THE DENT THAT PAID THE RENT

Perhaps it is because I’m getting old, and the closest I get to adventure is paying my taxes, or having some body-part such as a tooth or kidney removed, that I have developed a strange longing for the trouble I used to get into as a young man. Back then, (especially just after various women had the good sense to not marry me), I had no reason to settle down, and was able to take despair (and freedom from responsibility) and use it to become a sort of desparado.

Because I liked to write, I was a sort of prissy desparado, as desparadoes go, but there can be no denying I lived life on the edge, and occasionally fell off.  I was very downwardly mobile, and not the sort of person many would think was a “good prospect”, and one thing I learned was how badly one can want love. I was too proud too beg, and therefore seldom saw the human charity of spare change clinking into my cap, and instead expected nothing but shunning from my fellow man. To win a smile from someone made my day. But, even when I didn’t deserve a smile, and none were forthcoming from my fellow man, I had a sense God was with me.

Not that I didn’t grumble, but if you read the poetry (psalms) of King David you see he too grumbled a fair amount. I believe such grumbling counts as prayer, and also believe such prayer is answered. True, when you are in a run of bad luck, cruising for a bruising in a way where you deserve your bruises, you don’t catch many breaks. If you sow thistles you will reap a crop of thorns, and therefore your life may not look like an answered prayer. But when you are actually in those shoes the smallest thing can be a blessing, like a warm beam of sunshine finding its way through storm clouds to your shoulders.

That is what I want to capture, if I write about my days as a drifter. But I recognize a danger, as I go through my notes and play with rough drafts. The danger is I may create a “pity-party”, or a smudge of resentment, or even glorify something I should be a little embarrassed about. I want to avoid all that, and instead to show that there was truly glory in the hardship, but it sure wasn’t me. It was a sense that even when life is at its loneliest, you do not walk alone.

Jesus actually stated he did not come for people who had their act together. He came for the people down on their luck, and perhaps that is why the people down on their luck seem to meet Him more than millionaires.  (Also perhaps that is why some millionaires become so decadent, so they too can fall into the gutter and discover the kindness of God.)

Not that I’m in any hurry to get back to the gutter. What I desire is the sense of glory that strangely goes along with having nothing, perhaps because one inadvertently and unintentionally is renouncing the world,  “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

Last summer I wearied of a church that seemed dulled by complacency. That church seemed a place where no one had any problems, (or pretended that.) Outside its doors there was a serious drug problem, but people didn’t really want “that sort” coming in the doors. Church was a hide-out, a safe sanctuary where people escaped such problems. So I headed out the doors, more interested in places where people had problems, and were facing the issues of “detox” and “rehab” (two words that were not in the English dictionary not all that long ago.)

People who go through “detox” and “rehab” face something called “recidivism”, which in the old days we called “backsliding” or “falling off the wagon.”   In fact some addicts and drunkards use shelters and halfway houses as a way to get back in shape, to regain their health so they can go on another bender. This is very discouraging to those who want to help people escape addiction and become “useful members of society.” However it was noticed that the recidivism rate was much lower at halfway houses that employed God. This is discouraging to atheists. In fact I recently heard a person joke, “The only people who are Christians are perverts, addicts, and Republicans.”  God may have gotten a chuckle out of that, but cynicism doesn’t seem to stop Him.

In any case, I far prefer going to a church full of street people,  who are going through hard times and are down on their luck. They may not wear Sunday suits, nor look like people whose prayers are answered, but they know what I was talking about when I wrote, “the smallest thing can be a blessing, like a warm beam of sunshine finding its way through storm clouds to your shoulders.” Their faces light up, as they talk of mercies from lives few envy.

You hear unexpected bits of wisdom, as you listen. For example, In my life I’ve met people who prayed for something, drummed their fingers impatiently, and then, when the prayer was not answered, stated it was irrefutable proof God does not exist. So I expect such a response from people. Yet I recently heard a person explain the phenomenon roughly like this, “It had been a long, long time since I talked to God. He really liked it when I came back, but He knew, if He answered my prayer, I’d forget all about Him in a big hurry, all over again.  So He kept me talking.”

Another recovering addict told a tale that made me chuckle. He had been working very hard to arise from the ashes and get his life back on track, but his financial situation was in complete ruins, and various bill-collectors were in no mood to be merciful. He (with his wife’s support), had done all the right things, taking more than one embarrassing, menial job and going to the bill-collectors and attempting to arrange payment plans to get back on track, but, even working two jobs, the pay wasn’t enough. Therefore he pushed himself further, and attempted to get a good job despite his criminal record, honestly explaining his situation and offering to take drug tests. He deemed it an example of God’s mercy shining through a human being when he actually landed a good job, for twice as much pay as he had ever earned before, but the job would not start for two weeks and then he’d have to go two weeks before he got his first check. That was too long for his landlord to wait. Although the recovering addict and his wife had paid the current rent he still owed back rent from months before, and had only managed to make a few ten and twenty dollar payments on that back rent, and still owed $1,200.00. The landlord had been patient for months, and served an eviction notice: “Pay up in ten days or move out.”

This dropped the recovering addict to his knees, but as he was praying he heard a crash outside. The old man next door had backed into his wife’s car,  and she had no insurance, nor the money to fix it. The former addict fought off the temptation to use the misfortune as an excuse to get high, and bent the fender back out enough for his wife to use the car. Then he went to work at his two menial jobs, wondering where his wife and he were going to move, as he awaited the start of his better job.

After hanging on in this agonized manner for the ten allotted days his landlord had given him to come up with the rent, the old man next door came up and handed him a check for $1,200. The neighbor did have insurance, and that was how much the insurance company had paid to repair the dent. But the man’s wife said, “The car drives just fine. Let’s use the money to pay the rent.”

And that is the tale of the dent that paid the rent.  It shows the mysterious ways in which God may answer prayers better than any sermon.

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NOT LOCAL –A Bumpkin In Brooklyn–

Some mornings I feel like Washington at Valley Forge.NYC 8 IMG_7303

The propaganda of the Deep State is relentless. What a misnomer it is to call it “The Resistance.” It is obvious some big money is involved, when it blares from posters in glass cases in public places in New York City. It is not the voice of the sweltering poor. It is insidious, and is seen virtue-signaling from the plot of a Broadway play, when you head out to “take in a show.” However a truer “Resistance” shines from the efforts of the individual actors, striving not to be “the masses”, but the best of the best.

Liberal means “generous”, and there is nothing wrong with being generous. Jesus was generous. But it is not generous to tax the crap out of people to enrich your own greedy life. That is gross hypocrisy. It is far better to be an individual seeking to be superlative, the best ball player or the best actor. Then you are giving all you’ve got.

