What It Means To Be Human

One of the informative, thought-provoking, and disturbing side effects of a continuous and non-stop exposure to global events via the Internet is an unsettling, uneasy, and confusing notion of what it means to be human.

We are now exposed — through online news, social websites and many other portals — to the previously under- or non-reported effluvia and offal that constitutes a much more significant portion of human affairs than I think anyone — except the darkest cynic and harshest pessimist — would think existed.

Government-sanctioned mass murder, religiously motivated and sanctioned mass murder, human trafficking and slavery, child prostitution, forced pornography, religious intolerance manifested as overt behavior which expresses a complete lack of regard for human life, unchecked racial hatred practiced by those who preach peace, unrestricted drug cartel activity sanctioned by governments, government corruption, bureaucratic stupidity and waste, the looting of national treasuries by special-interest groups seeking only to salvage their own benefits – when such a perverse and widespread litany of willfully-directed human misery is marched in front of your eyes, you are inexorably drawn to one inescapable and unavoidable conclusion – being human means much more than just looking like a human being.

That is the grandest illusion of them all.

One of the most meaningful concepts that I will ask you to grasp is the concept of “adaptive strategies.”

Every group of people large enough to regard itself as an “entity” has an adaptive strategy which it follows in an effort to procure success for its adherents.

Human beings on the planet Earth are fragmented and subdivided into a multitude of distinct “entities” — be they geographic, ethnic or ideological in nature. These entities may be classified as nations, countries, states, regions, groups, religions, economic systems, organizations or even clusters of human beings. Adaptive strategies exist in antipathy to each other because the adherence to any one particular adaptive strategy has historically meant a harsh aversion to any other adaptive strategy.

The fundamental precept of the adaptive strategy and its “success” is its mutually exclusive character — you cannot be a Muslim and a Jew at the same time; a Marxist and a Capitalist; a Liberal and a Conservative; et cetera, ad nauseum.

Adaptive strategies are followed by human beings in what can best be described as blind and unthinking obedience. The intrinsic and primary value of an adaptive strategy is that it allows the adherent to concentrate on the immediate tasks at hand that one faces on a daily basis — those which further individual and sector maintenance — without having to rationalize any action, without having to question the validity of any specific behavior (other than its relation to the common law under which the adaptive strategy allows itself to be placed).

The vast majority of people — sadly — follow their chosen adaptive strategy without any contemplative or introspective examination of themselves or the relationship of their adaptive strategy to the rest of humankind. In point of fact, most people blindly adopt the adaptive strategy their “leaders” tell them to adopt.

In essence, such people have traded their humanity for the promises made by the adaptive strategy. Adaptive strategies prey on the fears and insecurities of people by offering them the cold comfort of the adaptive strategy to wrap around them and explain away those fears and insecurities with deceptions – “follow me” the adaptive strategy says, without conscious thought, and I will give you security and safety.

The ultimate way to maintain adherents who worship at the altar of the adaptive strategy is to perpetuate itself by entwining so completely around its adherents that they are totally and utterly dependent on a daily basis.

People are told that this dependence is really freedom, because they do not have to think, to worry, to bother with anything — simply “keep the faith.”

This is the freedom of the non-human. Do you imagine for one moment that a person, male or female, that would strap on a bomb, walk into a room full of women and children and explode that bomb, is human? Can people who use children in prostitution and pornography possibly be human? Can people who engage in acts of genocide and mass murder of other humans without respect to age or gender be considered human?

The people who do have a sense of morality and ethics, the people who do not follow any adaptive strategy without contemplating what is means, the people who value liberty, freedom, self-responsibility, the people who believe in integrity and honor – these people are human. But you must face the harsh and unrelenting facts that humanity is NOT only about physical attributes, but also about the mental and spiritual facets of our nature – and if you ignore those you have chosen not to be human.

You cannot argue logic and reason with a mad person. You cannot discuss morality and ethics with a fanatic follower of any religion. You cannot win the “hearts and minds” of people when they have no aspect of their human nature that corresponds to the values we associate with a “heart,” and their minds are closed by their utter allegiance to some stagnant adaptive strategy.

You are dealing with zombies.

At this point you are confronted with a dilemma, an imbroglio – a horrible decision.

Here is the challenge — real humans must decide if the non-humans have the ability to be educated and trained to be humans or — if they are inescapably non-human — how to contain or destroy them before their unwarranted and unrestricted breeding wrecks human society.

So that, my friend, is really where humanity is at presently. We must decide if we are “born” human or we “become” human. Since there are so many obvious humans in the world who are, in point of fact, not even remotely human, I think it is safe to say that we become, through society and culture, educated and trained to be humans.

To become, or not to become –THAT is the question.

For those that believe in some kind of Judeo-Christic-Islamic God – you need to tread carefully here. Humans, in those adaptive strategies, are made in the IMAGE of God – but that is merely a copy on the PHYSICAL LEVEL. Every religious system that truly seeks to create human beings understands that the divine spark in us at birth must be nurtured and fanned into a flame, lest it perish and we fall back into barbarism and bestiality – which is happening even as we speak. We are not being properly educated to be human.

