Like Hades, I clutch and will not set free
The warmth of sweet summer’s soft honeydew.
I won’t trade Florida for Persephone
Though what’s good for me may not be for you.
When Pandora opened that blasted box
All good but hope soared far overhead
And left us down here with evil that mocks
Our desire, in a sad underworld’s dread.
Some say hope lives far off; lives far above
In heaven; postpones joys ‘til tomorrow,
But it’s today crying children need love.
I open my arms when darkness breeds sorrow.
I clutch sweetest hope and won’t set her free.
Winter can’t harm, with such warmth holding me.
Though winter’s in the wings, I’ll walk a rainy
Rainbow road. My poor, old-man heart sings
Despite my zany overload. Pain-free
Despite the ache, I’ve seen my aching brings
Ecstasy from agony, and nothing
Really worries me, as long as rainbows
Lie ahead. Each shoulder wears a wing
When I’m upon the rainbow road. God knows
I’ve got to sing, and knows my lyrics bring
No greed into His vast abode. Song flows,
Like striding down a rainbow road. I start
To see how life’s suppose to be, suppose
To show, suppose to flow from heart to heart
To heart. With thankfulness my overload
I’m heading down the rainbow road.
An interesting development occurred at the Pole during the last day of summer and first day of fall. As the sun sank beneath the horizon at the Pole for six months, no further warmth could come from the sun, and all warming could only come from the unfrozen waters, or be imported from the south. When the warmth comes from the south I look for spikes in the DMI temperature graph (for the area north of 80 degrees latitude) and we have seen the first such spikes of the autumn:
It should be noted that, while the red line in the above graph indicate temperatures are averaging well above the green line of “normal”, they still indicate temperatures well below freezing and cold enough to freeze the open areas of sea-water.
I like to look at the DMI temperature map of the Pole, to learn the specifics of exactly where temperatures are above normal.
The isotherms in the above map show a pointed area of milder temperatures pushing north from the Atlantic over Svalbard and right over the Pole. I call such impulses “feeder bands”, because they often feed an anomalous area of low pressure over the Pole I’ve dubbed “Ralph”. In the map below the “Ralph” is located north of the Canadian Archipelago.
It is interesting to watch the maps as the winter progresses for other examples of such “feeder bands.” See if you notice what I have noticed:
First, those who own a bias towards favoring the idea the planet is warming tend to become excited when such surging “feeder bands” spike north. My favorite example involves a time a big North Atlantic gale brought a splendid surge north in December, creating a feeder band that lifted temperatures from minus thirty to near freezing at the Pole. In fact one data-buoy, close to the Pole on the Svalbard side, was briefly above freezing for around two hours. This gave the press a wonderful opportunity to indulge in hyperbole involving midwinter melting at the Pole. Because I, as a writer, tend to enjoy hyperbole much more than dull facts, I got a good laugh out of one headline which stated Santa Claus was drowning on Christmas. However I suppose some children were permanently scarred, (which is a good reason not to let children watch the news.)
But then the dull facts rear their ugly head, which involves a second thing to watch for, and that is how swiftly the “feeder band” loses its heat. For example, here is the isotherm map of the Pole 24 hours after the above map:
What I like to do is to open the two maps to new tabs, and then switch back and forth between the two tabs. This makes the changes very clear. It is obvious the heat is lost. Where did it go?
Likely it rose, (which creates low pressure and “Ralph” at the surface.) Because cold arctic air is incapable of holding more than a tiny amount of moisture, the rising and cooling air drops the Atlantic moisture it holds. Occasionally this can be rain, especially down towards Svalbard, but even when it is rain the phase-change from gas to liquid releases latent heat. If the moisture freezes to snow the next phase change releases more latent heat. While the snow or rain may fall without the flakes or drops warming much, the air holds all the released heat. Therefore when the air descends it theoretically should be much warmer due to the released latent heat it holds. Also, while the air chills at a moist adiabatic rate of 3.5 °F / 1000 ft as it rises it should warm at the dry adiabatic rate of 5.5 °F / 1000 ft as it descends. Therefore we can confidently look about the Arctic Sea for warm, descending winds like a Chinook, or the Foehn winds of the Alps. But (cue Twilight Zone music) we see no such warm winds, (except sometimes where winds descend from the heights of Greenland). Where has the heat gone? (Turn up Twilight Zone music.)
I assume it has been lost to outer space. But you watch, next winter, and see if you notice the same thing.
There is another chilling effect of these “feeder bands” that I watch for. I take the view that when these warm surges rush up to the Pole they “bump” the cold air off the Pole, like two children playing king-of-the-mountain. (I suppose the cold air surging south could just as well create a vacuum that sucks the warm air north as it departs, but never mind that.) Watch for displacement of cold air masses far to the south (where the cold doesn’t show on the DMI graph of temperatures north of 80° latitude), next winter. One invaluable site to use, when looking for cold air to the south, is the Ice Age Now site.
Currently, if you go to that site, you can learn that, as warmth spiked to the Pole, there was record-setting cold in Southern Alaska, early frosts in the southern Volga River valley down towards the Caspian Sea, and an early blizzard in Montana. (Don’t look for such news to be front-page in the Mainstream Media.)
Such news interests me, for, while I hold strong views about snow minding its own business and staying up at the Pole where it darn well belongs, I am well aware early snow-cover is a force to be reckoned with. Around here you can feel it even when the snow-cover is a hundred miles to our north, because the north wind suddenly has a cruel and bitter edge to it. Therefore I keep an eye on the snowcover maps.
One thing that occurs to me that doesn’t seem to occur to Alarmists is that the albedo of fresh snow-cover is not only higher than that of dirty ice, but it is likely to have a more powerful effect in the south where the sun is still relatively high in the sky, than it has at the Pole where the sun is down at the horizon or completely set. Therefore my ears perk up at early snow in Siberia and Alaska and northern Canada.
In conclusion, when the temperature spikes at the Pole, it may not be a warming event. It may be indicative of southern heat squandered to outer space, and northern chill bumped south to cool southern landscapes. But use your own eyes, and see what you see, as winter draws nigh.
UPDATE The Finnish Meteorological Institute’s graph of the Northern Hemisphere’s “Total Snow Mass Excluding Mountains” shows that we are off to an early start, when it comes to accumulating snowfall. It looks like we are roughly three weeks ahead of schedule.
The “Death Spiral” theory is again debunked, for, according to its premise, lack of sea-ice leads to sunshine warming more water, which leads to decreased ice the following year. However reality begs to differ. Despite a summer highly favorable for the melting of sea-ice, with the PDO warm and the Pacific’s “warm blob” making the temperature of waters in Bering Strait well above average, and the AMO warm as well and the Norway Current (a northern tendril of the Gulf Stream) sending above-normal waters north on the Atlantic side, and high pressure over the Pole creating lots of lovely sunshine when the sun was at its highest and most able to melt sea-ice, sea ice failed to set a new record low.
At this point you might think there would be some calm and level-headed discussion about why the “Death Spiral” has failed to manifest. But this discussion already occurred, back in 2008, when the “Death Spiral” failed to progress after the 2007 lows. There was some “further discussion” after the 2012 low set a new record, but that is now seven years ago. The facts show the sea-ice is failing to fit the definition of “spiral”.
Sadly, rather than level-headed discussion it seems Alarmists are abandoning science in favor of highly-charged emotional rants and riots. A sixteen-year-old girl in pigtails is invited to lecture (or rave) before the U.N. in favor of a qualified zoologist such as Susan Crockford. Is it any wonder the error about polar bears becoming extinct, which has been debunked, continues to be accepted as a fact? The protesters even dress as polar bears.
Let’s just pause briefly on the subject of bears, which highlights the appalling ignorance of some Alarmists. The fact of the matter is that the bears are dependent on gorging on helpless baby seals in the spring, and the sea-ice situation is very different in the spring. To demonstrate the difference let us use the PIOMAS “volume” graph (which Alarmists seem to prefer). What does it show us?
What this graph shows us is that the sea-ice will more than quadruple by April. Places like Hudson Bay, which appear as “open water” now (despite scattered icebergs) will appear as “totally ice-covered” by April (despite scattered air-holes and leads.)
The scattered air holes and leads are very important to both seals and bears, because seals can’t be born underwater and must be born on the ice, where they lay utterly helpless for a time, as the mothers nurture them. This is when the bears gorge. Bears don’t even have to sneak up, for there is no way for the baby seals to escape; they can’t even swim yet. Polar Bears become very fat, and actually live off their accumulated fat for much of the rest of the year.
However we have records going all the way back to the 1600’s, for the Hudson Bay Company, and such records tell us there have been some very cold years, including some years when the trading posts could not be resupplied by ships due to thick ice. During such cold years there are few air-holes and leads, and such a situation is disastrous for both seals and for polar bears. Their populations crash when there there is too much ice, which is exactly the opposite of what Alarmists are led to believe.
In order to learn the truth about arctic zoology it would pay to turn to a Zoologist, (and avoid “Climate Advocates” who are dependent on funding from advocacy groups.) One such Zoologist is Susan J. Crockford, who created the site “Polar Bear Science.”
I highly recommend her site, for news about sea-ice as well as about seals, walruses and bears. Here is a video she produced:
You might think that the U.N. would ask a qualified Zoologist to speak, but apparently they prefer emotional teenaged girls in pigtails. Because I doubt we can convince Susan to wear pigtails, I suppose it is up to me. To get a fair hearing, all I need to do is self-identify as a teenager, and grow my wispy gray hair until I can braid pig tails.
The problem is, I don’t look all that good in pigtails.
There has been a late downturn in the sea-ice “extent” graph.