It is individuals giving all they’ve got that makes America great. It is seen in the boss, and in the boss visiting an obscure corner of his factory where a sort of family of workers do one step of a process better than it has ever been done before. The genius of the Founding Fathers was to tame the despotic tendencies of leaders and allow individuals to have rights, and it is the poison of the Deep State to remove those rights.

The distinction is obvious to me, but sometimes I despair I’ll make it clear. The Big Lie of the Deep State blares on and on.  The true debate is between greed and generosity, but no one really talks about the real debate, and instead many blather about empty issues like Global Warming, which is an exercise in witlessness.  If you ask an Alarmist what an “isobar” is, they think it is where Santa drinks whisky. They haven’t a clue, but still manage to virtue-signal down their noses and call me a “denier”. I fight against depression and defeat.

DOUBLE SONNET — TESTED FAITH

My faith is too tested, and I wonder
What purpose can be served by bruising me.
Have I not proved faith, singing in thunder?
Have I not been so crushed I crawled, bowed free
Of all hope, yet looked to Your kind beauty
Like an innocent man on the gallows
Looks past this cruel, dark world, and can see
Spring’s dawn lies ahead? This lipsticked earth shows
No allure to me; I see the rank sores
On powdered skin. Why not show me Your smile?
You’re kind to the sickly; You walk with whores
As their friend. Please walk with me a mile
As the Dead Sea thumps surf on sighing shores.
Add Your flashing smile to my poetry.
What purpose is served by misery?

Yet I will trust there is a lesson hidden
In these scorched days: Some wrong wish for worldly
Fame or Wealth’s lodged like a splinter, and when
It is removed I will once again see
The Surgeon is my friend, despite His knife.
But for now I don’t see, and faith is blind
As the best faith always is; for the strife
We think matters has no weight, we will find,
On the true scales. For Justice, too, is blind
To the allurements that prompt bribery
And cause all corruption. A calm, clear mind
Wears a blindfold to be able to see.
I know it makes no sense, and so I must
Endure my scorched passages mustering trust.

Blind lady-justice-blindfolded_55d3389af74020f6

My mood was not at its best Sunday morning, for I’d been up long past midnight and also my youngest son drinks no coffee, whereas I am an addict. I was astonished a kitchen could even exist without coffee. Perhaps a caffeine-free  morning contributed to my gloom. However to my surprise I discovered I didn’t die, and in fact as I stepped out Brooklyn’s bricks astonished me with their orange brilliance,  and the green surprised me as well, as I was unaware a tree grew in Brooklyn.

It is bragged that 600 languages are spoken in New York City’s Burroughs,  by those who see it as being a sign of liberal diversity and multiculturalism.   I’m not so sure it is a good thing, because I cannot help but think that somewhere else 600 communities have been lessened, and perhaps even destroyed. A community is a sign of God’s creativity, but ignorance loves to destroy.  Some people think Satan will manifest as a sort of Godzilla tearing down skyscrapers, but it seems to me he has no problem with material things; he won’t bother bash skyscrapers; what he dislikes is Love, and in my time I have witnessed the destruction of families, neighborhoods, clans, tribes, and communities world-wide.

Liberals once decried the idea of a neutron bomb, which would kill people without the damage to material objects an atomic bomb manifests, yet they have said little as families and neighborhoods have been evaporated.  Some even clap their hands, deeming the small-scale patriotism of a tight family a type of racism, as if even a mother’s love is evil and opposed to a faceless ideal of one vast McCulture. How much of the world has been destroyed the past sixty years? With hardly a whimper.

Yet as I trudged the sweltering street, desperately seeking my first coffee, I had the strong feeling God cannot be denied. I might be only one language of six hundred, and my skin might be only one hue of six hundred, but there was no way this swirling I was midst was going to become a melting pot, creating a drab smear of a single, muddied hue. Already new clustering was occurring, as the will to excel individually combined and created new marriages, new families, new neighborhoods, on its way to the recreation of 600 springtimes, if not 601.

Having proven optimism does not require coffee, I did find a coffee shop. Then my optimism soared, helped out still further by finding a church.

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Red Brooklyn brick in Sunday morning sunshine
Spreads awakening to the blue horizon
As if brick has no end, but green that’s mine
Lies over Earth’s curve, all made by the One
Who has no end; and now all gather
To sing of Love, of sweet brotherhood
With many voices; and though I’d rather
Be over Earth’s slow curve, this neighborhood
Enchants with the same beauty shimmering
Like symbols by snare drum; a song so good
That it will follow me like angels on wing
And dance when I’m back home in my green wood.
Why my surprise? It’s not unexpected
That One Light is in all eyes reflected.

NOT LOCAL —Deluge Camping—

My life is so tragic that I used to schedule two hours first thing every morning to cry my eyes out, but that got old after a while, so I decided to stop hanging around with poets. It was more fun to look back and laugh. So I suppose that makes me a humorist.

One tragic thing about my youth was that my Mom didn’t like camping. My Dad did a foolish thing, which was to take her camping on their honeymoon. He thought he might open her eyes to the beauty of nature. It poured. Years later, when he was a little wiser, he took her to the Caribbean. She stepped on a poisonous sea-urchin. Come to think of it, maybe Nature didn’t like my mother. When my Dad took her out mackerel-jigging she caught a sea-gull. It squawked and flapped about her face at the end of a hand-line, and she indignantly concluded only fools found joy in mackerel fishing. Nor did she like anyone finding joy in her discomfiture, but Dad did a foolish thing, which was to laugh.

After the divorce I was very careful to avoid the topic of camping. I was a sort of barefoot, suburban Huckleberry Finn, illegally fishing and skinny-dipping in the water supply of Harvard professors, and was briefly arrested at age eleven, but the officer had compassion and didn’t tell Mom. I had many other wonderful adventure that I didn’t dare share with Mom (at least until a sort of statute of limitations had passed) for I had concluded there were two types of people in the world. There were those who didn’t like camping…

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…and those who did.

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Back in my days as a bachelor and bum I did a lot of camping, for a tent was cheaper than an apartment. In 1987 I camped from May 1 to October 23. This presented me with a bit of a dilemma, for if I didn’t write my Mom she’d worry, (and I usually couldn’t afford a phone call.) The letters I then produced were masterpieces in the fine art of censorship. Every day camping was a sunny day, and rain was never mentioned.

After I surprised everyone by marrying and settling down, I got a surprise of my own, for it turned out my wife’s mother did like camping. I didn’t know that was legal for Moms to do, but she’s gone right ahead and done it.

As a young mother of five with a hot home, too poor to afford a summer house, she had moved to a campground by a lake each summer, perhaps to escape the heat or perhaps to escape vacuuming the house. Her husband would commute to work from the campground, and the kids rode their bicycles about and fished and swam to their hearts content. They don’t seem to remember any rain. The mother didn’t know what she was starting. It became a yearly event.