Whereas the idea of Darwinian Natural Selection is something which is an unconscious and non-reflective force, the advent of true human consciousness impacts a willfully self-directed ability to drive our evolution rather than merely being subject to it.

There are some people who believe that non-humans can never be changed. This is the belief held by any “enlightened” ruling class that believes it must guide people who they think are not only incapable of guiding themselves, but cannot be educated or trained.

There are other people who believe each of has an opportunity to be human. Non-humans can be changed. The ideas of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are possibilities for those who willfully seek to work hard at becoming human and succeeding in life.

There are many modern systems of thought that believe some people are human and some are not. They believe this is a static situation and not a dynamic one. The bell curve represents an unchanging reality for them. They believe that a ruling class of “superior” people should rule. Socratic guardians.

This ruling class is, by nature, discriminatory on all fronts – racial, religious, political, economic, physiological, cultural, et cetera – there is only one correct way of viewing the world and it is their way. They will preserve that way no matter what the cost – there is no truth but their truth, utterly controlled by them; no law but the law they make and to which they themselves are not subject. No means are off-limits which permit them to achieve their “noble” ends.

Honor and integrity are just words to such people – situational ethics is the norm for them and just as Pontius Pilate asked in the Judgment Hall, “What is truth?” – there are forms of modern political thought active today that believe truth is just a variable that can be changed whenever it suits the need.

If a government is run by such a ruling class, it will believe non-humans cannot be helped, educated or trained, and that government will act according to its own self-interest without regards to the perceived non-humans; indeed, they will actually escalate actions to hasten the demise of the non-humans – but all the while acting as though they are spokespeople for the non-humans; soliciting their support through the election process. That is, until they can assume power and subvert the elective process – after all, no government, such a ruling class will argue, should be subordinated to the will of non-humans.

However, if a government is handled by people who believe that, yes, non-humans do exist, but that they can be educated, trained and helped to grow into true humans, then such a government will support self-responsibility, hard work, dedication, honor, integrity and advancement through a competitive process that rewards true human behavior.

Think about it for yourself and see where your mind goes…

E

 

Worry and Vexation, Update Two

Many of the people I have interacted with lately have been commenting about me (sometimes to my face and sometimes not) on what a grumpy, grouchy, cantankerous bass turd I have become.

I stopped — paused –  the other day to ponder this development, and to consider what has caused this predicament. I have certainly not always been this way — I want to understand the process that has transformed me from a friendly and generally lighthearted soul into a sullen and ill-tempered lump of curmudgeon-like flesh.

I worry too much.

Having come to this conclusion, I decided to make a list.

In retrospect, this was (is) another in a long line of spectacularly bad decisions, but I’ll trudge on with this story none-the-freaking-less.

So, I started to contemplate and ruminate about what worries and upsets me – things that fill my mind with dread, anxiety, irritation and all manner of vexating thoughts.

Yeah, I know “vexating” is not a word – sue me…

One vital note – the items on this list are in no particular order of priority or importance; I simply jotted things down as they occurred to me. At any one time – based on the media news cycles, individual moods, and sunspot activity, items may rise to the top or sink to the bottom.

Kind of like my attitude.

