Words

Watch Today in Tokyo: Great New Friends

I had a great time last night just eating and drinking with new friends. It was strange; I knew none of them except my former land-lady, who brought us all together, and now I have friends who are bests and all of them are neighbors.
Sachie Toida, who likes to be called “Pakky”, is a saint (and the owner of Pakky House in Otsuka –  a great and beautiful share house at which you should stay in Tokyo, for many reasons, not the least of which are location, quaintness and the Japanese garden in the back yard) ー like that in the person of my mother! She insisted we get together and drink and, so I met her and her friends Keiko and the hilarious “Abie”, an acupuncture and massage teacher for the blind ー at a local down-to-earth Chinese eatery. Abie (pronounced “ah-bee”) was so unbelievably funny ー imitating foreigners doing Japanese speech ーhad me rolling with laughter, because coming from him it was nearly impossible not to see his impersonation as a Japanese man unable to speak his own language! He is like Peter Sellers! And he lives down the lane from me.
By the way, the walk home was amazing. My adopted neighborhood is something out of a dream, a cartoon, and somehow a sentimental stroll through the lanes of someone else’s memoriesーthe little alleys and very different houses, the warm but slightly spooky, tall, leafy green trees all in shadow and highlighted by street lamps and the peace park and sunken primary school all make me feel enchanted and delighted and sad at the same time.
And waking up on my tatami, in my little corner house, surrounded by young business people, parents and children racing off to school and work in the morning, with older folks who give the neighborhood its feeling of anchorage to the pastーthe crows crying out like friends on a train platform-in the brilliant morning sunlight warming me through the windows and glass doors in the midst of the powerful wind and AM chillーis too much against the idea that I am in the world I knew! Living like this in Japan is to be inside a story book!
Living in Itabashi, Tokyo, a mix of old houses and business and the new, is pleasantly surreal, and like when living in Korea, I miss friends and family on “the other side of the world”, but trying to describe and release these visceral and mental emotions and to avail myself of the tensions of my excitement and of their pent-up energy within me would be near impossible in text, voice-clips or a phone conversation lest I bore them and not satisfy myselfーso I write.
CA

Read Today in Tokyo: Standard English –

Who, That And Which ー Relative Pronouns (With More Humanity)

We use other words to replace and refer to nouns where those nouns must be mentioned again in our speech and writing. This prevents redundancy; we don’t want to repeat a noun with the same word or name twice in a sentence. It’s boring and repetitive, non-aesthetic, and unnatural

Things are nouns. People are nouns. Members of other species are nouns. Here are some nouns:

  • book
  • Jane
  • Joseph
  • Spot
  • Frank Smith
  • a nice girl
  • a whale
  • a movie
  • an astronaut
  • an AI
  • the man
  • the lake
  • the pencil

The words that refer to and replace nouns in a sentence are called relative pronouns, because they relate to the original word being referred to and replaced.

Here are some relative pronouns:

  • that
  • which
  • who

Below, the nouns will be in bold type and the relative pronouns referring to and replacing them will be underlined. Look:

A movie that I’ve watched again and again is called 2001: A Space Odyssey. In that film an astronaut who survives a mass murder by an AI, is lost in space.

If we don’t use relative pronouns, our speech is awkward:

Sample Example I – Redundancy (no relative pronouns):

The class book is helpful. The class book is on sale at the campus bookstore. Jane is a nice girl; Jane is in my class. Jane uses the book ー the book I just mentioned.

Sample Example II – Non-Redundancy (with Relative Pronouns):

Class books are helpful. The one that I use is on sale at the campus bookstore. Jane is a nice girl who is in my class. She uses the class book that I just mentioned.

As we can see, the speech employing relative pronouns is more natural and easy to utter.

You might also have noticed that when referring to people, it is better to use ‘who’ instead of ‘that’ for the pronoun referring to them. Here is more about this idea;

Example 1:

The man on the bus who helped me is over there. The transit card that he gave me got me to work on time.

Example 2:

People who use ‘that’ to describe dogs and whales are still abiding by the popular English language and human convention of denying the sentient status and personhood of those intelligent and social creatures who/that possess IQ; so they would say ‘that possess IQ’ and wouldn’t be wrongーnot to most people, anyway.

Example 3:

Most people still use ‘that’, with other species, however:

  • The dog that saved Joseph lives with the Smith family on Schweitzer Avenue in Baltimore.

In fact, many people use ‘that’ when referring to humans:

Example 4:

The man that owns the dog is Frank Smith.

Example 5:

However, I use ‘who’ with humans and members of other species:

  • The dog, ‘Spot’, who saved Joseph, lives on Schweitzer Avenue in Baltimore, with the Smith family. The man who unleashed Spot so he could save Joseph from drowning is Frank Smith.

Example 4
The man who smiles brings smiles to the faces of his neighbors.

Example 5: Things

4. One of the pencils that Da Vinci used is on display at Windsor castle.

5. The lake which Joseph almost drowned in is in Baltimore Park.

Do you now have a better understanding of relative pronouns and when to use them? Will you use who or that when referring to social and intelligent members of other species?

I wrote this lesson to help English as a Second Language students and to show officials who grant visas that I know my language. I hope it helps you, other species and me.

CA

Watch Today in Tokyo: House Proud

Watch Today in Tokyo: Japan And America

20180403_150456.jpgToday’s is a great morning, because I have a quiet space I can rent at a reasonably normal human fee – as my own, I have the kitchen just right and a work and sleep and meditation space from which I can observe people out two window – on a corner – in a bedroom neighborhood of working class Japanese, the sort of location any writer or artist would feel very rich.

Now the bad news:

From a country that has done what humans in every society should want to do – that is, master the concept of civil society – I watch America with anger that can not brew to hot given my peaceful circumstances – sadness, given that we gave democracy in its present form to the world – and not much hope, because Americans cannot seem to make the cultural changes necessary.

The reason Japan and Asia and Latin American and European countries to a large extent achieve peace, good infrastructure and a communal society that is safe is these cultures have a common philosophy, not merely a body of rights that champions only freedom, which in America means diametrically opposite views and too much fantasy – combined with no sense of national communal cohesion run amok under a senseless system of politics run by money, not democracy.

You have to ask yourself, American, why and how the nations we bombed and aided are doing what we proclaimed to be bringing them – much better than we are. In fact, why is our version of democracy a disaster? And don’t tell me it isn’t; only tell me how to fix it – because with children shot in schools, movie house and shopping malls, the EPA reversing of environmental laws and Amtrak trains crashing every several months in cities where police officers shoot the people they are meant to protect – and lets not forget many in our country cannot get proper food, shelter and health care – that is a disaster by any intellectually honest reckoning.

Have a better day, America,

One of Your Sons

卍道

CA

When I Post And Why

Thank you for visiting.

I sincerely hope you found this page in an exceedingly well state of mind and body.

I am lucky to have your interest in my writing and pictures.

You’ll find I post more on Facebook and Twitter, first (See the menu for Social Media links or the icons in the links column).

CΛRL 卍道 ΛTTΞNIΞSΞ is for finished work; I generally don’t publish here until the work is perfected to some degree of a representation of my sense of finality.  Da Vinci said his work was never done; I feel that way, but to me, this site is not a blog, just as my Instagram is not a social media smorgasbord; these are my journals and galleries.

People may ask, ‘why are you always on the internet?’ Well, as I have not yet been formally published by others in a book or journal, and I have not yet had a show of my pictures in a building-based gallery, these forums are my legacy.

So, if you are interested in more day-to-day expression, visit my Facebook and Twitter.

However, I am attempting to do more here, rather than there. It’s not that I like Facebook (‘Sorry, Mr. Zuckerberg, I rather don’t); it is just that Facebook is an indispensable tool for staying in touch with friends and family and for disseminating important information  around the world – in a system which has not been copied and made in a better format by someone else. (Truth be told, Facebook is not the origin of this social media phenomenon: Cyworld was – a Korean creation, and that site, design-wise, is still a better format than Facebook, though largely only used by children, unfortunately.)

All this means my body of view-able works is months, if not years behind what I have written and photographed on a regular daily basis.

Enjoy.

C卍道A

Watch Today in Tokyo: (Ukiyo-e)

Breakfast with Hiroshige

Suruga-cho

(present-day Nihonbashi/Moro Machi)
1865

Utagawa Hiroshige (1757-1858) was a world-famous woodblock print designer of Japan’s Ukiyo-é genre.

In this Hiroshige print, Fuji Mountain, nestled in a beautifully rendered, traditional depiction of smoky and illuminated fog rests majestically atop a traveler’s column of vision that begins with your vantage point, walking from the foreground amidst the shoppers’ street.

On each side of the street are the store fronts of The Mitsui Textile businessーwhich later became the famous Mitsukoshi Department Store: on the right is the cotton shop; on the left, the main store.

Comprising the banners of the facing sides of the shops ー in indigo-blue dyed panels and enclosed in a circle ー are the three, parallel-lined (Kanji) characters, ‘三’, depicting “mittsu” or “3” and the word ‘well’, as associated with water ー ‘i’ (“ee”). (I actually do not see this one.)

Alongside the circles, from top to bottom, it reads えちごや, or “Echigoya” in the Japanese “Hiragana” script (which is used for domestic words; there are two forms of scriptーthe other being “Katakana”, for foreign wordsーand few people know that in ancient times the afore-mentioned purposes of the two systems were reversed).

“Suruga-cho” – actually spelled as する賀てふ in red, accompanying this depictted woodblock print (The characters actually say “Suru Ga Te Fu”) is the old name of the province of Mount Fuji, with “cho” meaning something akin to area. ‘賀’ (“ga”) is “congratulate’, but just part of “Suruga”, hereーan area name.

Text: Carl Atteniese

Reference: Taschen’s Bibliotheca Universalis’ “Hiroshige: One Hundred Views of Edo”, http://www.taschen.com

Thanks also to Shangyu Wu for translation.

Why They Criticize Stephen Hawking

180314001250-stephen-hawking-smiling-1979-restricted-exlarge-169people criticize hawking because intelligence scares them, when it should comfort themーbut it doesn’t, because intelligence takes courage; when you are willfully ignorant, you cannot easily make those connectionsーand you become unintelligentーmeaning you can’t recognize intelligence (or truth, or morality or much else). And the reason this chain of events is taking place is many of these people have to justify their world view, which does not square with reason, common sense or, for that matter, the genius they become a part of – such as that of scientists and other honest people, like Hawking.

CA

Image Copyright: CNN – Cosmologist Stephen Hawking on October 10, 1979, in Princeton, New Jersey.

Scripture, Truth And Morality

cropped-2018-01-08_01-58-522.jpgThere is morality in hearts that utter and inscribe great words. There is wisdom in their practice through virtuous behavior and ethics, but it takes that other talent of goodness, poetryーand its opposite, dishonestyーwith some inaccuracy and terror thrown in, to make the scripture of dogmatism which corrupts the mind and well-being. This is evil.

Photo Art: “Transcendence” ©Carl Atteniese 2018

 

Species Keychains

Causing suffering is wrong. It creates a callousnes for life, which permeates human societyーwhether one is causing discomfort for our species or another makes no difference; what we do, approve of, pay for and promote is validation and cause for its continuance and is eventually visited upon our selves and those we care forーsimply by saying we and others do not possess a soul. The soul was invented for this purpose, to escape pain and to visit it on other beings and species.

 

Painting: “Yin Fishy” © Carl Atteniese 2018

On The Second Amendment

The glaring tragedy Justice Berger was talking about when he called the new interpretation of the 2nd Amendment “fraud” is about Standard English. I wouldn’t necessarily know this were I not focused on English as a language instructorーbut only illiterate and intellectually shallow interpretations of the 2nd Amendment result in its being seen as language specifically about private gun ownership.

Let’s Restore Democracy to The USA

I Have Perfected, Simplified and Neutralized The Background Article Supporting The Petition to Ban Private Campaign Finance in America And Added a Subtitle to Clarify its Purpose

Please Sign it, Friends. All Our Political Challenges Would be light years closer to their possible solutions were we to create a critical mass of citizen support for this change.

http://pac.petitions.moveon.org/sign/establish-a-state-of-2?source=c.em&r_by=9744200

No AG Module? The Aldrin Cycler, of Course!

aldrin_and-his-cycler.png

Zero G Ruining Your Astronauts? No AG Module? The Aldrin Cycler, of Course! of COURSE!
After all my yammering about the importance of an Artificial Gravity (AG) Module en route to Mars (and beyond) ㅡ on Facebook and You Tube – why had no one among my aerospace-aficionado-friends reminded ㅡ or informed ㅡ me that the Aldrin Cycler could all but eliminate the need for an AG Module as it cuts the transit time to the Mars System to 5 months in the shortest windows?
Now, of course, all spacecraft that can be afforded to include an AG Module would ㅡ naturally ㅡ be much more humane and healthier for deep space-traveling astronauts, especially if they are to be frequent flyers over the course of their careers, but technically speaking 5 months to Mars is a lot shorter than 9 ㅡ thus further justifying a lack of an AG Module if necessary.
Now, of course, all spacecraft that can be afforded to include an AG Module would ㅡ naturally ㅡ be much more humane and healthier for deep space-traveling astronauts, especially if they are to be frequent flyers over the course of their careers, but technically speaking 5 months to Mars is a lot shorter than 9 ㅡ thus further justifying a lack of an AG Module if necessary.
That said, We can safely venture a guess that neither NASA nor SpaceX is going to send astronauts via the Aldrin Cycler method to Mars for a first mission ㅡ if at all, because of political, financial and technical concerns, but this is really the way to do it, from my perspective. And This all said, I still think we should not be building deep space modules without an AG Module. We don’t build cars, trains, buses, ocean ships or airliners on the safety-cheap ㅡ so why should we do it with spacecraft – where, of course, the argument for such makes one look like a sociopath.

WOKLDE

Artwork: Astro Carl ©Carl Atteniese 2018

Photo of Buzz Aldrin: Reddit

Cycler Diagram: Mars for Many (and of course, the amazing Dr. Buzz Aldrin)

Links:

 

Statement on Shuttle And Hubble

The greatest achievement the Shuttle program managed, was the deployment, saving and maintenance of the Hubble Space Telescope. Of course, the construction, transportation and deployment and building of the ISS was a monumental achievement with benefits to humanity blossoming each day, but regardless its existence and utility, we would be in the dark about much bigger issues without the Hubble. In fact ー short of a world-culture-shocking chemical, physical or otherwise artifactual discovery via human or robotic exploration on another celestial body, the discoveries made and yet to beーabout and in space by other meansーare to be dwarfed by those of the Hubble.

© Carl Atteniese 2018

Photo of space Shuttle and Hubble on during the first Hubble servicing mission in which new lenses were installed to correct of a grinding error in the  flown Hubble lens.

Statement: On Americans under Trump

I hope that more Americans, while resisting most or all of the Trump agenda, can remember to be virtuous, honest and courageous in action, word and integrity, and in confronting the challenges of our nation, remember that identity politics divides us, while love, understanding, mindfulness and discussion can heal our wounds and take us on the road to solutions and recovery, even with our adversaries and enemies — at home and abroad.

© Carl Atteniese 2018

Photo: Rolling Stone

Holocaust Denier/Jesus Trusters

At the time of this writing, a Holocaust Denier is running for office in Illinois.

I understand it’s important not to be a holocaust denier, but isn’t it more important whether someone is a healthcare denier or an anthropogenic climate change or evolution denier, or whether s/he thinks a version of a mythical omniscient being s/he prays to came to earth via a sexless marriage, had himself worshiped at pain of eternal torture, was tortured himself to speak about “love”, and ‘brought the sword” to divide family membersㅡprofessing he’d see non-believers killed before him, that he walked on water, made multitudes of food from morsels, turned water to wine, healed the sick without medicine and rose from the dead (and saying he would do it again)ㅡthough all evidence is to the contrary?

© Carl卍道Atteniese, all rights reserved.

What “Race” is Eminem?:

Are You A Member of A Sub-species? 

We all share different cultures. Look at Eminem. If you say his “race” is “white”, what do you mean? You must be referring to his his biology, right? – because of conventions in your language and your culture – and their interpretations of his apparent simplified color (He’s not really “white”, correct?; I mean, you don’t have to go to art school, as I have, to be able to tell white from an off-white or pale pink, do you?).

What If You Only Heard Eminem’s Music Before You first Saw Him? 
Imagine you had never seen Eminem’s face: If you were to attribute one homogenized cultural perspective or set of behaviors and attributes to Eminem’s sound, what would you be called?

What if You Saw Eminem’s Face, But Didn’t Hear His Speech or Music?
If you saw Eminem for the first time and did not hear him – you saw only his “whiteness”, omitting his character, demeanor, style of clothing, speech and music – would you be likely to think he was more than “white”, culturally? Would you be likely to feel he was multi-cultural? Then, were someone to tell you he was a musical performer, what kind of music would you guess his being involved in?

Automatic attributions and knee-jerk determinations about a person or group, especially before seeing and learning of the person or group, or in judging his or her “race” by other-than-certain means (though completely cognitively natural for most people, whether they admit the tendency or not) causes us to be vilified in much of today’s American and otherwise western neo-liberal culture. Were you to do this in regard to Eminem, as suggested in the scenarios above, you quickly would be labeled a “racist” by many politically “correct” people, wouldn’t you? “His culture is hip hop, inner city – more “black” than “white,” we could expect to hear, no? Or we would hear that he is an exception or that he is multi-cultural.

The On-The-Street Meaning of “Race”
“Race” includes biology, which makes no sense – because this suggests biologically distinct* differences in people- beyond superficiality- while in actuality, scientifically (really) – all noticeable differences between us are superficial, such as those in hair-, eye- and skin- color differences; you’re not a different race from your family-members for these reasons, are you? So why would you think you are a different “race” from others who possesses only this level of difference between you – general height, cheek bone and eye shape, ear-lobe attachment, or complexion? In fact, we judge by color when all else seems the same or similar! haven’t you seen two people of two different “races” who have virtually all the same or similar styles of physical features except for color and thought, ‘these persons seem to be from the same “race” except for color’? Why would the color variation between people be more a determining factor in “race” than their actual physical structural differences – which appear to be the same?! It’s like saying a tabby and a calico are not simply felis domesticus, just because they have different colors of fur!

These shallow differences do not stop the “races” (ethnicities with similar hereditary DNA strains, really) from mating across “racial lines” (ethnicities with similar hereditary DNA strains, really) – which is a major defining point in the argument between sub-species or species “races”. These differences don’t affect our behavior – unless there are strains for physical and mental ability being passed among a population that insists on only mating with those who look the same.

There are “white” Muslims, “white” Buddhists, “black” Republicans. Do you see? I am a multicultural Caucasian: I am a “white” man highly acculturated in the ways of the East – and this process is only going to increase when I move to Japan. What good is calling me a “white man”? It’s fucking nonsense.

These arbitrary broad-brushed categories are so porous that they are not categories once you take a closer lookㅡespecially if you do a genome sequencing: we share DNA from so many other “groups”!

Ever see a “brown” “black” personㅡa “black” “black” person? I lived in South Korea fifteen years. There are very dark South Koreans. Are they “black”? Why should eye and cheek-bone shape trump color – as I asked above? If two people of a species look similar but differ by color, you would think we should group them by color, like a red Tesla and Blue one, so why aren’t dark Philippine, Korean and African or West Indies people just “black”? Well, to some ignorant people, they are.

The Coup de Grace: We Blame And Claim
What is Obama? With a “white” father and “black” mother, is he an “Oreo”? (Well – what else should I call him?) Is that a “race”? Why is he called “black”?, because he looks “black”? Isn’t he heavy cream or light-brown?” “He’s the first black president.” That’s “racist” – from both the pride AND prejudice perspectives! Do we not see the stupidity in this word and the Devil’s Food richness of the thick-as-molasses use of it? (No pun intended “racially” – I mean ‘thick’ as in “stupid”.) One group blames him and the other claims him. He is neither “black” nor “white”. He is a Homo Sapiens Sapien. There are dark ones and light ones but they are all the same “race” (species and sub-species).

If you had a baby with a “black” woman or man – or a “white” woman or man -what “race” would it be? By “racial” reasoning, s/he would be a half-breed. In some countries in Asia, they still talk this way. However, there are no half-breeds of human at this time on the planet. There is no more than one sub-species and one species of human on the planet at this time (in this geological epoch) and we are all members of that group – period. It is an unequivocal scientific and anthropological fact. No one can claim differently without being incorrect. It is not a matter of “belief”, either (that stupid, meaningless and misleading word). There have not been two subspecies of human since the time of Cromagnon and Neanderthal Man. If you insist you are a different “race”, than you insist you are a scientific anomaly: a sub-species.

CA

© Carl Atteniese 2018, All Rights Reserved.

One Race Skull © Carl Atteniese, All rights Reserved
______________________________________________
*This word has a special meaning in biology
beyond differences in appearance

Social Media

Social Media isn’t “making us dumber.” Intellectual dishonesty and anti-empiricism build ignorance – with cowardice forging cognitive dissonance and identity politics; that makes some dumb – and the dumb dumber. I cite the title of this article, as a culprit, by @jessesingal : Social Media is Making Us Dumber

Mando
(Carl Atteniese Jr.)

Watch: Is The Hard Problem Over-rated?

In philosophy and neuroscience the issue of consciousness, specifically, why we are conscious – or put another ‘Why are we conscious?’ is called the hard problem.

Art Copyright Carl Atteniese 2018

The Importance of Honesty

In a time when fake news is an issue, this is the antidote ー in a manner of thought.

Someone asked why lying is wrong, and this was my answer:

Honesty is the kernel of spirituality, all higher perception and related reason, self-knowledge, mental health, cognition, and relationships ーincluding with the self. 

If you lie to yourself about anything, especially your about your observations, feelings, or beliefs, you will lie to others, which in the case of those who trust you amounts to a human rights abuse. People who trust you, in private life or in business, depend on your honesty to understand the world that you reveal to them. If you lie, you paint a false image where they depend on you for an accurate one; this is deception. It makes a fool of them in the worst way, because it makes a fool of them in such a way as it facilitates their making a fool of themselves–because they decided to trust you. That is the heavy answer to your question and the one that matters most.

The light answer is: Honesty that is self-serving is a vice or a tool for self-aggrandizement; honesty for the benefit of others is a virtue.

In conclusion, dishonesty is the root of all problems as a factor in one’s not loving oneself and thus others. The only time lying is virtuous is when it saves lives and promotes righteous justice (which never, ever includes harm to anyone, for any reason (not even to facilitate punishment, which is pmitive and which will one day be done away with).

©Carl Atteniese 2018 All rights reserved

Photo: “Kendrick Lake” by Carl Atteniese

Who’s Thinking in The Shower?

The Buddha said it. Sages have said it. Jim Carrey says it. Even Sam Harris would say it — after a long, drawn-out answer to a question on the subject: that there is no subject. There is no “I”.

I have taken to saying things such as: I experienced this image/thought/idea… because though the conventions of Standard English demand I use the first-person pronoun to allow a listener to know who is doing the doing or the experiencing in my sentences (not all other languages require this — Korean, Japanese and Chinese don’t require the use of subjects), I do not feel authorship for most of what happens in my brain, and ‘I’ usually (not always) implies a sense of authorship.

We witness our actions and thought, but we say “I thought of something,” “I came up with an idea/solution/poem. I did this thing.” In reality, you might be good enough to admit, we have ideas, we witness solutions, we discover poetic verses. These things come to us. And when we finally get up to go to the bathroom, doesn’t it seem as if we could honestly say, ‘my body finally got up’, when I had just been thinking about it? Think carefully. How often have you decided your favorite color, taste, or even dating type. Doesn’t something inside you do this for “you”? I have been thinking about this for decades – long before I heard of or read Sam Harris. The point is, it is a phenomenon common to us all – if we are observant and honest.