This year the lady, in her eighties, sat back and happily regarded her daughter and three sons, their four spouses, ten grandchildren, four grandchildren-in-laws, two step-grandchildren, two step-grandchildren-in-laws, six great-grandchildren, and two step-great-grand children, and likely thought about the ones who couldn’t make it this year.

It rained, of course. It seems to rain every year, but we count on the rain, and one of the first things we do is stretch out tarps between trees. I am proud to state I was the one who started this great tradition in 1991, and as the years have passed it has become a sort of art, as we’ve learned by making all sorts of mistakes. A tarp can turn into a spinnaker in a strong wind, and snap ropes, and also a tarp also can turn into a massive udder if  it catches rain and sags. Now we have learned all sorts of remedies, one of the best of which is to get old, so you can sit back and watch others clamber about in trees.

Only once did I arise this year, as the wise old man,  to show them the trick of tying a rope to a hammer and tossing it up over a branch, so you can skip the climbing, (which I didn’t learn until I was pushing fifty and getting tired of bringing an aluminum extension ladder camping, and saw a friend who was lazy demonstrate the hammer trick).  This year no one had a hammer so they used a hatchet. It added risk to the enterprise.

In the end we were ready for the rain. Here’s my area:

and here’s the main gathering area:

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In the old days we only had tents, and looked down our noses at RV’s, but a son and brother-in-law have gotten soft, and I must admit I don’t mind a bit of softness myself, though I can’t afford a RV. We also only cooked over wood fires in the old days, and while we still do a bit of that (under the high part of the tarp), the younger folk haul in all sorts of smokers and newfangled propane gadgets. I don’t complain, when faced with a spread like this:

I’m not sure we could have done as well if the winds had been high. Around five years ago we gathered in the gusty deluge of a former tropical storm, and as I recall we put off the gorging until the next day, but this year the feast was prepared despite downpours. It was interesting to see the smaller girls incorporate the water coming off the tarp into their play.

My wife strongly believes that, to acclimatize grandchildren to camping, you need to break them in early.

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We’ve been camping in the rain so long, nearly thirty years now, that we’ve watched an entire generation go from being this small to being stronger and richer than we are. I like to just sit back and contemplate the passage of time, but did get up and take part in a game of whiffle-ball when the rain let up for a bit, and now rue my brief ambition.  Within hours I was walking funny. But the former boys are now strapping young men who don’t stiffen up so quickly, and who itch for challenges, such as jumping into rivers from high places and being carried downstream.

This river is the Ashoelot, a geologically interesting backwater that flows down a channel made by a glacial flood. Usually it is fairly shallow,  but all the rain had its waters rising.Camping 9 IMG_7106

 

When we first arrived my dog L.C. (short for “Lost Cause”), (Animal Rights Activists think I’m calling her “Elsie”), had a great time annoying herons and geese on the river, which was a little higher than usual.

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But the clear, tea-colored water had risen three feet and turned to coffee by the second day.

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By the third day it had risen three more feet and gone dark again, and had the spin-drift suds that sometimes indicate pollution, but can also be natural, in swampy rivers.  The campground owner said the water was as high as he’d ever seen it. Driftwood shifted, with its colonies of greenery and crimson blooms.

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The men were smart enough to know you can’t jump in at the usual place, if you are unsure if driftwood has moved in, so they sent my nine-year-old  grandson down to swim around and see if he could feel any branches with his toes. The cheerful, young, eager-to-please chump fellow checked out the entire area under the embankment, which usually is around twelve feet tall. He said it was all clear. Then they asked him if the water seemed colder, and he shrugged innocently and said, “Maybe a little.”

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I wish I could show you the video of whqat followed. You see six big brawny men dash to the edge of the bank and leap whooping out into the river, make a tremendous splash, and then their heads emerge and they all simultaneously register the fact the water is twenty degrees colder. Not so manly, all of a sudden. As they drifted downstream you could have heard the shrieking a mile away.  (I looked suspiciously at my grandson. He was smiling noncommittally.)

Despite the fact they had disgraced themselves, in terms of machismo, some of the women wanted pictures of the young men “for a calendar.”

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Himph! No one asked me if I’d pose for a calendar. And I tell you, I’ve taken on all four of those fellows and whupped them with one hand behind my back……twenty years ago.

As the evening came on I sat in the light of the campfire listening to the patter of the rain on the tarp overhead, and the deluge became a flood of memory. I listened to the murmurs of conversation, snatches of laughter, and strumming of a guitar and thought about what a fool I was thirty years ago, when I decided I had God’s plan for me all figured out. I was camping all alone in the New Mexico desert, and expected to be single all the days of my life.

In fact I managed to convince myself that being alone was likely for the best.  Spirituality is all about renouncing the things of the world, and it would be far easier to renounce everything if I didn’t have anything. Just as it is far easier to be a teetotaler if you have no booze, it would be easier to be celibate without a babe. My “bad karma” was actually “good karma”.

Not so fast. (Though it did happen with astonishing speed.) In fact, when I told a spiritual friend I had married a mother-of-three I didn’t try to explain it, beyond saying, “I don’t know what happened.” Karma is like that. Just when you think you have things figured out you learn you’re just a chip on a mighty river.

It is also a little amusing how “good karma” becomes “bad karma”. When my wife was clobbered by morning sickness and I had three kids to care for it occurred to me that “family values” might not be all that they were cut out to be. Not that I had any desire to camp alone again. But I understood the irony of the Springsteen “Hungry Heart” lyrics:

Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack
I went out for a ride and I never went back,

There are times when leaving all worldly possessions has a definite appeal.  The Australian poet Francis Brabazon  describes a man who came to Meher Baba and offered to lay all his worldly possessions at his feet, namely, a wife and six kids.

However when Jesus said, “Leave all and follow me”, he didn’t mean just your “bad karma”. All means all. To be true follower you have to give up your “good karma”. Yikes. That is not so easy, when the kids who seemed like “bad karma” grow up and delight you by being “good karma” in a campfire’s wavering glow.

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It is no easy thing to truly give all to God. We are all addicts. But it helps when you reflect on how bankrupt you are without the gifts you have received from God. (I’m not sure where atheists think their talents and “luck” comes from.) It helps even more to believe God is love, and even “bad karma” holds compassion, though it may be a blessing very deeply disguised.

As a cancer survivor I know even accursed cancer can be a blessing, for it makes every day a treasure. One lives praying the doctor doesn’t deliver the bad news, “it’s back”. It is as if you are looking  around for the last time. Habits people have, which once annoyed you, become strangely endearing.

It is oddly ambiguous that, when we think we have control of our lives, we are full of complaining, but when we lose control we experience an overwhelming gratitude. Perhaps that explains (to some) why “leave all and follow me” is not really loss, but gain.