Anyway, here is the list of things I worry about –

  • NSA and other unauthorized government spying on citizens
  • ISIS terror group
  • MERS virus
  • Ebola virus
  • Avian (bird) flu
  • Viruses, in general
  • Allergens
  • Socialism
  • Marxism
  • Communism
  • -isms, in general
  • Progressives
  • Takeover of the Health Care Industry by a centralized government
  • Education reform by a centralized government
  • Global warming – fact or nonsense?
  • Possible economic meltdown and devaluation of dollar
  • The Federal Reserve’s control of the dollar and the economy
  • IRS Scandal
  • The IRS, in general
  • Benghazi possible cover-up
  • North Korea and possible use of nukes
  • Iran and possible use of nukes
  • Pakistan and possible use of nukes
  • Use of nukes, in general
  • People seeking world domination
  • Afghanistan
  • Russia and Ukraine
  • Russia, anywhere
  • Chinese economy passing America in size
  • Can we trust the Chinese?
  • Manufactured racism
  • Real racism
  • Reverse racism
  • Middle East tension between Islam and Judaism
  • Syria and chemical weapons
  • Chemical weapons, in general
  • Hatred between Arabs and Persians
  • Extreme weakness of economies in Greece, Spain, Portugal, France, et cetera…
  • Spread of Islamic terror
  • Muslims in American government
  • Intelligence level in America on the decline
  • Bad Hollywood movies
  • Abortion out of control
  • US Border not secure
  • Honeybees dying
  • Bad line calls
  • NASA NEO (Near Earth Objects) colliding with Earth
  • Yellowstone Caldera
  • Volcanoes, in general
  • Nigeria
  • Africa, in general
  • Drug cartels
  • Rise in synthetic drugs
  • Targeted genetic weapons
  • Low interest rates
  • Fire ants, mosquitoes, scorpions, and brown recluse spiders
  • Illegal and Undocumented Workers
  • Benefits paid to illegal aliens which they did not earn
  • Political Corruption
  • Politics, in general
  • Government Fraud and Waste
  • Crony Capitalism
  • Drones
  • Bureau of Land Management land grab
  • Environmental Protection Agency water grab
  • Food & Drug Administration food grab
  • Excessive taxation – city, state, federal
  • Legalization of drugs
  • Rise in prescription drug abuse
  • Online Gambling
  • Stagnant economic growth
  • Massive unemployment
  • Even more massive unemployment among certain demographic groups
  • College graduates with no jobs
  • College graduates moving back home with mom & dad
  • Toll Roads
  • The Pope wanting to redistribute “benefits”
  • Fanatics of any ilk
  • Federal government control of Internet
  • Federal government control of News Media
  • Federal government, in general
  • Censorship
  • FEMA camps
  • Ceding US sovereignty to the United Nations
  • The United Nations, in general
  • Wasted billions on supposed green energy
  • Sunspot activity and solar flares
  • Changes in the Earth’s magnetic poles
  • Artificial Intelligence and Rise of the Machines
  • Federal government cannot seem to tell the truth
  • Mainstream media does not seem to care about the truth
  • Truth, in general
  • Breakdown of the basic family structure
  • Gun control
  • Sexual Orientation crisis
  • Fluoride
  • Rapidly rising food costs
  • Half the population on food stamps
  • Fast & Furious gun running
  • Gun running in the Middle East
  • Malaysia flight 370
  • Detroit bankrupt
  • Other US cities following Detroit
  • Chicago violence
  • Union corruption
  • Tenure
  • Liberal bias
  • Conservative bias
  • Libertarian bias
  • Human bias
  • Bad drivers

And — sigh — some new ones…

  • Veterans Administration Scandal
  • 10 million people on disability
  • 100 million plus unemployed
  • The coming of the Mahdi
  • Abiotic Oil
  • HAARP
  • DARPA
  • HO41

Eventually I grew weary and dispirited from adding items to this stinking list, especially as it dawned on me that none of the items from my own uniquely personal worry list were actually on the list.

You know, spectacularly worrisome things like pay the bills, headaches at my work, headaches with my significant other, mowing my grass, regular bowel movements, et cetera, ad nauseum.

After this profound (or amateur found) insight penetrated my bonehead, I realized worrying about such lists – global or personal – was an insidious trap. It was a spiraling vortex from which you cannot escape because – wait for it – there is always something new that will be next on the list to worry about even if you manage not to worry about the item on the list you were currently worrying about…

Good lawd – confusing, but I had cracked the code! Simply stop worrying!

Sadly, that is effing impossible. Rather like getting a politician to cut wasteful spending.

Wasteful government spending!!!

Crap – now I have to add that to the list.

I’m going to find a nice quiet place to curl up and worry.

–Enoch

THE BELL CURVE RULES

1. Your location on the Bell Curve (BC) is fixed at birth.

2. You can only move ±10% to the left or right of your birth location on the BC.

3. To ensure economic equality, the Ruling Elite must forcibly take resources from those to the right of the BC and distribute to those on the left who do not possess the necessary cognitive ability to succeed in a technological age.

4. The Ruling Elite believes the BC is a reflection of an immutable static reality.

5. The Ruling Elite believes that individual cognitive ability is inherent, fixed, and cannot be improved through training or education.

6. All of the above is crap. The Ruling Elite fosters these beliefs in order to assure its political dominance since the people to the left side of the BC will give the Ruling Elite power to “mend” the “problem.”

7. The Truth is that the BC is a reflection of a dynamic evolving continuum. Humans can improve their cognitive ability with willful — self-conscious — effort and determination, fueled by a strong sense of personal responsibility. They can, over time, make significant moves from the left side of the BC to the right. From ignorance through self-awareness to enlightenment. From physical to social to spiritual, mirroring the threefold morphological structure of the human brain.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it — for now.

–E

The Hare and the Tortoise, A New Look

Let’s talk about the ancient fable, “The Hare and the Tortoise.”

Everyone is hopefully familiar with the tale but — for the sake of universal clarity — I will provide a brief refresher. Well, as best I can…

The hare is a fast runner. He brags about this speed and teases the tortoise, who is obviously a slow runner. Technically, a non-runner. The tortoise finally tires of the incessant teasing (bullying, if you will) and challenges the hare to a race. The fox is chosen to select the course. The hare loses the race because he takes a nap and awakes too late to beat the tortoise to the finish line.

While this is attributed to Aesop, the general thematic ideas and concepts no doubt predate him.

And — you may rightfully ask — what are those ideas and concepts? Clever question.

