Friday, January 12, 2018


[I was unable to access this account for months.  Below are some posts written during that time.]

This is a one-hundred word story I wrote.



It was the worst day of his life, a profoundly sad realization.  People said that the truth set you free.  But truth was pain.  A sudden, immortal guilt.

He wanted to be like those at the top, the world leaders who sculpted awareness to their own needs.  But he could not.  Truth made you a slave to your conscience, not a master.

He looked out at the narrows, tottering on muddy feet.  The tidal pull was fierce.  The entire ocean struggled to breathe.  Selfishly, he threw the red cap into the crosscurrents, not waiting to see it float or sink.


Yule Reflections

[Originally published on December 25, 2017]

This is my first Christmas alone.  It's not so bad.  Hermit mode may become my norm, if society survives long enough.  In any event, solitude affords me the space to express from the depths of my soul, in ways that socializing does not allow.  It is a place where I feel most confused but also most alive.

As alluded to above, humanity is quite close to thermonuclear war.  The head of North Korea is a paranoid, narcissistic dictator.  The same is true in the United States (though Trump is not a full dictator as of yet).  Both leaders use fear and hate to herd the masses.  Their method?  The stark simplicity of a binary ethos: we are righteous, the other side is essentially evil. It is an historical tactic, one that readies the population for war and motivates the soldiers to kill without qualms.  It is a tactic that has demeaned and debauched the human condition for millennia.  It has led to all kinds of slaughter and infernal cruelty. Hatred and fear for those on the other side of a stark ethnic divide.  It is an addictive condition.  One that gravitates, and at some point accelerates, toward the infliction of genocide.

Figuratively speaking, to be ready, even eager, to kill a whole demographic of people, such as Muslims, is to worship your own god of hate.  It only adds to your utter failure that you claim to champion the good.

As I've said many times on this blog, unless we transcend Manichean tactics, we will not be able to weld the great power of recent technologies.  Misuse of said technologies will destroy us.

Why do people like Donald Trump rise to the top?  Absence of a conscience helps one appear confident.  Combine such immunity to guilt with an utter conviction that you are always right.  That it is your destiny to win.  Add a certain skill at rhetoric, especially concerning the manipulation of those prone to fear of 'the other'.  Add an anti-intellectual platform of us-versus-them.  These factors lift a person like Donald Trump.  He deceives with ease, a mere game for him, while climbing up rungs of pettiness, rancor, and tragedy to achieve the throne.

Conditions were ideal for this "malignant narcissist."  A fertile field of resentment and bigotry was already in place.  Angry white males, traditional hierarchists, know-nothings, racists, nativists, patriarchals and supremacists rallied to the call, not so subtle, in the motto, "Make America Great Again."

In one of the most pitiable displays of ethical failure in American History, perhaps in the course of human civilization, the Republican leadership bowed down.  It was an act of submission that epitomizes the decline of the American empire.  They sold out for the most venal of reasons, to maintain personal power and avoid political loss.  Their short-term strategizing went so far as to delegitimize the USA as a moral leader in the global community.

And of course there is the potential for WWIII ...

Many pundits have remarked on the horror of going to war with North Korea.  From what I've seen, the focus is on what will happen to South Korea and possibly Japan.  The potential death toll is stated as being in the hundreds of thousands.  Sometimes it rises into the millions.  What is missing from this morbid calculus is one simple factor:  the launch of a single nuclear weapon would be incredibly destabilizing.  Uncertain rulers in other places would be inclined to push their own red buttons.

China and Russia, for instance, have already indicated that they will attack the United States if we attack North Korea first.  That's World War III right there.

Given the phenomenon of chaos that would ensue as a result of any attack--a phenomenon commonly referred to as the 'fog of war'--how could any side be clear on who launched first?

It's that dire.  Christmas, December 25, 2017.

Kim Jon-in overlords a hell-on-earth of totalitarian mind control, backed up by Nazi-level concentration camps [1].  Donald Trump has been called a "malignant narcissist" by scores of highly accredited psychologists.  Twenty-seven of them co-wrote a book to warn us [2].

This is the world in which I find myself, Christmas, December 25, 2017.  It is a human-crowded planet on the brink of holocaust and fire.  The ruler of the mightiest military on Earth is insane. He is inflexible even in the face of obvious empirical truths.  He cannot adapt.  In his mind, he is always right.