AVOIDING CIVIL WAR

This seems to be a time when it is important to stay calm and not to be provoked, for the inhabitants of the so-called “swamp” in Washington D.C. actually have no interest in preserving the peace. Why should they? Peace would involve exposure, for peaceful people have honest discussions, and honesty would expose a lot of corruption, which is how the name “swamp” was earned.

The corrupt have backed themselves into a corner, and therefore many will not do the spiritual thing, which is to publicly confess their wrong-doing. For if they were spiritual they would not have been corrupted in the first place. Therefore many will do the unspiritual thing when cornered, which is to fight like a cornered rat.

The thing that always amazes me is the ability the corrupt have to deny their own corruption. They often are oblivious of the way their greed has led them astray, even when it is blatantly obvious to others. “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:2)

In the case of communism the greed is justified in three ways. First, the highest spirituality is dismissed as “the opiate of the masses”, and atheism is put forward as being more pragmatic. Second, coveting what others own is justified as “sharing”, in some ways like Christians shared what they owned in the book of Acts, but in other ways by brute force, at the point of a gun, like a bank robber. Third, dishonesty is made to look positive because “the ends justify the means”.

The dishonesty always seemed most vile to me, especially when it involves using others, and laughing at them behind their backs. To use another as a “useful idiot” always seemed like a violation of trust to me. Furthermore the person most likely to be fooled is the person doing the tricking, because procrastination is a way we mortals have of never doing what we promise ourselves we will do “someday.” Therefore “the ends justify the means” is like a person buying cigarettes so he can seriously think about planning to quit; (the person will never quit by smoking, but it placates his uneasy conscience to “plan“.) Lastly, the “means“ get meaner and meaner, because the greed for power gets greater and greater. Stalin may have meant well, but he killed off more and more “partners“, erasing them from public pictures until he alone was pictured, for that was his “means” of effective control, good governance, and order. He was proof that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

Stalin erasing foes Soviet_censorship_with_Stalin2

Our Founding Fathers were well aware of how power corrupts, which is why they were so careful to devise a constitution that shares power between three branches of government, with checks and balances. Some in Washington want to escape the checks and balances, because it seems to obstruct efficient governance. Therefore they speak of the constitution as being an “evolving” document, which is just a way of trying to get around its constraints. They don’t want to be constrained, because they feel they know best, and others are not as wise as they are.

This is how corruption begins. One loses respect for being open and honest and discussing things with others in a respectful manner, and resorts to some form of dishonesty and disrespect. Rather than arriving at a decision based on higher Truth, back-room deals are made, involving bribes of one sort or another. Rather than what is best for all concerned, the focus becomes narrow: “What’s in this for me?”

When such rot sets in our nation is designed to expose it. A free press is suppose to be part of that exposure, but in our current crisis the press was purchased by the elite and all but emasculated. Were it not for the unexpected blooming of the internet in the past twenty years the free press would be dead. As it is the public became aware of how bad the corruption in Washington was becoming in the nick of time, and now a desperate battle has begun.

This is a battle between Truth and deceivers. The deceivers do not want to give up all that deceit has illicitly “earned” them. They think they know how the game is played, when in fact they have broken countless rules. They want to continue to play as they have played, unaware that they have broken so many rules they have created a sort of anarchy, and have undermined their own foundations, and are sawing off the very branch they are perched upon. If they studied history at all they would see that, if they “win”, they are likely to inherit horrors as bad as, or even worse than, the horrors they fear they’ll face if they “lose”, and have to give up all the perks of their corruption.

One attribute of the corrupt, and also of communism, is that there is a movement away from true sharing of power. It involves the mentality of all-or-nothing. Communism allows no other party besides the communist party, and corruption allows no alternative as well. It is a narrowing down of thought, a diminishing of the mind.

Because of this, communism prefers violence to civil discourse. It wants no checks and no balances. In order to eradicate opposition it seeks to “purge” differing views, and dislikes individuality. Individuality is abhorred because it differs, whether it differs as a person, or a family, or a community, or a state, or a nation. Communism seeks a “multiculturalism” that abolishes all nations, and therefore all cultures. All the talk about “respecting diversity” actually disrespects differences, when you look hard at what is actually stated. In the end what is wanted is not a cultured people, but culture-less masses.

A cultured people prefer to use civil procedures, to becoming a rabble that riots. The corrupt prefer a riot, and encourage riotous behavior, because if things get out of hand they may seize power in the name of “restoring order”, whereas civil procedure would expose their corruption and face them with reform.

Therefore it is important to stay calm and not be provoked. When faced by useful idiots chanting nonsense, point out the nonsense quietly. Over and over and over again. For many innocents have not thought all that deeply about what they do, and are largely being loyal to a cause. And one thing about the loyal is this: Once they discover they have been lied to, and are being used, and are laughed at behind their backs, they flip sides with astonishing alacrity.

Lastly, keep your sense of humor even when things look grim.

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FALLACY BY INCREMENTS

As a person who loves Truth, I also prefer honesty, but honesty is not always easy, person to person. There are things we are trained to abstain from revealing. For example, as a married, sixty-five-year-old man I might find a young woman extremely attractive, but I would be ill-advised to be too honest about my true feelings. Not that I lie, but I “don’t go there.”

Why not? Because honesty has repercussions. If I tell a young damsel she is beautiful, she will respond, and I will respond to her response, and who the heck knows where I might wind up?

Sometimes, out of purely scientific interest, I become curious about where I might wind up. To avoid harassment-lawsuits, black eyes, and divorce, what I do is to write a short story. In the story I allow the responses to play out. (I change the names to protect the innocent, of course.) In this manner, where anyone else might feel guilty for entertaining a fantasy, I get to call myself an “artist” for doing the exact same thing.

When writing such a story there is a tendency to aim for a “happy ending”. For example, as my wife is spiritual and reads the Bible a lot, I might write a story where the wife allows her husband to be like King Solomon, and have six hundred concubines. As I aim my plot towards this happy ending a little voice in my head starts to object. “No,” it states, “This is not going to happen.”

It turns out we have an innate pragmatist in our imagination which is able to envision all sorts of unhappy endings. Call it your “conscience” if you will, it applies the brakes to our unwise impulses. Working in the field of Childcare as I do, I get to watch these brakes be built. Where a three-year-old jumps and sprains his ankle, a four-year-old gauges the height, shakes his head, and climbs down.

The ability to foresee the consequences of our actions is actually a science, and involves the ability to weigh actions and reactions. In the west we say “you reap what you sow” and in the east they speak of “Karma”, but it boils down to the same thing. “Don’t do the crime if you can’t spend the time.” “You’ve got to pay the dues if you want to sing the blues.” “What goes around comes around.” “You’ve had your way; now you must pay.”