The most widely held conclusion about the fable is the expression that, “slow and steady wins the race.” This is the obvious and most easily attainable interpretation.

Fables are devilishly intricate things, as they are always meant to portray the multi-layered complexity of human behavior.

This fable is particularly delightful in that regard.

While his fable — on the surface — does illustrate the general idea that persistence wins out in the end, this theme is NOT the main idea.

This is a story of our individual human nature, and the internal struggles which must of necessity arise within each of us as we attempt to achieve significant results in our lives – that is to say, to win the race of living. Well, at least run it well. What constitutes “winning” is a subject for another diatribe — right now we will simply talk about this fable.

Aesop existed circa 620 to 554 BCE – that’s over 2500 years ago for those of us (including me) not good with math. Even back then, however, there was a recognition that humans possessed differing levels of intelligence.

Pythagoras, a contemporary to Aesop, believed that humans found at the Olympic Games could be classified into three categories or types – the lowest type were those who were seekers of pleasure and fame, the competitors. The next highest type were those who sought to benefit from buying and selling of goods, and the highest type were the lovers of wisdom, who came to observe the games.

Siddhartha Gautama would have been an approximate contemporary to Aesop, as he lived from 563 to 483 BCE. His ideas of the “threefold training” and the division of human being into Mind, Virtue, and Wisdom are compatible to those of Pythagoras.

Even older traditions were developed in Vedic (Indian) thought, such as Chapter 14 of the Bhagavad Gita, where the discussion concerns the “The Three Qualities of Material Nature” – which are ignorance, passion, and goodness.

If you examine the ontogenetic unfolding of our neurological system during fetal development, the human brain is clearly delineated into three distinct sections (Rhombencephalon, Mesencephalon, Telencephalon) – for the sake of illustrative brevity and as a simple tool for reference, we will label these the reptilian, mammalian, and human sections of the threefold neurological continuum.

While a more scientific rendition of this is called for (and exists in explication) you must — for this particular exposition — grant me the boon of accepting this structure as valid.

Our human being is a threefold continuum, and most of us exist within the realm of one of the triune parts of this continuum – it is the rare individual who can synthesize all three levels and emerge as an integrated human.

That is the fable’s true meaning.

The hare is that part of our human nature which is the lowest. It is pure physicality. The only thoughts at this level are survival and reproduction. The hare is the perfect symbol, as the reproductive capacities of that creature are legend; and its speed permits it to survive in the wild. But the hare has no other attribute worthy of consideration – the only thing it (he) can do is boast about the one thing he can do well – and this is not even a learned trait, it is a genetic trait – speed of foot. We won’t mention breeding prowess.

But the genetic trait of speed is only of value if it is properly used.

It is no accident in the fable that the fox selects the course where the race will be run.

The fox has — symbolically — always represented social cunning and thinking skills designed to benefit one’s self.

If we regard the fox as the social part of our own human nature, it is that aspect which must select the course upon which we are to race with our own lives – and here the story gets a little more complex.

If we are rely solely on our genetic abilities alone (without contemplative introspection), we would always pick a course that suited our lowest nature, and such a decision — though the easiest by way of effort — would represent a minimal accomplishment. In the fable the hare was always teasing the tortoise about its lack of speed – only someone of low intelligence and minimal skills would belabor the obvious – what accomplishment is it for a hare to beat a tortoise anyway? They should ever time, without argument.

It is the natural inclination of humans to denigrate their genetic abilities though idleness and indolence – this happens if you allow the hare-aspect of your human nature to predominate.

The tortoise-aspect represents our wisdom and adaptability — it must not only subtly guide the fox-aspect in selecting a course most well-suited to our individual nature, but make the hare-aspect of our human being apply itself to achieving meaningful results. The hare-aspect represents our raw abilities, and the tortoise-aspect is the will and perseverance that puts those raw abilities to use in a manner that the fox-aspect helps devise within the world of our social reality.

However, even here the road is fraught with danger, for just as a heavy reliance on the hare-aspect will lead to bad results, a heavy reliance on the fox-aspect will lead to a result that is beneficial to the self, but without regard to the impact on others. It is only the guiding hand of the tortoise-aspect – the thoughtful and self-conscious “application” of will in reality — with an understanding of how all humans are linked — that helps the fox-aspect select the proper course upon which the hare-aspect — being forced to actually apply itself — can unify with the other parts of human nature to achieve success.

And there you have it.

My hare nature wants a nap, my tortoise nature needs to mow the grass, and my fox nature wants you to buy my damn book.

I just need a drink…

– Enoch

The Cancer of Nothingness

The dictionary has a rather curious (to my mind) definition for the word “cancer” –

The disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body.

First off, I do not regard cancer as a disease. A disease spreads through replication from host to host. A cancer dies with the host. You may want to think of cancer as a disease, but I say it is a symptom of a more subtle and pervasive systemic failure.