I find this downturn a bit annoying, because it will encourage Alarmists. It reminds me of a time when I was attempting to persuade a chronic gambler not to gamble, and, as luck would have it, they purchased a winning ticket that day, and came to me and ruffled sixty dollars in my face. Never mind that the sixty dollars didn’t make up for the thousands they had squandered. The sixty dollars gave them hope to cling to, like a drowning man’s straw.
The good thing is that the downturn is an actual reality, and will bring us back to actual reality, which has been a thing discussed less and less in recent years. As a fellow too prone to dreaming and having my head in the clouds, I have learned the hard way of the importance of being down to earth. You can eat neither a dream nor a forecast, and a forecast based on a forecast is often a flaw on a flaw.
I understand that there is a major political “push” planned by Alarmists to promote the Alarmist agenda for the next two weeks, involving Global Warming being a fact rather than a forecast, and I fully expect that rather than facts we will largely see predictions. For example, I recently heard Cortiz state “Miami will be underwater in a few years.” For another example, it was stated that Washington D.C. would be flooded. Such predictions are stated as if they are facts. “Newsbusters” points out the same, dog-eared predictions were made thirty years ago, in 1989.
It used to be that we could have some interesting discussions, examining the facts that went into such doomsday predictions, and comparing them with other facts. Sadly, at some point lesser minds prevailed, and rather than discussions Alarmists took to immediately smearing Skeptics, calling them “Deniers” (and threatening worse, such as the gruesome video which suggested Skeptics, even children, should be bloodily blown-up simply for having a shadow of a doubt.)
In the face of such offenses I prefer to turn the other cheek, and to continue to have interesting discussions, (even if Alarmists stick fingers in their ears), for there is nothing wrong with questioning. It is good to have the curiosity of a child who asks “why”, for often it leads to the beautiful wonder of a child, who really appreciates the beauty of nature as it exists, and isn’t all freaked out about what isn’t (unless you scare them with ghost stories or Alarmism).
So let us at least pause long enough to examine the reasons for the late-season downward blip in the “extent” graph. For one thing, we notice it isn’t seen on the “volume” graph, which has already turned up and is entering its winter period of growth (in the DMI chart):
The above illustration also shows the sea-ice is missing northwest of Svalbard. This ice isn’t missing because it melted. It was shoved northwest by strong east and southeast winds. These winds were created by a pattern that persisted for roughly a week, that had high pressure over the Pole and low pressure roaming the North Atlantic. This moved the sea-ice and heaped it at the northeast corner of Greenland, where the ice is now thicker than at any other place in the arctic.
This shift is a striking change, for those of us who own an iota of memory. Earlier this summer south winds on the west side of Fram Strait pushed sea-ice north and there was no ice at all at the northeast corner of Greenland, and in fact some Alarmists were using the open water there as a reason for alarm. Meanwhile there was more sea-ice along the northwest coast of Svalbard than there was when Willem Barentzs “discovered” Svalbard and made landings on that coast (including the north coast) in June of the year 1597.
In other words, the ice has merely moved from one side of Fram Strait to the other, even as dropping temperatures are gradually increased the “volume”. The reason the “extent” has dropped is because the same amount of sea-ice can contract from being 15% coverage to being a more-compressed 90% coverage. The same sea-ice can tomorrow expand back to 15% spread-out coverage. (An accordion remains the same accordion whether expanded or contracted, but when sea-ice does the same thing there can be the most amazing hullabaloo among Alarmists; wild cheering followed by deep despair.)
I feel some are exclusively focused on the “extent” graph and may be missing more important measures. Other measures matter. We’d call a man foolish if he only focused on his car’s gas gauge and not where his car was going, but some focus only on “extent” and not where the ice is going.
The “extent” graph could fall to a huge degree and not be a sign of warming. This may well have been the case during the period 1815-1817. For some reason (perhaps two huge volcanic eruptions between 1810 and 1815, and many smaller ones), a highly meridianal flow pushed a spectacular amount of the arctic’s sea-ice down into the Atlantic. Whalers were amazed by ice-free waters north of Greenland, stating they may have been able to sail to the Pole had their been any whales in that direction, at the same time icebergs were grounding on the coast of Ireland. This ice-free-Pole (at least on the Atlantic side) sure didn’t make the Irish warm, and in fact Western Europe experienced what was called “The Year With No Summer,” largely due to the chilled Atlantic (though volcanic dust dimming the sunshine may have contributed to a degree.) Had an “extent” graph existed at that time, it would have shown a decline like nothing we have recently seen.
In other words, when we note a rise or fall in the “extent” graph it behooves us to focus on what the sea-ice is actually doing, and what weather pattern is involved. Only then can we look back and see what such patterns brought about in the past, and dare venture a guess about the future, assuming what happened in the past may repeat, though also aware such assumptions don’t always verify. Often we see patterns with two possible solutions; eight out ten times the pattern resolves as X but two out of ten times it resolves as Y; in such situations one watches like a hawk to ascertain which direction the pattern is going.
This sort of wondering seems to me to be far more focused on facts than much Alarmist thought is. Alarmists at times seem overly focused on the print-outs of their computer models, even to a degree where facts are dismissed. To me this seems like drawing the blinds, and ignoring the view of the present-tense skies I most enjoy. To deny in such a manner seems more like a “Denier” than anything I do, and is a reason I prefer Skeptics. In a strangely ambiguous manner Skeptics, who in theory should be dour cynics, strike me as more optimistic, simply because they don’t draw the blinds and instead look up at the ever-changing, dappled skies.
One Skeptic site, loaded with the sort of opinions and news that Google,Facebook and Youtube “screen out”, which I visit is “Weatheraction News”, largely because I find I gain insights I don’t get from Alarmists. I especially like links to the work of a gentleman who perpetually is having a bad-hair-day, named Piers Corbyn, who seems to have a brain capable of frenetically considering about fifty variables at once.
To be honest, I often cannot follow what Piers is talking about, as he paid attention in the sort of Math classes I skipped, (or ,when forced to attend, spent gazing out the window at dappled clouds). Also I have an involuntary response when faced with superior minds, having been fooled by “fast talkers” in my past. I become suspicious, and back away to rub my lower lip, and even scowl. But then I return, because I know facing many variables is a fact of life, (having raised five children), but to endlessly harp upon CO2 as the single, important variable, as some Alarmists do, is as myopic as tweezers. In any case, I usually depart from Piers with at least one new variable to think about.
One interesting tidbit I was given by “Craig”, (host of Weatheraction News), involves a true Climate Scientist of the past named Hubert Lamb. He studied climate back before the subject became so awfully political, and Hubert was able to look at things besides CO2 as causing warming and cooling. In fact the modern mentality of being myopically over-focused on CO2 likely would have struck Hubert as laughable. Therefore his observations are like a breath of fresh air. A snippet of Hubert’s work which Craig shared with me is as follows:
What perked up my ears was the mention of a “heavy ice situation” around Svalbard and in the Greenland Sea. Although the levels are sea-ice are less now, the pattern of the past summer did push the sea-ice to the Atlantic side. Therefore one should at least be curious to see if next winter resembles the very cold winter (In Britain) of 1962-1963.
It should be noted that 1962-1963 winter was a calamity for England, involving suffering that old-timers still like to brag about. The calamity might be worse now, with coal being phased out by an Alarmist policy which is built upon the assumption the world is warming. (Even if you add a half degree to the 1962-1963 temperatures, you still wind up with a frigid winter that could kill people who are effected by “energy poverty”, unless good neighbors invite them over as house guests).
One silly action on the part of Alarmists is to “screen out” all mention of cold weather from media reports. For this reason we heard about the Sahara-heat blowing north to Paris last summer, but not of the Arctic-chill blowing south to Moscow. We heard of heat in Japan, but not of Antarctic chill blowing frosts north in Australia (during their southern hemisphere winter) to within 1500 miles of the equator, at the same time Japan sweltered. In order to get any balance it is crucial to turn to sites such as Ice Age Now, (also “screened” from search-engines), which focuses on the colder temperatures:
Just as it is important to use both eyes, in order to see with depth perception, it is important to note both warm spells and cold spells, in order to wonder with depth. One thing I wonder about is the differences less ice may cause. (There was more sea-ice before the winter of 1962-1963).
This in turn involves the effects caused by the “albedo” of sea-ice versus the “albedo” of open water, which is important to those who subscribe to the Alarmist “Arctic Death Spiral” theory.
Basically this theory suggests that water absorbs heat that ice reflects, and then sun-warmed water will lead to less ice, arriving at a point where there is no ice at all, and then, because reflecting heat is vital to keeping the planet cool, the gradual heating will become “runaway” heating and there will be a planetary disaster.
This theory has been debunked because it depends on cause-and-effect being a sort of vicious cycle, and the cycle has failed to manifest. According to the Death Spiral Theory the sea-ice should not ever increase, from year to year, and should have vanished by 2013, or 2015, or at least 2019, after the very low, record-setting “extent” of 2012. The proof is in the pudding, and the theory failed to prove what its hypothesis stated.
At this point alternative ideas should not be “screened” by Google, but rather be welcomed. Why the heck didn’t the theory work? It is then one wonders wonderfully, and starts to think more deeply. For example, there is geological evidence of open arctic waters and surf-carved beaches from the relatively recent past; why didn’t open water back then lead to runaway warming? Also the sea-ice often doesn’t melt until September, at which point the increasingly low angle of the sun causes open water to stop absorbing sunshine and instead to reflect even more effectively than dirty ice does. Lastly, as the sun sets, open water loses heat more efficiently than ice-capped water does, in essence chilling the planet, and countering any “runaway warming”. And there are other alternative ideas to be considered, if one dares peek behind the “screen”, and visits sites such as “Watts Up With That”.