The fact which most really don’t want to accept is: This science isn’t flexible. People are always looking for loopholes that don’t exist. People don’t really like the idea that there is such a thing as “Righteousness”, and a “Day of Judgement.” At my Childcare I am always unwillingly put in the role of almighty judge, and hear small children invent the most absurd loopholes, as they build elaborate cases about the ownership of inconsequential items such as sticks, and then later, when I wearily drag myself home, and turn on the evening news after work, I don’t watch all that long before I mutter to myself, “Adults aren’t all that different.”

People need loopholes, because people screw up. Even a gentleman opening a door for a lady may see the lady step through the door into the path of an oncoming truck. Every lifetime has a quota of several thousand apologies, and no one can survive without mercy (which some are more able to accept than others.) However at this point a distinction needs to be made. There are those to whom loopholes are a gift of compassion which they blush upon receiving, and then there are those to whom loopholes are a way of life, which they manipulate for their own advantage.

The difference seems to involve ones relationship with Truth. Some believe there is such a thing as Truth, and some deny that there is any such Reality. Some believe there is such a thing as “Law” and some scorn such belief. Some earnestly strive to conform to higher principles, and some sneer that such conformity is a sign a person is a sucker and a chump.

Personally I believe it is best to strive for Truth, for I believe that if you stand by Truth then Truth stands by you. This does not seem like some sort of esoteric mysticism to me, but rather a sort of practical matter involving sensible engineering. When an engineer builds a bridge he wants honest, truthful measurements, or the bridge may fall down. Of course, all engineers know about “Murphy’s Law”, (“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”), but they don’t go out of their way to seek such consequences. Sometimes the criteria engineers are subjected to involves a best-effort built upon sand, even though scripture advises against building on sand, but in such a case the “given”, (perhaps a minuscule budget), is the Truth, and engineers do their best to relate to Truth.

I think the same is true for so-called “social engineering” (which is just a highfalutin way of describing what ordinary folk call “relationships”, “friendships”, “partnerships”, “marriages” or even, in battles, “the rules of engagement”). When people “build” a relationship they employ certain tools and techniques, and some people are more honest in this process than others. My experience has been that honesty is the best policy, in the long run, although I’ve seen plenty of people be sneaky and think they “got away with it,” in the short run. If you are young you will have to just take my word for this: “It all comes out in the wash.”

This can be a bit nervous-making, when an Authority such as Jesus states, “Be on guard against…hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the rooftops.”

Yikes. I’m not sure I want stereo speakers attached to my brain, broadcasting my stray inner thoughts. It might be all right to have thought-balloons in cartoons, but, in real life, being psychic would be embarrassing. I prefer to sort out my thoughts, and to go through several rough drafts before publishing them with my big mouth, and, as far as other people’s thoughts are concerned, I know some people who make me very glad I lack psychic powers.

On a more positive note, I have had the good fortune to meet a few people in my life who I wouldn’t mind learning were psychic. Hopefully you have known a few such people yourself, for otherwise you won’t have a clue what I am talking about. They are the sort of person you can talk to for hours. They are agreeable people, even when you disagree; they are people you feel a deeper-than-normal level of understanding with.

Now that my hair is gray I understand such people are few and far between in life. If I had my life to do over again I would have done a better job of staying in touch. Even though I have lost touch with many, they stand out in my memory as people who restored my faith in the goodness of humanity, or at least in the potential which humanity has (and perhaps fails to live up to) to be splendid.

This brings my thinking around to wondering what the heck it was that these old friends, (or “we”), made so easy. To be honest, it was honesty. It is dishonest people, it seems to me, that make life be hard. So then I have to think hard. What in the world makes a hard life seem better, to some, than an easy life? The answer I have come up with is that there was some hardship in the past that hardened some people’s hearts, and convinced them that it was foolish to expect better. Born and bred in corruption, they think corruption is the way of the world, and so they perpetuate corruption. It never occurs to them life could be far easier.

The easiness of Truth is often dismissed with words such as “naivete” or “innocence” or “overly optimistic”, as if only children believe in Truth, as if Truth was a sort of Tooth-fairy or Santa Claus. The cynical distrust that feeds corruption is based on disillusionment, broken hearts, shattered faith, and all the other sad events that harden the tenderhearted by subjecting them to difficulties they did not deserve. Yet, despite the most hardened hearts, the corrupt betray a secret longing they own, a hidden hunger to believe in Santa Claus.

How can I assert such a thing? It is because even after making life ugly, they demonstrate a fondness for beauty, or at least for the trappings of beauty. True, they often destroy the beauty in their attempts to clutch it, building a garish mansion smack dab in the middle of a pristine wilderness,  or pawing a young woman in their dotage because they can afford a “trophy wife”, but, all the same, they hanker for beauty, and therefore deny the very cynicism, and the sophist scorn of softness, that they based their hard and harsh lives upon.

The hypocrisy involved can be huge. The wealthy dowager floods her sinuses with phlegm and uses up a box of Kleenex, enjoying a good cry watching a PBS tearjerker about poor and humble people, stuffing her face with caviar and bonbons brought to her on a platter, as she lounges in bed, by a servant she is able to underpay because the servant is an illegal alien, or in some cases a veritable slave, who was recruited from a third-world hellhole with the false promise of a decent wage. Or the billionaire spends millions on a painting by Vincent van Gough, while at the same time underpaying his gardener, who happens to also be a man who suffers, in order to daub upon canvases.

Van Gough loaned us his ear, but such snobs cannot hear, and Beethoven wrote music from the silence of deafness, and the imbecilic wealthy jam into the symphony halls to hear his silence, willfully as blank-eyed as the brain-dead,  concerning the very heavenly Truth that makes such music possible: Silent realities, that the rich would call a “cost” and which they refuse to budget for, but which were in fact an “expense”  easy as pie for Beethoven to pay. Music was not hardship for Beethoven. Rather music was joy, derived from silent Truth. The hardship in his life involved bringing such an easy thing into a corrupt world which makes that which should be easy be hard.

Beethoven, though as flawed as any human, was in some ways the opposite of the corrupt. Though he could not hear, he gave us beautiful music. The corrupt, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “have ears but cannot hear.”

This logically brings me to the sad state of American politics, where the fundamentally Truth-based premise of the American Constitution is crashing into corrupted concepts, exemplified by the dishonesty of Bill and Hillary Clinton. If ever there were two people who seemingly proved the route to success involved dishonesty, they were paragons for such cynicism. They made millions, and fooled millions as well. They sweet-talked people who should have known better, corrupting courts, charities, the EPA, environmentalists, much of congress, the press, and all but the American voters, who at the last possible moment rejected the sickly-sweet talk of corruption, electing an oddball president, Donald Trump.

It may be a case of too little too late. Though the American people are so disgusted with the corruption in Washington that they refer to it as “The Swamp”, there are many people (tens of millions) who owe their livelihoods to corruption, and these dark people will not go gently into the light, called honesty. They prefer deceit.

