.

֎ A new definition for ‘public health’: Federal Trade Commission announced that it had fined prescription discount site and telehealth provider GoodRx $1.5 million for sharing customer data with Google, Facebook and other firms, then in March hit online therapy provider BetterHelp with a $7.8 million levy for sharing customer data.

֎ Finally, why mariner knows Mother Earth will win the global warming war. From NPR:

“Red States Are Trying To Fight The World On Climate

By Maggie Koerth

State Rep. Jeff Hoverson didn’t want anyone getting in the way of using fossil fuels in North Dakota. Not the United Nations. Not international nonprofits. Certainly not the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. So he made a law to stop them. In March, the North Dakota legislature passed a bill that Hoverson co-authored with a state senator. It’s short, sweet and to the point: “A climate control-related regulation of an international organization, either directly through the organization or indirectly through law or regulation, is not enforceable on this state.”

Hoverson told me he isn’t sure what that will mean the next time the federal government wants to sign a climate treaty. Frankly, he’d prefer the feds not have that kind of power, anyway. But while his law stands out for the scope of its ambitions, it’s not exactly an outlier in its spirit. Across the country, bills pushing back against climate policy have been a trend this legislative session, with multiple states proposing — and passing — laws that would undermine efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions.”

Ancient Mariner


Shazam, he’s back

Mariner’s blog has been out of service for a few weeks. The reader hasn’t needed him to know the world is the same. He read an article yesterday that drew compassion: More and more migrants are attempting to enter the United States via Canada into Vermont during the dead of winter. Many carry small children heavily wrapped in blankets, tromping through deep snow and temperatures below zero. There was a photograph of a bare footprint in the snow. The article centered on two parents and their two children frozen to death just yards from the border.

Statistically speaking, if you have time to read this blog, had a meal today and a bed tonight, consider yourself wealthy.

Now that the pandemic restrictions on rent increases and evictions is over, the rush is on as record numbers of renters are being evicted. Losing a home is one of the fastest ways for a stable family to be trashed financially, emotionally, and too often, permanently.

Mariner had the thought that, given the resistance of NIMBIES and profit-oriented investors who don’t want to build low profit housing, perhaps the United States (along with a future Congress) might emulate what Britain did after the Second World War: build whole neighborhoods of small home row houses.

The housing market today is so screwed up it will never stabilize enough to be a viable resource for homeless families.

֎ Many years ago in an old textbook, mariner read about the tectonic movement on Earth that was to split an eastern chunk of Africa away from the continent along the Rift Valley. This item has become current news today as a new crack formed. Don’t worry, though, it is moving apart at just a couple of millimeters per year.

֎ Hasn’t it been a terrible Spring? Flooding on the West Coast, Snow in the North, storms in the South. Here along the fortieth parallel, the weather remains bitter cold with an abundance of precipitation. Mariner picked a bad year to reorganize his gardens; tree and brush trimming, building new vegetable beds and suffering prolonged winter damage by rabbits has delayed his Springtime efforts.

It felt good, however, to be in the shed planting vegetable seeds under the grow lights and planting a climbing rose against the outside wall. It is time, folks, to stretch the joints, exercise the muscles with ‘real’ work and get some gumption going – or you may be older than you think!

It is good to have the blog up again but don’t expect a torrent of postings. The world hasn’t change since the last post.

Ancient Mariner


The Battle against dementia

No matter what you believe or what your opinion is, if you are of retirement age, you have dementia. Dementia is a spectrum disorder; it grows very, very slowly, so slowly you aren’t aware of its incursion into your life.

The overwhelming battle is to not let lethargy into your life. Mariner has borrowed the word ‘gumption’ to represent a desire to act, to do, to experience, to feel upbeat about the day. Dementia, a weakening of the brain, encourages the brain to ease off a bit, to leave things until tomorrow, to take that extra nap, to not pursue understanding of a confusing situation.

The old bones and cartilage don’t help either. It is a universal truth that physical exercise deters the brittleness of old age. Exercise, whether a workout or actually doing physical labor, works the brain, too.