While surfing through the WUWT site I chanced upon some calculations made by Christopher Monckton of Brenchley suggesting the difference between the albedo-effect of an ice-covered pole and an ice-free pole is far less than I ever imagined, even if the Arctic Sea was open all summer and not merely in September. Due to my handicaps concerning Math, it will take me a long time to properly digest the calculations, but here they are, for those of you less handicapped:
Earth’s surface area is 511 million km2. Minimum Arctic sea ice area is 4 million km2, or 0.8% of the Earth’s surface. Ice albedo is 0.66 (Pierrehumbert 2011). Assuming ocean-water albedo of 0.06 if all the Arctic ice were to melt for the late-summer quarter, global mean albedo, now 0.3, would become 0.3 – 0.008(0.66 – 0.06), or 0.295. However, high-Arctic insolation is only one-quarter of mean terrestrial insolation, requiring division by 4; summer ice loss endures for at most 3 months, or half the Arctic daylight period, requiring division by 2; and the Arctic has 75% cloud cover, requiring a further division by 4. Thus, Eq. (E1) gives the revised global mean present-day albedo α2 assuming total Arctic ice-melt in the late-summer quarter, which proves to be vanishingly different from today’s albedo. For total solar irradiance S = 1363.5 W m–2 and the Stefan-Boltzmann constant σ, the difference ΔR0 in current emission temperature (Eq. E2), and thus in surface temperature ΔT0 given the near-linear lapse rate, is as follows –
This first-order analysis indicates that, even if the entire Arctic icecap were to melt for three months every summer, very little change in surface albedo feedback would arise. Therefore, even if that feedback were nonlinear, it is and, in foreseeable modern conditions, must remain too small to be significant. This conclusion is consistent with the findings of two recent evaluations of snow-cover feedbacks in current climate models: Rosenblum & Eisenman (2017) and Connolly et al. (2019).
If Moncton’s calculations are correct, then a part of me is in a state of high dudgeon. Why? Because such a calculation’s result would mean I have wasted my few remaining brain cells for nearly two decades focusing on albedo, which apparently has a minuscule effect.
Actually I think the effect could be even more minuscule than Moncton’s calculation estimates, for it he uses an albedo of 0.06 for water, which only occurs when the sun is directly overhead. The sun is far lower in the arctic, especially in September when the ice is most likely to be gone. The albedo of open water sharply increases when the sun is on the horizon.
Also Monckton’s calculation doesn’t include the complexities of latent heat, which is released (and largely lost to outer space) as the sea-ice forms, and is created (sucking heat from the local environment and not outer space) as the sea-ice melts.
Actually I didn’t require math to suspect the albedo arguments were flawed. I only needed to study history. If the albedo arguments were valid in the present they must also apply to the past, and when the arctic was ice-free in the past, perhaps as recently as the Medieval Warm Period and certainly in the early Holocene, no “Death Spiral” was evident. The entire theory smelled increasingly bogus to me.
In fact the albedo arguments smelled like a red herring, dragged across the trail to cause dumb hound dogs like myself to veer from the true trail. That is why Monckton’s calculation irks me; because if Monckton could do it, so could climate scientists. The fact they chose not to causes one to wonder about their motives. Of course using the words “climate fraud” likely sets off the algorithms at Google, Facebook and Youtube, and causes a post such as this one to be “screened”. This is foolishness, for, if a fraud existed, “screening out” would perpetuate the fraud rather than nip it’s many buds (flowering into trillions of dollars, if you include all grants and all subsidies for “Green” energy.) Though it might seem wise to perpetuate a fraud if you are part of the fraud, to build upon falsehood is to build upon sand.
I originally began to sniff something bad in the 1980’s, when I became vaguely aware, due to my fascination with Greenland Vikings, that history was being revised and the Medieval Warm Period was being erased. This unease increased when I became aware the history of past hurricanes was being conveniently forgotten, and the unease crystallized as I read a 2006 National Geographic article by Bill McKibben entitaled “A Deeper Shade Of Green,” which seemed to involve chronic amnesia.
My sense some sort of fraud was occurring (and a link given by “Patrick Henry”, at the Accuweather Global Warming chat-page) led me to the now largely (and sadly) inactive “Climate Audit” site run by Steve McIntyre. Back then it was one of the few sites that looked hard at the statistical work being done by Climate Scientists. In 2007, an Article (I think in the Toronto Sun, but perhaps the Star) alerted me to the fact McIntyre had caught James Hansen “adjusting” temperatures in an inappropriate manner, and Hansen had to “unadjust” them.
McIntyre’s discovery attracted such a flood of attention that his website crashed, and for a day or so there was paranoia that the government had “disappeared” him. It was during that time of frantically-searching-the-web-for-information that I discovered the WUWT website, which at that time was new and relatively unknown, (but has now been viewed over 400 million times.) It was then I became aware I was not alone, and that part of my paranoia might not be a mental aberration, but a healthy suspicion.
I think it was on WUWT that I first became aware of “Steve Goddard”, which then was a pseudo-name for Tony Heller, who started up a blog of his own called “Real Climate Science”, largely dedicated to exposing how Alarmists have “fiddled” with the raw temperature data, making the past look colder and the present warmer, which creates an illusion of warming which the raw data does not show. His site, (while at times caustic and hot tempered), is an invaluable asset.
Here is an excellent expose by Tony Heller explaining how cherry-picking the start-dates of graphs can take a trend that is downwards through recorded history and make it look like it is upwards (or vice versa).
Occasionally Heller posts about the sea-ice situation, and it was from such a post I snipped the following graph:
I found the graph fascinating because I was gathering information about low sea-ice “extent” in the past, and the graph indicated that there was a very low extent seen by satellite in 1973. What Tony Heller was pointing out was that graphs produced by people such as Mark Serreze ignore such data, preferring to produce a graph that starts in 1979 and slants steadily downwards.
To me this seems ridiculous. We have too little data involving the arctic as it is, due to the fact there are few visitors, no permanent bases, and we have only recently been able to look down with satellites. Who in there right mind would want the little past data we have to be even less? Therefore I was glad when some decaying film from the first Nimbus satellites was rescued in 2014, and gave us a marvelous view of a low minimum “extent” north of Being Strait on September 9, 1969, with large “holes” in the sea-ice.
I first became aware of Mark Serreze due to how loud he was, back in the day. He was a big proponent of the theory of the “Death Spiral” and at one point stated, “The Arctic is screaming.” He rose to be a professor at the University of Colorado, testified before Congress, and became director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. He knew all the right strings to pull and political connections to make to bring in vast amounts of grants and government funding, and this summer was honored as a “Distinguished Professor”. Me? Well, I grumble that I don’t see what is so “distinguished” about being so dead wrong. There is no “Death Spiral”.
The problem seems to be that some pursue power at the expense of Truth. This is most clearly seen by “insiders”, who sometimes are afraid to speak out about dishonest science, due to fear they will be fired or marginalized, with good reason. Dr. William Gray, who truly was a distinguished scholar and the director of the National Hurricane Center, had the audacity to stand up to then vice-president Al Gore, who by no means was a scholar of meteorology, and Gray saw his funding deeply cut. Much research concerning the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and deep-sea circulation went undone because Gray challenged the “science” behind Climate Science, while vast amounts of money was funneled to Mark Serreze.
It takes a lot of guts to “come out” as an “insider”, especially when one is young and their job is at stake. Most of those who dare question the Global Warming dogma are older, with tenure, or perhaps retired with pensions, and Alarmists find it easy to sneer at their wisdom as being “outdated”, though the laws of nature do not change. What is truly alarming is the danger we may face, if we ignore the wise and follow the the false.
One “insider” who has recently “come out” is Dr. Rex J. Fleming, a former director at NOAA who at one point was handing grant-money out to Alarmists, and who has written a book just coming into print called “The Rise and Fall of the Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change“, which explains both the political side and the scientific side. The following interview is enlightening:
Considering what I really desire is to look at the facts, all the political nonsense can get to be a long and annoying sidetrack away from the Truth. To be blunt, Global Warming seems to be a skimmer that gathers the scum of the earth. It gathers politicians that put power before Truth, and “Green” subsidy-hunters who put money before Truth, and the politically-correct who put fashion and popularity ahead of the Truth. And all of them, at some point, turn on those who speak the Truth and savage them. The utter crap I’ve had to put up with the past twenty years for being a Skeptic is not worth going into.
Therefore I am glad to see someone apply humor to the situation, which is what the commentator “Gator” did at the Real Climate Science website recently. (I don’t think John Lennon rolled over in his grave; likely he laughed, as he was not a man who was afraid to spoof political correctness.)
Imagine there’s no Hansen
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to shill or lie for
And no Michael Mann too
Imagine all these people
Giving us some peace…
You may say I’m a denier
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And blame climate on the Sun
Imagine no alarmists
I wonder if you can
No screed allowing plunder
A brotherhood of man
Imagine no more people
Scaring all the world…
You may say I’m a denier
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And put focus on the Sun.
The appalling ignorance of some Alarmists is a further reason for mirth when they set out to film the sea-ice melting away, and get stuck in the ice and need to be rescued. There have been at least six such cases of Plato’s “Ship of Fools”, which are only laughable when no one dies.
For example, last summer should have been a great summer for filming open water, because the “extent” was low with both the PDO and AMO warm. As I mentioned earlier, a person with good satellite data could have gotten some fine shots of open water at the northeast corner of Greenland early in the summer, and then scooted across Fram Strait and gotten some good shots on the west coast of Svalbard this past week. But the east coast of Svalbard? That would be the one place one would be ill advised to go. So of course that was exactly where the Malmo went with its contingent of 16 docu-journalists, and got stuck. The rats then deserted the ship via helicopter, leaving the crew to handle the dilemma.