The Buddha said the brain was a witnessing gland, an interpreter, an observer; actually he said it was a sense organ. We can manipulate what we interpret in the world, design sentences to describe it, formulate equations around the properties we observe or imagine to be responsible for the properties we think we sense in the universe and edit the words that come to us in the writing of a poem. But these things — these processes we invent come from inspirations, flash-points, touchstones.

Ideas: Whence Do They Come?

Many people will tell you — myself included — that we get the best ideas in the shower, or during other mundane acts, when basically the mind and body are united in a task that does not allow for too much ego-driven control. Some might be tempted to say that during these deeds, such as in the act of bathing, we are following patterns — some learned, some programmed by habit, and some just common sense: you drop the soap and pick it up in the exact same way you had when you were five years old — minus any age- or injury- inducing changes in your locomotion.

And this deed, be it watering the garden, washing your hair, or doing the washing up (the dishes) is a “thoughtless” activity — and yet, the brain “thinks” as freely as if we were dreaming. And we get ideas. Some might say these mundane acts should indicate the brain is in its programming (programmed) modse. We are doing tasks — such as cleansing, organizing or even driving the car — a more or less programmed set of rituals and scripted responses to the world outside — which we ingrained the memory and motor circuits of the brain to come to engage in unconsciously. But during these acts of washing, working mindless tasks and driving, we sometimes find it more obvious to notice what the brain is doing behind the scenes all the time: thinking for itself. So, I would say that that part of the brain is on “auto-pilot”, whilst the rest is in “free-flight” mode. And this is where our genius comes from.

Einstein imagined the scenes that became his basis for the theory of relativity. He saw himself riding a light beam through the cosmos. He wasn’t in the shower, but haven’y we — in our busy lives — been deeply involved in working with water, as I alluded to, before — when we have experienced ideas we wouldn’t honestly say we authored?

Bears And Big Thoughts

I remember the first time I bathed in a roaring creek. I was on a back country camping expedition in Colorado — with a girlfriend. We had no other way to wash. Well, I can tell you that in bear country, you don’t blithely dream away a twenty-minute period amidst dense forest as you throw frigid water on your naked body in the out-of-doors. First, you want to get the task over with, because the water is nearly freezing cold. Next, you are scanning the horizon – which is basically a hundred yards in any direction, except up and down stream — for something big and furry that might want to miss the fish for a day for a side of human sushi and creek drink.

In the hunter-gatherer days, this is how people washed — carefully. Could it be that this was one of our first meditative acts in which the mind and body are engaged in auto pilot, whilst in the background the stirrings of conscious dreaming were in their infancy, in such a way as they could be called up today whilst we are in water? And in the time that ensued in which people became more used to this — effectively having our brains say, ‘fuck the bears’, I need a bath, this act of washing became more and more relaxed and automatic and so our contemplative thoughts increased at this time.

Sow we find ourselves, today, a hundred thousand years hence washing in total abandon — unless we have to make a commute. Could it be the body (or the part of the brain that is the body) tells the mind it is okay, now, to take over — when we are touched with water — because of our nascent experiences as a species, always in thought — with that medium?

More to Come on This…

Art Copyright Carl Atteniese 2018

“Princess” Nokia’s Violence

Why I Speak And Write Proper English

A Reader on Facebook (to me): “Your notion of correct English doesn’t line up with what we all consider natural English. Something all native speakers of the language are capable of.

I, in Reaponse:

I speak standard English to preserve it, because I taught English as a Second Language for 18 years and know that because there are more non-native speakers of the language than native speakers, the accuracy — and thus the beauty and nuance of it — is being destroyed, or is at least devolving.

In addition, I realized that I would have fewer incidences of confusion in the classroom, if I modeled correct English first — before speaking the dialectical incorrect versions of the language so common to many today.

I knew I would also have less of a hard time re-explaining structure if my students learned English correctly the first time.

I speak Standard English properly to the best of my ability, also because I am a burgeoning essayist, poet, comic and activist to the best of my abilities, and I feel that accuracy in language often — if not always — conveys meaning more precisely in those endeavors — and less ambiguously, if one utilizes it.

I have suffered occupationally and socially due to ignorance of the language on the part of others (a huge problem in the PC world of today).

I am interested in aviation and aerospace. There are hyper-important reasons illustrating why English is the international language of those endeavors and they aren’t in the realm of hegemony; its about accuracy.

English is a low-context, highly democratic and accurate language for “level-the-playing field” communication, which prevents plane crashes.

Finally, I seek an audience with the righteous, academic and political — as well as with common people such as myself, for the current era and for posterity, such that I can help improve the world. Saying things correctly makes that easier on all fronts — in my opinion.

I do step outside proper English to convey points, too, however — especially when I want to be humorous!

These are wonderfully good reasons to speak the language according to its best devised rules and conventions, in my opinion.

For America

I hope that more Americans, while resisting most or all of the Trump agenda, can remember to be virtuous, honest and courageous in action, word and integrity, and in confronting the challenges of our nation, remember that identity politics divides us, while love, understanding, mindfulness and discussion can heal our wounds and take us on the road to solutions and recovery, even with our adversaries and enemies — at home and abroad.

Why People Insist on Using ‘Race’

Some of you know I have been on a crusade to eliminate the use of the word race outside scientific discourse, because of its erroneous and pernicious hand in ethnic prejudice.

When an issue comes up such as the Charlottesville clashes and the like, I post a few paragraphs on this.

Invariably the idea gets approval, but people continue to use the word, and there are always one or two of you who push back on insignificant grounds, citing semantics and lingual tradition or maybe revisionism.

On Youtube I have even been told that I am wrong in supporting the scientific and social consensus; those are opinions in disguise of the true ethniphobes and xenophobes, I think.

The thing some of us don’t understand is if you want people to get along, it should make you happy that the genome project a few years ago proved what scientists knew all along, and that is that we are one species (“race”). Why this fact doesn’t excite all of the good hearted people and encourage them to see the problem with the word race, I cannot fathom.

So when I meditate on it, I come to these conclusions about why:

1. Some are afraid of losing their special status as “black,” “white,” “Korean,” whatever.

2. Others are afraid of being lumped in with everyone else (another angle on number 1).

3. Some feel it is a semantic difference (when it clearly is not), and just don’t understand what I and others are saying. They obviously think a change in language won’t affect the problem. To me, this is like saying we should continue using the “N-word,” because it does no harm.

4. Some feel the phasing out of the use of the word race will erode their political and social agenda which more than being about concerns about prejudice, I suspect involve false pride.

As far as the issue of prejudice — institutional or otherwise — is concerned, I feel this is not true. No one is whitewashing the history these days unless they are white supremacists, which I obviously am not, and my call for the use of other words besides and in place of “race” should prove that.

‘Race’ in non-scientific discourse just makes it easier to incorrectly assert that people are permanently different. How does that advance the agenda of equality?

5. This is the most disturbing and another version of number 1: Some want to continue to assert their superiority so insist there are actually different races. This is the position science deniers are in for the sake of fossil fuel profits, pretending global warming is a hoax, and of course it is as equally evil, because it obscures the truth and perpetuates suffering.

Just remember: believing in seperate races among humans is science denial and a major cause of the problem.

Also remember that if you refrain from using the word ‘race’ and its derivitives, and you use species, instead, you will see what is so wrong with ‘race.’

When you want to refer to an ethnicity, a culture, a nationality, you can still do that, just leave biology out of it — because that’s not only incorrect, it’s bigoted. Then you’ll see there are no grounds for using ‘race’ without asserting your belief in its fiction — which makes one a “racist,” like being a believe in the living Elvis, only that’s harmless; thinking others are a different species just because of their skin or skeletal variation is incorrect — and has been hurting people for hundreds of years.

CA

Photo Copyright Carl Atteniese 2018

Earn Your Citizenship:

Talk to The Power You Control
Often and most recently, I have encouraged people to be politically active, using the pen, the keyboard, the phone and twitter. I say tweet to the Trumps and to our representatives at this sensitive and dangerous political and historical time. In response, people have told me they were not “on Twitter”, that they ‘couldn’t figure it out’ or that they ‘weren’t sure whether tweeting to politicians was an effective method.’ What on Earth is Trump doing?
Here is a paraphrased, expanded and developed composite of my responses:
You can remedy your lack of a Twitter account in minutes. You can figure out how it works in equal time. The tools for democracy and sinfully easy participation were never better.
Do you only do things with a guarantee of success? If a man had his finger on the button, would you not lunge at him without doing a statistical analysis of your possible failure rate, first? And what is “effective” in your book?
No one is asking that your small democratic participation and responsibility solve everything. I do it to simply say, ‘hey, primate-like-me, I’m one of the citizens you’re dumping on and leaving in a lurch with your stupid, cowardly and selfish policies, and I am watching you.’ I also do it out of love. These are people and they get caught up in the corrupt system you and I maintain — so, it is a reminder that it is not okay. I am often quite polite about it, too, but now that we are literally being bent over and kicked in the ass, along with the rest of the world — due to our power, influence and responsibilities, by these usurpers and traitors, I can’t stand tall as a man without at least saying something.
As a matter of fact, I just tweeted to my representatives in the Senate (see below), to make sure they fight Mitch McConnell on his irresponsible and climate-killing energy bill.
You see, I don’t find this the most enjoyable pastime — my political outreach; as a matter of fact, I am very far behind in many areas of my life — and this is not my chosen vocation — although it does involve quite a bit of philosophy (which I do enjoy in principle, but which could be applied to grander designs of much more interesting subjects, if we had only responsible, intellectual, educated and spiritually mature people in government).
It is infuriating and boring to me, that I have to deal with such childishness when I would love to turn my full attention to bigger problems of humanity, such as understanding the human mind, saving the environment (though that is part of this), spaceflight, art and poetry — and so it feels like a giant obstacle in the course of my life trajectory (I have school work to do; I am alone, between private places to live and I need another job); but it is not ‘a waste time. Political participation is, in the smallest way, my part in democracy. not enough. Voting is the hiring. Political participation is the day-to-day work of being the boss. That’s our job! Did you ever have a job wherein you were hired and you never saw your boss or a supervisor, again? Did you ever get a job and have the boss say, ‘hey, now you’re on your own; do what you want. Sit at my desk, use my phone, have a party, take a vacation, set fire to the building, if you like.’
Indeed voting, alone, in America, is extremely flawed, as we know — and Trump and the Republicans are working to restrict that, too. That’s why I included the issue of voting in my petition to ban private campaign finance.
If I am not at least slightly politically active — tweeting — how can I call myself an American and be deserving of our democracy? How can I expect my representatives to represent me if I don’t stand up to have my opinions counted?
I had family die in wars for this country, I have worked and paid taxes, I see Americans and our enemies and allies suffer because of our decisions. And Trump and the Republicans are dumping on all of us with their conduct and undeserved positions at the helm of the most powerful nation on Earth.
Have you ever considered that millions of people and trillions of other species died around the world for our ’empire’, as well as Americans and foreign nationals. And these unscrupulous nitwits are taking your taxes to spit upon the memory of those souls, by running the country into fascism and the environment straight into hell.
I don’t know about you, but I want to earn my right to the legacy of Jefferson, Adams, Paine, Washington, Lafayette, Lincoln, Kennedy, and all the people in between and since who fought for this Republic in government and private life — as soldiers and private citizens paying taxes. Hell, what did John F. Kennedy live and die for — this? It is disgraceful and should shame us all. And what about the world we are handing over to our children? I saw a headline yesterday that asked when the earth would be too hot for us. The sub-title answered ‘maybe in our childrens’ lifetime. How can you sit by and accept that?
So, I don’t see how people can make excuses about what’s “effective” — to explain away why they won’t do something. It’s BS. Come on; you know that.
You either do your part or you are dead weight. You have the tools to talk to your oppressors and supporters — instantly. Why would you attempt to find an excuse not to?
As I said in my twenties, “democracy is not a spectator sport.” So ‘if you don’t like democracy and don’t want to do its work, you belong in China, Russia, North Korea, Thailand….’
Also, when I was in my twenties, there was no Twitter. I had to write a letter and take it to the PO. But I did that. A lot.
I am aghast at American excuses for not participating. If you have time for Facebook, you have time for your employees: the government. We, are responsible — and we do not do enough to rein in our government; that is why Osama Bin Laden attacked us.
Own it, friend. Or lose it. And according to recent 18th, 19th and 20th century history, we are on course to lose it as they had — through their vote and inaction.
© M∧N⊃⊙ (Carl Atteniese Jr.) 2017 All Rights Reserved

Watch “Donald Trump And Mike Pence: Shut Up on North Korea” on YouTube

Trump And “Race”

Let’s Get One Thing Quite Clear: on Prejudice

Trump is not a “racist”; technically, no one is — no matter how hard he or she tries to be or appears to. Now, before you get your PC underwear in a knot, thinking I am taking away the mechanism by which “good” people get to hate “bad” people, hear me out. By the end of this, you won’t be angry at me — unless you want to be disingenuous, and you don’t really care about prejudice.

To be a “racist”, there have to be subspecies among humans to be prejudiced against; there aren’t. They don’t exist. It isn’t enough to say disliking a culture or even its peoples’ behaviors equates to “racism”. Race and racism call into the equation biology as well as culture. Therein lies the error and the offense. Therefore, in order to use ‘race’ in your description of a people, doesn’t it stand to reason you must believe in the fallacy of race; don’t you implicate yourself as “a racist” when you add credence to the existence of different races among humans — when you USE ‘race’?

To be a racist, you have to think religion, education, up-bringing, politics, culture and personal intention have not enough to do with a group’s behavior or with the behavior of members of the group you think they belong to. Otherwise you would use a different word to describe them. To be a racist you think biology enters into that (thus you use ‘race’ in your description) — or that it is a big part of all the other factors I mentioned.

If its not Race (Subspecies)
If you do believe all those factors — religion, education, up-bringing, politics, culture — are the reasons for the preponderance of certain behaviors observed in a group — or among members of it — and you subtract biology from the equation, you no longer can or should use “race” as a determinor in your reference to those people you speak of as different; you should use ‘culture’.

Words to Use
Therefore, if you think someone is inordinately concerned about a group of people along that line of thinking (whether he or she is right or wrong for that concern), you can refer to him or her — if you must label — as “a culturalist”, an “ethniphobe” or in the cases where you think the person is unfairly prejudiced, as “a prejudiced person”, “a bigot”, “ethnicentric”, “xenophobic” or as “a xenophobe”.

So we see readily that we have words to describe the phenomenon of unjustified and/or irrational prejudice. We don’t need “race” and its pernicious affects — its woefully inaccurate and incorrect implications of biology. Why be wrong when you can be right and still make your point? Why insult a group of people suggesting they are a different species or subspecies (which use of ‘race’ unequivocally does)?

Back to Trump
Trump is a draconian strategist. He is obsessively focused on the perfection trying to eliminate all chances of undermining his control. That means he sees a problem and wants a strict penalty — so he can ensure results. For example, Jihad occurs in a country, so he says “no one can come from there to here.”

It doesn’t phase him much (or didn’t) that out of say 10,000 refugees maybe only one would commit a terrorist act. That is not “racism.” If anything, it is culturalism — saying that a certain strain of education and political interest or proclivity exists in a particular group — and you want to eliminate its chances beyond all doubt.

Likes, Dislikes, Tastes And Prejudice
Now let me make a point about likes and dislikes. Is it “racist” to dislike Italian food? Personally speaking — though I love the taste of it — I am intellectually against it; it’s unhealthy, in my opinion. This is not ethniphobic. No one in his or her right mind would argue I am against Italian individuals (Italians, Italian people) just because I have an intellectual opinion about Italian cuisine. Similarly, if my taste — not merely my nutrition-oriented opinion of Italian food — is such that I don’t care for it, who would blame me?

If one does not care for Latin culture in general, however, we might agree that others would say this at least leans toward what I call ethniprejudice — what lazy or ignorant or defensive people call “racism”. But is it that?

If it just so happens that viscerally-speaking, my inclinations make me wince when I hear Spanish or Italian, and if by unconscious proclivity I also find Latin music unpleasant, and if I do not care for the teachings and habits and tendencies of those practicing the dominant religions in those cultures — additionally, if I don’t care for or am anathema to the politics they tend in large part to engender, so I do not have a lot of friends or a wife — more poignantly — from that culture (or from those cultures), am I an ethnicentric or ethni-bigot? Am I prejudiced? Am I… a “racist”?

I would hope — for the sake of the quality of your mind — that you would judge with a resounding “no” and that you would say that the afore-mentioned are matters of taste.

Now, if I judge each Italian or “Latino” before getting to know him or her (I can imagine people blaming me for using ‘Latino’ in the name of conversational efficiency) according to my tastes then THAT would be prejudice.

Back to Trump.
If Trump sees a record number of particular behaviors in subsets of people, and there is ample evidence to suggest that there are reoccurring contributing factors to perpetuate a continuation of those particular behaviors among them, is he wrong for naming this phenomenon and trying to take action regarding it? I am not saying he is right. I am asking the specific question with its inherent specific parameters to make a point — regardless whether the details are right; that’s academic. What is not is whether the premise is not sound and whether it is ethiphobic (and/or xenophobic) — “racist”. I don’t think it is; it may be problematic on other grounds — but has nothing to do with race and everything to do with culture. If it has to do with taste, there might be a big problem THERE, but not necessarily — if by taste one sees differing morals or educational and occupational tendencies in a group distasteful or undesirable for concerns of burgeoning citizenship.

Personally — and I digress — on the issue of immigration, I support amnesty in most cases of “illegal” resodence, because I consider a state a failed human construct if it cannot erect a society that honors human birth rights on this planet — in this day and age, and to me it is a human birthright of a human being to go wherever he or she chooses to go on the planet.

Back to Trump.
Ostensibly we want him out or to change based on (among other factors) his draconian, incompassionate and unrealistic approach to immigration and refugee policy and based on his offensive nature on these and other topics, hopefully not because we foolishly think he fosters policies, simply because he has trivial views on Mexicans and Muslims — such as his ‘not liking their cultures, because their names begin with the letter ‘m’ or his ‘dislike of tacos and humice’.

And even if Trump doesn’t want certain people here, because he thinks they are getting a free ride or he thinks their religion and culture are dangerous to egalitarian values, we don’t have to perpetuate the ignorant and stupid phenomenon of the existence of subspecies as relevant in the debate with the use of the wrong words — to accomplish a case against him.

The Cause is in The Word — Fostering The Belief
This is the cause of the problem — our saying human beings are fundamentally different by sub-species — not just by their food and clothes and music — when we use ‘race’. And so, the people using the word are the culprits — or some of them.

I won’t buy into the neo-liberal PC bullshit lie about race anymore, just because I ‘like’ the fight against prejudice (and truth be told I don’t like to fight). However, it is my strong and experiential suspicion that those who use the words ‘race’, ‘racist’ and ‘racial’ do like to fight — or need to (or they need to sound and appear as though they are fighting), because of their jobs and/or their relationships.

You can, buy into the PC bullshit of “race” and “racism”, if you want. I won’t. I will not go along with “most people” who are too “ignorant”, as a friend called those whom he said were “not smart enough” to be accurate and righteous with their words — defending the use of the word ‘race’, ostensibly for the purposes of efficiency.

Ignorance is the only fuel irrational-ethniphobia and prejudice, bigotry and xenophobia need to thrive. I will not remain ignorant any time I glean a path away from its darkness into the light of truth; not only is it anathema to my personality, I took an oath against it — in a temple — with my Dharma Brothers; nor will I perpetuate ignorance — for political expedience, friendship or acceptance in some circle — not even for the politics of “saving people”, because then I would be just like Trump.

Let’s Get One Thing Quite Clear: on Prejudice

Trump is not a “racist”; technically, no one is — no matter how hard he or she tries to be or appears to. Now, before you get your PC underwear in a knot, thinking I am taking away the mechanism by which “good” people get to hate “bad” people, hear me out. By the end of this, you won’t be angry at me — unless you want to be disingenuous, and you don’t really care about prejudice.

To be a “racist”, there have to be subspecies among humans to be prejudiced against; there aren’t. They don’t exist. It isn’t enough to say disliking a culture or even its peoples’ behaviors equates to “racism”. Race and racism call into the equation biology as well as culture. Therein lies the error and the offense. Therefore, in order to use ‘race’ in your description of a people, doesn’t it stand to reason you must believe in the fallacy of race; don’t you implicate yourself as “a racist” when you add credence to the existence of different races among humans — when you USE ‘race’?

To be a racist, you have to think religion, education, up-bringing, politics, culture and personal intention have not enough to do with a group’s behavior or with the behavior of members of the group you think they belong to. Otherwise you would use a different word to describe them. To be a racist you think biology enters into that (thus you use ‘race’ in your description) — or that it is a big part of all the other factors I mentioned.

If its not Race (Subspecies)
If you do believe all those factors — religion, education, up-bringing, politics, culture — are the reasons for the preponderance of certain behaviors observed in a group — or among members of it — and you subtract biology from the equation, you no longer can or should use “race” as a determinor in your reference to those people you speak of as different; you should use ‘culture’.

Words to Use
Therefore, if you think someone is inordinately concerned about a group of people along that line of thinking (whether he or she is right or wrong for that concern), you can refer to him or her — if you must label — as “a culturalist”, an “ethniphobe” or in the cases where you think the person is unfairly prejudiced, as “a prejudiced person”, “a bigot”, “ethnicentric”, “xenophobic” or as “a xenophobe”.

So we see readily that we have words to describe the phenomenon of unjustified and/or irrational prejudice. We don’t need “race” and its pernicious affects — its woefully inaccurate and incorrect implications of biology. Why be wrong when you can be right and still make your point? Why insult a group of people suggesting they are a different species or subspecies (which use of ‘race’ unequivocally does)?

Back to Trump
Trump is a draconian strategist. He is obsessively focused on the perfection trying to eliminate all chances of undermining his control. That means he sees a problem and wants a strict penalty — so he can ensure results. For example, Jihad occurs in a country, so he says “no one can come from there to here.”

It doesn’t phase him much (or didn’t) that out of say 10,000 refugees maybe only one would commit a terrorist act. That is not “racism.” If anything, it is culturalism — saying that a certain strain of education and political interest or proclivity exists in a particular group — and you want to eliminate its chances beyond all doubt.

Likes, Dislikes, Tastes And Prejudice
Now let me make a point about likes and dislikes. Is it “racist” to dislike Italian food? Personally speaking — though I love the taste of it — I am intellectually against it; it’s unhealthy, in my opinion. This is not ethniphobic. No one in his or her right mind would argue I am against Italian individuals (Italians, Italian people) just because I have an intellectual opinion about Italian cuisine. Similarly, if my taste — not merely my nutrition-oriented opinion of Italian food — is such that I don’t care for it, who would blame me?

If one does not care for Latin culture in general, however, we might agree that others would say this at least leans toward what I call ethniprejudice — what lazy or ignorant or defensive people call “racism”. But is it that?

If it just so happens that viscerally-speaking, my inclinations make me wince when I hear Spanish or Italian, and if by unconscious proclivity I also find Latin music unpleasant, and if I do not care for the teachings and habits and tendencies of those practicing the dominant religions in those cultures — additionally, if I don’t care for or am anathema to the politics they tend in large part to engender, so I do not have a lot of friends or a wife — more poignantly — from that culture (or from those cultures), am I an ethnicentric or ethni-bigot? Am I prejudiced? Am I… a “racist”?

