The human brain is infinitely intriguing and as complex as the cosmos. The question of what makes us tick is in good company along with “what is the meaning of life?” Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Neurosurgeons are making headway (apologies) into the mysterious realm of the mind, but are far from unlocking and fully understanding that odd three pounds of gray matter floating around in our skulls. I am humbly awed at how I can simply type these letters without any real intentional exertion beyond gently willing my fingers to hit the proper key in the proper order to create each word and sentence. Miraculous, really!
Our brains cooked up writing itself 5000 years ago and before that, speech and we haven’t looked back! Those are the two main ingredients of the recipe that allowed us to develop agricultural settlements and form organized cooperative civilizations that, in turn, allowed some in that society to pursue the less physical, more intellectual avenues of governance and organized religion, leaving the hunter/gatherer life to those “less fortunate” living in regions and climes not conducive to the farming culture. This agri-society also gave rise to the warrior class to protect the food producers and said governance.
But that isn’t what I want to write about today. I want to write about another amazing talent the human brain possesses. Continue reading
Periodically I ask myself why I write these essays. Perhaps it’s because by the exercise of writing I might accidently stumble across some action that could modify or even correct some wrong somewhere. Sort of like when John Kerry made that flippant off-hand remark about how the only way the U.S. wasn’t going to invade Syria was if Syria agreed to get rid of their chemical weapons. Kerry thinking, no way that would happen and we could get on with the business of war as usual, but no… Kerry had accidentally stumbled across a peaceful alternative to invasion of a sovereign nation and inadvertently talked our empire out of yet another war. I guess we could call this accidental diplomacy. Continue reading
I can’t seem to shake the haunting images of two famous classical orchestras. They aren’t famous for who they were, they are famous for where they played. One played on the deck of the Titanic as the unsinkable ship sank. The other, even more nightmarish musical venue I had in mind was the Nazi concentration camps. One of the first camps formed, as soon as Hitler gained power, was Theresienstadt or Terezín, as it was called by non-Germans. Classical, along with original works composed in the camp were played to give the illusion of civility and normalcy in an environment of satanical horror. Terezín was the first camp to utilize professional musician prisoners, a policy all the camps eventually adopted. Many in Terezín would die by disease, malnutrition and outright murder, but they would die with music in their ears. Terezín, for some, was only a temporary stop over on their way to the death camps of Treblinka or Auschwitz, where the bands played on. Continue reading
Note: Unfortunately my attempted mountaintop retreat from the world was a bust and I was forced to cut it short. Who I thought was a Yogi Zen master turned out to be a delusional manic depressive failed hedge fund manager that had lost his mind when some bubble or other burst leaving him penniless or was he a time share pitch man? I never did figure it out…So I came back home and decided to see a shrink instead.
I have been given strict instructions by my therapist, Dr. Heisenberg, that I am no longer allowed to research and chronicle any negative local, national or global issues. I was told, if I must write about something, it should be on light and happy topics that lift the spirit, no matter how Pollyannaishly delusional I think they are. I am paying this guy $ 250 an hour so I am heeding his advice. Then let us tackle some soft friendly issues together, shall we? The sun did come up and as Annie tells us, it will come up tomorrow. That is comforting to a guy like me. Here I have been focusing on the likelihood of it rising one day only to illuminate a barren Mars-like landscape that was once our blue and green planet due to our blind love affair with fossil fuel and pathological consumption of natural resources. Oops, sorry. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is my new mantra. Continue reading
This might be my last contribution for a while. I’m going on a retreat, a literal and figurative dropping out. Don Quixote, I’m not. I enjoy posting my thoughts and some are well received, others, not so much. What I gather from research about government, politics, extreme climate, economy, corporate finance/banking, etc. mostly turns my stomach and I simply cannot continue looking at the big picture of our proverbial hand basket to hell, state of the state without experiencing spiritual and psychic damage. As my wife points out frequently, I am a delicate flower.
I am convinced that the majority of people in this country as well as the global community naturally want what is best for their families and their communities at large. The devil is in the details and that is where we lose sight of our commonalities and get intentionally side-tracked by those in power that want and must stay in power. An example of this loss of sight of our common interests was demonstrated by a reader’s response to my last essay on the marketing of America. My take is the current Pathocracy that is our governance is most assuredly a well financed corporatist right, in the literal sense of corporatism. Conversely the reader is convinced it is leftist caused, muttering something about collectivism, but not disagreeing with my description of the deterioration of our Republic, just the perpetrators of said deterioration. So I would conclude we are essentially on the same side in the sense we are both very unhappy with the current paradigm. Continue reading
One of the downsides of getting old, besides aches and pains and boring young people, is witnessing little changes only an older person notices. Whatever is going on in the moment has “always” been going on in the eyes of the young. The fact is they have no point of reference and are not responsible for succumbing to the sometimes subtle and other times not so subtle insinuative political/corporate propaganda of our daily lives. The only way to avoid this toxic nonsense would be to turn off your TV and computer, stop reading all corporate media (aka. media), stop going to the movies and take yourself to some remote mountain top and become a subsistence farmer. It’s never too late.
This deliberate manipulation is evident at the movies. I love movies. I love all aspects; the writing, acting, directing and editing all fascinate me, a true communal effort and a miracle of sorts when they are successful. When I go to the movie theater I arrive early because I want a good seat, but unfortunately that requires that I sit through a twenty minute audio/visual barrage of corporate crap telling me the answer to life can be found in some colorful sugar water product that can make me “fly” or I must watch some empty headed fluff on TV as soon as I get home and/or I should feel awful because soldiers are coming home horribly damaged from places they don’t belong and that our government abandons them to the charity of people going to see a movie on a Saturday afternoon. Does anyone else remember movie shorts and cartoons before the feature? Continue reading
As we approach the beginning of the New Year, traditionally we reflect on the one that is about to end. That is all well and good, but might we be better off to stop and reflect more often than once in a calendar year? To more frequently stop and take the time to assess what we are about and why we do what we do. I know it is much easier said than done, but daily reflective thought gives us a freedom from expectations and is a release from a poor choice or a wrong path. Rigidity has the opposite effect. Digging in our heels and refusing to admit our errors in judgment will cause us unnecessary pain and suffering.
The simple interjection, “oops”, should be uttered more often so to allow us that opportunity to change course without remorse. Why wait until a “New Year”? To paraphrase John Lennon’s lyrics, “Imagine there’s no judgment for changing your mind….” As new information comes to light, what made sense yesterday, may no longer make sense today. This reminds me of the pot roast story. A daughter was watching her mother prepare a pot roast for the oven. The older woman cut off the ends of the roast before she placed it in the oven. The daughter asked, “Why did you cut the ends off?” The mother said, “Because that’s how my mother did it.” So the young woman went to ask her grandmother the same question and gran told her because that’s how her mother did it. So the young woman went to the ancient great grandmother and asked why. Great gran explained that years ago, when she and her husband were first married they had a very small oven…. Continue reading