Thoughts

All in all, this is really a very hopeful time, as It feels as though changes that have been coming for decades are actually becoming possible- all based on the idea, as opposed to the previous notion that people are fundamentally greedy and untrustworthy, that we are in fact not that way at all, that we have instead evolved to coexist with each other as neighbors and friends. Science continues to back this up, that while there are a few who always go to the dark side, the great majority treat each other with decency and good will. The main thing is to resist the fear, and to remember that what you actually see is the reality, not the news of some far away place habited by strange and dangerous people who are not of your clan.Those strange and dangerous people are, it turns out, pretty much the same as us, getting slong with each other as best they can. It will take courage to push for these new (old) ideas, but we have been courageous before. A better world awaits.

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She knows who he is. She sees him driving, walking on the street, in the supermarket, where she moves into a different isle to avoid him. He’s there, laughing with his friends in the pub, the people standing around him uneasy, deferential. She remembers his false smile, his hands. The feeling of desperation watching him manipulate everyone, turning them against her. She knows who he is. The one who took her decency, her innocence. Of course there really was no innocence, no one is innocent. But the decency, oh yes, that was real. The relentless sneer at anything clean, unselfish. The repeating over and over the lies, clever twisting of the truth into something ugly and mean. The little army of enablers marching along. 

The question is, where does that leave her now? To be calm, careful in her words, when what she really wants is to scream at the injustice, to tear at the numbing silence around it all. The way through must be some kind of steady courage, small acts of bravery that coalesce into a wave of hope and change. 

She knows who he is, and she watches him.

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The people of our country are waking up to the realization that they have been kidnapped, and that their lives have been threatened by a vicious and corrupt madman and his followers, who have demanded a ransom of their precious family heritage. Demoralized and traumatized, they have done their best to remember the principles of decency and fairness that preceded their abduction, but in the process have become wary of promises of redemption and safety. Now that their release is at hand, a long period of recovery is going to be necessary for them to regain their confidence in themselves and their fellow countrymen. Like all victims of violence, the memory of the experience will weigh heavily on them, but with the strength that comes from a faith in each others’ shared humanity, there can be a new and perhaps more sober determination to defend themselves from this kind of criminal in the future, and a dedication to honor the courage and love that pushes back against hate and terror whenever it threatens to destroy them. There is an end to the pain and fear that comes from this kind of experience, and it comes from working together to rediscover the goodness in the world and the joy in each others company, and a dedication to counter ignorance with understanding, and mendacity with truth.


The fundamental problem facing us all (and by that I mean all of of the family of life on our tiny planet) is the great taboo, the immense sacred cow of dogmatic religion.  Reasonably intelligent humans can come under its sway and voluntarily, under intense peer pressure, enter a black closet of willful ignorance and close the door behind them, sinking into a static and voluptuous blindness that ultimately may condone unspeakable acts of cruelty and vengeance against everything around them. Religion, it must be said, was created by the mind of man for a number of reasons- to explain a terrifying and confusing world, to provide the comfort of companionship and familiarity, and to give a structured environment in which to raise children. Of course there are others, but these seem to be the basic ones. These grow out of what might be thought of as our species’ psychological evolution.

The essential difficulty arises when myths that support dogma are taken literally.. poetically, creation stories are fun, but they are factually untrue. A god that creates everything is a pleasant enough notion, but it is superstitious nonsense, and an extremely dangerous ruse when posited against the astonishing fact of evolution. The idea that “morality” is somehow absent without religion is absurd- it comes as a natural result of our altruistic and cooperative nature. And as for war, religion is more often than not the tribal inspiration and emotional excuse.

Wrapped up in all of this is religious extremism’s cover for those dark souls who lust for power, and who are ever waiting in the wings to capitalize on our worst inclinations.

We are alone with our meager intelligence in the solar system, and too far from anything else to do much more than observe from afar. Why should we not greet with enthusiasm and wonder what is our heritage, instead of falling back on ideas that have lost their usefulness to us as a creature among other equally sacred creatures on our most beautiful and fragile world?

Of course, another way to look at it is as the ultimate con, and Americans love cons more than just about anything. Look at the bozo who started Scientology- act in all manner of morally reprehensible ways, amass a spectacular fortune, fleece the unsuspecting and the gullible, gain power and influence and… best of all, no taxes!

Are we ready for the Kool-Aid?