This brings me back to where I began, which, in case you forgot, was, how it may be difficult at times to be honest. But why should it be difficult, when I have just wasted a considerable amount of your time stating it should be easy?

The ingredient that makes honesty dangerous is desire. There is nothing intrinsically wrong about the old and wrinkled admiring the beauty of the young and smooth; it is when craving enters the picture that you see old fools hustling off to purchase Viagra. “Desire is the mother of much misery”. It is in recognition of desire’s potential to raise havoc that yogis flee to hide out in the Himalayas, and Saint Paul moans, “Oh what a wretched man am I”. There is no escape from the hankering, which is why Saint John stated, “If we say we have no sin, then the Truth is not in us.” Even if we despise desire, we are desiring, for we are desiring desirelessness.

It then turns out it is best to be honest about desires, and to “confess”. Some enter a Catholic confessional, some sprawl on a psychiatrist’s couch, some lose inhibition and discretion in a tavern, and some chat over coffee with a dear friend,  but all find a sort of relief in openness and honesty (even if they rue their big mouth, when they awake the next day with a hangover.)

The trick seems to be to confess the desire without obeying the desire. One must confess craving another’s chocolates without actually snatching them. This is the true test of ones spirituality.

Where corruption enters in is when the desire lurks in the background, demanding gratification. If stamped down into the subconscious, it still influences in sly and devious ways. For the well-meaning, this results in remorse and apology and repentance, but for the truly corrupt, it is simply a way of life. It is the “given”, and results in statements such as “he is given to fits of temper.” It doesn’t matter if you call a wrong a “sin” or a “foible”, the “given” makes life harder than it needs to be.

Once one enters the landscape of fallacy what was simple becomes complex. Even Murphy’s Law turns out to have all sorts of clauses and sub-clauses.

In terms of logic and debate, the complexity of fallacy is a headache for seekers of the Truth, and a sheer delight for lawyers.  There are amazingly numerous ways to confuse, complicate, cloud the issue, and avoid Truth:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

I urge people to glance through the above link’s list-of-fallacies, but not to adopt an indignant look of disapproval while reading, but rather a sense of humor, and to think of whether you yourself adopt certain argumentative fallacies when caught red handed in the commission of some high crime or misdemeanor, (for example, using the curtains to dry your hands, after washing them). What logic do you produce, when cornered? (“Well? What do you expect? You do say I should wash my hands, don’t you? And don’t you say not to use the guest towels? You leave me with no option!”) (Fallacy # 72).

A sense of humor is a great way to deal with our various shortcomings and failures, and also to deal with the fact there are differences in what different people value. For example, as a long-time bachelor, curtains were never an important thing in my life. I could take them or leave them. Far more important to me was the “delete key” of old fashioned typewriters, which was stuff called “white-out”. My wife, on the other hand, could take white-out or leave it. Then, as we came to know each other better, we had to be in some ways dishonest. I had pretend I cared about curtains, and my wife had to pretend she cared about white-out. We did this because we cared about each other, however our true feelings tended to surface when we were in a hurry and under stress. My wife would buy cabbage and forget to buy white-out, and I’d use her curtains as a hand-towel.  Silly things such as these are the ammunition for tremendous marital battles, which outsiders, (especially when they could care less for either curtains or white-out), should steer clear of.

One thing I have noticed is that one can start to keep an account of the times their beloved forgot to buy white-out. White-out can become absurdly important, and, even after one was given an Apple 2C computer and white-out became obsolete (though one might forget and paint the green type on the flickering screen), one might still nurse the memory of the fifteen times their beloved bought food to eat, rather than white-out, and one might use the collected events as evidence the beloved was not, and is not, and will not care in a correct manner. Meanwhile the dearly beloved has her own collection of your own failures, for example the time you lost your temper and stormed off to buy white-out, even though company was coming and she needed help putting up the new curtains. At this point the sense of humor is failing to kick in, and veins are bulging and faces are turning purple about serious, serious things: White-out and curtains. The situation is tragic, I tell you, tragic.

What then saves a marriage is not the sense of humor the couple might have. After all, it is no good to make a joke if the other thinks it is no joking matter.  My wife might make a great joke about my (somewhat silly) focus on white-out, but I would just rear up like Queen Victoria and say, “I am not amused.” What is required is something I call “common sense”, but it is not the ordinary common sense of the mind, but rather is a common sense of the heart.

It would be easy, and correct, to simply use the word “Love” at this point, but I am a cerebral fellow and prefer to avoid simplicity. Instead of simply saying we should “listen to the heart”, I want to study the games the brain plays, when it usurps the role intellect has no business pretending it can manage: The Landscape of Love.

What the brain seems to do is to collect bits of what excruciatingly logical people might call “fallacy”, (see above link), and to, increment by increment, built up a totally ridiculous argument. Each particular increment may not be terribly false, but the cumulative effect gets to be great. A little hyperbole in point six, and other examples of incorrect logic in point three and nine, and the slight fallacy gets greater and greater.

Psychobabble is very handy, if you want things distorted. When your wife buys cabbage and forgets to buy white-out, you can get extra mileage if you call it “subconscious hostility” or “sabotage.” Before you know it you have arrived, with your intellect certain it is sane, at the insane conclusion: “You are trying to kill me, aren’t you?”

It is at this point what I call “the common sense of the heart” kicks in (hopefully). The wife and husband face each other, intellectually certain each is out to murder the other, or at least to drive the other utterly bonkers, but some humble voice then says, “Actually I don’t want to kill you, or not right now. Actually I love you.”

You’d be surprised by how many children have been conceived at the end of ferocious arguments. The cynics say this is merely because lust overpowered logic, but you’d be surprised how many of these cynics have never had or raised a child. They tend to be oblivious, when it comes to the common sense of the heart.

Within the compound of marriage, wherein one is confronted with the utter insanity of the opposite sex, witnessing them fuss about absurd things, (white-out or curtains), when the inflamed intellect turns events into a haystack of “final straws”, a power beyond the intellect may appear. It makes no sense to the brainy. It is like lowering a bucket into a black well in a dark cave, and hoisting up sunshine. It is like approaching the sickbed of a person you have carefully cultivated hatred towards for decades, and finding your heart inexplicably overflowing with tenderness and compassion. It allows one to laugh about falling in the mud, and keeps one from laughing when someone else falls in the mud. It is irrational, but a fundamental element of Truth. In fact it gives Truth amazing power, and also makes Truth easy.

One thing I have noticed is that accessing this power seems to involve letting go of desire. The common sense of the heart simply realizes white-out is not all that important, and shrugs off the intellect’s insistence it is the end of the world, of one goes without white-out. Perhaps it is for this reason people who are poor can have excellent senses of humor. “When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.” One is able to be more easy-going when one is not always fretting about losing something. I have lived among people who have no idea where tomorrow’s dinner is coming from, yet who seem to derive far more joy from today’s supper than people who have no such worries. It may not make sense, but it is Truth.