I would hope — for the sake of the quality of your mind — that you would judge with a resounding “no” and that you would say that the afore-mentioned are matters of taste.

Now, if I judge each Italian or “Latino” before getting to know him or her (I can imagine people blaming me for using ‘Latino’ in the name of conversational efficiency) according to my tastes then THAT would be prejudice.

Back to Trump.
If Trump sees a record number of particular behaviors in subsets of people, and there is ample evidence to suggest there are reoccurring contributing factors to perpetuate a continuation of of those particular behaviors among them, is he wrong for naming this phenomenon and trying to take action regarding it? I am not saying he is right. I am asking the specific question with its inherent specific parameters to make a point — regardless whether the details are right; that’s academic. What is not is whether the premise is not sound and whether it is ethiphobic (and/or xenophobic) — “racist”. I don’t think it is; it may be problematic on other grounds — but has nothing to do with race and everything to do with culture. If it has to do with taste, there might be a big problem THERE, but not necessarily — if by btaste one sees differing morals or educational and occupational tendencies in a group distasteful or undesirable.

Personally — and I digress — on the issue of immigration, I support amnesty in most cases of “illegal immigration”, because I consider a state a failed human construct if it cannot erect a society that honors birth rights on this planet, and to me it is a birthright of a being to go wherever he or she chooses on the planet.

Back to Trump. We want him out based on his unrealistic approach to immigration and refugee policy and his offensive nature on the topic, hopefully not because we foolishly think he fosters policies, simply because he has trivial views on Mexicans and Muslims — such as his ‘not liking their cultures, because their names begin with the letter ‘m’ or his ‘dislike of tacos and humice’.

And even if Trump doesn’t want certain people here, because he thinks they are getting a free ride or he thinks their religion is dangerous to egalitarian values, we don’t have to perpetuate the ignorant and stupid phenomenon of subspecies with the use of the wrong word to accomplish a case against that.

The Cause is in The Word — Fostering The Belief
This is the cause of the problem — our saying human beings are fundamentally different by sub-species — not just by their food and clothes and music — when we use ‘race’. And so, the people using the word are the culprits.

I won’t buy into the neo-liberal PC bullshit lie about race anymore, just because I ‘like’ the fight against prejudice (and truth be told I don’t like to fight). However, it is my strong and experiential suspicion that those who use the words ‘race’, ‘racist’ and ‘racial’ do like to fight — or need to (or they need to sound as though they are fighting), because of their jobs or relationships.

You can, buy into the PC bullshit of “race” and “racism”, if you want. I won’t. I will not go along with “most people” who are “ignorant”, as a friend called those whom he said were “not smart enough” to be accurate and righteous with their words.

Ignorance is the only fuel irrational ethniphobia, prejudice, bigotry and xenophobia need to thrive. I will not remain ignorant any time I glean a path away from its darkness into the light of truth; not only is it anathema to my personality, I took an oath against it — in a temple, with my Dharma Brothers; Nor will I perpetuate ignorance — for political expedience, friendship or acceptance in some circle — not even for the politics of “saving people”, because then I would be just like Trump.

Edward Snowden And You:

Encapsulated in Oblivion, And The Media Gets off Scott Free

Watched Snowden last night, again — this time with family. The most comprehensive and prolonged discussion ensued, but after only 5 minutes, there were just three of us: me, my sister and my brother-in-law. “The elders” (of which there were two) had gone to bed — one of whom called Snowden a traitor. The other probably couldn’t decide, but was offended by even the most basic spying by our government, and my bro-in-law, like me — felt Snowden was trying to do a good thing but that he also erred in revealing some of our plans and tactics — which tipped off Al Qaeda in a few incidents and generally.

My sister started covering all the net-connected cameras in the house, and I was encouraged to feel as if — though Snowden is a man of conscience like myself (but of course technically much smarter), I might not have revealed as much (stress on ‘might’, because it seems he was as careful as was possible).
The conversation resulted in my sister and I being left talking about Islam. I introduced her to the Bill Mahr episode wherein Sam Harris and Ben Aflec had their showdown on the subject — so (of course) she, like most non-initiates — was remotely offended by #samharris and identified with Ben Aflec (which — no fault of hers — disturbs me — a little, as she is very intelligent and rational — and thus is indicative of what busy members of our society know and don’t know).

So, I then introduced her to Ayaan Hirsi Ali ( #ayaanhirsiali ). Good information was coming my sister’s way from the horse’s mouth, but her daughter came into the room and needed ‘mommy to lie with her.’ My bro-in-law also had to attend to looking after their other daughter.

And, so — this scenario illustrates how America is caught: enormously important issues are reduced to history and even then, find their way into a minority of minds as entertainment. By the next morning they are forgotten — as Snowden is.

Edward Snowden: A Superlatively Moral and Ingenious young man who believed in the Constitution so greatly that he became a Marine and the most intelligent CIA and NSA asset this country has ever seen. He now languishes in Russia — the target of our post-9/11 national security state — which under the leadership of Donald Trump will probably see him turned into a pawn of Putin’s.

Barack Obama: Pardon him and let him come home. His “crime” is he upheld the Constitution of the United States and helped launch one of the most important dialogues ignored by the citizenry — of one of the most powerful nations on Earth — which can only return to true greatness with a righteous and honest discussion of this issue — not by prosecuting a whistle-blower and sweeping him under the rug with a cookie-cutter determination of “treason.”
Going to the press is not treason; erecting a secret extra-legal spying and foreign-ally-undermining network of non-constitutional actions… perhaps should be.

Edward Snowden did not reveal the classified information he felt morally compelled to as an American — to a foreign enemy… or with the intent to harm the American government or American citizens; he gave his information carefully and with admonishments of caution to western journalists Glenn Greenwald (a former arch conservative) and the Guardian: these and other news entities shared it with the public, whom Snowden knew deserved this information… as they who financed it had fallen unwitting victim of it and its programs. So, Snowden is in trouble, but what about the press?

Why is Snowden the only one who has fallen out of graces with the US government when the information about the offending government agencies was released by The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Glenn Greenwald? And why have you forgotten him when he has given up everything for you?
If — like many people — you cognitively dissuade yourself (accidently or deliberately) from seeing what the main concerns of Snowden were, consider this:

1. Pay attention to what Snowden said were the greatest dangers of these extra-legal programs; hint: look at who our new president is.
2. Think of Watergate and…
3. Think of this last election.
4. Think of what Snowden said had become the aim of these programs and what the excuse is;
5. Think of what we had done to Japan with these programs, and remember: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden

Photo Copyright Carl Atteniese 2018

#snwoden
#citizen
#ayaanhirsiali
#samharris
#terrorism
#americans
#espionage
#spying
#corporate
#domination
#americanhegemony

Oh, Islam

Billions want to say:

‘Oh Islam!’
Whilst we know
We The People
Kill with plane and robot

“Not deliberately!”, we say

Carl Atteniese Jr.

Links:
•Dozens Of People Killed In Attack On Turkish Nightclub; Suspect Still At Large http://n.pr/2ipVFVy

•Blasts In Baghdad Kill At Least 28 At A Busy Market http://n.pr/2iouzOD

On The Death of Celebrities Important to Us

Their Deaths Equate to A Partial Death of Our Living Culture.

It feels like a part of us has died, when honored celebrities we loved have died, because we identify with that culture and with they who helped define it. As we feel a part of our culture — not mere observers of it, this means we feel a part of ourselves has died.

In our celebration of celebrities is an important part of self: we are proud to appreciate those who reflect our values. Thus these icons had become a part of us which allows us to relate with and connect and commune with others on levels of agreement and in admiration that define us — even if only in our minds. Where else do we reside, if not in our minds and cultures?

I, myself, have grown fond of saying (in a tongue and cheek way) that I don’t fully trust people who don’t like Monty Python.

Who among us has not approved (or disapproved) of others based on their political choices? Haven’t you heard people say they are more terrified of Trump supporters than of Trump?

Likewise, someone who routes for Luke Skywalker (over Darth Vader), appreciates the struggle of Edward Snowden (over that of the Justice Department), or revels in the exploits of Neil Armstrong (when he cheats death and restores our faith in patriotic endurance) becomes someone in our mind — like Bernie Sanders or Elizibeth Warren — whom we could pick up a torch for — or trust. We partially base friendships on these affinities (of course in addition to how potential friends treat us). It says something about the world they want — and how we would fare in it. Celebrities help define this — and it adds to our sense of security — real or imagined.

I am moved to comment on this, because a very well-meaning and intelligent friend (fast becoming something of a celebrity, herself) wrote this morning about the steady, heavy mourning going on these days — for the celebrities who have died this year (the feelings for which are, of course, compounded by this “triumph of evil over good” sentiment that many of us feel, due to the political situation which hangs over us like a death star).

She pointed out that all this going on about celebrities whom we don’t know can actually hurt the feelings of those of us who have lost people actually close to us. It is a very special and generous sentiment, and I appreciate it, however:

As encouraged as I am by her sensitivity and concern for others (and I would say that maybe losing an icon — or ten — from one’s extended world is… yes — not as painful, per se, as losing a direct family member or intimate friend) — I feel the death of heroes is a somewhat traumatizing event on a significant cognitive and visceral level — because it shows us how old we are getting… and how we have to adjust to a new world… that maybe we don’t relate to as readily.

I know that the deaths of Neil Armstrong, Scott Carpenter, John Glenn… and then the scare we had with Buzz — as well as the deaths of David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Leonard Nimoy and Carrie Fisher meant something deeply personal to me — insofar as the world I was a part of (and could have shared with a future paramour — or with young people) has become a little less populated and real. And this means I am more alone, insofar as “heroes” in my midst have disappeared.

You’ll understand more intimately, perhaps, when some of those icons important to your worldview (besides the ones that I’ve mentioned — maybe ones I don’t really know much of?) disappear….

Trump’s “Hate-filled” Speech: Why Americans Support It

I don’t support trump, but in splitting hairs over what is said about him, I take issue with American thinking and discourse; why wouldn’t I — I care about Americans.

I think people make sweeping generalizations and become careless when they feel small and vulnerable, so I am not sure Trump means everything he says. This has been a solid impression I have had from the start. A lot of this is likely posturing and ‘fear-allayment’ for those he courts; he knows a large majority of his supporters want exclusive, tough, conservative solutions and he deduced they won’t support him if he softens up. He also knows the average American is a “tough noogies” kind of person: we say “do what ya gotta do.”

We walk past the homeless and say “I gotta take care of mine” and “get a job.” These are conservative points of view. We also do not show any shame for Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq (–I would like to add Greece, Iran, Latin America, but what Americans even know we transgressed in these places?). Look at the thousands we kill with drones, 90% of whom are non-combatants — dwarfing the casualties in the 9/11 attacks.

So, what’s my point? No one should be shocked that Trump supporters — the ones who have to die in our wars — are enured to his draconian pronouncements. This is our culture of guns, discrimination and cognitively dissonant “country music.” It’s our culture — or theirs.

A friend of mine on Facebook, a thoughful musician with a political and philosophical mind said that when people are scared, they surrender their power.

To be continued…

Talking with Women

This is tongue-in-cheek, and not meant to be a serious psychological, philosophical or political opinion.

Is it just me, or is it difficult talking to women in a way that it isn’t usually difficult talking to most men — especially those with whom we have some kind of relationship (in family or love)? In such situations it is as if reason, listening and personal interest (ours) do not count as they would in the outside world.

This is only a sample conversation, but it’s indicative of the kind of phenomena I have experienced — talking mostly with women — more than with men– on many occasions.

My Mother: The coffee machine is broken.

I: Can we get it fixed?

My Mother: It doesn’t heat up.

I: Yes, I see.

My Mother: Use the Kurig.

I: Thanks, Ma, but as you know, I don’t like coffee that’s been filtered through boiling plastic. (Thus my behavior in using the Japanese tea strainer to filter the coffee coming out of the French Press — rather than letting it go through the plastic grill on top.)

My Mother: Just don’t go through all of them; they’re expensive.

I: “…”

I: I’ll just get some out; I haven’t been out all day. ( I go to the other room.)

My Mother: Here’s your coffee. (Bringing it into the room where I am writing this post; and of course, it was made with the Kurig).

TO COME: “Why didn’t you ask if you didn’t know you were unsure?”

The Dangers of AGI

How dangerous is Artificial Intelligence? Chances are you are viewing this thanks to a device in your hand which constitutes AI in many of its functions.

Are Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking right in saying AI is the greatest potential threat to humanity? Sam Harris (samharris.org) originally thought their pronouncements to be hyperbolic — but now he agrees and adds that the only scarier potential prospect regarding AI besides developing its super-intelligent, self-learning and self-replicating AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) is not developing it, because it can solve our problems. ‘However’ — Dr. Harris points out — ‘if we develop to the extent that it is a million times faster than the greatest human minds, it could go through 20,000 years of human intellectual development in a week.’

Harris goes on to say that we will have deprive AI access to the internet at first — how we have to solve the political problems we have such that this thing does not cause unemployment at 30% — how we will have to program AI to not do what HAL did in the epic and prophetic film “2001: A Space Odyssey” (though he did not put it that way), because if you give AI instructions to protect humanity, it could wind up waging war on what it sees as deleterious or harmful members of humanity…. Sam Harris also worries about the fact that — as he put it — ‘some of the people working on this are keyed up on Red Bull and apparently on the Asperger’s spectrum; they have totally “drunk the Cool Aid” on AI.’

This has to be heard.

Bertrand Russell And God

Good morning:

I would like you to let me share with you just one or two points about a book I’m reading, by Bertrand Russell.

Russell was a British philosopher writing the book I am reading at a time when things Christians don’t believe today were well-believed or recently let go of by them. That is a monumentally enormous point.

What Russell does–amongst other things–is make you realize that the arguments used a long time ago to prove God, etc., have changed, meaning (as we know) that what is acceptable about God and religion has changed due to intellect; this has the surreptitious effect of showing we make God, not the other way around. That is not his point–or at least wasn’t where I am in the book, right now, but I realized from yet another angle of approach that it’s our story, not His–though Russell doesn’t say that, per se. It’s consequential and deductible from the reading. He suggests it, or you glean it reading his debunking of old standard arguments for the proof of a god.

Russell isn’t heavy-handed. He does what great philosopher do–like some comedians: he illustrates tracts of reasoning based on observations you realize should be plain to all of us. He gives you “Ah ha!” moments. You find yourself saying, ‘a child could see that; why didn’t I think of it?’

He is funny. He goes into “God is good.” That’s hilarious. But he doesn’t approach it as people often do, with a litany of disasters. He goes into it sort of like ‘good as opposed to what–by what other cause’s standard?’

That’s what I love about philosophers. Like comedians, they are so plainly and obviously insightful where others are stark raving blind that they can deconstruct the arguments “stupid” people take for granted, for lack of looking and caring– either because they wouldn’t even know to look or because they are afraid to.

The important aspect about philosophers and scientists is this: they approach their subjects out of honest and sincere naivte and innocence in a spirit if good nature. The fact that they come to conclusions religious people don’t like is a fact about the religious people, not about they who are the challendging philosophers and scientists; they don’t set out to hurt anyone or to aggrandize their situations, but rather their deeds indicate they are the epitome of lives utilizing free speech and free thought–to better the world and our misunderstanding of it.

These are some of the topics Russell covers on the existence of a god:

The First Cause Arguement

The Natural Law Arguement

The Arguement from Design

The Moral Arguements for Deity

The Arguement for The Remedying of Justice

Other chapters:

The Character of Christ

Defects in Christ’s Teaching

And more….

Keep in mind this book was written in 1927. That fact stands to illuminate the debate raging now among prominant American, European and Muslim-American and Muslim-European intellectuals.

I first read Russell when I was nineteen. I am glad to be reading him, again. You should be enjoying this amazing thinker, too. His work is rather essential:

‘Why I Am Not A Christian’ by Bertrand Russell could do you and the world a lot of good, because you matter. That’s why he wrote it.

Blame Tradition And Religion for FGM

Tradition
All around the world, in traditional cultures, female genital mutilation is a violent, terrifying, painful and medically problematic issue. Traditionally, if you were not cut, you could not be married. In some places this is changing as human rights and modern modes of fairness, compassion and reason seep into formerly tradition-run societies–and in this context, tradition equates to religious leadership, clerics, tribal chiefs, and male dominance.

The Fingers of Control And Marriage
I am not an expert on this issue, however, I can say that there are fingers of the concern that brought FGM to the world in many communities of the non-traditional (or still semi-traditional) world. Those fingers belong to long arms that connect to still-male-dominated or tradition-laden semi-male-dominated cultures where ethnicity and DNA expression (read “race”) are of paramount importance and status is right up there with that primitive concern. In such places, fathers–and mothers, perhaps to a lesser degree–insist their daughters–and sons–marry inside the ethnicity, the religion and the nation. I have seen and heard of this multiple times in my travels, and experienced this kind of traditional prejudice first hand. However, where FGM is concerned, it is an issue of reducing a girl’s and a woman’s amorous desires, and this is what I want to talk about. I will make a tacit mention of the issue of male genital mutilation, too — but as men have a more arguably superfluous protrusion of skin to be removed–beyond the human rights and sensitivity issues inherent–it is not as invasive or deleterious a procedure as that performed on women.

Teaching Love Instead of Marginalizing It
In my opinion, a lot of the traditional minds in the religious parts of the world could be relaxed and their concerns about promiscuity allayed if a practice of love were taught–even here, in the West — especially here.

Love is left to the realm of sex, “fantasy romance,” luxury and poetry — to tales of adventure in legend and in Hollywood, and that is, in my opinion, because it was taught that way in ancient religions.

Love (or mating — insofar as it is or was a part of marriage, by some association), has also been left to the realm of fiat, on the part of parents, clerics and royalty. In other words, mates have been — and still are — chosen by the authority other than that which should choose mates: love. This still happens jn most of the Muslim world, in India and in parts of Asia–most notably in South Korea, where it is becoming less and less common but is still done–not so much with parents making the outright choice, but in their having the prerogative to pressure their adult children into “Seon” meetings of blind dating–and in refusing some suitors and choosing others.

Religion And Love
In the Bible there is a passage that warns that the desires of the heart will lead one astray; this is terrible nonsense, and it is there because in ancient times — when male dominance protected bloodlines, fortunes, property and power — love could not be allowed to get in the way — and because humanity seems to have had a very primitively developed concept of what I call “the precepts of love,” which when understood and developed can foster very strong bonds of physical, emotional and honor-bound attraction, dedication and sustainable romantic states of mind such that a need to curb promiscuity can be made to be almost non-existent; but this depends on virtually sanctifying love, freedom and personal choice, not curtailing these virtues. However, traditional cultures have a long historical history of not liking freedom of choice.

Demonizing Sex
Finally, and perhaps most succinctly, that passage was in the Bible (the Torah or Talmud), because love was not truly respected or understood as both a bonding force in human relations that renders chastity rules virtually unnecessary, and because love was largely separated from the desire of sex, which was demonized; we continue to do both, today: “it was just sex.”

The desire for sex is actually the beginning of what can be love, but society teaches us not to honor that, because — ‘mommy and daddy (and traditionally, king, queen, prince and princess; cleric, Bishop and Pope) don’t want you to love this one or that one or to love at all right now; love is for later….’ This is the beginning of the parental and societal guidance toward the habit of “promiscuity” and why we have FGM and parental meddling in nature.

Carl Atteniese

To Tell or Not to Tell: I Love You

This is a response to a letter I received at All Experts.com, where I counsel people afrom round the world on their issues in relationships–which in my opinion all boil down to one’s understanding of love as a practice, which I write about; it is not spychoanalysis or therapy, so I am not delving into those methods of helping people. I am answering questions taken at face value and applying my Precepts of Love Philosophy®.

I left out salutations and introductory writing because (1.), I find that useful, sometimes–to answer the sense of immediacy I suspect the writer feels and to dispense with pleasnatries he or she is likely to skip over anyway (like when you are reading an article and you skip over the first paragraph wherein the writer wants to prove to agents that he can write, se he or she wastes your time with poetic verse instead of telling you as soon as possible about the details of why a jihadist blew up a restroom in your town. You know the type of writing I mean:

Man Destroys Mayberry Bathroom

It was a beautiful spring morning…

To which I always respond, in my mind, ‘Buddy, you’re confusing your day job with your sabatical and it’s assinine.’

(2.) My responses at All Experts.com have a set signature that is time-consuming enough and polite enough.

Now that I have wasted your time, let’s jump in:

“OK:

On the one hand, how do you know it will end badly if you tell her you like her? On the other hsnd, maybe you feel that way because your unconscious mind (some say “intuition”) is telling you it’s not that kind of relationship (yet)? So, what kind of relationship is it; is it “the same kind” of relationahip to her as it is to you? People rarely ask that, or they don’t ask that enough. Ask that: what kind of relationship is this; what stage are we at. Who is she? Who am I? What are we to each other? Am I willing to move slowly and get to know this person, her family, her language and her culture–developing deep understanding and a culture of our own? These are the foundations of love. A lot of people imagine the relationship they think they are in while they are actually in another kind of relationship.

Nature works by symbiotic interplay and mutaually beneficial interdependent players. It doesn’t work by force.

Then there is another way of looking at this: just enjoy the moments with her without milestones such as tellng her you like her in serious, a dramatic way; she knows you like her. She likes you. That’s a given–considering what’s happening. So, if you want to follow this train of thought and develop a tack for it, be natural, but also be smart. Let it unfold without labels for a while.

Telling her in a pivotal, dramatic or serious way might be considered to just say, ‘I wanna get serious.’ Is that necesary? Is that helpful (now, if ever)? Will it endear her or make her point of view change (now, or ever)?

In yet another mode of thinking and tack, be strong and confident and don’t imagine what she will say or do (that is fantasy, based on your very little experience with this person); or don’t think that she will pull away and it “will end badly.” Why would that be bad–if she pulled away? She might be a crazy person, once you get to know her, or she might be very immature and on her best beahvior, these days–or she might be methodical, intelligent and prone to taking her time; so she pulls away and comes back stronger. You actually don’t even know her or her world–so, sadly, it could be a good thing!

What if you say you like her in a fun way? But, again, why not just show her?

As far as her being too far away, that will only matter if you two do not grow in love for each other (“fall in love”). In true love, distance doesn’t matter.

Please consider donating to this cause of helping you by clicking the Donate button.”

My letters of response to petitions for help end with a suggestion that the client let me know how he or she feels and inform himnornher that he or she can write me with further questions.

I have had numerous enough relationships in my life to know that a lot more than live is going on and a lot of love is lost in the process. The main element in love is knowing it is a practice that began with being free to appreciate and grow with that which you are drawn to; this fosters live in yourself (not others indulging and supporting and controling you).

What do you think? I’d like to know.

CA

Better Quality Control

Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes did an expose, tonight, about surgeons and hospital staff wearing faulty gowns from Kimberly Clarke–which transmitted disease into the gowns and made doctors and other patients sick. After all we have seen in business–from defective engineering in cars to drugs that kill people to spacecraft that explode in the atmosphere to factory farms and cancer-causing growth hormones in live-stock, I am convinced that anything coming from a private company that can affect our health should have to pass the snuff of an administration with NASA-like perfection and priorities.