It is your own willpower that pushes back on dementia. Granted, in the end dementia wins but its effects can be slowed just a little if you keep gumption as your mantra.

Take your vitamins, particularly B12, D3, and a supplement that increases NAD+. Eat a varied diet. Deliberately set out to learn something new every day. DO SOMETHING PHYSICAL EVERY DAY.

For mariner, an adversary is winter; his activity is gardening. Whether he can muster a positive nature and stay project-oriented is his biggest challenge.

So, make gumption your mantra; find something that launches a positive attitude for the day – old bones and cartilage be damned.

If the reader still doubts dementia is present, check out https://www.healthline.com/health/dementia/early-warning-signs#dementia-types . Pursue the embedded links.

Ancient Mariner

Climate Change w/o politics

Many of us have taken note of the population shift away from industrial, high populated areas and a move toward more rural areas especially in the southern states, e.g., Texas and Florida. These shifts are understandable for dozens of economic reasons and the lifestyle freedom of working from home. Even a dislike for freezing temperatures is enough motivation.

This migration involves serious personal investment to purchase homes, change careers and adapt to new social norms. Considering this investment in light of serious climate change by 2050 has made mariner curious about the actual details of climate change and whether this present migration is wise. This post is based on the projections provided by sources like NOAA, NASA, ProPublica, Climate.gov and several journals that cover this subject.

Most sources agree that 2050 is a significant year to witness disruptive changes in weather that will affect half the agricultural capacity in the U.S. and draw a clear line across the nation where life below the line will be difficult and above the line will be habitable with minimal stress. That line, without much deviation, is 40°N – a line through Philadelphia, Columbus, Burlington ( Iowa), Denver and Sacramento. Today in 2023, that line, with significant deviation in latitude, travels along the borders of North Carolina/South Carolina, southern Tennessee, drops into north Texas and encompasses the entire southwest until the coast of southern California. By 2100, the 40° line will have moved to the US/Canadian border.

Looking below the fortieth parallel it is true that high temperature is an obvious cause of discomfort for both creatures and plants and by 2050 daily temperatures will be in the nineties for much of the year. But the real disruption is caused by a combination of heat and humidity. At 95° with 100% humidity, human life cannot be sustained. Today, there are very few places where this is the case; we are accustomed to much lower humidity in the nation’s hot spots.

The science behind the unsustainability is the dysfunction of the lungs combined with heat stroke. If mariner moved to Mississippi today, bought a house and other amenities like solar panels, by 2050, 27 years from now he would have to move again. What about a young family with 30-year old parents and 3 children? The climate won’t wait until 2050 and then Boom! everything will change. The fact is the weather already is changing – rapidly.

All politics aside and ignoring other aspects of global warming, perhaps the migration to the south should give it further thought.

Ancient Mariner

Back by insistent demand

There’s nothing left to say about the world. It is on a roll that cannot be deterred. Mariner is reminded of the old song “Ghost Riders in the Sky”, a Frankie Lane hit. Humans have joined the chase for the Devil’s herd.

Nevertheless, his wife insists that he continue to write a blog. Mariner suspects she already senses his intellectual demise and that to continue to write will ease that demise a bit. He told her his readers already know he is demented.

He has no idea what to write about . . . . . Here’s a thought: Mariner was reminded of an old rock and roll hit by Frankie Lane. What are the significant songs in your life? What song reminds you of that first crush, that first infatuation when the reader was just a young teenager? Mariner bets you can sing the entire lyric.

List three songs that make you feel at ease and oblivious to the world.

Name two popular singers that have superior skill at singing; think big timers like Michael Crawford, Elvis Gospel, Ella Fitzgerald, etc.

Name a song that provides spiritual insight that has remained part of your conscious mind over the years.

Name the one song that makes you most melancholy.

Name the song that lifts your energy and feelings of good times – maybe even breaking into dance.

Name the one song that makes you stop what you are doing and join the song. Mariner admits that any of Fats Domino’s hard downbeat arrangements are distracting no matter what mariner is doing.