On the other hand I’ve known people who simply can’t let go of their desire. If they are not honest about it, it lurks in the background as a sort of ulterior motive to every conversation, and when they protest their innocence they always resemble greedy Miss Piggy exclaiming “Moi?” to Kermit the Frog.

While humor can to some degree defuse the danger of fallacy, by making it obvious and by (to some degree) “confessing the sin”, the danger remains as long as one puts the desire ahead of Truth. The greatest danger of all occurs when the fallacy, increment by increment, grows into the absurd falsehoods of the “my-wife-is-trying-to-kill-me” sort, and yet the absurdity is not recognized. At that point one is starting to break the Ninth Commandment (Eighth, if you’re Lutheran), because you are “bearing false witness” about another person.  Once you step over that line you are cruising for a bruising, and making life much harder than it needs to be.

There seems to be a choice involved, wherein one has free will and decides what they value. In my humorous example the choice is between white-out and Love. The choice is less humorous in the case of a heroin addict, looking at his wife’s pocket book, and facing a choice between withdrawal symptoms and saving money for his children’s food, but even in the case of an addict it is a choice between desire and Love.

In the end, Love is the correct choice. Love is the most high and mysterious and beautiful aspect of Truth, and cannot be comprehended by the calculating intellect. One should chose Love as the “given” in their life, for your “given” determines what you will be given to doing. You can be given to fits of rage, envy, lust, and sly, manipulative back-stabbing, and always be looking over your shoulder, fearing knives in your own back, and resort to slander and propaganda until you can’t remember what Truth is, (IE: Much of modern politics), or you can be given to Love, and discover the more you give the more beauty you receive, and that when you stand by the Truth, Truth stands by you.

LOCAL VIEW —Damocles Hurricanes—

One sad side-effect of the Global Warming nonsense has been the promotion of people who think it is a sign of their cleverness to abuse the trust of others. They think stepping on others is uplifting. In the long run this is never true, both for the individual and for the society they belong to, but humanity owns a bad habit of learning the Truth the hard way: Mankind has a long tradition of thinking it is wise to lie. The process of learning that this dishonesty is the mother of much misery is the climax of many an ancient tale and tragedy.

For example, consider the snake in the Garden of Eden. The tale doesn’t go into what the snake’s motives were, but the result of misleading Adam and Eve was that, when the snake stood before Judgment, after he presented his case he discovered he didn’t have a leg to stand on.

Serpent with Legs Serpent JS papyri

So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.”

Eden was a state of naked Truth, but outside of Eden Truth becomes problematic because humans are afflicted by the subjectivity of their desires. For example, once one leaves the oasis one discovers a thing called “thirst”, and when thirst becomes extreme in a blazing desert one can quite honestly state “Water is the most important thing there is.” Then, after their thirst is quenched, they can with equal honesty state, “Many things are far more important than water.”

The same phenomenon is embarrassing when it involves human sexual thirsts. One reads a beautiful poem one once wrote about their spouse basically stating, “I only have eyes for you,” and then one looks across the room at an aging form who, perhaps, weighs 300 pounds, and then compares that form to a beautiful temptation that is smiling adoringly from another part of their life, and one no longer has eyes that don’t wander. One becomes an honest hypocrite, for one was truthful when they stated, “I want only you”, and one is equally truthful when one later states, “I hanker for another.”

In order to attempt to make some sort of sense out of sways of fickle desires people developed various moral codes, wherein one was expected to be “true” to their word. Rather than being swayed this way or that, one chose to take a stand. Some foundations are better than others, as every engineer learns.

But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.

Of course the typical con artist is certain that he is well founded; he is the wise person, and the trusting people he is fooling are “chumps.” This idea, that people who trust are chumps, actually represents the slow corruption of the wisdom of Solomon, which initially stated, “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

This idea, which basically states a spendthrift winds up broke, devolved over the course of time, and 1587 entered the English language in Dr. John Bridges’ work, “Defense of the Government of the Church of England,” as, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Eventually this further mutated into “A sucker is born every minute.”

There is interesting dispute about who said this first.

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/04/11/fool-born/

Confidence Trickster Hungry-Joe-04

But there is some part of the human psyche that knows “what goes around comes around,” and that a day of reckoning will arrive for every confidence trickster. Yet often we can’t help but smile at the doomed trickster, when he is only exposing the foolishness of others. (Or we smile unless we are the fool being tricked.)

An example of such trickery-we-smile-at is seen in the two swindlers who fool all but a child in Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Emperors New Clothes”, an amazingly short story which has entertained people all over the world, and is well worth reading and rereading, as it is brief yet profound.

http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheEmperorsNewClothes_e.html

Another (American) example of trickery-we-smile-at involves Mark Twain describing Tom Sawyer getting his disagreeable job of whitewashing a fence done, by others, who actually pay him to do the job for him. In like manner the American master of short stories O. Henry devoted a small book called “The Gentle Grafter” to the doings of confidence tricksters, and as one reads one often tends to have as much, if not more, sympathy for the criminal as for his victims. (And before my English friends tell me Americans have always tended to be rebels with no respect for the law, I remind them they don’t mind a notorious outlaw of their own, remembered as “Robin Hood.”)

I think we are only fond of confidence tricksters because they are exposing some sort of vainglorious snobbery that afflicts their victims, (unless we ourselves happen to be the vainglorious chump.) We may all be egotistical in some way, but some egotists step over a threshold into to landscape of inhumanity towards others, and we do not at all mind seeing such people taken to the cleaners and humbled. We know life could be better than such pompous victims make it, and that they are in some way guilty of an indefinite crime. Even though they may have done nothing that can be prosecuted, and even may be kind to those closest to them, those less near and dear perceive an aura of unkindness, of exploitation which leaves the poor poorer, and widows and orphan worse off (despite public shows of vainglorious philanthropy).

In other words, both the confidence trickster and his victim neatly fit into the category of “deserving punishment”, if what we value is both honesty and kindness. In many ways one cannot be the victim of a con unless wants to get something “valuable” for a price so low that slang describes it as “a steal.” Meanwhile a person disinclined towards such greed and “stealing” is more difficult to con. A true saint is impossible to con, (though he or she likely did not become a saint without downfalls in their past.)

In our innocent youth, the distinction between what was right and what was wrong seemed clearer, and the bad guy was recognizable because, after he stated what he plotted, he tended to go, “Nyah ha ha!”

Dishonest_John

As I watched old Westerns or Cartoons as a boy there was always an expectation that, in the end, the “bad guys” would “get what they deserved.” “Dishonest John” would mutter, “Curses! Foiled again!” In the end honesty and kindness would triumph.