Fanatics

People who adhere to deffective interpretations of dogma at the expense of good sense and neighborly behavior, fairness and survival are called crazy for a reason: they are fanatics and thus dangerous. On a deserted island peopled by castaways, they would have no power delegated to them or have that power taken away from them. They would be separated from the group and ignored–or killed, sadly–but for the sake of the virtues I mentioned above–for the children and the benefit of all; only in a corrupt society can they actually run things; and only in a delusional and corrupt society can that continue for very long.

© Carl 卍道 Atteniese 2016, All Rights Reserved.

To Those Who Quit Smoking

Congratulations
You are a hero

You now are no longer
One of the most radioactive people
You now are cleansing
Instead of toxifying
You now are not a threat
To the global environment
Simply because of your body
And because of unnecessary emissions

You are in defiance
Of the most insidiously evil
And stupidly legal
Homocidal and DNA-destroying
Profit motive

And because of you
Others can breathe as they should
A little more

Thank you

The Limits of Zen

Can It Help with ISIS?

On a Facebook page dedicated to Buddhism for expatriates in South Korea:

Friend:

I like most of what you said, however, there is one relative flaw, and that is in the idea that the most evil will change and become a better person when you change inside; I actually fully understand what you mean, and there is an across-the-board strong element of truth here that deals with perception and how we deal with others, adversity and conflict or challenges–but, there are people so ignorantly inculcated and abused–say those in ISIS, who won’t change in any practical time-frame relevant to your immediate dilemma with them; on this particular point I have run the gamut of thought, all the way to abandoning wherever they actually are–but if you look on my page and find the link to a recent ISIS magazine article, you will see that they do not attack us first and foremost over politics or past transgressions; they say, themselves, they attack us because they want caliphate and because we do not accept the supreme laws of Al ‘ah.

Yes, a Zen mind will create the personal and state policies necessary to reduce or eliminate anger and involvement with entities like ISIS, but in particular, ISIS and groups like it will seek you out to conquer you, anyway.

Art © Carl Atteniese 2018

 

One’s Trump Folly

Oh for shame and sadness

And even for his own

Will sell their lives down river

Blind to his evil tome

For he tells straight what he will do

But the stupid aren’t scared

So Americans ignorant to the truth

Will be the last ones spared

Mando

Use-mention Error, God And Karma: Where Confusion Begins And Conversations End

Good morning, friends.

I want to share with you the concept Dan Dennett talks about called Use-mention Error. He developed the idea from the statements of Donald Heb. It’s simple; can you see the differences, here?:

Use-mention Errors:

1. “I believe in God.”
2. “I believe in ‘God’.”

Of course I believe in the concept “god” and even am aware of “God” as a real cognitive, linguistic and cultural phenomenon. I know ‘god’ and ‘God’ are words, too, but that’s not what most people mean when they assume I believe as they do (that their version of “God” exists) and they ask — baitingly — “Do you believe in God?”

As another example, people often say — as my friend Paul just has:

“Do you believe in Karma?”

This is probably a use-mention error. Paul likely assumes I understand Karma as he does. In that case, he is not making an error if he omits quotes around ‘Karma’ like this: “Karma”, but that assumption is likely going to corner a person and start the confusion, or worse, an argument — especially in the case of “God”. In sime parts of the world (embarrassingly and chillingly too many, actually), the wrong answer to that glaring use mention error can result in one’s death.

So Paul is using the word ‘Karma’ according to his perception of it. He should be mentioning the word, instead, and saying, ‘what do you think about ”Karma.”

The reason is, as with “God” it is not universally understood –or more accurately, it is not universally agreed upon — what ‘Karma’ is. In fact, most people I talk to or who use popular memes including ‘Karma,’ use it in a way that I feel is not correct at all.

“God,” ‘God’ and God:
Let’s back into the “Karma discussion” by backing up and mentioning the “God discussion,” first, as way of better understanding this.

People make use-mention errors all the time when they ask:

“Do you believe in God?”

The first questions that come into my mind when people do this are:

1. Which one (which god)?
2. Is there one?
3. How can I believe in something I don’t know exists?
4. What concepts define and describe your understanding of god?
5. How can we talk about this if I don’t know what you mean?

(Those are actually just a few variations on the many queations that coalesce in my mind when people ask that question.)

Karma:
Karma is not best described by “what goes around comes around.”

Karma is the results of Dharma. Dharma is the natural way of things–or the “natural” way that comes out of the perturbed doings of things that we put in motion, adopt, do–which can result in “good” or “bad” outcomes in “the end.” (Therebreallybis no end; there is cause and effect. An ejd is a subjective event.)

In other words–and this will be over-simplified: what happens (or what you do), is Dharma; the actual (if they are actually caused by you or your deeds) — the results — are the corresponding Karma. Karma is the result or results; Dharma is the cause or causes.

Karma is not some magical force we build up or tap into, building or losing merit; many confused Buddhists have misunderstood it as such and thus taught it this way to others — or others misunderstood their Buddhist friends’ speech and actions in relation to Karma and have passed the ignorance along about it…. Or, more commonly, the limitations of language (or a combination of all three) have put ‘Karma’ incorrectly into the scheme of their “understanding” and the ‘public mind.’ This what I call “Pop Karma” like there is — I feel — a pop-god and pop-love, like pop-psychology.

©Carl Atteniese Jr., All

#usementionerror #god #karma #dharma #language #understanding #misunderstanding #confusion #donaldheb #dandennett #bartehrman #richarddawkins #samharris #ayaanhirsiali #rezaaslan #neildegrassetyson #billnye #michiukakau #lawrencekraus #einstein #darwin #cricke #loenhook #jerrycoyne #davinci #galileo #bruno #copirnicus #bacon #christopherhitchens

Maxim Monday

It’s Maxim Monday!

I hope I have not brought this to you too late for your rumination, over lunch!

Today’s Maxim comes from that scholarly and supremely well-spoken journalist of the world–the famous contrarian and champion of superlative and uncompromising morals and ethics, the late Christopher Hitchens:

“The man who prays is the one who thinks that god has arranged matters all wrong, but who also thinks that he can instruct god how to put them right.”

― Christopher Hitchens, Mortality

Spacesuits

This is old news, but I want this on my site.

Space Suits: Think White And Get Serious (Final Version, including new ideas)

NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is developing new spacesuits for deep space missions to asteroids, the Mars system, and perhaps for missions to the Moon. Some of the new suits being proposed by would-be contractors for NASA have graphic designs on them. I am not an engineer, but in my imaginative estimation, spacesuits should be white–virtually all over, or at least a non-absorbing color–preferably reflective.

Graphic designs as minor elements may be acceptable, even preferable in view of some psychological and aesthetic estimation–but they should not be a distraction or impediment to this very serious and utilitarian element of manned spaceflight.

Some of the suits being proposed are dark and look more like something completely self-indulgent and silly–like concoctions devised for hipsters from a sci-fi B movie.

I don’t like the idea of dark colors on a spacesuit, because space travel carries with it unexpected risks and endless opportunities for unknown circumstances wherein seeing the astronaut in reduced lighting conditions is important–or could be.

Astronauts on EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity–meaning when they are performing tasks outside the ship, station, rover, or habitat), and even in-craft, will encounter situations where maximum visibility and camera detection will be enhanced by reflective colors–or the lack of color all together–on the pressure suit.

It makes no sense to me to put grey, dark, or absorbing colors on the exterior of a spacesuit–which, in shadow will create pixilation issues in video and other imaging media–not to mention possibly causing first-hand visibility-issues in situations involving astronauts separated by great distances or structures and land features–as well as in shadow.

We have to apply imagination to its limits in planning long-duration and deep-space missions to asteroids, to Phobos and Demos (the moons of Mars), and to Mars–in all areas of cognition; transport, stowage, unintended exterior rescue & repair (perhaps at inopportune locations on the mission trajectory)… in suit-replacement situations (say a ‘surface-suit’ must be donned in a Zero-Gravity EVA scenario–instead of a deep space EVA suit that has been damaged); in unexpected psychological situations, and in scenarios of injury and location-loss on the surface of a planet, moon, or asteroid.

On another note, rear-entry suits are being made, such as the Russians have. The back of the suit has a door, which must be closed and sealed by another crew-member. I feel we have to move toward a suit that can be donned alone; I realize that with present and past spacesuits, astronauts have worked together in some aspect of donning the upper hard-shell torso and lower sections, the helmets, and the gloves–but certainly in rear-entry suits, more than one person is necessary in a more comprehensive way–and this I feel will be a great disadvantage on long-duration and deep-space missions—where many unpredictable situations may arise. Should other astronauts be absent, incapacitated, or in the most undesirable scenario–deceased, what will a lone survivor—or perhaps the only healthy astronaut do to don his spacesuit? I feel there may be situations in transit to Mars or the asteroids, or on the surface–wherein a lone astronaut may need to don a suit by him or herself, and with no one around to help, what is he or she to do? Think of The Martian. The suit used in the movie was a fantasy.

Another concern regards the space helmets; I think new suits should include movable helmets, such as was used in the Mercury and Gemini programs. I understand that the cushions in those helmets–which afforded helmet swivel, because they gently pressed up against the head of the astronaut–were likely confining and uncomfortable after a while, but that problem might be circumvented with a motorized rotation or serviceable and adjustable head-clamp-cushion system that could open and close on the temporal portions of the astronauts head–with servo motors or retractable claps.

The reason I think lateral head movement of the helmet is crucial is many-fold; first, it will increase the range of motion usually natural to humans and thus decrease a feeling of confinement, claustrophobia, and frustration. Next, in terms of efficiency, a fixed helmet in which an astronaut must turn his head–like in looking out a window–and then his or her body, to go beyond a 360 degree angle–takes longer, requires more energy, and alters the astronaut’s orientation to turn him or herself around–simply to look in another direction. On EVA outside a ship, this causes torque and fatique (which could happen with a movable helmet, too, if the locking collars are not friction-free).

Finally, regarding the helmets of the Z2 and other suits you can see via the links below, am I to assume no shroud, shield, or visor will accompany them to protect against micro-meteoroids, blast-ejecta, flying regolith, falling rocks, dust-storms, and extreme sunlight? Surely this is just oversight in the online presentations of the spacesuits and not an oversight in design? I am aware that in the case of Mars there is a thin atmosphere to filter out micrometeorites—but surely we are not relying on that. Remember: Imagination, imagination, imagination.

Returning to the graphic design issue of the over-all suit exterior, I understand NASA is almost totally beholden to selling space exploration to a public that is key to its funding and all too ignorant of the necessity of increased support for space travel, but fashion isn’t the way to go in this area.

Fashion in spacesuits reduces the glamour and seriousness of manned space travel–if not the safety–by possibly passing it into the realm of the frivolous–however slightly. And frivolity does not increase funding in a serious and dangerous endeavor like spaceflight, especially in America. NASA has terrible budgetary problems as it is, and this writer (as well as others) thinks this issue–in no uncertain terms–contributed to the forteen deaths we winessed during the Space Shuttle Transportation System.

Keep space suits white, or silver–not just for visibility, but to keep them cool (temperature-widse AND style-wise)–to highlight the presence of foreign matter, and to help show damage incurred on them.

Regarding the darker spacesuits proposed, luminescent wiring or graphic designs are suggested for their bodices and appendages–but I don’t think these will be enough to identify an astronaut at a distance, in all circumstances—especially where multiple light sources and extreme blinding brightness may be factors, as are experienced in Low Earth Orbit, in deep space, and on celestial bodies lacking the filtering-effect of an atmosphere.

Space travel is light years ahead of everything else in the excitement and danger departments. No bells & whistles are necessary for window-dressing to make it more appealing–and could bring harm.

Deep-space travel at this juncture in human history is necessary, for Near Earth Object deflection and asteroid mining, for Moon and Mars bases to establish energy depots, mining (again), way-stations for distant interplanetary exploration, and for terraforming and multi-planet species colonization in the face of looming climate disasters; finally–for the sheer growth of the human spirit, general science, and the economy. These are all essential and beautiful, but deadly serious businesses. Let’s apply fashion in space travel when we have shopping malls on the Moon and Mars—not before.

CA

Links:

NASA Reveals New Spacesuits: http://t.co/OPDBy1UavB

Thousands Vote on The Next Spacesuit Designs. You can too:http://www.nbcnews.com/…/thousands-vote-nasas-next-spacesui…

Vote on The New Spacesuits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkjSMTi54p4

Non-inflatable Spacesuits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExH_YEE4DCs

The ‘Slide-in’ Spacesuit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Lnfnwrq9VY http://www.dogonews.com/…/nasas-next-gen-z1-space-suit-not-…

Adam Savage’s Mercury Spacesuit Replica: http://t.co/FawA3EAGJo

How Astronauts Put on Spacesuits: http://t.co/iVs6KN18JB

Sam Harris Interviews Megan Phelps roper: Leaving The Church

This audio is superbly audible. it is easy to listen to. It is a very educated and sincere, but non-academic discussion and narrative of a woman who grew up in the community of the Westboro Baptist church, which built a name for itself in picketing funerals of soldiers, saying they were punished by god–not for their war service–but for their personal lives, which the church investigated. They also picketed in towns holding signs saying ‘God Hates fags’ and things of that nature. This is a very human story of a highly educated young woman who had to leave her family to fulfill the voice of her conscience. This is relevant to Dr. Harris as he is a leader in the atheist and scientific movements to bring to light the dangers of religion. he has written books on neuroscience, spirituality, and philosophy and is one of the most important intellectuals speaking out today on all abstract issues relating to consciousness, AI, Islam and Jihad-ism, psychology and more. His podcast is The Waking Up podcast. It can be found online at his website and at You Tube via this video. it is also available on Audible and Stitcher.

Provocative Memes And Anger

A meme on Facebook entitled ‘what pisses you off?’ sparked this comment from me:

If my blood sugar is balanced, I don’t get angry; I don’t get “pissed off” or “upset.” I don’t get offended. I feel the emotions that come close to the obsessive states of mind that perpetuate those behavioral conditions, but reason and meditate them away.

I feel that getting offended is a weakness and indicates a lack of love and understanding of humanity and the human codition that requires constant states of ignorance, which keep one in a reactive mode.

I much prefer to eduacte myself on the causes of outcomes, eliminate the childishness of expectations, and to prepare my mind to accept and understand everything as normal (if humans do it, it is part of the human condition) and to see the things that are disagreeable and unfortunate as elements of life to work on with others–through conversation and contemplation and suggestions for better relationships.

People depending on getting angry are people who don’t want to solve problems amicably but would rather blame and complain; they’re the people who depend on anger and disappointment for an emotional roller coaster that feeds their unhealthy and addictive emotional disappointment and reward circuit and their unhealthy self-esteem; they are the people who depend on self aggrandizement by showing off how great they are when getting angry; it’s really just primitiveness–an un-educated, non-compassionate and undeveloped consciousness they are victims of. And, it requires maintenance through cognitive dissonance, delusion, arrogance and dualism.

If something did piss me off it would be the promotion of anger, such as in memes like this.

Anger is not a solution. It’s symptomatic of frustration, indicating a lack of self control and options. Basically it is the master alarm on one’s flight panel indicating failure and helplessness.

ESL Teacher

TalkYourWaytoFluency Profile
I live in Tokyo and am seeking employment here. I have taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for a total of about 18 years.

I have taught corporate, academic and casual students in my own business in the New York City area; I’ve taught in Princeton, New Jersey and in South Korea – in the latter location for fifteen years. I taught all ages there.
Here, on this page, I cite non-teaching and intercultural experience, because I feel ESL teaching involves more than language instruction.

Please see my Gaijin Pot resume for a more extensive and inclusive list of some of the place I have taught om the past 19 years – or request a current download-capable copy via E-mail from http://carlatteniese2@gmail.com/ .

letter-of-refference-from-anna-you

Clients say I am:

  • fun
  • kind
  • diligent
  • creative
  • humorous
  • well-spoken
  • well-written
  • compassionate
  • a good conversationalist
  • knowledgeable
  • entertaining
  • interesting

I help you with:

  • style
  • culture
  • phonics
  • grammar
  • conversation
  • pronunciation
  • I can inspire you to learn!
  • I make custom lessons for you….

I offer:

  • voice skills (I’m a voice actor and comic)
  • listening skills ( I have near-perfect pitch)
  • drawing skills (I’m an artist)
  • I even write upside-down (this allows me to transcribe notes for you from across the table, so you can read as I teach you.
  • I teach you the culture of English-speaking locales, so;
  • You you can learn the language comfortably and naturally.

The advice and attention I give you alone will build your skills

  • We engage in good, interesting, inspiring, exciting and humorous conversations–about subjects that interest you.
  • We use lesson material I make or in books.
  • Look at the menu on of this site; see how much I enjoy ideas. There are many videos here, as well -linked from my You Tube channel – featuring my video-essays, humor and poetry.

cropped-20130327-050553.jpg
I have worked for
Kaplan
Embassy Center for English Studies, NYC cropped-20130401-171109.jpg
Berlitz Language School, NYC
School of Visual Art
DSME, South Koreacropped-me-onban-private-campaign-finance.jpg
Jung Chul Language School, Gangnam, Seoul

The Korea Herald
Actor Park Joong-hoon
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Human, Korea
FEI, Korea
Arirang (the Korea National Broadcasting Federation)

at s as
• an assistant to co-director professors from Asia (this is not on my resume as it did not relate to ESL); I include it here as indication of my intercultural aptitude as was applicable in educational environments in New York.

For Carrot English (an agency), of Nonhyun, Seoul as:

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TBN/CJ E&M Entertainment

Hyundai Motor Corporation

Samsung

cropped-carl-live.jpgIn the US, I did other things, too!

In the US, I did other things, too!In DRAFTING & DESIGN:

at Brooks Brothers, NYC as draftsperson
at Creative Designs, NYC as as a draftsperson, doing
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plans, rendering and sales
_______________
In HOSPITALITY:

at the Rainbow Room, Rockefeller Plaza, NYC as
• a page, host, customer relations agent and union delegate; there, I came into contact with
• one who saw, met and/or served:

cropped-copy-copy-image2.jpg♤His Holiness The Dalai Lama

♤His Holiness The Dalai Lama
♤President Nelson Mandela
♤President William Jefferson Clinton
♤General William S. Westmoreland, US Army, Ret.
♤Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara (JFK)
♤The Queen of Thailand

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♤Gloria Steinem, Writer
♤Geraldine Ferraro, Senator
♤Glenn Close, Actor
♤Meg Ryan, Actor
♤Oliver Stone, Director
♤Harrison Ford, Actor
♤Richard Dreyfus, Actor
♤Michael Douglas, Actor
♤Martin Sheen, Actor, Activist
♤Liza Minnelli, Actor, Singer

cropped-chonggo_and_the_dharma_students_at_tab_eyes_opened.jpeg

11849084_962580607117349_371869214_a

cropped-407267_10102029791747961_1707596359_n1.jpg♤Harry Conic Jr., Musician, Singer

♤Harry Conic Jr., Musician, Singer
♤Lanie Kazan, Singer
♤Martin Short
I have a method that is very much original and amazingly helpful, called Rhythmomnumonics, which helps you remember clauses, phrases and sentences without grammar (but I teach that, too).
Let’s Learn English, together!

Thank you for reading!cropped-photo6331-e12909152646732.jpg

Discussion Talk

Asking Yes/No Questions about Interests and Likes

Are you interested in/ keen on /are you into…?
Do you like/enjoy …?
Do you take much interest in …?
Do you have any favorite …?
Have you got any favourite …? (Brit. spelling)
Answering Yes/No Questions about Interests And
Likes

Yes, actually/ as a matter of fact I do/I am
Oh, I love … !
Well, as a matter of fact …
actually/ to be honest …
I prefer …
I am rather more into/ interested in …
No, I don’t particularly enjoy …
Asking WH- Questions about Interests and Likes

  • What are / is your favorite …?
    What kind of … do you like (best)?
  • enjoy most?
  • enjoy?

What kind of … are you interested in?

  • are you keen on? (Brit.)
  • are you into

Answering WH-Questions about Interests And Likes

  • I am rather interested in …
  • quite keen on …
  • I rather like …
  • quite enjoy …
  • Oh, I like … very much.

Asking for Opinions

  • What do you think about/of …?
  • How do you find/feel about …?
  • What are your views concerning …?
  • What are your feelings regarding …?
  • What do/would you suggest?
  • What/How about …?
  • What would you say about/to …?
  • How does the idea of … appeal to you?
  • Would/Will it be a good idea if/to …?
  • Wouldn’t/Don’t you agree that …?

Expressing Opinions

  • Personally/Frankly I think that …
  • What I think is that …
  • It’s (quite) clear (to me) that …
  • I feel …
  • It’s obvious that …
  • In my opinion …
  • As far as I am concerned …
  • The way I look at it …
  • The way I see it…
  • It seems / appears to me …
  • If you ask me …
  • As far as I can tell …
  • To my mind …
  • To the best of my knowledge …
  • I’m quite sure that …

Asking for Clarification

  • Could you explain what you mean by … ?
  • What do you mean?
  • I’m sorry, but I’m not… clear about … clear on
  • I’m not sure I understand that
  • I’m not sure I follow you.

Giving Clarification

  • Well, what I’m trying to say is that …
  • All said…
  • What I really meant was …
  • What I really mean is …
  • What I’m really saying/trying to say is …
  • Sorry; let me explain it more clearly …
  • In another way …
  • Put another way…
  • Better said …
  • Let me put it in another way …
  • Expressing Agreement
  • I couldn’t agree more.
  • I agree entirely.
  • That’s exactly what I think.
  • I’d go along with you on that.
  • I think you have an interesting point.
  • Expressing disagreement
  • I honestly don’t see why …
  • I don’t think there is any need to …
  • I’m not sure I quite agree/I’ll go along with
  • You there/on that.
  • I don’t think it would be advisable to …
  • Yes, but on the other hand …
  • Yes, but you’ve got to remember that …
  • Well, to be quite honest …
  • I am afraid that …
  • Isn’t it possible that …?
  • What will happen if …?

Expressing Doubt

  • I take/see your point but …
  • I see what you mean but …
  • I agree with you on the whole but …
  • But don’t you think/see that …?
  • That’s true I suppose but …
  • That’s an interesting point of view/comment but …
  • Well, you have a point there but …
  • Might it not also be true that …?
  • Dealing with doubts and objections
  • You needn’t worry about …
  • Look at it in another way …
  • This may seem impossible/improbable to you but …
    Introducing a Point
  • I’m sure/convinced that …
  • It seems quite clear/obvious that …
  • Wouldn’t you agree/admit/say that …
  • The first/basic problem seems to be/ is …

Introducing an Opposite Point

  • I take/see your point but …
  • Possible/True, Yes, but …
  • On the other hand …
  • Looking at it from another point of view …
  • Buying time: fillers
  • Well …
  • Um … / er …
  • Actually …
  • You know/ see …
  • I see.
  • I/ you mean …
  • As a matter of fact …
  • Let’s see (now).
  • Now let me think/see.
  • I’ll have to think about it.
  • Frankly, …
  • To be (quite) honest/frank, …
  • In fact, …
  • I wonder …
  • The thing is …
  • It’s like this, you see …
  • What I’m trying to say is …
  • What I would say is …
  • Let’s put it this way …
  • I’ll tell you what …

Saying Things in Other Words/ Defining

with People:

  • It’s a person who works in …
  • someone you can find in …
  • somebody who is known for …
  • who …

with Places:

  • It’s a place where …
  • Time
  • It’s the time when …

with Things:

  • It’s something similar to …
  • like …
  • made of …
  • It’s a kind/ type of …
  • It’s a thing that is used to …
  • an object for …
  • People use it to …
  • for

Giving Reasons

  • This is why we have decided . . .
  • The main reason is . . .
  • Another equally important reason …
  • Our decision is …
  • Therefore, we strongly believe …
  • Highlighting
  • In fact, …
  • As a matter of fact …
  • In particular / Particularly …
  • Pinpointing the reference (for Examiner 2)
  • You mentioned …
  • Could I go back to the point you made regarding…
  • About … ?
  • I was interested in your comments on…

Idioms: Don’t Beat Around The Bush

To beat around the bush means to take a long time explaining something. Synonyms would be dragging something out, and belaboring the point, as in “Don’t belabor the point.” Antonyms would be getting to the point or keeping it simple.