Music is magic, kind of a metaverse.

So have at it folks; this is as intellectual as it gets.

Ancient Mariner


It is over.

The battle to sustain individuality and Homo sapiens authenticity has been won by AI. Watch the following clip then read on:


Already AI is good enough to write novels, essays, legal briefs and singlehandedly manage most trades on the stock exchange. The ability for anyone to write any style of entertainment is just one database away.

With the invention of the gene splitter Crispr, AI will be able to pool all human variations into a massive database so parents can pick any child they want. Who wants a Donald Trump lookalike? How about triplets that are the Kingston Trio?

But then AI will perceive that it is much simpler to have one version of humans; just think how efficient that would be for politics, medicine, and one would need only one football team.

Perhaps it will be less expensive if humans had no need to travel.

Welcome to Matrix.


Ancient Mariner


A few days ago, mariner visited his audiologist. In rural America, visiting the nearest audiologist means driving forty miles. Audiology along with dentistry, optometry and pharmacology are not covered under Medicare – but that’s another issue. The issue today is, upon whom does the fault lie when those who are hard of hearing ask someone to repeat something?
Interesting fact: mariner can listen to Jane Pauley on ‘Sunday Morning’ (CBS) without hearing aids! [Isn’t that trumpet introduction wonderful?!] Interesting fact: 99 percent of all other speaking people require mariner to wear hearing aids to understand them and with 60 percent of those folks, no hearing aid in the world would help.
Yet society promotes the judgment that the hearing disabled are dysfunctional, old, demented, crippled and generally useless. The hearing disabled cannot think, see, drive or order from a menu; socially, they are useless – a person can say something to them and all they can say is “What?”.
Mariner cannot deny the elements of aging, but the communication failure does not lie with the hard-of-hearing. Otherwise, how could mariner ever understand Jane Pauley without hearing aids? The issue at hand is not hearing but speaking.
One of mariner’s oldest examples:
Someone says “ōwee”. Even the hearing might ask, “What?”. The person repeats with mild disdain and says more specifically, “kōwee”. Being argumentative, mariner would ask again and ask that it be said more slowly. Obviously irritated and judgmental, the person says loudly, “SKOEET”. Given the typical brain pause of the hard-of-hearing, mariner deduces the English words: “Let’s go eat”. Skoeet means Let’s go eat!
Try again: “jeetjet?”. At this point, an endless list of lazy, unexhaled, tongue-in-place-of lips or teeth, whispering volume and disappearing predicate clauses can be had. Just a few:
Prolly, ancha, peshly, ombich, iite, and endless more slurring examples of two and especially three words compressed into one rolling noise. There are a few noticeable patterns:
When grinning, most consonants stay in the mouth and never make it to the teeth or lips. Lip reading is useless when people are grinning.
Very frequently people do not take a breath at the beginning of a sentence. This leads to very soft enunciation and the disappearance of audible volume altogether by the end of the sentence. Very soft voices do not even use the diaphragm. Mariner remembers a woman that was angry and started by shouting “I TOLD HER that I didn’t want this . . . inaudible.
We want to talk as quickly as we are thinking by using a rhythm to talk rather than using rules of enunciation. Unlike Jane, who gives each word and syllable its independent time and space, most of us use dominant vowels as a beat – the rest of the word be damned. Spaces between words are a waste of time and require added discipline. A different type of rhythm counterpoint to Jane’s speaking rhythm can be heard by listening to a field reporter recounting a news item; articulation may be passable but zero time between words would make any listener stop to separate the syllables.
To make matters quite a bit more difficult for the hard-of-hearing, people will turn away while speaking, or ramble on while they go into another room or talk while the television is on but the worst is when two people talk at the same time. This is more frequent than one would think – even normal hearing people have trouble in this situation.
So the point is the old one from the Bible: “Caste the mote from thine own mouth before judging others.” Mariner knows he has a disability but it does not deserve casdnashn.

Ancient Mariner