I can’t claim I have seen this process prove true, as I have watched the world over the past fifty years. To the contrary, Dishonest Johns who call themselves wise have, in one way or another, stated that dishonesty is not merely legal, but the way to get ahead. Even the most moralistic tale on TV is punctuated by ads that are often outrageously deceitful, and politicians have become notorious for making meaningless promises, and being a sort of antithesis to a person who is “true to their word.” Therefore capitalist democracies cannot claim to stand for honesty, nor look down their noses at communism, despite communism’s clearly stated dogma that dishonesty is proper and wise and part of effective propaganda. Islamic theocracies also apparently state it is acceptable to lie to an infidel, which begs the question, how can the infidel learn the Truth if they are lied to? Yet Christian authorities have disgraced their religion as well. When it comes to “bad guys getting what they deserve”, it seems the dishonest have escaped punishment and done very well, so far. But I also feel the public has a growing sense of a Sword of Damocles hanging over their collective heads.

Sword of Damocles-WestallPC20080120-8842A

I think the public is not only aware when they are being lied to, but is aware that such dishonesty has its consequences. However the rich and powerful of the world are unable to extract themselves from the various sorts of deceit that brought them to power, and are trapped in a dishonesty that makes the public increasingly nervous.

To the powerful a jittery public seems one more thing they can exploit, by putting themselves forward as prophets and saviors, but often they are too obviously more interested in power and wealth, and therefore their self-promotion is merely further con-artistry, and only makes the situation worse.

In many ways I think the entire Global Warming absurdity is but a manifestation of a vast guilty conscience, afflicting the entire world. There is a general sense that humanity on a whole has been misbehaving, and must reap what it has sown, in some way, shape or form. Even when people themselves don’t identify with being the “bad guys”, they know their leaders are short on sainthood, (or, if they idolize certain leaders, then some other power the leader can’t control, such as “Big Oil”, is short on sainthood), and therefore the nation as a whole will “get what it deserves”, and the comeuppance won’t be pretty.

It is for this reason there are so many movies in the theaters based on an apocalypse or on post-apocalyptic themes. Many people have the general sense they are aboard a runaway train, or riding a raft above a thundering waterfall. The very people who caused fret in the first place then further exploit this sense of anxiety and hopelessness, but increasingly they can see people aren’t buying the snake oil. The con artists have created a monster, and like snake oil salesmen they need to leave town in a hurry, or face public rage, but in the case of Global Warming there is no place to run, for the scam has been worldwide.

The cure for this downward spiral is quite old and simple. It called, “the Truth.” Truth has a wonderful, refreshing quality, because you don’t need to make it up. It simply exists, involving neither policy nor strategy, neither trickery nor treasure nor trammeling. It is free for the taking, but dreadful to behold or even consider by confidence tricksters, for they not only need to confess, but fear they will have to give up ill-gotten goods. Therefore they are in the position of someone riding a bubble, which all know must someday burst.

Riding a bubble produces anxiety in both leaders and the people led by them. Some try to reassure, and some yearn to be placated, and some become restless and just wish the damn bubble would just burst, even if they must become the ones who do it, through drastic and violent actions. Few turn to the obvious answer, which is the Truth. Many succumb to the blame-game, jabbing pointing fingers at others, and few understand Truth belongs to no one, yet is available to all.

Hardest of all to grasp is that Truth requires an admission of ignorance. As ambiguous as it sounds, to know It we have to admit we don’t know It. This does not occur merely within an old fashioned Catholic confessional booth, but publicly and generally. “If we say we have no sin than the Truth is not in us.”

A confession of ignorance is actually an attribute of good scientist. It indicates an inquisitive mind. A person wearing a white coat, claiming authoritively to have all the answers, is all too often a pretender, and even an enemy of science. The Global Warming Alarmist’s arguments that a “consensus” prevents all further discussion is a sure sign of con-artistry, and of having something they don’t want exposed. A true lover of Truth welcomes questions, and what they doubt is pronouncements.

There can be little doubt we are facing a time of Climate Change, not only because the climate always changes, but because some major indicators of change are changing. The AMO, PDO, and Sunspot cycle are all undergoing profound changes, and an inquisitive mind wonders what changes they may prompt, and postulates various causes and effects, curious to see if such postulates will prove true, partially true, or be completely disproven.

It is no sin to forecast such changes, but it is sheer arrogance to claim absolute certainty, and especially to claim that CO2 is the cause of every change. Either that or such claims are a sign of great insecurity, and that the claimant is clinging to a straw in the hopes it will support them.

One thing to use, when making a forecast, is the past. One looks for similar situations, and wonders if history will repeat itself. One aspect of ignorance is to avoid looking at the past. One attribute of certain Alarmists is that they insist that what is occurring has never happened before, and is “unprecedented”, and they become quite angry with you if you point out “the only new thing under the sun is the history you haven’t read.

For example, in 1798 the sun went “quiet” in a manner similar to today’s sun, and there were enormous volcano eruptions in 1810 and 1815. Therefore one might wonder if history might repeat itself, and, if so, why. This is simple inquisitiveness, but to some Alarmists to even consider the sun and not CO2 might influence climate is not curiosity but “denial”, and a few even think the inquisitive should be hauled before a tribunal and punished. When it comes to inquisitiveness they prefer the horrors of The Inquisition, and place the inquisitive in the position of Galileo.

Inquisition Galileo_before_the_Holy_Office

In conclusion, these days any weather or geological event tends to involve a chorus of claimants clouding the issue. On one hand there are con artists who insist that, whatever the event may be, it had to be caused by CO2. On the other hand there is a public afflicted by a general sense of guilt and dread, fearing mankind will “get what it deserves.”

I heard this dual chorus when I looked into the volcanoes that have recently been rumbling in Bali and elsewhere, and I noticed it again when I observed recent hurricanes. The hype and sensationalism clouds the issue.

There are now two ex-hurricanes crossing the Atlantic towards England:

Twin Hurricanes two_atl_0d0

As these hurricanes arrive in Britain, as remnants, they will influence the development of a typical autumnal gale to the north. I personally am curious to see whether they will weaken or strengthen the gale. As big blobs of tropical moisture they might be expected to fuel the gale, but, because they have already spent so much of their energy, they might actually hold less “fuel” than tropical air that was pure and “unused” would hold. Which will it be? I think this sort of curiosity on my part is scientific, although, by confessing my ignorance, my curiosity certainly doesn’t put me forward as an authority.

However I confess I am also curious about the hoopla the two storms might generate, especially if the autumnal gale turns out to grow large. Join me as I study my fellow man. Though the storm has yet to develop, I have already come across the usual madmen in white coats, raging CO2 is to blame, and the usual doom-and-gloomers moaning and sighing it is a sign of End Times. Stay tuned, for in some ways such people are more fascinating than the weather (though you might not want to invite them to dinner.)