It is a stomach-dropping horror to watch Donald Trump rail against science and hurl crude invective at reality-based media.  He denigrates women, and has clearly sexually assaulted many of them, even as he claims that 'no one loves women more.'  He demeans the FBI and other security and police institutions when it serves his needs.  His praise for Russia's Putin, and his remarks on the moral equivalency of Russia and America, are a stinging indicator of the threat he poses in his pursuit of monarchy.

Christmas, December 25, 2017.  If war doesn't claim us, there is always human-caused environmental collapse.  We are in the midst of a mass extinction event.  Global warming is unprecedented, quicker in effect than the rhythmic Ice Ages.  Of course, Trump denies its existence and mocks those who agree with the international scientific consensus.

I open pages on the internet (itself a quite new invention) and see large areas of India and China saturated by stygian smog.  I see Venezuela, recently a 'first world' country, chained to misery and malnutrition.  I read about Jakarta, home to 30 million people, sliding more and more into the sea.

That's just a sampling from one week of headlines.

Christmas, December 25, 2017.  Despite all this, believe it or not, I am happy.

I've been grappling with the heaviest of issues for decades.  I struggled to earn a PhD in applied ethics.  I published almost a thousand poems, many of them the equivalent of prophetic rants.  I battle ignorance in the world and within myself, usually to little avail; and yet sometimes I glean a speck of insight or catharsis.  My life journey--in its stupidity, stumble, and seek--has wandered to find some themes of beauty, joy and goodness.  Omnipresent themes in the fabric of nature.  Themes reactive to the dark.

"What if this present is the world's last night?"  To answer this, I would say that love soars in so many ways, has showed us so many paths to paradisiacal futures, even if they will not be ours to take




Reflections On Ignorance

[Originally published December 9, 2017]

The following is dedicated to #MeToo, the platform employed by so many brave women to speak out.  The nascent movement marks an uptick on the moral graph of US history, one that will hopefully endure as a new standard, even as it elicits a higher level of national justice and a widening florescence of conscience.

This blog has often railed against institutionalized denial  The sort of denial that infects the American psyche in relation to sexism, racism and other forms of oppression.  From a psychological perspective, it is mind-boggling to observe the entrenched, willful ignorance of the nation.  Emotionally, it is heart-wrenching, agonizing and isolating.  Feminists challenge an epidemic of violence and lies.  For this straightforward and brave honesty, they get ignored, passive-aggressively goaded, punished or attacked.  The problem is like an unseen elephant in every room.  Rape, domestic violence, child abuse, harassment, coercion, stalking, street-taunting, they happen all the time, if not to you then a friend, colleague, relative or lover,.  But no one wants to hear.  Men especially are badly and pitiably lagging.  It makes me ashamed to be a man.

It is obvious that they-who-hide know what's going on.  They know, even while claiming the opposite.  Maybe this knowledge is subconscious, but it exists.  The 'objectivity' of bureaucratic condescension and derision is, in fact, a case of knowing while pretending not to know.  One of the most common tactics of they-who-hide is to cherry-pick certain individual cases while refusing to look at the larger picture. 

Sexism has an invisible, subliminal, deceitful, insidious aspect, one that is dynamic, couched in an adaptive ignorance.  This ignorance is a great challenge to any open-minded activist.  It forces a mighty frustration on those who would seek the good.  It is easy for this frustration to slide into hate.  Feminists are human.  To deal with hate in a healthy way is incredibly hard.  It is a virtuous feat, one far too rarely validated. 

As Donald Trump has demonstrated in his deranged way, hate can be seductive and magnetic. Hate, wielded by a dark leader, pulls people into blind passion and locks the doors of critical thinking.  Donald Trump's followers go that route.  But feminists, seeking to dissolve the power of ignorance, rather than reinforce it, must avoid that path at any cost. 

This is not to say that feminists don't feel frustration and even hate.  They must strive to form very different relationships with those emotions than people seduced by demagogues.

In this sense alone, aside from the rest, feminist activists face a huge challenge.  The moral strength required to fend off destructive hate cannot be overstated.  Confronted by the stonewalling ignorance of patriarchy--and all the violence and wrongness that ignorance cloaks and perpetuates--it is so very hard to keep frustration from bursting into a froth of spite, and from there descending into a state of cruelty beyond reason.