Wonwoo: Are we still meeting, Saturday?

Jane: Sure. Is there something wrong?

Wonwoo: No. Not at all.

Wonwoo: So, why did you ask whether I am still into it or not?

Jane: Well, because you asked if we were still meeting.

Wonwoo: Oh, okay. So, everything’s cool.

Jane: Yeah! Why wouldn’t it be?

Wonwoo: Well, you said last night you that haven’t seen your friends in a while, so….

Jane: So, you were wondering whether I had wanted to see them, instead, on Saturday?

Wonwoo: Sort of.

Jane: Oh. Thank you for thinking of me, Wonwoo, but next time, don’t beat around the bush.

Wonwoo: What do you mean?

Jane: I mean, tell me straight out what you are worried about.

When The Cows Come Home

“When The Cows Come Home,” which means “never,” or ‘not for a very long time’

Examples:

1. John will take out the garbage when the cows come home, so you had better do it yourself, honey; that kid doesn’t do anything.

2. Yeah, I believe North and South Korea will reunify–when the cows come home. How can we expect this with Kim Jung-Un at the helm of North Korea?

3. Bill, Joan And Joe

Bill: I got my hair cut, lost some weight, have been working out and improved my attitude; do ya think Joan will go out with me, now?

Joe: Well, she’ll go out with ya–just not now.

Bill: Don’t you think I’ve improved my appearance?

Joe: Sure, a million fold.

Bill: So when do you think she’ll go out with me? When I make more money?

Joe: No. When you stop talking like you’re going to vote for Trump, which means… when the cows come home, because I don’t think you can change

Making Plans

“Weekend” Plans

It’s Friday, so here is a dialog for you to practice:
Background: Melvin Udall is the fun character people love to secretly like–though he is the type of person we are thought to hate; he is a crank of a character from the hit movie “As Good As It Gets.” He is played by the celebrated actor, Jack Nicholson, who pulls off Udall’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder soft and fiery sides with great skill. Alice is his no-nonsense but pretty waitress at a local bistro, with whom he has fallen in love. She’s played by the dynamic Helen Hunt. I made up this very short exchange between the characters. If you have questions, let me know.
____________________________________________
Melvin (looking old but handsome, charming, but nosey–and with an expression that says, ‘have I got a surprise for you.’):
 “Ya got plans this weekend? Do ya, waitress girl?”
Alice (looking slightly annoyed, but relieved that Melvin isn’t embarrassing anyone in the restaurant):
 “Yes, Melvin; yes, I do. ‘Sorry.”
(A long pause ensues as Helen clears Melvin’s breakfast plates and dishes from his corner table–the one with the open-door view of 6th Avenue; she doesn’t look at him….)
Melvin: (in his usual cutting sarcasm–but with a head-bob and a smirk that seems to say, ‘I still got this.’):
     “Are we working for the CIA, now?”
(Helen freezes, stares into Melvin’s empty coffee cup, but doesn’t look up.)
Melvin (realizing he is screwing up):
     “Is it a secret?”
Alice: (Stops clearing, looks a bit annoyed, then feigns a smile–realizing if she doesn’t answer, Melvin could say something that would ruin her day):
      “I’m going to take Spence to the doctor.”
(Another long pause as Helen finishes cleaning the table and Melvin actually takes the time to think before speaking.)
Melvin (looking like his frontal lobes have been removed):
     “Would it kill ya ta ask me?”
Helen (Perfunctorily and without looking, again):
     “How about you? What will Mr. Charming do, this weekend? Hmm?”
(Helen stops, wipes her hands on her apron at the hips, and looks at Melvin dead on, waiting for his special brand of a boy-ish answer. A group of hairs, comes undone from the rubber-band holding the rest of it in a pony tail, falls in front of her tired face. She ignores it.)
Melvin (looking personally injured, looks up at Helen over the tops of his thick black glasses and wrinkles his forehead and nose):
     “Not any more I don’t.”
___________________
So, we see Melvin asking:
  • “Ya got plans?”

This is because we don’t say, ‘Do you have a plan?’ when talking about the weekend, the holiday, vacation or other times of recreation. Having ‘a plan’ is having a solution to a problem; it sounds tactical, strategic, military, martial.
Apologies and Appreciation to Tristar Pictures and Sony Pictures
Photo © Carl Atteniese 2018

Lunar Modules Are Not Like Spiders Anymore

LM3view
Click to Enlarge (It’s worth it).
orion_lg
Click to enlarge.
Lunar_Module_diagram
Click to enlarge.

I am officially voicing my support for asking space journalists to cease and desist from likening lunar landing craft to spiders. In the late fifties and early sixties they may have looked remotely like twisted versions of arachnids. Now, peeps, come on–they look like lunar-landers. Let’s look at why: first, it’s cultural and linguistic; lunar-landers have been on paper in sci-fi pulp magazines since the forties–and in blueprints & in the form of mock-ups since the fifties; and we had real ones from the sixties onward-which flew in space and went to the moon! Second, it’s mental: lunar-landers are a real fixture of the public mind and are so unique an artifact that they have earned their place in our cognition as a source item to be likened to, instead of being an oddity to have some other thing held up to identify them. They aren’t novel, anymore–so they don’t need the help of animal similarities. Finally–thirdly and furthermore, spiders have eight legs, not four or five, are oblong, and possess a low center of gravity. They are squat, not tall and ungainly, and they have legs that protrude from low center points–not from vertical attachment spots that look like ladders. The comparison was original and helpful, once; it’s not, any more. It’s silly, illogical, misleading, and cliche.

Who’s with me?

Americans on Democracy

The greatest evidence of mass delusion, ignorance–and perhaps even simple stupidity in America (I am very sorry to say) is in the fact that the majority of the average citizens of this democratic capitalist society are not tripping over themselves, racing to demand the end of private campaign, PAC, and political party finance–which basically make us the lapdogs, human slaves, and victims of the super rich. lack of action in this area is also the clearest form of self-loathing and disrespect.

We may be a legal and financial oligarchy, but we still have the power of association and referendum, however, we act as if the vote is the most important power tool in our democratic shed; it most certainly isn’t. It’s a false machine, a toy. The most powerful tool we have is our voice–in petition, assembly, and what we fund.

We could literally petition the law to real change, but we allow it to stay as is it is–and as is, private campaign finance is the hand with foreign fingers that is perpetually in our pockets. It is the gun to our heads. It is the knives at our back–but we keep watching TV and staring at our phones and tablets like zombies, or like a mental patient on a Thorazine drip. and as we stay medicated and inactive, politicians and reporters whispering lies or approximated stories into our ears, as the super rich funnel cash into their pockets and tighten their leashes. And ours.

These who won’t act on this don’t really want things to change. And they don’t understand that this is how they could change–massing together and expressing our discontent and solutions to end it. That’s why they won’t support publicly funded elections, political parties, and PACs; they don’t want democracy–not really–not true democracy, with totally fair and equal representation across the electorate and the society….

Sometimes I wonder, if privately (and unconsciously?), each middle to upper class group of citizens, each rich group; each ethnic or religious group… secretly doesn’t in fact want the option of buying politicians–because Americans are a group of people who have become so comfortable and complacent–able to stand the pressures of their discomfort and conscience–because their fears and prejudices are more powerful than their honor and their courage. And I wonder whether secretly they are terrified of true democracy, because it would prevent their respective group (ethnic, religious, academic, class-oriented) from having undue influence at their disposal–in an emergency. They secretly fear true democracy, for they could wind up with–for example–with a string of Latino, female, or black presidents, or Jewish or Chinese ones, or, whatever. They might end up living in a country with truly sensible and socialized governance that favors the poor and middle class, rather than the rich folk they are, or want be. It would mean inclusion for people they don’t desire, or a lack of favoritism toward their own group.

To me, this kind of holding on to the cards, the power, the favorites–all boils down to a lack of courage in the face of righteousness, justice, and logic about what would work in a way that leads to responsibly across the board in American society. To me, this is what keeps people down. Any way you examine it, it pares down to fear and prejudice, which depend on ignorance and lack of character. Or, as I have been learning in research online, it may also be attributed to their brains, but that is another aspect of the issue, for another essay.*

*If you would like to look into that, watch videos on Youtube in the Bomb in The Brian series (though these are not perfect since the narrator seems to be trying to get all this information into our heads to justify libertarian-ism). Also look into Sam Harris and Free will. The general idea is that most–if not all of us who have not changed this–are victims of childhood-traumatized brains, which are hard-wired to be either conservative or liberal–basically fearful or not.

The God of The Spiritual

The god a spiritual person talks about (if he or she can justify a god) doesn’t have any disqualifying prejudicial, limiting, or exclusionary qualities about it. The god a traditionally religious person talks about often does.

If we look at the types of people who followed Jesus, we see they were of the spiritual nature–that is, open-minded, living purely in “the now” and free of heart. They were common people: prostitutes, thieves, common fishermen, tax collectors, murderers, even (well, it seems murder was pretty common and justified in Biblical times)–quite different from those who merely tolerated or rejected Jesus, like members of the Roman government or the Pharisees. What is the significance of this realization, or can i call it an epiphany?

In my estimation, the Pharisees of today are the conservatives and fundamentalists–religious and rigid in their thinking–prejudiced and exclusionary in their actions. These people need to follow Jesus and the words of the Bible more or less to the letter, and are not flexible in their interpretation of the divine.

I have been gently admonished, sometimes criticized–and most egregiously–rejected in my life–for having adopted the Zen Buddhist practice, when really all I did was expand and purify my spiritual way.

The lessons I learned in knowing “God” and “Jesus”, the paternal figure and the man, as opposed to what I have done in incorporating the transcendental essence of what we might think or hope represents God and Jesus–their spirit, or message, if you will–into my heart and actions, is something the religious do not seem to understand–because they are not spiritual, in my view–otherwise they would know the difference between the superiority of the latter, and the limitations and violence of the former.

The point is, the rhetoric is for the closed-minded, “the scared,” the ones who would actually have been among the temple Pharisees condemning the man and essence of Jesus–out of mortal fear of the Roman government (of course, to be fair, they also rejected him because he was a textbook heretic according to the Hebrew law).

The freedom of transcendental understanding and divine transformation–in love and anything divine–is for the free, themselves… who do not get caught up in the rhetoric.

Be it through Al-la, Yahweh, Yeshua, Buddha… the transformation is inside you, not in a book or in a temple or church–not in following the words to the letter (which in the theisms can be quite limiting and dangerous, anyway).

The knowledge is joyous oneness. This is “God,” if there is one. The result is love. This is the Spirit.

Violence And Religion

This was my reaction to ISIS captors saying they could rape women because ‘it pleases God.’

(There have been some additions here and there to make my points more clear, understandable, compassionate, and just.)

This religion and all religions that justify, accept, or regulate prejudice, heinous and ridiculous punishments, genital mutilation, prejudicial discrimination, emotional, physical, or psychological violence, war, animal or human sacrifice–must go–or they must be reformed and revised. In the very least, they cannot be allowed to be taught in egalitarian democracies.

The basic problem here–of course–is that any religion based on a god–be it passive, benevolent or altruistic–or aggressive, belligerent, and harmful is that it is totalitarian in nature… because clerics, priests and monks of a theistic religion can tell adherents what to think and that they are interpreting the word of the religion, and saying that the adherents of the religion must do A, B and C–to be in the graces of an omnipotent god who rules over their lives.

What The  Theistic Interpretations Lead To
What it is doesn’t matter, because it tells them to obey. Take the best case scenario: a priest tells the followers of some religion that they must love one another, however, there are some simple-minded people in his flock and when presented with a situation that involves ‘killing for peace,’ a simple-minded adherent interprets this as a form of love or duty–so, he kills. He does so thinking he must do so. Of course the worst case scenario is one in which adherents are told outright that violence is in order (be it in the physical form or that of prejudice, agitation, harassment, subjugation, bondage, lies), but it isn’t called “violence,’ because the theisms originated in the bronze age.

Where We Draw the Line
Any doctrine with the totalitarian power of fiat–administered by human beings over its adherents is harmful and deleterious, because it supersedes human conscience and is vulnerable to the continued interpretation of its administrators. This is not spiritual; this is political.

What We Need to Do
As we will not outlaw theism, I am calling for a reformation–or the dis-allowance of violence to be disseminated in a scriptural form of any kind, in egalitarian democratic states–for the sake of the freedom of the human mind and corpus–and for the benefit of all human beings–and of course for the establishment of cognitive reinforcement that leads to true safety, justice, peace, love, compassion and good sense in society. This would certainly go a very long and effective way in degrading the possibly of cultivating minds amenable to terrorism.

Religions based on the written word that is elevated to the lofty designation of scripture, and which either justify, give beneficial examples of or can be interpreted as promoting violence are not safe, and so have no place in civilized society.

The Literature Question
Religions based on this kind of writing are different from fiction and fantasy, because they are not those things in the minds of the faithful; they are factual commandments and prescriptions for life coming from a dictator deity who sees all, rewards and punishes, and is the final arbiter of what is right and wrong in their minds. This makes followers of such doctrines–especially in politically and economically compromised regions of the world unequivocally and inherently unsafe–and most especially where the administrators of these religions can call their followers to resort to the violence in their faith.

But It’s A Small Number People
People who say a small number of the faithful commit acts of terror or that ‘only crazy people’ resort to the old ways are inaccurate and missing the point. For example, of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, between 23 and 25% of them proclaim to believe in the extreme aspects of their faith. Moreover, it doesn’t take all the people in a room to set a house on fire. Those who do not bear in mind these facts are extremely short-sighted, unimaginative and in-abstract in the least–while being unintelligent, ignorant, dangerous, and as evil as those who say “guns don’t kill people” in the worst case scenario. They apparently exhibit cognitive deficiency or betray a certain gross cognitive dissonance, for they do not face the fact that whether a religion is meant to be peaceful in essence or concept or not is irrelevant as long as it holds sacred words that can be and are used to promote violence in reality. Many of these apologists are probably being disingenuous, too.

Who Would Do This?
What we allow to be taught to children and to the vulnerable people of a society finds its way into that society in some way, to some degree, at some time–among the literal and fundamentalist and “extreme” … among the mentally ill, among the cognitively challenged, and among the intellectually deficient or mediocre of mind and spirit; it finds its way into the people who are justifiably over-stressed, disenfranchised, angry; it finds its way into minds of the otherwise mentally healthy people who are simply made ignorant and controlled (which is what most of the fundamentalists are–people born innocent and cognitively healthy, but made insane by doctrine and its precipitant behavior); this is unacceptable.

“Extreme Interpretations–Not Everyone Does This”
“Extreme interpretations” of religion are not so extreme, just literal; the killing they advocate is there… in the texts of Christians, Muslims, and Jews. This is no longer appropriate. If it were not there, it could not be interpreted literally, dangerously. And saying that many societies show examples of millions of people who do not interpret the scriptures violently is irrelevant; as long as the violence is there–like a gun–it will be used, and it is used; and these days that violence is used to devastating proportions–tearing apart whole nations.

Divine or Egalitarian?
We can no longer give a tolerant nod to the teaching or allowance of the teaching of religions that contain scriptures that are or can be dangerous, superstitious and plain refutations of observable reality, of science, or of scriptures that teach the opposite of egalitarian principles and compassion. And above all, we can no longer allow such to be called divine. It matters not what a “sacred” book is purported to say; it only matters what it does say and what its affect is on people. It also matters how it can be interpreted. Some religions cannot be twisted to become violent. that is the only good kind of religion.

Literature (Fiction) or Holy Commandment?
This is what separates religious works from literature: the former is holy dictum, said to be handed down from on high by the author of the universe–so if it has prescriptions or justifications of violence in it, you can’t get more pernicious than that; the latter (simple literature) is mere entertainment and the artful interpretation of the human condition. The former is a disaster waiting to happen under the right conditions. History is replete with such disasters–most of which were committed by people acting in the mindset of the theisms or in secular religious movements of the state… employing cult of personality adulation for supreme leaders. Theist apologists love to refer to Hitler and Stalin and Mao as atheists. Hitler was a Christian and he proclaimed his movement Christian. It was said to be–inscribed on every Nazi soldier’s belt; Stalin and Mao may have been atheists, but their movements were quasi-religious and not in the name of atheism.

The Superior And the Inferior, The Creation of Subjugation
The concept of a single god, separate form humanity creates the idea of superior and inferior in beings, sentience, people, and usually it’s men over women, and straight men over gays and bisexuals and over the other species. If we are going to respect the existence of these religions, they must be made safe, respectable and relevant for modern times; modern times no longer can tolerate this kind of prejudice; it is below us.

Theism And Violence Are Too Pernicious
People will defend religion on “holy” grounds, cultural grounds, and literary grounds, but this promotes their dangers and results in violence in many ways. Violence should not be part of any education system; theistic violence is the most dangerous, because it is believed to come from gods and so is about the most dangerous thing you can teach–as it reins supreme over the mind when justified. This can no longer be tolerated in modern civil culture.

In Particular

The violence of judgement, of fear and loathing of different innate sexual persuasions, of accepted slavery, of the subjugation of women, of the murder of people who leave the faith, or who make clothing of the wrong materials, of those who eat at the wrong times–or of the wrong foods… the violence of the persecution of non-believers, the violence of dismemberment and stoning for theft or infidelity, the violence of the out-casting of and killing of homosexuals… the violence of war against peoples not chosen by one’s chosen scripture and the violence of the perpetuation of ignorance and the dissemination of visceral fear… taught to children—in whose minds the seeds of neurosis are thus planted–all makes for pain and neurosis.

It’s Insane

All of this, by elevated standards of consciousness–is now deemed insane. Therefore, it is insane to allow it to be held up and defended as righteous lessons or of history worthy of continued edification in religious books; it must all come out of the books or the books must be disallowed in places of worship and learning in egalitarian democracies where the sanctity of the individual has been enshrined since the enlightenment and the French, British and American revolutions for democracy.

Review, Summation And Conclusion

To reiterate succinctly and make clear my point: in the very least—if we are not to outlaw or eradicate these religions for the sake of “respect,” tradition, cultural identity, and the good parts in their teachings, then we must either ask that they be thoroughly revised, or that their texts not be allowed in civilized, egalitarian states–but then we will hear that religious scripture is literature: ‘If we don’t ban violent literature, then why ban the words of violent religion?’

This defense of religion as mere literature is pale. You don’t defend something as mere literature when it is taught as coming from a deity and is used to set up societies, has the power to regulate human relations, marriage, law and civil punishments—when it dictates the origin of the universe, affects peoples’ health, and determines the direction of public policy. That’s politics and government and so is infinitely more powerful than literature—unjustly so.

Defending religion as literature is like saying the owner’s manual of a car is science fiction. Scripture is instructional authority from the highest agency. Allowing it to contain anti-egalitarianism, violence, slavery and rape is the definition of foolishness if not stupidity, cruelty and organized megalomania–to any thinking, honest, compassionate, and healthy human mind with a shred of self-esteem and intelligence.

Ban these words from egalitarian democratic societies and do not let people in to democratic and egalitarian societies who observe, protect, defend, or excuse them. Porn is porn; violence is violence. Stop allowing children to see it. Stop splitting hairs over culture and antiquity and that disease of the in-compassionate, the unthinking, and the militant: ‘PC-ism.’

This dark-age poison has to go. Get rid of it from the face of the planet or for anthropological significance, relegate it to two-foot-thick glass cases in maximum-security museums, and you will only see this inane, horrifying tragedy of wasted minds and torturous immorality where it is left–in countries using it as law… where it is left to rot the heart and mind–until the human souls in these lands get tired of being cut off from the civilized world and they change the ways of their people–of their own accord.

See to an eradication of violent religious passages from any books in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Africa–wherever thinking, compassionate, advanced egalitarian society exists or where the people would have it.

I guarantee that if we do this, America will also see a monumental decrease in its cold and cruel Republicanism, too–because all through this reading you might have been thinking I have been talking only of one theistic religion.  I have not been. If we were to apply this reformation to one theism that contains  prescriptions and allowances for violence, we would have to apply it to them all. And that would be a damned good thing.

Link: ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape http://nyti.ms/1TucUEA

Incessant Demands for Unaccepted Apologies

This is a reaction to the details of an NPR News story- Japan’s Abe Notes Regret And Past Apologies In WWII Speech at http://n.pr/1Ern78

I Am Supremely Discouraged by Wise Asian Nations whose leaders continue–year after year–to fan the flames of shame and pain and do not accept, decade after decade after decade–a multitude of deeply remorseful and annual state apologies from the Japanese for their wartime transgressions.

It particularly troubles me, because some of these nations have very spotty human rights records, themselves–in the current era since World War II. They act, in modern history, with exceptionalism, through foreign invasion, duplicitous technology-hacking, atrocious use of the death penalty, and with reputations for high levels of xenophobia, endemic societal enthniphobia, sexism, and providing poor opportunities for the aged and poor–exhibiting rampant ageism.

So how can these nations partake in finger-wagging at Japan– especially in modern times? To me it so plainly obvious that this is opportunism at work, with spiritual decrepitude in evidence–which amounts to a representation of a very low national character, indeed.

Some of these nations are the world’s human traffickers extraordinaire, with economies dependent in no small part, on economically entrenched prostitution, while they harbor a citizenry that is, in numbered cases, abusive to and discriminatory toward citizens of foreign countries who come to work in their lands–and to foreign soldiers who are there to protect them from one another.

If it weren’t shameful it would be comedic, how these Asian nations pick at the apologies of Japan and they blame Japan still–nation which paid torturously for its missteps–with fire-bombing and nuclear blasts that maimed, poisoned, and killed hundreds of thousands–if not millions; then Japan resurrected itself into one of the world’s most kind, civilized, and peaceful philanthropic nations.

To me, one who called his home twice and for fifteen years in total, this has more to do with the national characters of the nations in question; I found it very difficult, for example–in one of these countries–to observe both sincere apologies and sincere forgiveness among the otherwise genuine people, and I found it came after long periods of cold, if at all. It was very consistently curious–but this, is not. It seems indicative to me.

For shame, North Asian Mainland and peninsula–for shame. Put an end to this and clean up your own house. This behavior is beneath your greatness and kindness and subtracting from your world image, national potentials, and priorities. You are only hurting yourselves, making enemies of people who have come to love the Japanese fiercely, and damaging future relations with them and their friends–of which I am one.

Art’s Not Dead And Comedy is Its Heir

Whoever said art was dead had no god, no special powers, and no crystal ball–nor did he have an over-reaching intellect, because he could not foresee the future we live in now, where comedy has become the most relevant and powerful art form–more so than Hollywood or even Indie films, which cannot be said to be commenting on and affecting the body politic as effectively and in such a real-time fashion–more powerfully than any other form of creative expression.

Comedy, today, communicates and moves large numbers of the citizenry to political change by informing them without mincing words and worrying about some business or abstract and arcane dualistic agenda; comedians tell it like it is and are generally not bought off by corporations. They may have to tailor their message to a degree in order to conform to FCC regulations, but for the most part–with the advent of cable and online broadcasting–comedians can say virtually say whatever they wish.