A cancer succeeds in destroying its host – and thus itself – by spreading in a geometric fashion at a rate which cannot be matched by the host’s innate defense system. Unless the host is capable of treating itself to halt the spread of the cancer – or receives aid from an external source to accomplish that task – the host will perish.

And so it goes with a culture or society.

Consider those members of any culture or society who do not have an authentic understanding of what it means to be a harmonious and conscious existing being. People who have no appreciation of what the true essence of being human – and being more than human – really means.

As their numbers increase (and they are now a majority) the society – the host – is consumed because those people cannot help themselves to defeat the cancer. And, there is no external assistance available to deal with a threat of this magnitude.

The young who do not understand become the middle-aged who do not understand; who then grow old in darkness and error. These people function under the overriding imperative of the proto-human – their behavior is a reflection of a life filled with hate, lust, fear, and avarice.

There is nothing in such people that speaks of evolution or progress – only death and decay – and a foreshadowing of the bestiality to which we may all succumb.

We are losing our culture.

The threads of genuine humanity which bind and hold the fabric of society together are coming undone. It is not the Law or the State which binds society together and gives it meaning. Nor the “invisible hand” of self-interest. It is the desire to cooperate for the mutual advantage of ALL, by moving toward an evolutionary goal where potential equals actualization.

We are beginning to die at an evolutionary impasse.

Unless something is done, unless changes take place, the natural entropy of unconscious evolution – operating through the principle of mindless natural selection – will eliminate humanity. We are not adapting.

The human race – on a limited basis — has finally achieved consciousness. The work of thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of years. We cannot rely on instinct and senseless, mindless, urges of hate, lust, fear and greed in order to progress. In the vast sweep of human time a course of action based on those values was made to function by our ancient ancestors as a successful adaptive strategy – but those times have passed. Only conscious creativity and cooperation will advance us as a species.

If we relinquish our humanity in order to guarantee or own isolated survival, our evolutionary edge as existing beings begins to vanish and we start to slowly sink back into the bestial pits from whence we rose. Consciousness will begin to disappear if we continue to focus on the barbaric urges noted above. Barbaric urges deliberately supported by the status quo who seek only to elevate and maintain their own power and control. Consciousness can be extinguished if we are not careful.

It is already happening.

Our ability to be truly conscious is fading, diminishing. We cannot read, we cannot write, we cannot solve the simplest problems of logic or thought. We have lost intuition and the quest for authentic knowledge. Violence, hate, fear, lust and greed are not just our new idols, they are the mantra that the media, our education system, and our politics is foisting upon us. Our free will is being replaced by a senseless obedience to values which have been externally represented as our “true” human nature. We are being turned into zombies. Into beasts with no self-reflection.

Where are our truly great thinkers? Where is the reverence for thought, ideas, for humanity and Life itself? Instead, we worship at the altar of manufactured celebrity, where people are held aloft for the how they look rather than how they think. It is more about the content of the characters we pretend to be than the content of our true nature.

Who has seen love? Where is compassion? What has happened to honor and integrity?

The world does not end with a bang or a whimper. It ends with a snarl – the snarl of animal fury escaping from the lips of people who have lost their humanity.

We cannot live in human society because we are not adjusting to the strains and demands that technology and increasing human reproduction are placing on us. Our minds are not employed in thinking, but in reacting. We are not active; we are passive, always responding to the next crisis – real or manufactured. We are not creative, but sensual. We feel, but we do not understand. And, saddest of all, many of us do not wish to understand. We prefer the cool and comforting security of the State’s womb.

Violence has increased beyond all rational levels, and no theory can adequately account for it. Awareness – increased consciousness achieved through introspection and projection – envisions an optimal world-structure, but then encounters actuality which is imposed by external powers. The hopelessness that the individual experiences when making futile attempts to change things – to stop the spread of the cancer – yields nothing but frustration, anger, rebellion, violence and, ultimately, resignation.

And in today’s world what is it that we encounter in our experience with the “actuality” of the world that so disheartens and tears at our soul?

The cancer of Nothingness. Nihilism. Nãda. That is to say –

…the rejection of all religious, ethical and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.

Isn’t this what the modern world offers us? God is dead. The State rules. The individual can accomplish nothing on their own – and yet all we do is pursue the hedonistic and narcissistic celebration of the Self. We are offered nothing in return for our faith but empty promises. Only ignorance brings bliss. The ignorance of the animal.

Perhaps not to think at all is best.

It is the cancer of Nothingness. We lash out at this cancer, to crush it, slash it, slay it, kill it. To no avail — so let me have drugs to ease my mind, to allow me to forget and permit me to embrace the Nothingness and not to think. Madness, violence, hate – we wish to be animals, roaming mindless through the world, feeling, feeling, sensual – but not thinking.

And as far from understanding as the ruling elite desires.

This, then, is our cancer. I do not need to elaborate on the many facets of its true being – simply open your eyes and look around. See its roots, its virulence. The cancer has the same sad desire to consume the host – and in the process, die.