Feminists struggle--with great difficulty--to nurture their ethos and caring while dealing with the pain of their moral awareness.  Again, this is tremendously hard.  And, again, it is little rewarded or even acknowledged as a task.  In defense of their own sanity, a feminist might step back from a personal perspective.  Go scholarly.  However, it is quite possible to step back in  the wrong way, to succumb to a kind of bureaucratic 'objectivity'--the sort of 'objectivity' that is not reasonable at all, but rather obliterates personal concern and surrenders to the status quo. 

Indeed, our justice system (USA), with its own 'objectivity', fails to see the obvious:  the ubiquitous blight of abuse, derision, dismissal, assault, rape, and harassment. 

When challenging sexism, whether through protest or scholarship, it is important to appreciate its versatility.  When we think of ignorance, we often think of a flock of sheep.  Sheep = dumb.  The association is almost automatic.  But it is also highly misleading.  As I've written in the past, ignorance is smart.  It maintains and regenerates itself, often through new frames and slants.  It swims in the steady flow of mini-arguments and memes presented by politicians and media manipulators.

Ignorance contains specious arguments, prejudiced appraisals, contumacious verisimilitudes.  It includes a hate-fear dialectic.  The fortification and maintenance of sexist ignorance is a mighty task, a central task, of a male-ruled culture.  It needs to co-opt all cognitive layers of the brains it saturates.  Ignorance is not so much about not seeing as it is a means to entrench 'not seeing' as an unacknowledged norm.

Even the physical senses, studies show, can be co-opted.  Hence someone can see two lines as being equal, when in fact they are of very different length.  Subconscious filters are vital to the interests of ignorance.  Deep within the synaptic pathways--that is, by far, where the primary battle takes place.

The power of ignorance shapes civilizations.  Accepted expressions of art, music, science, religion and philosophy mold minds.  One generation programs the next.  Thinkers and artists rise to prominence because they satisfy the gatekeepers of the status quo.  Genius usually supports, rather than subverts, what those in power authorize.  Such co-opted genius may be zealous and direct; or insidious and passive, a simple failure to address injustice.  Pleasuring and mollifying the masses--a lotus-eater effect--is at least as important as is the direct reinforcement of patriarchal ideology.  Pleasuring is a seduction of diversion, whereas direct reinforcement is a legerdemain of casuistry.

What does it mean to confront ignorance?  It means facing a mental power, a political patience, a confrontational stamina, that far exceeds your own.  Ignorance is, in effect, a commodity for those at the top.  It is something manufactured that pays dividends.  A way to control the masses.  The investment is protected at the Faustian cost of corrupting both society and soul.  The process is addictive for those in power.  It becomes habitual, as well as stressful and desperate.  A failure to properly manufacture ignorance could make the masses to turn on you.  Or, perhaps worse, your conscience rises from its ashes.  What more painful than the realization of your life's purpose as malign?

To conclude, confronting sexist ignorance is a tremendous task, one carried out by courageous feminists, those who are continuously tarred with ridicule and threat.  Feminist bloggers receive floods of invective.  Graphic depictions of their upcoming murder and rape.  To deal with this constantly, or even slightly, is to stare the darkest, most raw side of humanity in the face.  It is, in a sense, to witness an archetype of Evil in action.  Because it is so hard and courageous to face such total darkness--and tangible physical risk--many feminists eschew their websites and seek other routes. 

Again, the fury that targets them is torrential.  Beyond scary.   Welcome to the USA, early 21st century.

Sometimes, however, seemingly out of nowhere, even during the darkest of times, there is a miraculous shift.  For those of the greatest and yet least-rewarded virtue, those feminists who have challenged the system all their lives, these rare moments come only after a soul-grinding journey of conflict, pain, and fortitude.  Indeed, such special people often don't live long enough to see the blossoms of positive change that they helped to seed.

For all of us, there is the following inspiration to be had from the #MeToo movement. Even when we don't think we're making a difference, we well might be.  The initial rumblings of seismic change take place below society's collective mental surface.  Only afterward do they manifest consciously.

This quote, from a recent op-ed on #MeToo, reinforces the point: 

We are seeing an example of how social change often (and increasingly) takes place. Advocates of a cause can push for a long time with little apparent effect. Then, in a historical blink, what seemed incredible becomes inevitable. Over a period of years, this is what happened with the same-sex marriage movement. A type of inclusion that initially appeared radical and frightening became an obvious form of fairness to a majority of Americans.