Comedy, today, therefore is hyper-relevant–and not only happening only in expensive galleries and old museums–for profit and antiquity, fashion, or for mere entertainment; yes, comedy is born in talent, skill, and vison and it is expressed through a practiced craft (a collection of crafts, actually and multi-tasking observational and psychological, and journalistic skills), but comedy is not intended only for our amusement–though it amuses us wonderfully.

Comedy, today, is not shallow, as many other art forms are relegated to being minus a cultivated intellectual culture; it’s not simple decoration or intended for self-aggrandizing display; it’s certainly not for private journalistic creation in diary form. It is for the general public. It may be commercial, but it is above all, pure. In fact, it is my contention that comedy is the last refuge of free speech. It does not fall victim to over-liberalized or lying conservative political correctness, a force that is going down in history as possessing a greater dumbing-down effect on our society than that of prime-time television.

Indeed, comedians are at the forefront of the battle against PC militancy, saving intellectual discourse and nuance in communication.

Comedy is an art form that is a breathing social force built on truth, observation, and monologue that inspires dialog and thought about everything affecting individuals and society–everything that effects our nation–like Picaso’s Guernica affected the world or as agit prop in both the West and in the former Soviet & present Chinese and North Korean religious states of communism did and do–only, in American comedy, comedians are not lying.

This author is no communist, but permit me to use some terms that will show how powerful comedy has become, in order to make a point. Comedy has developed into a better source of inform-ation, news and social outreach on politics, big business, the environment, the growing police state, and foreign exceptionalism than our free press. In this way it has become a pillar of the movement of the masses and the proletariat (the poor, working, and middle classes)–against the evil, encroaching, careless, and destructive forces of capitalism that we have allowed through pathetic campaign finance laws to run our country and destroy equal representation, sensible banking, energy, environment, education, health, trade, and gun-control policy—as well as governance regulating the military industrial complex and foreign policy. Marx and Engels never saw this coming–nor did Ayn Rand–thank the Gods of Greece!

Comedy, in our era, is so powerful that governments around the world restrict its craftsmen, and comedy has answered the call of Jefferson, replacing–to some degree, journalism–as a necessary foundation requisite to the maintenance of democracy.

The reach of political comedy in our times (with a requisite nod to the internet and technology) is so effective, that very un-funny people have been all but forced to defend themselves against its penetration into their hypocrisy–such as we saw with George HW Bush and “W”, and as we observe regarding Fox News, today–to name only three examples.

Who was it that said art was dead? Was it Nietzsche? Well, let’s not go to hard on him. He was original, caring about his times, and creatively expressive & insightful. Actually, he had said God is dead. Well, maybe for him–and for those that abuse the gods, today.

Marcel Duchamp is actually the one that “Art is dead” is attributed to (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Duchamp), but he and Nietzsche lived in a time when men like today’s Republicans, some Democrats, and many businessmen & despots were actually in control. In contrast, and proving art is not dead, we live in a time when men like George Carlin, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, Jon Oliver, Jon Stewart, and–to some extent–Jim Jeffries, Louie CK, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and even Rachel Madow, are showing with humor whom the would-be emperors are and why they have no clothes–and they are shining a spotlight on those who prove goodness is certainly alive as well as in politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Art is very much alive, and has a punch line; the joke’s on the bad guys.

About “Kaaru No Eh”

“Kaaru-no-Eh” means “Carl’s Pictures” in Japanese. With this name I amuse myself, and I pay homage the Ukiyo-e print masters of seventeenth and eighteenth century Japan because of their gorgeous and original way of picture-making.

In the future I will feature an article here on Ukiyo-e and perhaps a video–as well as sample images of the traditional Japanese art-form.

About “Mando”

Mando

cropped-img_20161110_1236562.jpg

⇐ These characters spell my Dharma name. 

I’m a Buddhist – a philosophical Buddhist, a secular non-devotional Buddhist, or a Zennist; I don’t pray to any one or any thing. It is a way of looking at things and a practice. In the Buddhist practice there is the concept called the Dharma, or “Dhamma”, in Pali. Think of it, for now, as The Way, but other translations could mean the law(s) of the universe or the teaching of the Buddha.

A Dharma is another name a Buddhist is called which represents his or her identity in the Dharma and among his or her Dharma brothers and sisters in the Sangha, or the Buddhist community.

My Dharma name is pronounced “Mahn-doe,” in Korean, with the ‘a’ sounding as it does in “father,” and with relatively equal stress applied to each syllable. If a little more stress could be applied, it would be given to the first syllable, “Mahn.”

“What kind of name is Mando?” That’s what my mother said that my father asked her — about my new name. To be clear, I love my family name and my given name. My family name means “Athenian” and as much as I admire the Buddha, I admire the ancient Greeks, for their great philosophers and what their mental rigor and virtue gave to Western society. As much I admire the Roman philosopher statesmen who took after them in reason and justice, so being an Italian- (and Irish-) American of  ancient Greek descent makes me feel fortunate for my lineage. Of course this is just aesthetic, for I had nothing to do with the greatness of those civilizations but I can enjoy, in a way, the illusion that says I came from those origins more than from the human family tree. I also enjoy, in the same way, the writing and human celebratory side of being descended from the Celts on my mother’s side.

Of course – in a Buddhist sense, the significance of all this is an illusion, and realizing that and its significance is part of why I accept and appreciate, also, the practice that earns me the name ‘Mando”. Being Buddhist is to celebrate the oneness of all life, not the separations we artificially create in it to make ourselves feel important. And this mindfulness helps make us behave better and fosters compassion and togetherness – instead of prejudice and division. That is why I support the Buddhist path and trhe taking of a name that centers us in reality.

I know that to some people it may seem pretentious to change one’s name. People like Prince and The Edge did it, and actors do it, ‘so who does Carl think he is?’ My good friend Tony Watkins (named after the actor Tony Curtis) said about my Dharma name, ‘it’s all right, but to a Chinese person (Tony speaks fluent Mandarin), it sound a little like your name is Philosopher, or something,’

In the West, women do change their last name when they marry. Did you know that Japanese woodblock masters often changed their names? It was done to protect one’s family name, among other reasons, such as taking on the name of one’s master –  which was an honor and indicated that a protege reached some admirable level of accomplishment in the craft. Hokusai, I think, had something like thirty names!

Long before I received this Dharma name, I had thought it appropriate for a thoughtful person to change his or her name–to better suit how he or she sees him or herself. After all, my father changed his name, too!

The Words And Their Spelling

In Korean ‘Man-do’ literally means Ten-thousand Ways, with ‘Man’ (pronounced “mahn”) meaning ‘ten-thousand,’ or ‘many,’ and ‘Do’ (pronounced ‘doe’) meaning ‘way’ (which can also be written and pronounced “Gil”) – but as Mahn-doe (the way it should be transliterated from Korean if Koreans would like all English speakers to get the pronunciation right) was transmitted to me by my teacher, it was conveyed to mean ‘Many Paths of Change.’

In Korean, Man-do looks like this:

만도 

The name in Chinese is “Wan Tao,” meaning basically the same thing — Ten Thousand Ways.

Please look at the red pictographs again:

Mando

 The Swastika (on top), is Sanskrit, and in that language means luck (or fortune) and well-being.

⇐ The second character–on the bottom–is “Doe.” In Chinese, it is “Tao,” as in the Tao Te Ching’, or “Way of Virtue” (the name of the collection of philosophical poems attributed to Lao Tzu).

Two of my Dharma Brothers – who took their precepts the same day as I–have this word, “way,” in their Dharma names; there is Cheon Do (Way of Heaven) and Gil Do (道吉) Way of Luck (or Fortune). My other Dharma Brother’s name is Seog Chon, meaning Upright Stone.

In Japanese, this name is “Manji Michi” (まんじみち), and the meaning is the same as described above.

You Can See The Swastika All Around Asia

adolf hitler, swastika, swastik, Atheism, atheist, new atheists, Christianity, Christian apologetics, God, Bible, Jesus, evilbible, evilbible.comThis first character, ‘Mahn’, in Korean and Mahnji in Japanese, (or Wahn in Chinese) is under the eaves on all Buddhist temples in Korea. It also denotes temples on maps of Japan. In this case it may be said to mean “Buddhism” or “Dharma.” That is because it was adopted to represent the turning Dharma Wheel, which is what it essentially is.

Imagine a cross, say of the two perpendicularly arranged bars that make up a compass, or of a window frame. Now, imagine it spinning round a center axis – where the two bars meet at the intersection point. Also imagine a blur that might be perceived at the ends of those bars as they spin. Perhaps you can see in your mind the apparent tails that develop at the ends of each bar, circumscribing a circle in the air. Now you have what the Jane and Buddhist Swastika is. It is a Spinning Dharma Wheel, or at least that is how I see it. And it is what I have read it to be – somewhere; I don’t remember where….

The Swastika is a symbol that dates back to pre-history. It is a symbol used by the people of the Jane religion–arguably a more compassionate religion than Buddhism, but perhaps less practical? Janes are said to drink through a sack cloth, so as not to inadvertently swallow any micro-organisms. They will also clear any path of life so as not to travel or build over it, harming any life in their path.

A Little About What Buddhism is…

A. The assumption should not be made that a Buddhist practitioner believes this or that, though there are some basic notions accepted by many adherents and observers of Buddhism. Buddhism, to some, is a religion. To me and to my teachers in Korea, it is a practice (to some that’s the same thing, but for the purposes of this article, please accept accept my meaning that a religion – these days – generally, means a belief-system requiring faith in unproven things). Some would say Buddhism is my religion, but it is not – not in the traditional, modern-day meaning of “religion,” because I do not depend on something outside myself. And I do not “believe” anything. I feel I do not have the moral authority to “believe.” I instead know or don’t know, suspect or do not suspect, trust or do not trust, or I put credence in theories until they can be proven by evidence.

I don’t assume, much, so I depend on my perception of what I am a part of, attempting to be as good a part of everything as I can – so it is responsible, inclusive, singular, and thus affords my part of the universal Mind quite a beautiful point of view, I feel. It is almost like saying I am part of what is “divine,” rather than separate from it. If there were a god, I would think this pays it more homage than thinking I am something separate from its creation – but, alas, I have no moral authority to validate the idea of a god. In that way, I insult not the universe or any individuals showing the evidence of how the universe really works.

B. Buddhism involves a moral path of inflicting as little harm as possible. It also says that we must accept reality for what it is (to the best of our intellectually honest ability to tell the difference), not what we or some doctrine or our fears want. To me that’s selfish and produces greater illusions than our minds already create and it it fosters delusion. For me this is perfect, because I feel a religion or philosophy is only as good as far as it abides by reality and does not attempt to recast reality in some self-serving image. A good religion or philosophy also must not preach punishment or pain – only benevolence. Because malice is born of selfishness and no spiritual path should foster that, or it is not spiritual; rather it is maligned and necessarily prejudiced. These features make a religion or philosophy a bulwark against well-being. If you subscribe to practices against well-being, what is the point of having a spiritual practice. that would just be politics or aggression. And this is why some other religions wind up at odds with one another; instead of fostering well-being for all, they are self-serving. They make for the politics of retribution and dualism – what Buddhism seeks to eliminate.

Mando's Precept Certificate

C. At left is my Certificate of Precepts. It signifies that I and my Dharma Brothers took vows and were witnessed in doing so, promising…

not to:

  1. kill
  2. steal
  3. consume alcohol irresponsibly
  4. lie or use harmful speech 
  5. partake in immoral intimate contact

D. To me, the most important aspect beyond these promises is to use meditation and our own conscience to determine what is in ourselves and around us – understanding that the five senses, or Skandas, are the source of our perception.

E. I also see Buddhism–and specifically Zen Buddhism–is a humble, honest, moral practice and a way of looking at the universe that says “all is one,” and suffering is in the mind and caused by the mind; it is caused by the ego, or “selfness.”

F. Buddhism is a non-dogmatic way of looking at the universe–focusing on what is honestly and plainly perceived–or, on reality as it is. This is emphasized in One Mind Zen, or Han Maum – the sect of the Chogye Order of Korean Buddhism founded by the teacher Dae Heng Kun Sunim, the former teacher of my direct teacher, Chong go Sunim.

G. The Buddhist attempts to perfect Right Mind, Right Action, Right Thought, and Right Speech.

Some reasons I chose this practice are:

  1. I was enamored with the peaceful, revalatory, and epiphanal ways of meditation.
  2. The more I read about it, the more I felt and learned that this way of being was more honest and pacifying–spiritually, scientifically, and socially–than anything I had heard of or witnessed. For theists who feel this is “bad,” I suggest they look into it, and if they cannot part with their religions but still like Buddhist philosophy and practice, they can become Zen Christians, because:
  3. The practice of Zen conflicts with nothing–most importantly, with science.*
  4. There is no worship in true Buddhism – though there are those Buddhists who are devotional. And although in Japan you can see translations of signage showing people who visit Shinto shrines saying ‘how to worship’, this is Shinto, not Buddhism (the practices of the two religions (or of the religion and the philosophy, respectively) are sometimes confused, even by Japanese. And more to the point, in Buddhism, people do pay homage to Kannon (Gwanyin in Chinese), or the Buddha of Compassion – but this does not really constitute “worship”, in my mind. 
  5. Buddhism can bring one peace like nothing else – in my opinion, because it is about being (and being peaceful, eliminating suffering) and it is about not doing as opposed to doing this or that–or not doing this or that.
  6. There are pronouncements as to how to live morally, but what is interesting is that the Buddha said to look at ideas–including his ideas–and test them, seeing whether they are right for us. In this way–and most importantly in my opinion–Buddhism does not interfere with sentient conscience, a most superlatively necessary way of ensuring the primacy of freedom.
  7. It is true the Buddha suggested his followers not to depend on a god or gods, but rather on themselves. However, until one can reach a transcendental path, it is possible for theists to benefit from the Buddhist ways of Zen meditation and mindfulness. I have met several Zen Christians, and have heard of formal Zen Christian sects.
  8. If one attempts to practice Zen Buddhism, specifically living a meditative life, she or he will be relieved of most – if not all – illusions and delusions, or at least be in the practice of recognizing them, so that following religions based on faith in stories that have no proof likely become impossible. But remember, The Buddha told his followers not to follow what he said outright – and rather to investigate things for themselves.Each of us creates his or own moral universe, so one could take the meditation of Zen and leave the Buddhist elements of wisdom out of it if one wishes. In fact, I think if more theists were at the same time Zennists, too–if they were Zen Christians, Zen Muslims, and Zen Jews–they might find much more peace, because…
  9. Meditation and the Buddhist way–which are crucial to the practice–are about presence, awareness, listening and seeing clearly, and conducting oneself in such a way as to not contribute to violence in oneself–as we are considered all one–aiming to diminish ‘I’ and ego and not causing violence to anyone else.

Thank you for reading. I wish you and yours peace, love, joy, and enlightenment.

卍道

(Carl Atteniese Jr.)

Guns Do Kill People

A poster on Instagram defended guns with a double-image picture of a woman being abused in its first frame, and in the second, that same woman is defending herself with a pistol. The caption read “This prevents this.” I commented that the scenario depicted in the second image causes the scenario in the first, remarking that it is a chicken and egg situation. The person who had posted the picture said people can be killed with knives and that there is a difference between giving guns to children and arming responsible adults.

What I Wrote in Response:

What I said still stands as a reflection of the evidence and as a monumentally flawed and solution-less answer to the problematic questions of conflict, ethnic and political tensions, domestic disputes, religious intolerance, hunger, poverty, illness, and crime–exacerbating violence in the US.

Guns do kill people, in enormous numbers–and it is because people have them that they can kill (it is also because they empower us and inspire us in unnatural and almost narcotic ways; see my article: “What’s Wrong with Guns in America”).

If the guns were harder to come by, so would be the damage they inflict. If guns were difficult or impossible to obtain, people wanting to do harm would have to confront one another at close range, giving a greater opportunity for human contact, interaction, conflict resolution, even a chance at surviving through defense and escape; most murderous interactions might not even happen. Stabbing someone is too intimate and yields a greater possibility for failure, getting caught, and self-reflection.

Saying ‘people will get guns anyway’ doesn’t change the fact that their violence would be voluminously reduced if their acquisition were non-ubiquitous; it would be harder to get them, so fewer people would have them—therefore, their use would decrease exponentially. In addition, there would be a greater stigma attached to them, a greater need for concealment, and thus the greater possibility of perpetrators with guns being caught in suspicious behavior.

It is clinically insane that one can carry around a device in society that can render another miracle of thought, feeling, and life (a human being) inert. I lived in Korea fifteen years. I never heard of one murder by gun, there–because there are virtually no privately-owned guns in South Korea. Some Russian gangsters were rumored to have them. Gangsters kill gangsters. The police basically didn’t even have guns the first ten years I was there. Would you like to know why? The people didn’t have them. So, there was no need for the police to have them.

The kindergarten example I’ve written of is the best example, I can think of for illustrating the fundamental nature of the problem: if a boy has no gun, he has to get up the nerve to come close to you and hit you and spend a lot of time being intimate with you to beat you up. If he has a gun, he can kill you by mistake or intention, but both require only an action akin to pressing a button. It is perfect for success by error or insanity: virtually no skill is required. This is why guns are the weapons of choice among cowards and sociopaths; these personalities are indifferent to people and afraid of intimacy.

Perhaps the most sense offered on the gun problem in America is offered by resident Australian comedian, Jim Jeffries, who are points out the only reason Americans have guns is, ‘they like them.’

He says it’s not an issue of self-defense or home security: ‘You can’t go and retrieve your safely-stored gun to fight an intruder in your house. What are you going to say—dazed, and in your underwear, tripping out of bed—‘Wait, I’ll be right back’? Then you would go to your combination safe, unlock it, and assemble the gun or turn off the safety in the dark.’ It’s all nonsense. Sure it can be done, but with great difficulty. Jeffries then goes on to say that ‘in order for a gun to be useful in one’s defense, you have to keep it loaded and available.’ These are the guns killing people; ‘a person is seventy percent more likely to be injured by gun if he has one in his house.’

All the statistics (statistics are reflections of real life in numbers) show that where there are guns, there are more extremely violent crimes. It’s logical and sensical because it is natural, probable, and true. Guns are for crazy people, and so that’s why crazy people have the advantage, be they temporarily crazy or permanently—whether they are soldiers, police officers, criminals, or right-wingers—and the crazy people are the ones supplying children with guns—by mistake or on purpose—because, Dr. Poindexter, they are crazy. Now, who’s crazier; the crazy people, or the people following them?

Things I said Today: On That Stupid Word

You can’t have discord based on scientific ignorance and ignorance of ethnology based on fantasy and Victorian “science” driving inequality, tension, and violence if you are disabused of the fallacy that started it.

The problem is the word ‘_ace’, as applied to humans in issues of descrimination.

But hey, people seem to love that stupid, erroneous, misused, pernicious, and culpable word: ‘_ace,’ either because they are unaware of its bastard power, or because they want to believe they belong to another species (what the word actually means)!

If you want to help stop enthniphobia, inequality, and violence caused by ‘_ace’ in America get a brief scientific education in a few minutes on the internet, learn we are all one ‘_ace’ (one species)–literally, scientifically, actually… one-hundred percent matter of fact-ly–and…

Stop
Using
The
Word
‘_ace’

As

Applied

To

Humans

Unless

You’re

Referring

To

The

Human Race.

You will help create a paradigm shift in the language that will contribute to stopping the validation of ethniphobia*.

Think about it: you can’t be a species-ist against aliens from Mars because there are no aliens on Mars. Likewise, people can’t be ‘_acist’ toward other human beings because there are no other ‘_aces’ of human beings on this planet — in this geologic epoch besides — that of Homo Sapiens. Translation: there are no other races of humans besides the one you belong to. Period.

What people have a problem with–but are afraid or too stupid to admit–is culture. Some of us don’t like how others among us in certain ethnic and religious and class-oriented groups behave. But we are either misinformed to think it has to do with biology (‘_ace’), or we are too polite or frightened to admit it is about culture, because we don’t really want to take the time, nuance, intelligence, and courage to say that.

Mando

___________

*Ethniphobia – as far as I can tell, I have made this word.

Things I Said Today: On Yin & Yang

This is from a from a Discussion on Facebook

Hi, Friend:

With all due love, respect, and compassion, your understanding of yin and yang is all wrong.

‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are egotistical concepts taught in Middle-eastern religions and which are the cause of all our problems, because they give rise to a prejudicial mentality and the time-honored and pernicious concept of “us and them”.

In Taoism and Buddhism these concepts do not exist, because it is the core and principal idea that says all is one. And this is actually true if you look at the chemical and physical nature of all life and all that makes up the universe.

The Yin and yang represent “opposites” of nature, not “good” and “bad”. In nature there is no good and bad, only a continuum of cause and effect.

If you bring the Abrahamic god into this, or Jesus, or Allah, it all becomes heavily laden with right and wrong, which, yes, are important to society — but which are the main reasons for all the suffering in the world: judgements of good and bad. This is why people don’t forgive and why they punish; it’s why they fight. It’s why they believe in demons and angels and gods in the first place, and it all stems from dualism — the attempt to balance opposite inventions that serve the ego.

All is one or part of everything else. As soon as people accept this, all conflict stops.

Yes, Yin and Yang represent opposites, but even this is a product of ego. Nature has no ego. It is all flow. It certainly has no good or bad, just a continuum of cause and effect, and that is relative, too.

Things I Said Today: Dualism And Homophobia

This is from a discussion on Instagram:

It’s weird to ‘Down with Big Brother’ because he looks at the situation as he suggested: biologically. It is weird that a being has the anatomy necessary for it to reproduce with the complementary anatomy, yet its consciousness and hormonal system are attuned to the same anatomy, however, it isn’t wrong. It is natural and has been natural to a certain proportion of the species kingdoms since we can date back. Or at least it is in evidence in other species, including our cousin species of primates.

The challange is for us to look at life on the planet as a whole, instead of how Down with Big Brother tended to look at it — between only two subjects of Homan Sapian. In the species kingdoms it has been noticed that homosexuality benefits the social group, but people don’t tend to see the group as an issue or the tree of life as the unit to be concerned with.

Especially in Western culture, we think in terms of a fearful outlook that says, ‘if this happens over there, will it happen with me?’

You have heard this: ‘what if everyone did this?’ This is a product of insecurity, of the legal system, of moral laws, of religion, and specifically of dualism, which is a very West-centric or Western product very much fostered by the “us and them” aspects of individualism, “personal freedom”, and ego. The theisms play a huge part in this — unlike Eastern philosophies, which teach singularity — because the theisms succinctly teach good and bad, evil and virtue, Heaven and Hell, right and wrong, love and hate, forgiveness and punishment — all in the same book.

If one is raised in a mindset of oneness, energy-wise, biologically, cosmologically, interpersonally… dualism disappears and so does “us and them”. Homophobia can’t exist unless people are steeped in the illusions of dualism.

Banning Private Campaign Finance

Jefferson_Ban_for_Wordpress_essay

Me.onBan.Private.Campaign.FinanceDear Friends:

We now have eighty-nine (378) signatures supporting a ban on private campaign finance in America. Your signature–if you are an American citizen–is badly needed. When we attained fifty signatures, http://moveon.org wrote me a letter saying they would support me in sending me to my representatives to deliver this petition. I thanked Move On, but said that I would want at least a thousand signatures as a start to show Americans were serious about this issue. Indeed, we would need hundreds of thousands to move congress and the senate, if not millions. However, a thousand would show that is possible.