There is no understanding of the future consequences of present actions. That is a cancer.

We are faced with a choice – those of us that are still human – we must move forward as humans, yes, but we must focus on increased awareness and consciousness. To bring into reality a world where potential really does equal actualization. Where we see the hope of that potential and not the false and often manipulated inequity of circumstance.

We must not allow ourselves to slip back growling and whining into the twilight — to once again gather in packs and herds — to crawl insensate before our masters with the slavish peace of the beast reflected in our mindless gaze.

Don’t just be – become.

E

Unstable Fable

I am comfortably ensconced in my study – okay, fine, it’s my living room recliner – contemplating my awesome Ranger Creek Oatmeal Pale Ale and thinking about my friend Tucker.

Tucker is in the movie business. Makes those animated features. Think Pixar and Disney.

Well, without the billions of dollars, hundreds of employees, or fancy equipment.

Mostly he works on grants from the government. Hey, it’s an honest living. Sort of.

Anyway, I’ve known Tuck for an ungoodly number of years and although we don’t always see eye-to-eye on politics (he’s a semi-close-minded leftist Liberal and I’m a semi-closed-minded middle-right Conservative) we still find enough common ground to be friends.

Mostly centered on tennis, fine whiskey, good-looking women, and pleasant conversation. Not always in that order.

Tuck calls me about this new animated movie he’s making. He’s excited and wants to get together to talk about it. It will involve some of that common ground I mentioned earlier, namely the fine whiskey and pleasant conversation.

And — if I know Tuck — he’ll want to meet at his favorite pub; a joint called Born to Hang.

I think additional common ground will be there – the good-looking women part.

So, we do indeed meet at the pub. Nice place. Lots of wood. Women in short kilts. We get a booth.

“Enoch, this movie will be epic,” he says as we slide into our seats.

“You say that about every movie you’ve ever made,” I comment, remembering that a good friend’s most important job is to keep his or her friend grounded in reality.

In response to the uncommon ground’s question about what we wanted to drink, we both ordered a small draft Stella and a shot of that fine whiskey I mentioned earlier. Tuck went with Crown and I opted for Rebecca Creek. Think global, act local, you might say.

“This movie is special,” he said and rubbed his hands together like a gleeful mad scientist.

I spread my own hands out in a kind of okay, humor me gesture and simply stated, “Convince me.”

“It’s about a farm,” Tuck began, “and the animals that live around it.”

I smiled innocently. “You haven’t lost me yet.” I got a smirky fake scowl in return for my obvious sarcasm.

He was quite animated. “The animals are in a constant battle with the farmer – call him Mr. Farmer for now – as they try to survive each day.” If he was this worked up already, I hesitated to think what the adult beverages might do to him. Still, he was fully grown.

“Mr. Farmer is a big hunter then?” I asked. If the animals feared for their survival, this seemed a reasonable question.

“What?” Tuck said as the drinks were delivered and we were momentarily distracted until the common ground walked away. Well, as she walked away.

“Mr. Farmer is a hunter?” I repeated, knowing that Tuck was momentarily distracted.

“No, but he does shoot, trap, and otherwise harass the poor animals as they try to eat the crops.” He takes a sip of beer. I want to say something but Tuck is too quick. “You have to keep in mind these animals are really hip and cool, making snappy cultural jokes, and generally making you laugh.”

I wasn’t really laughing. “The animals who steal the farmer’s food?”

Tuck seems insulted. “The farmer is producing way more food than he can possibly need.”

I take a sip of cold beer and slowly shake my head. I speak gently. “He sells the rest.”

“He is selling FOOD, Enoch,” Tuck said with obvious distaste. “Making a profit off of something that everyone has a right to have.” He looked at me with a kindly expression. “The animals only want to live.”

I exhale. Take another – longer – sip of beer. “He’s an entrepreneur, Tuck. He bought the land. He cultivates it, plants the seeds, feeds and waters the plants, and then harvests them.”

“All for his own selfish benefit,” Tuck said in slight exasperation. He takes a long slurp of beer.

“He’s willing to work at it. Others are not.” I am trying calmly to explain this.

“That’s because they’re animals, Enoch, they don’t know how to farm.” Tuck was very indignant. “If the farmer doesn’t want the animals to steal his food, he should distribute some to the animals.”

I frowned. “They’re animals, Tuck. They don’t produce anything.”

“They exist, Enoch – you have to take care of them.” He seemed defiant as he picked up his shot glass. We are neat guys, in a manner of speaking.

It was my turn to scowl. “This animated movie sounds like a critique of Capitalism,” I said with a smile. “With Mr. Farmer cast in the role of the evil corporate exploiter of his fellow humans.”

“The animals deserve to survive,” Tuck said defensively.

“And the farmer – who has worked his ass off to make his crops grow – deserves the right to defend them against thieves.” I took a sip of whiskey to hide my foul expression.

“No one owns the land,” Tuck said lamely.