While the antics of such Eco-warriors is worthy of a guffaw or two, other dangers brought about by Alarmist ignorance fades the smile from my face. Children are apparently suffering from “Eco-anxiety” brought about by Alarmists telling them the planet is doomed. Also the artificial increase in heating costs brought about by “Green” wind turbines and solar panels has resulted in increasing “energy poverty” among the elderly, who are faced with a choice between eating and heating their homes, and who are dying of pneumonia at increasing rates. The consciences of those who profit off subsidies and government grants should be uneasy, for a society which cannot care for its children and elderly has rot in foundations built upon sand.
What can I do about all this nonsense? Care for those in my small orbit, and write posts such as this one, speaking Truth to power. Include as many links as possible to other such sites, to get around the “screening-out” process of Google, Facebook and YouTube. And Don’t worry; Be happy, for Truth will triumph because it is true. And enjoy the present tense, and what the sky shows.
To return to the subject of sea-ice, the shift to the Atlantic side, when added to the Hubert Lamb observation I pasted in earlier, does make one wary about the coming winter resembling the winter of 1962-1963. Lamb also mentioned a set-up for that winter involved Europe being cold while Eastern Canada was warm, and the JEM temperature-anomaly map (courtesy of Weatherbell) currently shows exactly that:
When one looks at the sea-surface temperature anomaly map one sees the “warm blob” in the north Pacific, which often creates a loopy jet stream, bringing warmth to west Alaska and cold down the spine of the Rockies, at first making the western USA cold as the east remains mild, but eventually overwhelming the entire North American continent with cold.
However in the southern hemisphere something odd is occurring (which Joe Bastardi at Weatherbell pointed out.) It perplexes me, and is this: There seems to be a La Nina trying to form, but usually the cold water upwelling off Peru due to increased Trade Winds pushes the warm surface water west until it piles up around Australia (whereupon Alarmists freak out about coral bleaching, and cause Eco-anxiety among children). But there are no warm anomalies by Australia yet. This gets my wonder-side wondering. Are the Trade Winds less? And is there some other cause for upwelling besides Trade Winds? Where is the cold water coming from?
In any case, the Southern Hemisphere continues colder than the north, and, as most of the world’s oceans are down there, and oceans have a greater influence than the land, I expect a cooling influence as the north expends much of its stored heat in winter storms.
With so much open water at the end of the summer at the Pole, and a loopy jet stream likely, I’ll expect above-normal temperatures up at the Pole until it all freezes over in December.
After the freeze things could get interesting. Stay Tuned.
Anyone who has had the misfortune to wear an eye-patch for a while has experienced a loss, even though they still have the vision of the other eye. It is the loss of depth perception. In a sense the differences in vision between the left and right eye create something neither eye has all alone: “Depth”.
I can remember fooling around with this phenomenon, as a schoolboy. We would do things like dribble a basketball with one eye shut, or play catch with one eye shut, or even try to bring our index fingers together with our elbows bent and one eye shut, and we noticed how simple tasks were much more difficult and required far more attention. Things also just plain looked different. For example, as a basketball neared it did not look “closer” so much as it looked “bigger”.
I think my awareness of this phenomenon was heightened because our old, Victorian town-library had a dusty drawer in a back alcove holding some old steroscope viewers from the 1880’s, and masses of cards holding double-photographs that one put into the viewers.
These devises, high tech for their time, puzzled me, for I didn’t see how they worked. The two photographs on the card looked exactly the same, yet when you looked through the “glasses” you only saw one picture, and it had sharp and clear distinctions in terms of what was near and what was far away. This seemed a bit magical. Even when I was told the two pictures were slightly different, and looked at them more carefully, I couldn’t detect the differences, (and I thought I was highly skilled at picture-puzzles that asked me to spot what was different between two pictures, or a group of pictures.) The sense something magical was occurring remained.
Perhaps it was the sense that magic was involved that engrossed me in the differences between what my left eye saw and my right eye saw. For example, if I closed my left eye, and lined up my thumb to cover the face of the clock across the room, and then closed my right eye and opened my left eye, my thumb was no longer covering the clock. When I shifted my thumb so it covered the clock using my left eye, and then shut my left eye and opened my right eye, again the thumb didn’t cover the clock. So which view was the correct view?
What was really odd was that, when I attempted to solve the situation by opening both eyes, I saw double, with one thumb over the clock and another thumb to the side of the clock. Because seeing-double was a bit disconcerting, I focused on the thumbs and they came together and became a single thumb, but in the background the single clock divided and became two clocks. It was obvious the way we view things was not simple. And then it became even more complex. If my own two eyes couldn’t even agree, how much greater would the disagreement be when other eyes, in other skulls, become involved?
This was made especially clear to me because the clock involved in my experiment was the clock on the wall of the math classroom. The teacher’s view was very different from my view. Where I viewed a very boring teacher and even duller blackboard, she viewed a very inattentive boy giving a thumb’s-up to the clock on the wall for a prolonged period of time, winking constantly in a slow squinting way, first with one eye and then the other.
In a more perfect world something magical might have then occurred: The two views might have meshed and “depth” might have been revealed. The teacher might have politely asked me what I was doing, and, rather than be sullen, I might have innocently and honestly answered, and the class might have shifted naturally and gracefully from being about the area of a rectangle to the subject of depth perception, but my world was less than perfect. The teacher was dealing with a baby-boom classroom of 26 students, and the teacher asked me what in Sam Hill I was doing, which was less than polite, and my response was to become sullen, silent and defiant. Sad.
Sad but no reason to resent. Schoolboys and schoolmarms are always at odds, with different views, yet they can disagree with love, as occurred within the relationship Mark Twain describes between Tom Sawyer and his Aunt Polly.
In my past posts I confess I’ve been rough on schoolmarms. But they were rough on me, as a lad, as they failed to recognize I had, (if not exactly genius), a sort of strange gift when it came to the study of differing views, whether they be two eyes in a skull, or two people in the same room, and also a focus on the strange thing called “depth” that might arise from the coexistence of such double vision.
I think this gift was encouraged because my father was a brilliant, attractive, loving and lovable man, and my mother was a brilliant, attractive, loving and lovable woman, yet they divorced, (with the help of unenlightened psychiatrists), in a non-violent but unbelievably ugly manner. I’ll skip the details, but they were an example of two views that fail to create “depth”. The differences they developed were worse than those between your left eye and right eye, after a quart of whisky.
Even when parents divorce on so-called “friendly” terms, their children undergo a hellish schism, (albeit sometimes unspoken), for the parents are both, in a sense, stating “my former spouse’s views cannot be borne,” and the child is then put in the shoes of deciding which parent’s view is the correct view. These are heavy boots to walk in, for spiritual Commandments do not command, “Honor one parent but not the other”, and the child’s heart secretly loves both parents, even if one parent is a saint and one is a beast (which is seldom entirely the case, as the mad cannot exist without the maddening.)
I was fortunate, because besides my parent’s example of a non-marriage I had grandparents who had a beautiful marriage. My grandfather had announced he was going to marry my grandmother when he arrived home from grade school at age eight, and for over eighty years they worked together like a right eye and a left eye, overcoming all sorts of trouble while staying in harmony and in love.
To some degree my grandparents seemed illogical to me, for my grandfather did not seem as lovable as my father seemed, and my grandmother did not seem as lovable as my mother seemed, yet my grandparents achieved what my parents failed to achieve. So one day, with the brash, foot-in-mouth audacity of youth, I asked my ancient, recently-widowed grandfather, “How’d you and grandmother stay married when Mom and Dad couldn’t?” To my surprise a thundercloud of anger flashed across his brow.
I very seldom saw the slightest trace of anger in my grandfather. His rare expressions of displeasure were more prone towards frost than towards fire. As an engineer, he didn’t like incorrect calculations or sloppy science, and occasionally I rubbed his fur the wrong way because I loved to talk about the latest scientific discoveries I had come across, (which in some cases were new to me but not new to the old man), and sometimes my enthusiasm was so great my science was sloppy. Even then he often would look more amused than annoyed, and simply ask me a question. But one time my sloppiness was so great it was basically dyslexic.
On that occasion, during a discussion about New England forests, I said most species of willow were at the southern border of their range while most birches where at the northern reach of their range. The opposite is true, and a look of immediate disapproval flashed across his face. (As an Eagle Scout he’d known most birches were northern species while most willows were from the south ever since he was twelve years old, and I think I also knew as much, but was simply being sloppy with my thought.) (When a writer makes such a huge, dyslexic mistake he issues a correction after his article is published, but my grandfather was an engineer, and when an engineer lets such a dyslexia slip by, a building can crumble, or a bridge can fall, or a dam can can give way.)
The effect of the change of his visage from benign pleasure to abrupt disapproval was powerful. He did not have to say a word.
To see this change occur again, when I asked why his marriage worked and his son’s hadn’t, shocked me, for I hadn’t made a statement but instead had asked a question. However perhaps I inadvertently had made a statement: “Your son failed.” In any case, my question demanded an answer, and his answer was three gruffly spoken words: “We had faith.”
Now I can kick myself for not asking follow-up questions, but at the time his expression made me aware I was probing a sore spot, and I sat back to think. His three-word-answer gave me a lot to think about.