Thank you to signer #89: Ms. Dana N. of Provence from Alamosa, CO, who signed this petition on Nov 13, 2014. And, Thank you to signer #88: Mr. Gary Lamble from Escondido, CA, who signed this petition on Nov 13, 2014. Mr. Lamble had this to say: “The Seemingly Impossible Dream, but we need publicly funded campaigns and a ban on private contributions of any amount.”

Publicly-funded campaigns and a ban on private campaign finance will make all candidates equal in how much and when they speak to us. A system involving a set amount of funds for election–an equal amount for all candidates–would also take the corruption out of politics and out of our electoral system, ensuring that no corporation or individuals could curie favor with statesmen and thus undermine the electorate. Finally, it would put representation fairly in the hands of all constituents–unless a candidate wanted to favor an individual or group more than others–according to his or her conscience; then voters could decide whether to tolerate that or not–at the polls.

Right now we have an auction system, a system of bribery, and a system wherein even moral, good-natured, and honest statesmen must compromise their values to satisfy their financiers, so they wind up being bought by those sponsors and taking away our rights to have our voices heard and our wanted policies implemented.

Especially in a time of global climate change–to say nothing of issues related to healthcare, gun violence, education, infrastructure, banking, and foreign policy–we need a government that answers to all citizens, not just to wealthy oil and pharmaceutical companies.

Take back your dignity, take back fair elections, and restore democracy to America–for Americans and the world. We are one dangerous nation, to our own citizens, and the citizens of other nations, without it.

There is no place for oligarchy on Earth now. Sign to ban private campaign finance and put the power of the American people back in the hands of the  American people–where it belongs.

Thomas Jefferson said democracy would end when the government fell into the hands of moneyed institutions and corporations. That is what happened a long time ago. Is there any doubt in your mind that if we accomplished a majority of support for fair politics like this, that we would not be able to solve our problems, instead of spending decade after decade of just complaining about it?

Sign here, and tell your friends to sign, too: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/establish-a-state-of-2

Thank you,

Carl Atteniese Jr.

Pick A Good Religion

I met a man on a mountain in Korea. He had this to say about Religion:

We all talk about what happens when we die. I met a wise man at the top of Bukhan Mountain in Korea, once, and this is what he told me about where the followers of different religions go:

The Christians go to a resort in the sky if they’re sorry for being jerks and profess to believe. If they’re not, they stay at a place something like the sun–forever. God makes them non-destructible at that point, but able to feel pain.

The Jews don’t go anywhere. They become their own advocates and litigate outside the gates of either place. The reason they don’t get muscled in is no one wants to cross them. They are good in a fight, make good movies and, you never know when you’re going to need a lawyer.

The Buddhists have unlimited lives, but if they’re pains in the ass, they come back as worms, or dogs, or North Koreans. Or  almost worse, they come back as dogs in traditional villages in South Korea, where they are a delicacy.

The Muslims have the best deal. They have to be good–which may include being involved in Mission Impossible-style military campaigns for political causes, which may include suicide, but the rewards are great for this. If they die during one, I hear they go to a place like the Playboy mansion in the sky. If they are bad, they have to hang out with infidels at Fox.

Taoists hitch a ride on a meteor, which mysteriously leaves the atmosphere without crashing, hitched to a flying dragon–who then takes them to some wine and opium-filled after-party in another galaxy.

Atheists just die.

Agnostics sort of die, sort of go to Heaven (where they are rewarded by God for being honest), and sort of go to Hell–on a rotating basis. I hear it’s like riding a merry-go-round through a segmented circle, with parts being like a sex shop, an inferno, and a Woody Allen movie.

Deists go to The God Buffet and have a membership card to all realms–which they can visit at will, but can never stay at permanently. They tend to hang out with the spirits of the Jihadist Muslims at the Playboy Mansion in the sky. Even the women.

Janeists own the whole shebang. Yeah, unbelievable, right? All the realms of the afterlife are concessions, owned by those vegetarian pacifists. I don’t know where they live after death. I think it is some big floating resort called “In Your Face, Nirvana,”  orbiting another star in the constellation, Virgo.

The Hindus are the limo drivers and the Sufis are the therapists and yoga instructors.

The Shintoists just go on tending those sublime shrines and go to sleep at night in the rocks, the trees and the creatures in the breeze.

Nobody knows what happens to American Indians. I think they just continue on as great spirits in the form of living peyote smoke or drum rhythms & chants–everywhere.

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

A Letter to Mayor DiBlasio on Public Smoking

Dear Mr. Mayor,

I sincerely hope this message finds you and your family and your staff and theirs’ in good health, happiness, and peace of mind.

What Decent, Healthy People Would Like–in New York City

People want to be free to be healthy. In New York, however, we are not free to be healthy, because of the ubiquity of smokers. But what is New York supposed by others to be about, if not individuality and individual freedom? What happens when the sick and inconsiderate are usurping those virtues of personal freedom and health–because they are addicted to a drug that harms not only themselves, but everyone, nearby and far away? Cigarettes–the burning type–which I shall refer from here on as ‘combustion-driven’, in the hands of people addicted to their vice and carcinogenic delivery systems, are doing this every moment of every day–in New York City. I and tens of thousands of others–if not millions–who care about their health, must hold our breath and bob and weave and dodge around smokers on crowded New York City streets, every day–and in vein–because we lose, every time; we still inhale cigarette smoke from others no matter what we do. It is not fair. It is not just. It is not sensible. It is insane. Furthermore, it is ‘un-New York’. I would go so far as to say it is un-American–not traditionally–of course, but philosophically. One man’s vice is not supposed to be a public health menace. Not in America.

America is supposed to be about fairness and freedom. It is bad enough we are shackled to faulty political practices, unfair banking and economic policies, environmental degradation due to corruption, poor infrastructure and foreign policy, terrorism and a host of other facets and factors of life we have little control over at the moment. Why should we also be forced to inhale cigarette-spewed nuclear radiation and Carbon Monoxide–on the streets?

I strongly advocate the banning of all combustion-driven tobacco products from New York City streets. Moreover, I think all of us who are healthy and sensible and in line with this should demand it!

What About in Other Western Democracies?

When I was in Japan, I saw that smoking on city streets was illegal. One cannot walk and smoke in Japan, and one must go into a smoking chamber or a smoking area separated from pedestrian traffic to abuse nicotine. Why are we less socially advanced than the Japanese?

When I was in Korea, I was forced to inhale cigarette refuse on the wind–all the time, and I thought, ‘I cannot wait to live in an American city, again, where this does not happen.’ Well, It does happen–because we are just as foolish to allow this. I inhale cigarette smoke every morning, noon, and night–on the wind–in our beloved city, and… against my wishes. Why must this be? It is tyrannical and clinical insanity.

The forced inhalation of cigarette pollution–is a human rights violation, a gross inconvenience, a corruption of a person’s peace of mind, his personal choice, and a distraction to his or her concentration.

But What About ‘Smokers Rights’?

Cigarette smokers exercising what I call their secondary right to relieve their emotional problems with nicotine products that harm others–whilst damaging their health–are violating what I call non-smokers’ primary rights to peace of mind, fresh air, and in the case of pedestrian traffic–free-locomotion in while in transit. However, I don’t want to be callous toward them–for they are human beings with needs, too–so let us suggest that they who are addicted to this  drug–use Electronic cigarettes, or vapor pens, which only produce the global warming gas, water vapor, and no other pollutants–such as are found in regular cigarettes, like nuclear radiation (Polonium), heavy metals (Cadmium), and the carbon-based greenhouse mitigants, Carbon Monoxide (car smoke); there’s no rat poisoning (Arsenic); nor any of the other 3,900+ chemicals we are forced to inhale found in combustion-driven nicotine products (regular cigarettes).

And finally, please consider this: billions of cigarettes are burning on this planet, every moment, twenty-four hours a day–pumping a tonnage of greenhouse gasses and radiation into our mutating atmosphere… in a time of severe global climate change–this is plainly stupid of us, and grossly irresponsible.

I wish you well.

Sincerely,

Carl Atteniese Jr.

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

How to Be A Nice Person

Albert Einstein said, “common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by the age of eighteen.” That means that what we automatically think of as sensible is only ‘automatically sensible’ to us because it derives not from experience, logical thought, or emotion but from prejudgments placed in our minds based on how we were raised. Keep that in mind as you read my essay, please…. 

Blame

Suggesting or alleging that someone is fully responsible for an outcome of negative qualities, or “blaming” others is like the air. No matter where you are, from time to time (if not every day) you will hear people saying ‘look at what I did for him’ or ‘look what was done for her’, followed by a reproach–because the person being spoken about apparently didn’t appreciated the good deed–or worse, did something wrong according to the speaker’s opinion. This has always bothered me, because it sounds like the person who received the favored treatment owes something to the party who was generous. My reaction to this, inside, is to feel like, ‘well, why did you do something for that person; was it to gain favor for yourself, or to be generous?’ Similarly, when a person is treated nicely or receives favorable treatment from the world, you can hear others saying something like ‘and look how she wasted that opportunity.’ Neither of these responses are nice; they reflect a lack of understanding, in some cases envy–or worse, jealousy. Keep in mind that people often–if not always–are doing the best that they can–even when they don’t know they could do better.

I feel and believe that being a nice person is not so much about doing nice deeds for others. Although helping and giving are beautiful aspects of friendship, more is required to qualify as “nice”.

Forgiveness

Forgoing blame, or offering “forgiveness”, is a great part of being nice. It shows that one is really interested in getting back to the normal state of affairs in a relationship—as long as it is sincere, and not mere appeasement. It shows understanding, and humanity, for you can understand people, you can be kind toward them even when they don’t do things that you think are smart of kind–the logical and empathic reaction because all people do stupid and unkind things from time to time, either by mistake or due to a confluence of events that came from misfortune and ignorance. In other words, blaming people is not only unkind, it is shows a real lack of understanding human beings and nature. So you might say that a big part pof being nice is about awareness and intelligence.

Listening

Paying attention deeply when someone is speaking  to us, or “listening”, is a requirement, and I don’t just mean allowing someone to talk. By listening, a nice person considers deeply—or at least, adequately—what is being said by another. It also means that baring some cognitive or emotional disorder, the nice person tries to implement behavior that reflects consideration for what the speaker has said. If s/he cannot, s/he at least acknowledges, or validates it—meaning the nice person recognizes that the speaker feels that way. Validation is very important in all relationships, from those of strangers on the street conversing for only a few moments, to those of lovers. It means the nice person says, in effect, ‘I see that you feel that way and that is okay.’ You can always tell when someone’s feelings have not been validated when you hear him or her complain, ‘my boyfriend/girlfriend/friend/mother/father (whomever) keeps doing that!’; in other words, the other person is not paying attention to what is liked or wished for—and doing the opposite.

Self-expression

Telling others how we feel and think, or “expressing ourselves”,  is how we learn about people about ourselves. So being a nice person—to me—requires giving and helping and forgiveness, but also requires listening and considerate behavior based on what was heard. And, of course, in order to be a good listener, one has to be involved with people who express themselves on the same level we are used to–or we have to spend extra time and effort trying to understand them. It helps no one if a person is the silent type—expecting others to “know” him or her so well that nothing is said about his or her feelings. This is especially a problem with taciturn people, or with people from other cultures whose ways of communication may involve expecting a lot of guesswork or reliance on assumptions built into cultural norms. However, we should waste no time in blaming taciturn folks; understanding them only helps the situation.

Respecting People’s Space

Showing mindfulness toward other peoples’ boundaries, or “respecting someone’s space” is something I didn’t intend to include here (though it is important), because it is automatic and fundamentally natural if one is listening to and honoring what another has said (which I mentioned above). You cannot respect a person’s space if you do not listen to him or her, nor if that person doesn’t communicate his or her boundaries. Of course some forms of respect are generally basic across many cultures, but some boundaries are different and unknown to us because they are personal, familial, regional, or relationship-specific. If one is communicating and another is listening–and then, finally, the other is behaving according to what was communicated—then, respect for space and boundaries is a given.

So, don’t expect people to think you are nice if you simply do nice things for them; you have to listen to people, understand people,  validate and honor what they say—within reason of course.

It was a big shock to me when a girlfriend once said ‘I don’t like a lot of messages’, partially because I was sending too many—however, this was also a result of her indulging me for quite some time, and even rewarding my loquaciousness. That is more a case of poor communication, than lack of consideration—because people interpret the meaning of things differently, and they cannot expect others to know that their feelings about things have changed without saying something about those changed feelings.

Honesty

Sharing your experiences and actions by telling the truth, or being “honest”, is important. It is the foundation upon which people may know one another—so therefore it is the most crucial element of friendship and therefore of being nice.  Dishonesty around people who trust you is a form of control, and control is not love or friendship; it’s manipulation—because when we do not know what is really happening, what friends and partners are really feeling and thinking, how can we treat them according to what they want, need, and experience? We are living in a false world of misunderstanding about them, and taken too long, we become their playthings—accidentally or deliberately. This is why people will say, ‘don’t play with me!’ It is also why people in America say, “keepin’ it real.” Real is honest. People don’t want to be manipulated. Manipulation is for things, not beings such as people. People must treat people as people. That makes them nice.

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

 

ISIS And US

I think the crisis in Iraq is terribly unfortunate and heartbreaking. I felt this way as soon as we attacked in 1991. The Crisis did not begin there, though. There was a war with Iran. We aided both sides.

But after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait over the fact that Kuwait used to be part of his country, and over the fact that Kuwait was stealing his oil… and after we had told him we had no opinion on his border dispute with Kuwait… we wrecked his country beyond repair with eleven years of sanctions.

Think of the war we had there to remove his men from Kuwait. We bull-dozed them, with dirt-removal vehicles, in the sand. We carpet bombed them in bunkers–crushing and baking them. We used radioactive shells to encase the missiles we shot out of tanks. Cancer is much more common in Iraq as a result of our war there. We became the Nazis as they were over England: cruel and unusual.

Our sanctions ruined Iraq’s economy. We blocked medical supply shipments, shoe polish, even–electronics… from entering the country. On a flight from Korea I met a man who told me they couldn’t even get hospital equipment.

In 2003 we invaded again: “Shock and Awe”, we called the endeavor. And you can bet Satan’s evil, we gave ‘em hell on Earth.

Then we allowed the poor and angry citizens to loot the museums and the ammunition lockers. We didn’t guard the weapons. We didn’t patrol the streets. We really didn’t plan the rebuilding of the country well and didn’t get started right away, either. It’s almost as if the Bush boys let them at the weapons, to further justify their plans of inflating the military budget and prolonging the conflict–to guarantee a permanent presence and the building of infrastructure–on our dime. Just funnel that cash right to Cheney’s Halliburten, Carlyle, and Brown & Root. ‘Sheeeeeeeiiii. Thems some smart ‘n good ole boys!’ (slaps knee and tips brim of cowboy hat.)

But we fired all the government workers–the civil servants. So, you had thousands of people out of work in a country beaten to hell. No teachers, no postal workers, no office people, no meter maids, no sanitation, no police officers… and no army in a country of militant religious rivals.

This is not about George Bush being unintelligent; this is about his administration–composed of highly educated men and women not caring about the people of Iraq, because they had an agenda lain out for them a decade before. And it is about you and I–not doing our jobs with the local and state legislature.

Any guesses as to where the roadside bombs came from? Or why? Any guesses as to where ISIS came from–or why?

If you hellishly attack a country, lying about why you are doing it, break international law and squander your valiant World War II reputation in the tradition of the Vietanam and Nixon era–and it is historical fact that you lied to do it, do you think everyone in that country you flattened and burned down is going to respect you or trust you–least of all the ones out of favor? Will they honor the authority you vest in the new government or its soldiers?

To say the least, ISIS is not a nice group of people, but the difference between nice people and fanatical people in this world often three things (if they are are theocratic), a lack of a strong man to keep them from oppressing one another and others, a lack of opportunity, and the US attacking their country—telling them what to do.I am.in no way sticking up for ISIS, but we have to look at the root causes of conflict in the world, if we would eliminate those causes.

Saddam Hussein was not a nice man, but he wanted to be. He just had maniacal intentions, a government in a region whose philosophy allows jihad, and a population of people who were in religious warfare with one another–some of whom always wanted to kill him.

Theocratic philosophies do not democratic traditions make. They engender hierarchy and fiat. Put all the aforementioned ingredients together with that fact and you wind up needing one tough gangster to keep peace. What did we do? We removed Hussein from the equation when he was actually the one leader with a progressive secular society, unleashing centuries of theocratic tension–and after we destroyed his society–attempted to rebuild it under the leadership of a fool–with a get-rich-quick and democracy-in-a-box plan.

Then we left.

What’s interesting to me is, in April–when the Obama Administration was poised (or bluffing; that’s another theory of mine) to bomb Syria, there were those in the citizenry, including a former Kennedy staffer–saying that we really did not know whether Assad has used poison gas or the rebels had, and what’s more, that many of the rebels were radical Islamists who were not fighting Assad because he was a despot–but because they wanted a Caliphate and to run out of town or kill Aloites and other non-Muslims. Now we know this is where many members of ISIS came from.

Had we bombed Assad and possibly overthrown him, who do you think would be running Syria, now? And what kind of hell would McCain be catching for his boots on the ground, there? Whose boots would they be? The boy’s next store–until he either didn’t need one or both of them. And then we would rush them home. And Syria would be another Iraq–and Korea.

Look at South Korea. It is a nation divided since 1953. Iraq looks like a nation that will now be indefinitely divided (in more parts than two). Finally, had we bombed Syria….

In Inventing The axis of Evil, by Evrand Abrahamian, Moshe Ma’oz, and Bruce Cumings, the sober suggestion is made that the hawkish American agenda is actually to keep nations like Iran, Syria, and Korea divided. If these astute authors are correct, it’s now two down, and (not one, but…) two to go.

Oliver Stone said we lost in Vietnam because we were spiritually wrong from the beginning. Of course we were; when we aided the French–who were trying to maintain their imperial hold on the Vietnamese–we were too ashamed to give them funding outright, or to let them have lanes with our insignia on them–so the French had to repaint them. And, more egregiously, we invented the Gulf of Tonkin Incident to get into the war ourselves. We also killed a president over it (among other reasons). Our hearts were never in the effort of rebuilding Iraq. Now we are reaping the wrath of the fringe who think like we and the American Natives had in our own little culture war before the birth of our nation: ‘Kill and terrorize so they leave you alone’.

What do you think a disenfranchised group of Muslims who do not like the installed government are going to do when the peacekeepers leave?

Maybe it is time to stop doing this. No fixes, no “help” but that which is humanitarian, and no weapons… not even to the good guys, because no guys are good guys after atrocities are committed against them.

We are a bunch of clowns and fools for letting arms dealers in our “military industrial complex”–as President Dwight Eisenhower warned–and senators and congresspersons in our government drag us into wars wherein our citizens come home dead or in pieces (figuratively and literally) and we wind up broke—so they and private contractors can get rich.

Believe me, Saddam was no threat to Saudi oil–the real back-room reason for attacking Iraq on paper, but a ruse in practice to establish another beach-head in the Middle East where we could guarantee the flow of oil for Europe and Asia and inflate the defense budget whilst raising the ratings for a previously failing presidency, back home. And they sold it to you with three letters and a vial of nothing.

We should not only be ashamed, we should have our heads examined. Don’t coddle your little Facebook/SUV/iPhone head with delusions; we are the reason journalists are having theirs cut off.

You, yes, you—the one reading this, had better call your representative tomorrow and tell him or her that she or he had better not dare sanction more troops for Iraq; call Obama, too. Eliminating ISIS will only be the beginning.

Sanction any maneuvers necessary to get our journalists out and whomever else is there; then it’s game over. Or what happens all around the world is on your head and mine. Take some responsibility, this time–American.

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

______________________________

Source Material:

Inventing The Axis of Evil:

http://books.google.com/books/about/Inventing_the_Axis_of_Evil.html?id=FL6cQgAACAAJ

The PNAC:

The Rise of The Vulcans:

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident

What’s for The Professional? What’s Shiny Kid Stuff?

Windows, Apple, and Samsung

I just hooked up my giant DELL desktop keyboard and mouse to my Windows tablet. Why? Because I can! And you can, too, if you have the case/fold-out keyboard–which comes with a sleek and aerodynamically fattened rear-end, to accommodate two USB ports).

The Deets ‘N Perks of Many Wings…

On the Nokia/windows tablet, I can–if I want to, of course–use the tantalizingly soft-and virtually hidden-mouse-pad that is attached to the keyboard in the fold-out case, or, I can use the on-screen keyboard (which can display one of three versions–one featuring a segmented layout with left-hand and right-hand ergonomic displays for the letters–and which has the number-pad in the middle). And as another quick diversion, I will add that the amazing thing about the on-screen virtual keypad is that it is–tactile-wise–a huge pleasure to type on because of the size and design of the layout, as well as because of the fantastic bio-rhythm pulse we get at the touch of its virtual keys. But we know about this from using fancy smart-phones. I don’t want to talk about that, right now; we are familiar with such typewriter-replacing finger candy as we get it with virtual typing modes of all modern devises. It’s nice–but who cares? I’m talking about the pleasure and convenience of smart writing.

Laptop Convenience? Got Muscles ‘N Space?

The point is, real writers–who have to live at the keypad or keyboard–really appreciate size and the tactile experience that comes with using a full-size layout to type on. But for those of us who couldn’t resist the tech revolution and started working on phones and I Pads to get away from looking like World War II correspondents who had to carry around a Remington or an Underwood in a case–lugging our “laptops” (which we cannot really use on our laps, unless we want hot legs, over-heated computers, testicular cancer, a hunchback, carpel tunnel syndrome, and poorer eyesight than we already have)! I don’t care if you have the MacBook Air; yes, it’s nice; yes, it’s light, and yes it is solid state, so needs no fan (amazing, actually) but it is still a tank, no matter how small you pretend it is.

Uh Huh, You’re Different. Got Inconvenience?

So, we had to get used to Apple’s redesign of the keyboard! Who will admit that the Windows original is not the most logical and intuitive step away from the typewriter and word processor? Thankfully, it doesn’t cause us to scream in our heads, ‘look at me and how different I am because, I don’t have  a normal delete-button or a back-space key!’ In opting for the transporter room, Captain, you take the joy out of flying the shuttlecraft, and you screw up your body!

Nostalgic Comfort, Baby…

So right now, because I am not on the LIRR or at Starbucks, I can have my big old healthy keyboard, clicking away and telling my brain I can “punch the keys!” as Shawn Connery yelled in Finding Forrester! And it’s better for my brain, memory, and typing skills. Don’t know what I mean? Dust off your uncle’s old typewriter, word processor, or even your DELL keyboard. It’s a monster of a man of a thing, with bravado, character, style-behind-usefulness efficiency, is comfortable, human, and tells you aren’t texting–like a high-schooler in a Seoul café; It says: I AM WRITING…in NEW YORK, clown!

Options?

And not being a complete dinosaur, I AM using the Nokia/Windows 8 RT–top of the lie tech with many perks (I can watch Netflix, YouTube, and fly my flight-sims whilst getting messages from Facespook, Twitter, Linked In, and Insta, baby!) To boot, it is very light and the size is “sports coupe”, not “iPhone Terminator”.

Keystrokes. Got ‘Em?