“Tuck, you are an idiot,” I replied and stood up. “See you around.”

Which is how I ended up in my recliner thinking about Tuck and wondering how such a nice guy could end up being so freaking stupid.

Bottoms up.

-E

The Perplexity of Life

I am often perplexed about life. As all of us are, from time to time.

The word “perplexity” is most interesting. It is derived from the Latin per- (thoroughly) and plexus, which is a derivative of plectere (plait) and related to plicitum (a folded thing).

I think the foldings and entanglings of the threads of our lives — like real fibers which can be pleated or braided — can be plaited into complex patterns so obtuse that we can be perplexed to the point of lethargy. Taedium vitae. If you aren’t too tired, look it up…

Such consideration often leads to stasis. One stands about foolishly with a glazed look quite unable to do a thing – very unfortunate. I feel like that on Mondays. Geez — today is Monday. From the Anglo-Saxon monandaeg, “the moon’s day”. This day was sacred to the goddess of the moon. And you thought the ancient gods were dead…

There is a peculiar relationship here, though. Pretzel logic. Twisted thinking. Mobius strip. Escher prints. Ouroboros or Uroboros, as the case may be. Uppercase most likely.

You can’t be perplexed unless you actually stop to think about your life, but unless you are perplexed, why should you stop to think about your life? As George Orwell puts it in 1984 –

“To rebel, you must be conscious, but you cannot be conscious until you rebel.”

Fug. Am I conscious? Am I am rebel? Or am I merely dreaming?

Perhaps being perplexed and also stopping to think about it are reciprocal events, both occurring simultaneously?

I would initially say that perplexity is a passive state, yet a condition which naturally leads the energetic soul to introspection. I have been so busy the last few years (like all of us) that I forgot how rewarding introspection can be.

You should try it.

This word “introspect” is derived from the Latin intro- (within) and specere (look), and literally means to look within, or the actual process of self-examination. This self-examination is of the mental and spiritual variety rather than physical, though it can rightly be said that you may encounter lumps or strange growths in the process, though their manifestation is a subtle and difficult thing to isolate. Searching yourself for faults seems somewhat self-defeating — but it is not.

This introspective act is magnificently more involved than merely thinking about one’s self in a purely superficial manner, as in, “Should I play golf tomorrow?” or “What should I wear to the party?”

The very act of introspection is an vital act of aggression.

We often think of aggression as some overt hostile act of violence. Not.

In fact, the Latin is derived from ad- (to) and gradi (step) and so, basically, means to take the first step or actively do something, rather than remaining passive. Do something rather than just sit on your indecisive ass.

So — the first act of introspection is to understand that it involves an act of aggression in that you must resolutely seek to grasp yourself. Your real self.

This is double plus freaking not easy.

The scientific reductionists (reductionism is the attempt to “explain all biological processes by the same explanations that chemists and physicists use to interpret inanimate matter”) and behaviorists would say that, indeed, the very act of trying to get in contact with your “self” is delusional since, in essence, we have no actual “self” which exists outside of the physiological processes which give rise to the illusion of self.

Hmm, if it is self-delusional to attempt it, which “self” are you deluding? Something is certainly being deluded here, and I think it might be certain members of academia. . . education is wasted on the superficially intelligent.

This begs the question, “What is truth?” a question put to the historical figure known as Jesus ben Joseph who stood before Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea in the first century A.D. in the judgment hall of the governor’s palace. Not going all religious on you, just making a salient point.

Since our Western culture is, for the most part, historically grounded in Judaic-Christic roots, we have an interest in the query put forth by Pilate and how it was recorded. Regardless of our ideas about God.

The source documents for much of the Old Testament were written in Greek, which is a bit problematic since Yeshua {Jesus)  probably spoke Aramaic, though arguments can be made that Greek was known to the masses and he could have spoken that language as well. However, the Greek texts are translations of Aramaic, and the Greek word for truth in the question by Pilate is “aletheia,” which is best translated as — “the reality lying at the basis of an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a matter” (Cremer).

I suppose Pilate — ever the pragmatic Roman — could just have easily have asked “What is real?” and the answer he would want to hear (we would anticipate) might flow along the lines of, “Whatever Rome says it is,” meaning that truth is malleable and “controlled,” as it were, by those with the power. The State wants to dictate truth. Wow, what a surprise. Those in power want to stay in power.

To explore it further, is truth imposed upon us from an external source — in other words, does it exist as an Absolute which is sought by — but independent to — human inquiry; or is it a distinctly human creation?

From Pilate’s perspective there is no anchor from the flux which is the daily environment. There is only the rule of law embodied in secular Rome. Truth ebbs and flows on the whims of the State and the elite that comprise it. The State reasons thusly — but truth then is nothing but a weapon of those in power. Not really much truth to be had there.

In the end, it depends utterly and completely on whether you believe in truth or Truth?

A difficult decision to be sure – but be happy that you still can make it for yourself and not have it decided for you by the State.