One thing I contemplated was the pain a parent feels when their children don’t follow their advice. Each generation thinks it is seeing things for the first time, and is somewhat surprised to, later, discover their parents were once young and walked the same planet, and even made the same mistakes. It is even a greater surprise to study history and to read of someone arriving at the same conclusion as your “new discovery”, two or three thousand years ago. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
One sameness is that naive children tend to take a condescending view of parents, and to think it is parents who are naive. Even when they think their parents are good people, and honor them, they tend to think their parents have lived sheltered lives, and don’t know about the harsh and ugly realities they’ve discovered, and even that parents need to be protected from ugly truths. This idea, (that parents are foolish), gives the young an excuse to disobey parent’s advice, and it is only then, through disobeying parents and consequently learning things the hard way, that the young become aware that perhaps their parents were not so foolish. However youth’s rebellion is painful to behold for the parent, and is especially painful when the child suffers something the parent escaped, such as divorce (or death), which has no clear remedy.
To me this again seemed like two views, a right eye and a left eye, the view of “innocence” and the view of “experience”. While the elder usually likes to think his or her view has the “depth”, (and quite often it does), it cannot be stated as a rule that elders are always wiser, for sometimes the young have experiences elders don’t.
Initially, as a teenager-hippy, I was quite convinced I was on a frontier my parents knew nothing about. This was in part due to my attraction to Jimi Hendrix’s music, and the album “Are You Experienced“. The idea, encouraged by the Harvard pseudo-scientist Tim Leary, was that LSD was a new “wonder drug” like penicillin, only it effected spiritual consciousness rather than the body alone. Leary even had the audacity to pose sitting cross-legged, as if he was a spiritual master from India, and he basically discouraged communication between generations, stating that “caterpillars” (elders, or “the establishment”) couldn’t understand the language of “butterflies” (the young, radical and “advanced”).
I wasn’t entirely trustful of such gurus, for not-entirely-high-minded reasons. Tim Leary taught at the same college as my father and stepfather, and his habit of drugging and sleeping-with the daughters of other professors did not go over too well, especially with teenaged boys like myself, who never like men old enough to be their fathers hanging out with the same girls they themselves drool about. Because Tim Leary turned forty when I was only seventeen, he himself was the very elder I was suppose to distrust. And then, when I was still seventeen, Jimi Hendrix died in his own vomit. I had reasons to distrust distrusting.
I then had the good fortune to attend a school far away from sex, drugs and hippies, where I had my mind crammed full of the works of great English poets, and learned dead people, far older than I was, could offer inspiration. Rather than rejecting the views of others I developed a thirst for the views of others. This opened me to the views of people who had tried drugs and rejected them. For example, when studying what Native Americans had to say about the hallucinogen peyote, I chanced upon the words of a chief who had initially been very impressed by peyote and promoted its use, as founding member of the Native American Church, but who later discouraged its use, stating, “Peyote is a trickster.” I renounced drugs at age nineteen.
I had a great desire to avoid the sort of divorce my parents had experienced, and to instead experience the marriage my grandparents were still experiencing (when I was nineteen). I developed the annoying habit of asking my parents questions about things they didn’t want to talk about, like a young, pestering psychiatrist. Both my parents used the exact same words to dismiss such questioning: “That’s all water under the bridge.”
Rather than discourage me, my parent’s unwillingness to look backwards made me feel like a detective attempting to solve a mystery which guilty suspects don’t want to talk about. I became aware people “put things behind them”, but that such things tend to continue to influence them from behind, like a ghost tapping them on the shoulder. I became a complete pest, when it came to nagging others about stuff they might have in their subconscious, and spent time rooting about in my own dream-world, when I likely should have been spending time getting a Real Job. (The subconscious will come along with you, if you get a job, and you can then work on it midst real-life interactions, which often offer spiritual insights which meditating-all-alone can’t.)
It took time, but one thing I became aware of was that my parents were not as naive about sex-before-marriage as I had assumed. This was definitely not something they wanted to talk about. I didn’t mind so much that my father apparently had been a sort of Don Juan, (for men somehow were seen as being heroic for being as unspiritual as James Bond), but it came as a genuine shock to realize my mother had boyfriends before my father. She never spoke about them, but I asked who certain sailors in old photographs were. One was an English youth who likely died on a torpedoed ship on the arctic sea-route to Russia, and the other was an American who may not have died; he may have stopped writing because he found topless Polynesian women under the palms of the present-tense more appealing than a woman from a cold landscape of the past, but in both cases the letters to my mother abruptly ceased. The “happy ending”, which occurs in romantic novels, never happened, and my mother was perhaps made cynical.
Sixteen million served in World War Two, mostly men, of whom many were teenagers. Where my grandfather had served overseas in World War One, America’s involvement in that war was brief, (largely the second half of 1918), and my Grandfather was an already-married man with a small child (my uncle) at home, and remained faithful. Perhaps it was a bit much to ask unmarried teenagers to be equally chaste, when sent far away for year after long year, (sometimes December 1941 into 1946). Despite songs such as, “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree With Anyone Else But Me“, many men received letters from childhood sweethearts who couldn’t wait, and the etymology of the phrase, “A Dear John Letter”, suggests it originated during World War Two. Therefore men also had reasons to become cynical about a “happy ending” being a romantic possibility, either because of their own shortcomings, or their sweetheart’s, or both.
This made me aware my parent’s generation had disillusioning experiences of death and desertion that my grandparent’s didn’t, which may have resulted in distrustful cynicism that in some ways explained why nearly half of their generation’s marriages failed, while my grandparent’s didn’t.
As I played the detective further, I chanced upon another reason, involving a great-grandfather I never met. In his latter years my great-grandfather exhibited some symptoms which might (or might not) have been indicative of tertiary syphilis. This would have given my grandfather a very good reason to remain faithful.
Even if my grandfather’s reason for fidelity had been based purely on a fear of syphilis, (highly unlikely, because he first was enchanted by my grandmother at age eight), or even was based on some other fear, such as the fear of going to hell for adultery, (also unlikely, as engineers take a very pragmatic view of the future), the simple fact remains that he remained faithful to his marriage vows. My parents didn’t. Therefore he was more of an authority on faithfulness than they could ever be, and knew more deeply about the “depth” that two “eyes” have, when they work together, which cannot exist when each “eye” (or “I”) is alone.
This inevitably brings up a sophist argument I often heard when young. Namely: If one gains great depth from one woman, wouldn’t one gain greater depth from ten? And even greater depth from a hundred? Why limit yourself?
The answer seems to be that a rock does not gain depth by skipping like a stone over the surface of the water. To gain depth it must sink, but sinking involves being “in over your head”, which is exactly the point at which many a Casanova says, “Thank you, Mamn”, and heads for the hills.
When I first held my newborn children and grandchildren, one sense I had was their souls were utterly “in over their heads”. They were only good at sucking, (and not all that good at that, during Hour One, when first faced with a nipple). They sucked at everything they attempted. If they tried to scratch their nose they punched themselves in the eye. And even their eyes sucked at seeing, and couldn’t even focus correctly. They had every reason to cry, but the fact they cried showed they had faith someone would answer, and we did our best to see to it their faith wasn’t broken. And midst this good fortune of cuddling and coddling and pampering and petting, (a sort of “happy ending” at the very beginning of life), their two eyes learned to focus and work together and become able to see “depth”.
By now some readers have likely caught my drift, and have suspicions about what I am driving at, which is that marriage involves the same dynamics. My conclusion is derived from a lot of hard thinking my grandfather caused me to do, when he stated his marriage with my grandmother worked over eighty years because, “We had faith.”
One thing I have had the challenge of dealing with, (because I run a Farm-childcare), is children who have had the misfortune of having parents who couldn’t keep the faith. Often addiction is involved. The baby cries, but the mother is unconscious. The baby suffers neglect, and often it is the grandparents who step in and attempt to help the neglected child. But in one tragic case the loving grandmother, over-stressed, dropped dead of a heart attack in the kitchen, and the child was home-alone with a corpse all day before the grandfather came home. I can’t imagine the poor toddler’s trauma. The uncomprehending, desperate child, not quite three, basically trashed the house trying to get the dead grandmother’s attention. And it was only after all that trauma that the child, still in diapers, was brought to my Childcare, and I was basically told to keep it happy.
I do my best, but trust is like a light-bulb. If you want it to work correctly, it is far better not to break it in the first place. (I’ll leave the details of dealing with such traumatized children for some other post. For the time being I want to stick to the subject, which is trust.)
The fact remains, if you want light you need an unbroken light-bulb. It is extremely difficult to glue together and mend a broken light-bulb, but that is not a proof that light bulbs can’t work. My point is that we should stop breaking light-bulbs, if we want them to work. In like manner, if we want faith to work, we should stop breaking it.
In some ways our eyes are more faithful than we are. Your right eye does not distrust the left, and the left does not distrust the right, and together they produce depth.
Sadly, in current politics, the right does distrust the left, and the left does distrust the right, and the result is not depth, but the utter shallowness we call “stupid”.
Happily, deep down, America, as a whole, has not entirely subscribed to such stupidity. In a difficult-to-explain and non-intellectual manner we just plain don’t like being stupid.
Sophists, on the other hand, with the slippery intellectual grease of snake-oil salesmen, make it seem easy and wise to be stupid, and scorn trust and faith as weakness. They scoff at tradition, calling it oppressive, old-fashioned, and “the establishment”. Consequently they deny themselves the benefits of “depth”, in exchange for the nothings of gratification, (stuff like sex without children, or eating only to vomit, or power without love, or breathing without life). In a sense sophists give up on that which is wholesome, in favor of becoming the walking dead, or, in the tale of Pinocchio, donkeys.
Nothing makes me cringe quite so much as looking back and seeing times I deemed myself sophisticated, especially those times I bragged about it, and, when I recall the times I took such arrogance a step further and mocked the unsophisticated, I want to writhe. I want to cram such errors behind my back, but they then become ghosts that tap me on the shoulder when I least expect it; prods from the subconscious; inadmissable influences.