I advise you to think carefully, and do it for your Self.

–E

The Religion of Globular Heating

Let’s talk a little about a subject that heats up the cockles of everyone’s heart – global warming.

It’s no longer supposed to be called that the true believers say – it’s “climate change.” Sounds more better because it’s impossible to deny. Of course it’s bloody impossible to deny — the bloody weather is changing every moment. Sigh.

It started as “global warming” — so I’ll use that moniker.

The apologists who embrace this dogma tout science as the basis and underlying framework within which the absolute truth of global warming is substantiated and given credence. On your knees before the altar of undeniable truth.

Cold weather, warm weather, nice weather, ice melting, ice forming, too much rain, not enough rain – the global warming climate models account for everything. It causes everything. It embraces the world.

I understand now.

The people who endorse global warming do so with the fervor of a religious fanatic. They don’t simply believe in global warming – they worship it. Such people have forsaken logic and reason for a “feeling” that global warming just has to be “true” because — you know — humans are such bad people. Climate sinners, as it were. However, be advised that faith is bad science and hoping that something is true is not a sound strategy for establishing empirical certainty. People who live on hope will die fasting, as old Ben was fond of saying.

Which provides a nice segue way to my critique of a science that is held up as the infallible and incontestable Holy Word for the global warming worshiper. The subtle need of the climate warming supplicant is fulfilled by a science that is less about empirical facts that it is about politicized opinion.

Indeed, I hate to be the one to burst their precious faith bubble, but that “science” is utterly, completely, and hopelessly inconclusive. About as reliable as Chinese drywall.

This irrefutable fact seems to have no effect what-so-freaking-ever on the resolute certitude of the true believer. The zealous adherent of global warming can mock religion as the province of the ignorant mind while endorsing and ballyhooing global warming as though it was a set of immutable facts solemnly handed down by vestment-garbed scientists who chant the Periodic Table and wave their iPads in the air.

The acolyte’s deep need for meaning in their empty lives is somehow assuaged by the thoughtless acceptance of this first convenient truth.

If you still are retaining your faith in global warming – try holding your breath for eight minutes or so. This will greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and should have a stimulating impact on the general level of cognitive ability in the human population.

–E

Praise for Exophobe, a novel by D. Kenton Mellott

“This book gave me a thousand natural shocks. My outrageous good fortune to read it!”

     — An anonymous Dane

 

“I had no will to power off my reading device whilst absorbing Exophobe.”

     — Friedrich Nietzsche

 

“Phenomenal!”

     — Martin Heidegger

 

“A good read. Yet, all is nada. Nada I say. I’d rather
be hunting.”

     — Ernest H.

 

“I would storm the gates of the infernus to get a copy.”

     — Durante degli Alighieri

 

“Down the lane in prostrated ulation. Castigated as winds from bipsy bopsy gods. A book is the book of a book. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.”

     — J. Joyce

 

“I will represent myself and say that the author is not wholly rational.”

     —A. Schopenhauer

 

“I never liked Baltimore, but I liked Exophobe. You can quoth me on that.”

     — E.A.P.

 

In Exophobe, I believe Enoch has found a Fifth Way.

     — P.D. Ouspensky

 

I had my doubts at first, but I am now happy with Exophobe, I think…

     — Descartes

 

“Reading Exophobe can make you either happy or miserable. The amount of effort required is the same.”

     — Carlos Castenada

 

“It felt like I was meant to read this book. I dreamed
about it.”

     — Jung

 

“I found a typo.”

     — an editor potty-trained with a whip

 

“It scared the me out of me.”

     — Charles Dickens.

 

“I am so glad I purchased this tome. It was my finest hour.”

     — Winston C.

 

“You can’t read it unless you’re conscious, and you can’t be conscious unless you read it.”

     — the other Winston (think Orwell)

 

Exophobe drove me to drink. I haven’t thanked the
author yet.”

     — W.C. Fields

 

“I like this book, but I still hate quantum mechanics.”

     — Albert

 

“I was going to pen a wonderful review, but I’m tired and will think about it tomorrow.”

     — Margaret Mitchell

 

“It had so many big words!”

     — Winnie. A pooh.

 

“On my oath, I enjoyed this book.”

     — Hippocrates

 

“It damaged my calm.”

     — Jayne

 

“Another bourgeoisie attempt to exploit the proletariat; but I liked it.”

     — Karl

 

“Karl is full of crap; I did all the hard work. I liked the book as well.”

     — Engels

 

“Veni, vidi, vendor – I came, I saw, I bought a copy.”

     — Caesar

 

“You can ‘count’ me in – I liked the book. And pronounce my name correctly!”

     — Alexander Dumas

 

“He could have described tables better.”

     — Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 

“As I read the book, I was at war with my feelings, but now I am at peace.”

     — L.T.

 

“I can’t make you do anything, but your mother would want you to read it.”

     — Sigmund

Hah.

— Enoch M.