At the start of marriage one often feels they have left sadness and loneliness behind them, and have stepped irrevocably forward into the bright uplands of a honeymoon. All the ways which the cruel world wounded one and broke one’s faith dissolve into amnesia. Basically one’s faith is restored by the rapture of love.
However that is only the beginning. Because marriage involves nakedness, nothing can be hidden, and buried influences reemerge. Like a soldier experiencing battlefield flashbacks long after the guns have gone silent, bad habits reappear, cravings reoccur, and restored faith gets challenged. One sees things they didn’t suspect in their spouse, and things they thought they’d outgrown in themselves. Then the honeymoon is over and the real work begins.
Marriage therefore becomes a most ambiguous situation. On one hand it restores our faith, while on the other hand it involves nakedness that brings up the buried influences we least want to come to the forefront, because they once shattered our faith. In essence faith is at war with lack of faith; the two things cannot coexist.
Marriage can then involve some terrible quarrels, when it seems lack of faith is winning. One sees their own weakness exposed and loses faith in themselves, and sees their spouse’s weaknesses in glaring light, and loses faith in them as well. At which point one wonders, “What is there left to have faith in?”
This is a critical juncture, for if one bails on the relationship (and I confess I have bailed from some relationships even when I had no parachute), one loses the chance for “depth”. The right eye has gone rolling to the east as the left rolls west. Rather than the restoration of faith one sees the shattering of faith continue, perpetuating the very thing one wants put behind.
“The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
In order for a marriage to survive the passage through such critical junctures the spouses must do an illogical thing. They must have faith despite proof there is no reason to have faith. One has lost faith in themselves and lost faith in their spouse, yet continues to have faith. How can this be possible? It can only occur if there is a third thing to have faith in: Not the husband and not the wife. But what is it?
It is invisible. But consider depth perception. Can you see it? The right eye can’t see it. The left eye can’t see it. Yet it exists.
To have faith in something you cannot see, and do not yourself possess, stretches the credulity of many past the breaking point. They mock faith like a teenager mocking a child’s belief in Santa Claus. What they fail to see is that they are in a sense crippling themselves, and that it is not those who they call foolish who are the fools. They are depriving themselves of “depth”, and in doing so are actually guilty of perpetuating iniquity.
In fact it takes three to make a marriage work. What is the third thing? It doesn’t really matter. People give It different names, “God”, The Word”, “Abba”, “Love”, “Truth”, “Commitment”, “Power”, “Creativity”, and in this essay I call It “Depth”. But the important thing is not the label we put on It, but the fact It exists, as a beautiful depth that is all around us and is utterly free.
Considering It is completely free, and has amazing benefits, why don’t people grasp It? It is due to distrust. The sophists of the cruel world have broken the trust of millions, if not billions, until all carry baggage, which they want to leave behind them but which stays glued to their heels like a shadow.
You can’t run away from a shadow. Yet what man allows himself to be pushed around by his shadow? The way to deal with a shadow is to expose it to the light. And strangely, this is exactly what marriage does to people, rummaging through the baggage of their past. At its worst marriage revives the worst of a dead past, but at its best it dissolves the past so it can be truly dead, and rest in peace, and be a ghost no longer.
How is this possible? The process is often complex, involving more tangles and snarls than a child’s fishing line, but consider the simple, amazing process of dropping a grudge:
For weeks, months, even years one walks about with a disagreeable expression, carrying a heavy burden and thinking vengeful thoughts, due to a painful event, even when the event’s antagonist has long forgotten the offense, or didn’t even notice they offended in the first place. The one bearing the grudge is more burdened than those they snarl at. But then a merciful dawn breaks and one tosses the burden aside and lightly walks relieved and smiling. What has happened? One has experienced a “change of heart”. The light of love and forgiveness has melted away a shadow. (Simple to say, but sometimes hard to do.)
When one has faith in faith, one is allowing a Third Thing to intervene in the endless differences which arise between two eyes, which cannot help but see differently. Rather than disagreement the discord becomes harmony. Such harmony can seem completely miraculous, at times.
As soon as I use the word “miraculous” I know some are putting up their guard. Such people have often scientifically tested to see if miraculous stuff could possibly occur. As a youth I knew a fellow who once asked God to prove He existed by cancelling school the next day. God may have proved He existed, but perhaps the school He cancelled was in a town three thousand miles away. In any case my friend then became a sort of schoolmarm, and flunked God for failing to pass his test, and then became determined to be an atheist ever after.
To some degree I can empathize with such disbelief, because the engineering pragmatism of my Grandfather runs strong in my veins. But in another way, as a writer with a poetic streak, such disbelief leaves me incredulous. This involves my grandfather’s statement, “We had faith.” Even among engineers belief can have a power that scorns disbelief.
How is this possible? It is because we have progressed a long way, (hopefully), from the people 2000 years ago who needed flashy miracles in order to believe. By now we should have learned, and no longer need a “sign” such as walking on water, or giving sight to the blind, or healing cripples and lepers, or raising the dead, or turning water to wine, or yourself dying and then walking about afterwards. All such glitter and flash is unnecessary for us “evolved” people, 2000 years wiser. By now we should be able to have faith without such miraculous distortions of Creation, because they are apparent in Creation itself.
Even sophists see the miraculous beauty of nature, (though they often immediately want to either buy it and fence it off so others can’t have it, or to make a national park out of it, where they are the rangers free to walk where they will, while all others are illegal trespassers beyond stipulated paths.) However sophists fail to see the same beauty in mankind. Sadly they too often see their fellow men as “overpopulation” and seek a “remedy”, oblivious of the genocidal horrors this “final solution” might unleash. What they fail to have faith in is a beauty already apparent, to those who use both eyes.
If one refuses to use both eyes one can miss the depth of depth-perception. Even if one “shares” in a manner that “takes turns”, first seeing with one eye and then seeing with the other, one remains blind to what two eyes see when working together. In like manner, if one “shares” power, first with republicans and then with democrats, one misses what they’d have working together. In a sense one prefers to be blind, unless one chooses to “love their neighbor as themselves”, or even to go a step further and “love thy enemies”.
In a modern sense, what is miraculous isn’t physical things like walking on water, but rather is depth-perception. Why? Because there is a reaction to every action, and, to those sophists who are convinced such things are impossible, the natural “reaction” of depth-perception appears like a divine “response”, which is not allowed in their world-view, because they have no faith in faith, and think they are smarter than the fools who expect a “response” to faith. However a perfectly ordinary and pragmatic thing, such as depth-perception, only appears impossibly miraculous to sophists who insist upon using only one eye. To more ordinary folk it is everyday.
To a person with a life-long eye-patch who had no depth-perception, faced with planning a route through a series of obstacles near and far, the route through the obstacles would be be made more difficult because he would not know which way to swerve to avoid the near obstacle, nor when to swerve the other way to avoid the more distant obstacle. To such a person, the ability of a person who has depth-perception, to whom it is common sense when to swerve one way and then the other, appears a miracle. It would look like the person with depth-perception was receiving “advice”. And they would be correct. Perhaps the Almighty is not responding in a booming baritone, and indeed the Almighty may be utterly silent, but the person utilizing depth-perception is “receiving” something the people who scorn such efforts are blind to, and to whom such a “reception” seems a miracle.
Sadly, the sophists tend to dismiss the depth-perception which others have and they lack. They have another word for “miraculous”, and it is “impossible”. Dubbing faith impossible bolsters their disbelief. With cyclops-vision they see those who see differently as “bumpkins” (and many other degrading terms.) Even more sadly, often the disdained bumpkins possess great, innate insights, but are told over and over they’re ignorant. The irony becomes sublime when, because bumpkins often gain their insights because they listen respectfully to others, they heed the bad advice of sophists. Then it is more than a case of the blind leading the blind; it is a case of the blind leading the sighted. But the tone-deaf can only teach one with perfect-pitch to sing for so long before their advice falls flat.
Some sophist scorn of bumpkins has elements of truth. For example, sophists may point out some poor are just as tempted by corruption, but are only faithful because they can’t afford prostitutes. What they fail to see is the reward the poor gain: Blessed are the poor. Even if the poor only remain married because they can’t afford two places and can only afford to pay the rent for a single shack if both work, they accidentally learn about teamwork.
Spirituality learned as a matter of survival is still spirituality. Sailors together on a ship at sea in a storm don’t have to particularly like each other to see that if they don’t work together, one manning the sails and tiller and one bailing like crazy, then they both will die. In such a storm the “third thing” the two eyes gain by working together is life itself, and, after the storm is survived, when the winds die down and the sun breaks through the clouds, the sheer joy of being alive can enliven the sailor’s faces with laughter, and even though they still don’t particularly like each other they strangely don’t dislike each other quite so much. They have learned they can count on each other in a storm, which is the germ of growing “faith”. This is a useful analogy for the storms of marriage, (although I wouldn’t advise telling your spouse they are like a storm at sea).
One thing gained from storms at sea is a contradiction; one has gained the right to humbly swagger. One has the awareness of the power they were up against, and that they are lucky to be alive, yet one also has greater confidence (which is another word for “faith”.) One has a growing certainty that, should the horizon darken with a second storm, they can count on their shipmate and their shipmate can count on them. What they survived once can be survived a second time, and due to this confidence they are less likely to turn tail in panic, even though they know the danger. Not that they rush ahead foolishly, or don’t stay in port as a hurricane approaches, but they are able to face storms when storms cannot be avoided. And sometimes staying in port is ignominious timidity: Though nothing is certain in life, to get anywhere in life one needs to set sail. In like manner, if one wants marriage one has to display the courage to ask for it.
One strange quality of sophists is that they are certain some things are impossible because they themselves have never done them. Perhaps due to fear of the deep blue sea they stayed home and never set sail, and chose to dwell in the musty Mom’s-basement of academia, where they put themselves forward as authorities on sailing and sailors despite never having set sail. They state certain things are impossible which I know are possible, because I did them, as a crazy teenager.
For example, I read the work of one academic who based his history of mankind’s seafaring discoveries and advancements on the premise Man had an aversion to going to sea, suggesting men only learned to sail because they were driven to do it by dire emergencies. Fishermen only fished because they faced starvation otherwise. As I read on I felt a growing sense of incredulity, and in my imagination I pictured the author as a frightened professor, creeping about the dim hallways of a college, clinging to tenure and pensions as a way to be “secure”, and appalled by any suggestions he go out adventuring into the fresh air and ride a heeling sailboat on a tossing sea. Because he lived a timid, indoors life he saw all mankind as being that way, seemingly unaware that, for some boys, it is the classroom that is appalling. To some schoolboys, being “secure” is stultification, and “adventure” is their delight.
In Truth the two extremes are like two eyes, and wisdom lies between them. Midst a storm at sea, a warm, dry bed is appealing, even as, to a man long bedridden, a storm at sea has great charm. Neither the timid schoolmarm nor the reckless schoolboy has an exclusive monopoly on Truth, while Truth embraces both views.
But in the end, when push comes to shove, action teaches more than inaction, in terms of faith, and this is one reason an illiterate bumpkin can be wiser than a college professor. Action involves venture, “Nothing ventured nothing gained.” And perhaps the greatest gain of all is faith.
One reason the poor are blessed is because for them every day can be an adventure, like a storm at sea. Danger is always present. In the morning the poor may not know where their daily bread is coming from, yet they go stand with others seeking “spot labor” because that is their only recourse, just as a sailor bails like crazy because that is his only recourse. They know they might not find work and might go hungry, just as a sailor knows the ship might be swamped and he might swim, but they do what they have to do, and when they find just enough work to buy just enough bread, they gain a pleasure in their evening repast which a sophist, eating at a fancy restaurant, cannot conceive of. Why? Because the bumpkin eats full of faith, while the sophist all too often eats because he has made a mockery of faith.
Midst the storm of poverty the poor often must rely on each other, which leads to them counting on each other, which leads to the burgeoning faith called “confidence”. The sophist is also aware of confidence, but utilizes it in the manner of a confidence trickster. They deem faith a weakness and seek to exploit it, shattering faith in the process, but calling the people they have shattered “suckers” and “chumps.” Therefore they stand in stark contrast to all that creates faith, for the person ripped-off by a confidence trickster is a person who has had his faith destroyed.
As an aside I should note that the word “sucker” is derived from a baby’s sucking, and a small child’s tendency to suck their thumb, and is therefore “sucker” is used to call an adult excessively naive and innocent, but in a degrading way. Where Jesus said it was a good thing to have the faith of a little child, sophists sneer at the idea, and think it is wiser to become distant from such faith. The way to get ahead, they seem to think, is to steal candy from a baby. So what if the baby cries? If their conscience bothers sophists they say, “Go away, kid. You bother me.” In essence, they are dependent on faith, for without it they cannot exploit it. But they have no faith in faith. Only “suckers” have faith, in their view.
Their view is devisive, for it is blind to the views of the people they exploit. Rather than people you can count on, they are people who you can’t count on. They separate themselves and ignore the concept, “United we stand; divided we fall.”
America, despite allowing the freedom which allows snake-oil-salesman and other confidence tricksters to ply their wares, seems to have faith in its foundations; the very bedrock of its landscapes seems inclined to free people from their past, and to shepherd people’s thought towards contemplating what Power it is that actually frees us. The Founding Fathers of the United States thought long and hard about what promotes freedom and what promotes slavery, studying European nations and Native American confederations, and concluded the myopic view of a tyrant lacked not merely peripheral vision, but a mystic depth-perception which a single-sighted cyclops lacks.
As an alternative they proposed the radical idea that a single leader was not a good idea, and that it instead might be possible to form a better government wherein all citizens had a say. Statements we take for granted, such as “all men are created equal”, actually sent shock-waves through the world, and awakened a somewhat mystic and ancient idea which stated that, when people worked together, a Power greater than the sum of all the individuals became involved, a “depth”, a One out of the many.
The Founding Fathers had no idea if their idea would work, and would be amazed to gaze ahead 200 years and see the power their idea unleashed. Yet in a sense it is not such a radical idea. It simply extends the idea of two eyes creating a depth perception neither eye has, until it says the same thing about millions of eyes.
Christianity uses the analogy of a gathering of believers being a “body” and individual believers being “parts”, (the hands, feet, heart, liver and so on), but freedom allows more. If one is free one can move from group to group, and be whatever fits, here an anus and there a heart. What stays the same is the reality that a Third Thing embraces all the parts, and comprises the “life” of the body.
What seems most important is to keep ones faith in that Third Thing, whatever name you chose to give It. Keeping the faith involves a lot of work, as in the case of caring for a helpless baby when it cries out in faith for help. The benefits of keeping the faith are not always immediately obvious, and the sophists will claim there are none, and will claim it is better to break the faith. Faith faces constant challenges.
At times I look at the history of the United States and see a naive and hopeful people traipsing about in a world full of cynical sophists, getting constantly slimed and sometimes maimed. From the get-go a “Land of The Free” represented a standing challenge to all who don’t share such faith, and who instead favor some form of oppression. There are those who would be quite happy to see the American Experiment ended, (or at least altered beyond recognition). In the face of such opposition we constantly are sending our young off, full of idealism, into situations that test and sometimes shatter their faith. Considering the Byzantine craft and wickedness of the foes of freedom, and the naivety of Americans, Americans should be long gone. But a Third Thing reaches down from heaven and gives us a hand, or so I seem to see.
(For example: There is no way Washington should have been able to survive the faith-crushing collapse of 1776, manifesting as his army’s retreat from New York City to Valley Forge. For another example: There is no way it should have been possible for the United States, with its devastated fleet, to face the faith-crushing might of the Japanese navy and sink all four Japanese aircraft-carriers plus a heavy cruiser, in the Battle of Midway. And so on and so forth.)
Perhaps the most horrible battle and most unlikely survival was our battle with ourselves, called the Civil War. As many died in that terrible slaughter as in all our other wars combined. How the nation’s faith survived such trauma amazes me.
Yet now, as I look around and read the fake news, I have the queasy sense we are flirting at the precipice of a Second Civil War. The two eyes are failing to work together, the two spouses are heading to divorce, and I am strangely like my Grandfather, my brow clouded with a thundercloud of anger, growling “We Had Faith”.
“…It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
I likely sound like a gruff, old coot, but when I was young I would not have to tell anyone the above was from Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” of November 19, 1863, because schoolmarms drilled it into my skull. Now the same schoolmarms seemed cowed, and in some cases seem afraid to even mention Lincoln’s great speech, because someone might be offended that it has the word “God” in it.
In a sense our nation is under attack by an onslaught by sophists who have such a profound lack of faith it is dizzying. There seems to be nothing they don’t dare to distrust and dismiss; no history they don’t revise, until the very foundations of our freedom is doubted. Sounding like lawyers midst a divorce, every negative event in our past is magnified, ever good belittled. And what do they propose, to replace a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, with? Basically, when you examine their proposals carefully, they propose the tyranny of a bureaucratic oligarchy, which has no real belief the people deserve the liberty to rule themselves, and instead scorns the people as imbecilic nincompoops in need of their guidance.
One thing I’ve been amazed by (so far) is the restraint the public has displayed when faced with the offensive provocations of such sophists. Some groups, such as “Antifa”, even state in writing that they want to cease all attempts at civil discussion and to instead to start a civil war, (which is to break the faith neighbors will be neighborly), but the people they intentionally antagonize have (so far) simply wiped the egg and paint and piss (and even blood) from their faces, and have refused to be silent while refusing to be violent. Attacked for wearing a red hat, they continue to wear red hats.
Quiet people refusing to be silent, in the face of rude sophists attempting to shout opposing views down, is a brave attempt to continue a dialog with people who don’t want to talk. Sophists see no profit in discussion, for they cannot imagine there is anything to be gained by talk. They cannot conceive of a depth-perception called “faith”, because they have small and narrow minds that can’t see beyond a single point of view. It is for this reason Antifa likes to portray itself as “the resistance”, and “antifascist”. After all, everyone knows that the “fascists” were the bad guys, and the French “resistance” were the good guys. They like to see things in simplistic back-and-white, and the possibility of a Third Thing is quite outside their ken. Therefore to quietly continue a dialog is actually a weapon against their state of mind, and can even increase their rage. Why? Because the very existence of a dialog involves two views, two eyes, and creates the Third Thing which, if not actually hated by sophists, they are in very bad terms with.
Quiet explanations may not fit our usual idea of what a “weapon” looks like, but they can be very effective, especially when you get a young radical away from his support-group of a roused rabble, and can talk one-on-one. In such situations it can be very helpful to puncture the balloon of arrogant ignorance with a question, such as, “Are you familiar with the atrocities committed by the anti-fascists in the Spanish Civil War?” Or, “Are you aware of the so-called “purges” enacted by anti-fascists in the Spanish Civil War, and how many anti-fascists were executed by their fellow anti-fascists?” Or, “Did you know that George Orwell’s cynical attitude towards the politically powerful, that manifests in “Animal Farm” and “1984“, is derived from the fact he joined the anti-fascists in the Spanish Civil War, and was willing to sacrifice his life for them, but only just barely escaped being executed by anti-fascists by the the skin of his teeth?”
No, forget that last question. It has far too many words, for a situation where it likely will be difficult to get a word in edgewise. It is likely better to keep things simple, and ask, “Have you ever studied the Spanish Civil War?” More than likely they haven’t. (Though they may nod, it only means they have a vague knowledge that the event happened.) After you depart, they may dig deeper, and have their eyes opened.
If you ever wanted a reason that it is far better for the left eye to get along with the right eye, or that a civil war is a disastrous choice to make, the Spanish Civil War is a very good reason. What is saddest to see is how close they were to working things out just before the war started. The tragedy is how evil the world then was to Spain. “Outside Agitators” inflamed disagreements towards discord, as “Peacemakers” stood back and professed it was a virtue not to get involved, and failed to resolve disagreements towards harmony. The “Outside Agitators” were Hitler, on the side of the fascists, and Stalin, on the side of anti-fascists, and neither man is known for putting too great a value on a human life, especially when the life is a far-away Spanish life. Between a half-million and a million Spaniards died. Surely it would have been better to continue dialog. This should be especially clear to anti-fascists, because the result of bleeding Spain dry was that the anti-fascists lost.
But sophists seldom study history, and when they do it is in a most unsavory way. They seem far more interested in “Outside Agitators” than in “Peacemakers”, more interested in those who shattered faith than in those who kept faith, and more interested in those who briefly profited from discord than in those who suffered to bring about harmony. They seem far more interested in Hitler and Stalin than in great artists, composers, saints and prophets. Their fascination seems to be, “What did Hitler do wrong?” and “What did Stalin do wrong?” and “How could I avoid their mistakes, and do even better than Hilter and Stalin?” This seems like a strange definition of “better” to me.
This strange definition of “better” arises because, basically, you are dealing with a cyclops. In a way you are dealing with a pirate with an eye-patch, (not meaning to offend people with eye-patches.) The sophist’s eye-patch is an intellectual eye-patch. People, even pirates, with physical eye-patches can still see with depth, just as blind men can still say, “I see.” However an intellectual eye-patch uses only one eye and willfully refuses to use a second, and thus cannot have access to the third eye, called “faith”.
The awareness that you are dealing with a terribly handicapped person is a second “weapon” one can use. Why? Because, if you value another view, you are basically sympathetic and empathetic, even to the degree where you value the sophist’s view. However the sophist lacks such empathy and sympathy. This creates an unfair situation where you are back on your heels while the sophist is on the attack. You are fostering faith even as the sophist seeks to foster doubt. If you think you are on the same page, the sophist will win, for it is far easier to break a promise than to keep one, and therefore all a sophist needs to do is break faith and he has won the argument. He has proven faith is a dumb idea, and it can be crushing to face such evil logic. However everything changes when you understand you are not on the same page. Once you understand you are dealing with a dreadfully handicapped person with an intellectual eye-patch, you are not crushed and are able to keep your poise.
Another weapon to use against the Antifa-mind-set is pity. Pity defuses the anger one naturally feels when attacked, by utilizing the powers of depth and understanding. Like Christ on the cross, or Steven while being stoned, such depth basically pities the ignorant for being so ignorant, for the ignorant miss seeing so much that is beautiful.
However tolerance has its limits. To refuse to fight when ones self is attacked may be the brave deed of a spiritual hero, but to stand by when women and children are attacked is the deed of a coward. I have a dread Antifa will use this to eventually provoke the violence it desires, and history demonstrates that, once the madness of Civil War begins, it can get very bad, very fast.
I personally loathe the possibility of a Second Civil War, for it would involve terrible suffering that is completely avoidable. However I am forced to consider such a possibility, due to the sheer folly of certain sophists. They are unaware of their illogical thought, and the gigantic hypocrisy they enact. (One example of hypocrisy, which strikes me as humorous, is that some doddering hippies who once chanted, “Make love, not war” now state “Make war; Don’t love.”)
But now I’ve gone and done it. I’ve used the four-letter-word “Love.”
At this point I have to confess to you that, as a grandson with engineering in my blood, Love is a mystery to me. It doesn’t seem to enter into the mathematical calculations of an engineer building a bridge, however, at the same time, as a writer with a poetic streak, I sense Love is behind all the mundane stuff engineers must be truthful about. For example, consider the Law of Gravity. (You probably won’t, to the degree I have.) Gravity is a beautiful creation, when you think of how it holds creation down to earth, and therefore gravity can seem an expression of the Creator’s Love.
Because engineers must be pragmatic and down to earth, they are spared the seductions that lead to the downfall of writers like myself, and all sophists. To some, hypocrisy and double-speak might lead to fame, fortune, and political power, but when you try to build a bridge using hypocrisy and double-speak, the bridge collapses into a pile of rubble. Truth matters. Therefore engineers are blessed, because they are spared a lot of the delusional crap that goes into becoming a sophist. In like manner, the poor are blessed, because they are spared delusional crap. They do not put their faith in the delusional crap sophists put their faith in. (Funny how sophists have a sort of faith,even when they mock it.)
Even when you’d rather have your head in the clouds, it is an annoying but good thing to be brought to earth. But what I find most odd is that being down to earth, and dealing with Truth in its most earthy manifestations, is a gateway to the clouds.
In this essay I’ve tried to be like an engineer. I’ve tried to be mathematical. I’ve tried to show, in a action-creates-reaction way, why faith is good, and how growing faith can be a logical action-create-reaction process. I confess to having a little pride about hitting upon the example of how faith grows, when two men who don’t like each other must rely on each other, at sea in a storm. But as I did this I had more faith in mathematics and cause-and-effect than in the real Reason to have faith.
It is Love. It is the one thing I can’t claim to understand in the slightest.
Love is part of depth-perception. How can the left eye have it, all alone? How can the right eye have it, all alone? Only Love can bring such disparate views together and create such a magnificent thing as depth-perception.
The really difficult thing to be pragmatic about, from an engineering standpoint, is that somehow adherence to the truth can result in a reaction that seems impossible, in terms of the actions that preceded it. Truth inspires seemingly doomed men to attempt desperate deeds, which some would call suicidal, and it changes everything. Victory is snatched from the jaws of defeat.
An example is Washington crossing the Delaware. In the eyes of sophists that was the suicidal action of a doomed man, and its success was due to sheer luck, yet the deed changed the course of human history.
Due to my engineering background, I cannot accept the idea of “sheer luck”. No bridge is ever built on “sheer luck”. Therefore I dig deep and study history.
Few sophists do this to the degree I do. In fact, rather than study the different views offered by the past, sophists prefer to revise the view until it fits their view. Currently sophist’s revisionist history likes to portray Washington as a sleek, racist, white-skinned slave-owner who owed everything he had to exploiting the common man. In actual fact he had “bet the farm”, putting everything he had on the line, in support of the common man’s liberty.
Where his troops could look forward to their enlistments being up on December 31, 1776, and to leaving the miserable conditions at Valley Forge to return to their warm farms, Washington could not return to his plantation. The British would hunt him down and hang him. By all appearances he had bet everything on a lost cause.
In actual fact Washington’s leadership had been masterful, in that he even had an army (albeit perhaps only until December 31). He had extracted his troops from defeat after defeat without surrendering, to such a degree that the British referred to him as “the old fox”, but wars are not won by retreating. And retreating does not win one much support.
When Washington looked south for support he received little food, money and supplies from the rebel leadership, some of whom were on the verge of panic. When he looked north for General Charles Lee to rush to his aid, he learned Lee distrusted his leadership and wanted to supplant him as chief commander, and rather than rushing was dawdling, unwilling to waste his fresh troops on Washington’s lost cause. With even his troops on the verge of departing, Washington had nowhere to turn for support but up.
There are few prayers by ordinary men so often depicted by artists, perhaps because there are so few examples of a prayer separating the dark depression of abject despair from the white light of victory.
Of course, to my engineer mind-set what happened is a practical sequence of events. A surprise attack on Christmas was a smart decision. The risk of transporting an army across an ice-choked river was a smart decision. Attacking from the north when the wind was from the north and full of sleet was a smart decision. But the attack was no matter of sheer intellectual armchair speculation; it took balls, and it took faith.
One thing I often wonder is whether Washington saw a copy of Thomas Paine’s broadsheet, published in Philidelphia just two days before he crossed the Deleware, which begins, “These are the times that try men’s souls…”
It is good to look back and see how faith can be the hinge that swings men through dark times when despair and panic whisper in one’s ear. Where the sophist calls faith an illogical thing, it can be the only thing, and is definitely part of the action-and-reaction that shapes world events.
(Of course, there are certain coincidences involved which can seem like the Hand of God. For example, what ended General Charles Lee’s dawdling and hurried his troops south? The capture of Lee himself, as he dawdled in a tavern miles behind his troops, by twenty-five British troops on horseback. This event is nothing a engineering mind-set plans for, nor even hopes for. Not too often is a general of thousands captured by twenty-five. But it solved some of Washington’s problems to be rid of the man, though Washington did not plan it, and it occurred due to “sheer luck”.)
It is the element of “sheer luck” that I find most impossible to explain, using an engineering mindset. Of course it makes sense that if you do the right thing, the right thing will happen. However when one opens the door of faith and is drenched in an unexpected streaming light of kind compassion, the intellect cannot help but be taken aback. When one turns on the light-bulb of faith, one expects only light; it is the Love that surprises.
In the end, that is the “weapon” sophists cannot stand up against. We may be mere ants, but are friends with an Elephant.
Stand by the Truth, and the Truth will stand by you.