I can touch the screen (I can touch if I want to) and make spell-check corrections because this is “a tablet”, all the while typing in the old conventional clickety-clack way (remember, I hooked up my desktop keyboard–try that with your I Paaaad!). It takes me back to the great dexterous and auditory pleasures of the original typewriters (without the workout)! And I can use my Control + C, X, and V, keystroke shortcuts, so I don’t have to be “reaching out” to the screen every other second (sometimes I like to keep my hands to myself); Something has to be said for speed, dude!

And because this is “a tablet”, I have the option of using “apps”, but it’s Windows, so while on the internet, I can use Control + N to open a new browser, which is actually much faster than switching screens, going to apps, and using the touch-interaction… and… waaaait combo, that we have to deal with on all the new and different tablets.

So Many Devices, So Little Time…

As the technology world has marketed to us new ways of computing, writing, playing, and communicating, it has slowed us down. Every time you have to learn the new aspects of a device and are forced to then wait until it becomes intuitive to you–you slow down the most mundane aspects of your twenty-first century brain, and you delay the completion of a lot of tasks that are really important. Typing should be like riding a bicycle: simple, standard, and learned once! It’s bad enough the evil companies controlling our purchases in phones, service, and computing force us to upgrade every year–we should not have to keep learning the ABCs. It’s a wonder we get anything done. Every add up the amount of time you have to be online learning how to use appliances (remember that world), these days? Not to mention all the time you spend shopping new ones–as well as for cases, chargers, wires, cables, routers, service plans, screen protectors, blah, blah, blah? This has taken over a good portion of the life and time it was all supposed to save us from!

One Stop Doccing…

If you are like me, utilizing “platforms” for document creation, photography, blogging, and the self-promotion of your ideas for comedy, poetry, essay-writing, job-search, and social networking, learning new hand-eye coordinative arrangements, along with passwords, password retrieval, “portal” ins and outs and so on–the hours add up, peeps!

With an I Pad and Samsung, you have to use “The Clouds”; true, with Samsung you can use Polaris to write with, which is in the dictionary under ‘the North Star’ but should also carry the definition, ‘cancerous nightmare disaster from hell’; Kingsoft is nice–and a thousand times a million times better–and almost gives Word a run for the money (actually, it does), but you cannot download a Word doc into it in your device (which you can do with Polaris, but Polaris doesn’t wash the dishes in any other way)!

Stop Playing, Start Writing, Yo…

Get a system that is most versatile, yes, but get a system that allows you to connect most easily to everything else, because–as Andrew Gerndt–my anatomy-drawing instructor at SVA once told me–“you can waste a lot of time.”  The Windows system on the Nokia tablet handles all your “PC” docs with no differences from your desktops, with no need for third-party apps, and it has all the other shiny perks  in a sleek, light-weight presentation package that comes with two (count ’em, baby–two) USB ports if you buy the fold-out keyboard/case). You can use ’em for whatever you want–and that means you can have your trusty pet mouse and keyboard from the writer’s trench with you–when you want! Of course you can also link up your smart phone with those ports, data sticks, whatever connects to a standard data cable with USB connector! The results are conclusive: I Pads and Samsung products are nice, but for kids. Windows is for the pro, yo. Goodbye Steve Jobs! You were a genius, but you were too stingy and “special”. I have work to do! Goodbye Samsung! You are versatile and make nice phones, but leave writing to the big boys.

Keys Aren’t Left in The Car

So Why Are The TV and Guns Available?

This was originally written to a mother who had contributed a post online about how being a parent of the female sex is frustrating and unappreciated, why her child watching TV programs not approved of by her was so annoying, and why her child was so bad in this regard. While I can appreciate her point of view, I felt that her penchant for rage at her child was due to poor parenting rather than the mischievous ways of children.

To Mothers Everywhere:

I am not a mother–and I offer all respect to them that’s due–but that is largely irrelevant. And not to discount outright your feelings or point of view, but generally speaking, people can truly love and emote if they want to and so can understand other human beings and provide comfort–personally. In this endeavor, they may also find the need to be critical. It is not necessary that we be the same sex as others, have the same experience, or even have the same feelings in order to emote–though I admit that this can help–in order to observe shortcomings and faults. This is an outcropping of empathy, and the understanding of humanity–which many people feel only incorporate agreement. That is not always necessary. This is compassion, and this is wisdom–and we are all capable of it. In fact–it is because others are usually not in our situation, and ‘always not us’, that they can offer a clear perspective.

Of course, were I a mother, I could commiserate with mothers to a greater extent and make them feel comfortable; I could draw on similar concerns borne out of similar or the same circumstances, and I could validate feelings better that way–especially to the satisfaction of the complainers and to that of popular culture–but I am not disallowed to comment, especially where grievances are aired publicly-and about issues affecting society–even if I do not meet the sameness criteria spoken about. After all, I am human.

Popular culture is your challenge, Mothers, not your ally, and I don’t want to get in the corner with you, frankly-speaking; I want to invite you out of it.

And so, being human–like you, being a child of a mother–like you, being one exposed to mothers tens of thousands of times–even having had the benefit of experiencing mother-child relationships as a teacher in another culture–I wish to give you my feelings, observations, and insights–so please take them with love:

Responsibility

Your adoption of popular notions is why you have a TV and why your children have access to it. It is thus your responsibility to decide how that TV brings the world into of your home and before your child’s eyes. The fact that it is not under lock and key and that most channels are not restricted by some mechanism is also your and your adult society’s issue–not your child’s.

Parental Fiat, The TV, and Normalcy

The fact that your child doesn’t pay heed to your commands is natural. The child was born out of you–but yaks Khalil Gibran said, you don’t own him or her like property and you cannot control his inclinations–but you may influence his or her behavior. Your restrictions on the freedom of his or her inquisitiveness are also limited–and are another aspect of how you mold him or her. Because you and your society have not found a way to keep the TV from being a source of tantalizing entertainment and knowledge–right at the child’s fingertips (which she or he sees you using with your husband and friends), naturally works against your desires of mind and behavior control. Being human and not seeing herself as a being less than you, she or he wants to explore and enjoy, in the same ways he or she sees you do the same; this is normal.

Some Parents And All Human Beings

As you may be able to tell by now, I disagree with parents treating their children as indentured subjects instead of as human–albeit younger and more needy–individuals. There are parents who teach their children from a very young age that they are human beings as worthy of the stirrings that come to their consciousness and their growing conscience as are those of the overlords who are supposed to guard those growing faculties and inalienable parts of their existence.  And if that is too much for other parents, they make things unseen that they don’t want their children to see. It is a matter of human sense and responsibility.

It would be far better for your child and for society if young people and your children were respected and not subjugated, from the earliest possible age. However, it is still the prevailing parental paradigm of thought that they must be under parental command and that they obey–like serfs or subjects under a monarch—instead of being treated as human students in the care of a loving professor. This is primitive.

How to Respectfully Deal with Young People

Where the children’s’ safety is at stake–or that of others–it can be explained to them in terms of not venturing into the use of things not theirs, and/or it can be taught that the consequences are big. If not, lock it all up; stove, sink, kitchen knives, cleaning chemicals, handgun, whatever. The keys are not left in the car, are they? So how stupid are parents who make all manner of dangerous things available to their children and who make use of those things in front of their children, then expect the children not to explore those things, themselves? I don’t know why society has not figured this out en masse and incorporated it en masse as well. It makes no sense at all to assume that because one tells a child not to utilize something that the child will comply—even with the threat of punishments—unless those punishments are non-violent and can create a common understanding of values.

The Dangers and Irrationality of Violent Punishment for Children

Violent punishments only show the hypocrisy and cruelty of a parent to the child, because the child is not mentally mature enough to grasp in agreement the notion that some people can have certain privileges and pleasures and others cannot–simply because of what appears to be size–an usually age—differences. And the physical punishment just indicates that the infliction of pain on a child (or a weaker person) is permissible—while it is not acceptable when meted out against adult or more powerful people. This serves as the child’s first lesson in the acceptance and politics of domination and unequal treatment.

Wanting Thanks

We are supposed to have children not as a rite of passage or to grow a work force, to plant seeds in the world reflecting our twisted religions and philosophies, or as accidents stemming from our passion; we are supposed—as civilized human beings—to give birth to new human life in order to spread and share our intense and healthy love with our partners and to the children we bear and raise with them. Therefore—though it is nice to hear appreciative words, and it is good to teach appreciation to young human beings—it is not part of the mental need of a parent who understands that it is a clear and undeniable duty, and it is healthy love that brings a parent to be necessarily working at raising his or her offspring. It is not favor we lavish on young human beings in caring for them; it is an undying desire to care for them until they can care completely for themselves, and it is the job itself that is the reward; parenting is a privilege as well as an unequivocal duty, to make healthy and free new human beings.

I sincerely hope you begin, with billions of other adults, to re-evaluate what it means to be human and what is natural and what is not—and therefore what is not really fair and sensible, and thus what is helpful and what is not.

If young human beings were treated as full human beings and not lesser than that, most of the problems people have raising them would go away; the job of guiding them would be harder in some respects, yes—but it would also be a lot less stressful and damaging, for sure—and society would be better off, as well.

Short of the employment of life-altering spiritual, intellectual, experiential and psycho-therapeutic alteration, everything an adult is… comes from his or her parental environment—and therefrom comes society.

New Love

When you awake

Most every day

Saddened by what’s gone

Feeling trapped in yesterday

Leaving you

Forlorn

When you arrive in mirthful climes

Feeling heart-felt pain

In beautiful places

Feeling it’s another stop

On a train

When you look happy outside

But’re rueful, deep within

And Lost because

That special time

Won’t begin again

With life eternally simple, now

You’re not want to care

And every step

Toward novelty

Fades from here

To There

Can you find

Some newness

Something that’s for you

Acting as a portal

To happiness that’s true?

And if you see such chances

As something all but real

Anchored in those

Blissful times

That tragedy did steal

Then this will be the hell

From which

You surely won’t escape

Where health and life

Will rob your self

As in the act of rape

Though you’re not want to

Letting go of dreams and things so true

and asking

Did it happen?

Is it gone, as it just seems?

Well then

Just don’t

Bury love

Stoke it fresh

And warm

While stepping into

New Love

Like hearing a new song

Revel in that time, then!

And live alive right now!

Lest you lose your mind man!

The common way known how

In heart remember memories

But don’t leave now behind

Lest your friends and family

And New love

Now be blind

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

Ferguson

I don’t see the moral connection

Between a tragic, misdeed in death

And mayhem in the streets

While one was a result

Of poor conditioning and fear

The other is of premeditation

And culpability quite clear

It is the corrupted mind

That answers mistakes

And responds to misdeeds

With conscious violence

Minus fear

So please

Tell me

What your message is

Rioters

As now your names you smear

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

Who Escapes?

What is wrong

if anything,

with family

and friends

and the self

and onlookers

that this happens

to us

or to one

What is right with one

that makes him see

all the more that is wrong

with us

so greatly

he can no longer be

Or is it plain to you

and is it okay

to me that

the only problem was

with the Robin

but we did not care

or could not see

We often ask this question

about God

and His defenders

We say it just has to be

Does that make God

like you and me

When a bird takes flight

we give her credit

but what made her fly

If a man is not frightened

but he’d rather die

who or what

was behind the wind

and who can remain

standing in it

And who has fancy names

for the gale

and why

Please trust me

We can turn

a gust into a breeze

if we whisper

Don’t be blown away

And fly to perches

whence ye can return

or talk to me

Carl Charles Carroll Atteniese

When Someone Blames You for Not Taking His Side

First of all, we try to ask someone to let go of an issue we can’t agree with him on. Ideally, we don’t ask someone to let go of an issue if it won’t let go of him or her, yet. We just listen until he or she works it out or gets stuck in a corner and needs us to pull him or her out of it. Though letting go is lauded, it often involves invalidating someone’s feelings. It is very hard to let go of feelings. It’s different from focusing cognitively on something; it’s visceral–and hurts, so we need to talk it out–to vent, sometimes.

Next, we don’t have to take sides. When someone asks for this he or she is insecure and when he or she expects it, that’s bordering on control. If a person wants your allegiance, he or she is asking for you to surrender your feelings and your mind and your freedom. Strong, healthy people who love one another don’t do this. Weak people in co-dependent relationships do. And, lots of people do it because, 1. they think friends are members of their armies, and, 2. they don’t understand love and friendship, which require people to be free and to be themselves–not what friends and lovers want them to be.

You do nothing wrong by disagreeing with someone. You can say you understand, or that you empathize. You can share in the pain, but to be a friend you shouldn’t fake agreement. This paints a false picture of who you are and will set up misunderstanding and co-dependence.

 

Get to Your Goals

Get to your goals

There is the reason we set up goals in our lives

There are plenty of obstacles to our goals and they appear every moment of everyday

In our attempts to do what we must you do from moment to moment, it is easy to become fatigued,

We are natural beings requiring rest and so this fatigue causes us to settle

So, before you know it, the obstacles have become your daily routine and you get no closer to your goals by settling into a life of obstacles

You can tell that you are settling by two main factors, and one is you are surrounded by things that you’re very interested in–but you’re really not taking a part in them

You see their traces on your walls

On your bookshelves

In your bag

But you’re really not doing anything about them–just carrying them around

This is why they become baggage

Sometimes we are so surrounded by the things we had intended to be a part of, we do not even recognize them until we go shopping–or until someone asks us what we want to do–and we see them apart from ourselves as new things, instead of as neglected fixtures in our cluttered lives

You know that you really care about something when it’s the first thing out of your mouth when someone asks you what you want, or like, or miss

You know that you really care about something when you go to the bookstore and that’s the subject that you unconsciously seek out before any other, whether it is “practical” or not

Or when you are in a waiting room and you pick up a magazine or allow your thoughts to center on a person, place, or subject

If our lives become a routine of surviving, doing chores, going to “work” (which is usually your effort in someone else’s work!), cleaning–the things we really wanted we may never get to, have, or do–unless we are doing chores and surviving on the path to what we want

Sometimes on the path to what we want, we decide the best way to get there is to do things the “smartest way” … but often the smartest way takes the longest and before we realize it, those things we want are just on the shelf, surrounding us on walls, or in our bags …

Worst is when they become unconscious obstacles to forward motion, and they show up only in our restless hearts, and visible in the cloudy vignettes of a dream, or a nightmare

If you are not satisfied with just surviving, with being in the wrong place, with dreaming about what you want… you should wake up every day with the intention of paying a little thought to what is really most important to you–and one of the first things on your mind should be where you are going and what you are doing that day–to get there

Think about what you are really doing, and recognize what you think you are doing, say you are doing pretend you are doing, and dream you are doing

And notice how close or far what you are doing will take you to your goals

Think about when you want to actually do what you want to do and how close you are to doing it

Setting goals or having dreams is not enough

Dreaming of someday doing something is dreaming

Saying it will happen at the right time is fantasy

And saying you will do it only in the best way is like saying it will never happen, unless you are taking the best steps to doing it, today

Mando

Copyright © 2015 Carl Atteniese Jr., AKA ‘Mando’, All rights reserved.

Facebook Supports Stalking?

FACEBOOK SUPPORTS STALKING?

For the first time I can remember, I looked at who is following me; Facespook says it is six people but shows only four. Why is that? Does Facespook support stalking?*

Stalking is following someone secretly

The Dictionary Definition:

stalk2 [stawk] Show IPA
verb (used without object)
1.
to pursue or approach prey, quarry, etc., stealthily.
2.
to walk with measured, stiff, or haughty strides: He was so angry he stalked away without saying goodbye.
3.
to proceed in a steady, deliberate, or sinister manner: Famine stalked through the nation.
4.
Obsolete . to walk or go stealthily along.
verb (used with object)
5.
to pursue (game, a person, etc.) stealthily.
6.
to proceed through (an area) in search of prey or quarry: to stalk the woods for game.
7.
to proceed or spread through in a steady or sinister manner: Disease stalked the land.
noun
8.
an act or course of stalking quarry, prey, or the like: We shot the mountain goat after a five-hour stalk.
9.
a slow, stiff stride or gait.
Origin:
1250–1300; Middle English stalken (v.), representing the base of Old English bestealcian to move stealthily, stealcung stalking (gerund); akin to steal

Fidelity and Flirting

A Letter to a recent Client

Hi there, Friend:

How are you? I hope you are well–though in the situation you’ve described, I see many problems–so I cannot imagine you are.

Realize that I can only judge your situation by what you have told me–and this isn’t therapy–so I have to make some assumptions. I’ll expect you to correct me, where I go wrong–based on the limited information I have, and if you want to revise your story at any time, please do. Okay, Friend, even though I know most stable, healthy relationships should require no extra-relationship flirting–many people do it on a harmless level. Personally, I never have, and I don’t think I have ever seen my friends or family members do it. I think it is a sign of strong relationships and healthy, mature people who have confident psyches–that they don’t have a tendency to flirt. On the other hand, the topic requires that we define flirting. Simply being friendly with people of the opposite sex (or the sex of our interest) in the same manner we are friendly with members of our own sex (or the sex of our disinterest) is not flirting.

Flirting is any behavior accidentally or consciously intended to create a possible sexual or love-oriented relationship with another person. It is also a way of making one’s partner jealous. Now–just for a moment, allow me to play devil’s advocate: Have you been overly sensitive? Does your fiance show you true love in all the healthy ways–listening to you, helping you, putting you and your needs first and looking out for your interests–and has he only been reasonably engaged in light conversation with other women–never taking any interaction to another level or developing strong feelings for those women? Is it possible this is a power play–whereby he resents your possibly having turned some innocuous interactions into his tendency to test you and play with you because you may actually be unnaturally jealous and insecure? You must think about these questions I have asked you–seriously.

All outcomes in a relationship of any kind are the results of two or more person’s input. Now, that said, I will say this: You deserve a relationship in which you are the focus, and only you–in sexual and romantic ways. You deserve a relationship from which you are able to leave, from time to time–even if only to go away and be alone for a while to explore your interests and feelings in a solitary fashion. And you deserve a relationship wherein you do not have to suffer the insecurities inherent in the discomfort of knowing your partner has a need to be attractive to other people in a romantic and/or sexual ways. Now, I cannot be sure–because I have not met him, but it sounds like your fiance does care about you–but in an immature way, and in a controlling way, and in an insufficient way. In fact–that is why you have written me. Isn’t it? What are your feelings on love? I ask all my clients to tell me; you might have noticed that on my profile page. Is this a satisfactory relationship–which you are in? I think it is not. Again, isn’t that why you have written me? Tell me; does your boyfriend make it clear to those he flirts with that he is spoken for? Are those people sure he loves you and that there is no chance of their success with him–because he loves you? If not–he is not just being friendly or polite. In such cases he would be cheating on you–because he is opening doors to new relationships with such flirtation. In a strong, normal, Western relationship, partners make it known they are spoken for when speaking to new people. When they don’t, a red flag should go up in their partner’s minds. This is something I didn’t like about dating in Asia. I often found partners there–even married people–who behaved in ways that were quite ambiguous–which caused me to feel that those doors were always open–in all directions–and it spoke to me of high insecurity and low fidelity.  It was not always the case, of course–but it was noticeable (and of course a certain amount of confusion could have been caused by the overly affectatious way women are expected to act in some Asian cultures); so, it can be cultural. But in a healthy relationship it certainly is not necessary.

Finally, one judgement I will make is that your fiance should not be doing things that make you uncomfortable–within reason. I mean, saying “hello” to women–or talking to them–in a polite, non-romantic, or flirtatious way–should be acceptable–even if it is with his ex, from time to time, but if there is some romantic need being met or fostered, that’s cheating. And he certainly should not be telling other women he misses them–unless he is not planning to be exclusive with you. I hope you’ll pardon me for saying this, but it sounds like you’re in a relationship with an “old boy”, and the image that comes to my mind is of people in their forties or fifties–from some sexist culture–wherein the men are chauvinists and can do what they want–and the women must abide by it. And when the women express protest, the men feign dedication, make excuses, and continue on doing what they had been doing before–with no alteration. Finally, when the women decide to leave, the men act like little boys–unable to be men about it, unable to make changes. Is that accurate? He sounds like an old-fashioned person.

This is the 21st century; people in love today don’t behave like that–unless they are immature… or playboys (which are immature men, anyway). Crying is okay, occasionally, but throwing tantrums is not. Controlling you and manipulating you are the worst things he can do–but don’t confuse control with influence. He has a right to influence you–in a loving way. You have to ask yourself if your relationship is strong enough so that you two can sit down and talk about your needs and then you have to ask yourself if you’re both willing to negotiate to create boundaries and rules for the relationship. When one or both partners cannot or will not do this–a healthy relationship is impossible.

Love is not just a feeling; it is a practice in which the partners engage to make one another comfortable, healthy, and happy, and when only one partner’s needs are met–that’s not a healthy love relationship. That’s a dysfunctional one. In fact–it’s not love. It’s usage. Someone’s being used and taken advantage of. Now, your boyfriend may not be making you feel this way on purpose, but he needs to be made to understand that you’re not happy and if this continues what kinds of uncomfortable situations and feelings will result. Actually–you’re already there–in a place of discomfort. Please let me know how you feel about what I’ve said and take good care; your health and happiness should be your most important concerns. Of course you should care about your boyfriend’s health and happiness, too, but he seems to be taking care of that quite well; he has multiple people–apparently–to make himself feel secure. I don’t want to paint a bad picture of your boyfriend, here; most times people are doing the best they can according to their own maturity and intellectual & spiritual achievements. Perhaps he would like to change, but is not able to see the seriousness of the situation. Maybe this is how he saw love whilst growing up.

Love requires originality and flexibility, to the extent that it enables partners who want to grow their love; to do whatever is reasonable to keep that love growing. You have to communicate reasonable needs, feelings, expectations, and boundaries, and those have to be understood, agreed upon, and practiced in a relationship in order for happiness, fulfillment, and respect to be maintained. When only one partner is achieving these elements, the relationship is unbalanced and unhealthy. When you accept such conditions, the relationship is dysfunctional–because it is not functioning in a balanced way. That kind of relationship eventually makes both partners unhappy–not just the partner being hurt, initially.

Lastly, when one party in a relationship has the need to be involved with people outside the relationship in order to fulfill that need–it means his or her needs are not being fulfilled within the relationship. Sometimes this is normal. A wife goes to her gynecologist because her husband is only a plumber, not a medical doctor. A husband plays baseball once a month with his buddies because they provide the male bonding his psyche requires for a balanced life of friendship that men get from their male friends and perhaps their wives cannot offer. However, the ego assuagement we get from possible sexual and romantic flirtation outside of our romantic relationships which perpetuates discomfort in our relationships is not healthy, nor is it fair. Sit down and have a sober, calm, understanding, and supportive discussion with your boyfriend–about the feelings both of you have. Only after you have decided what your feelings, needs, and expectations are–and you have both committed to fulfilling them as best you can–should you call him your fiance, again–because he is not acting like a fiance, now.

Will The Day Come?

Will The Day Will Come When “Republican” is Distanced From By All But Insane People?

I am aware of the fact that many following the Tea Party-line feel they are constitutionalists, but in my observation they are interested in the constitution in terms of freedom that excludes them from social responsibility; they are not constitutionalists in the sense Jefferson was, meaning they do not possess and admire a foundation thinking of humanitarian righteousness; they do not become inspired with a love for humanity. They are impassioned by isolationist self-interest and fierce individualism at the expense of community.

Tea Partiers and many Republicans are not altruists. Indeed, their political representatives worship Ayn Rand and fear mankind–especially those among us that express “weakness”, difference, or liberal values–even though they would not have a country such as we have today, without those liberal values. Moreover–where ‘liberal’ is concerned, conservatives have hijacked the word; ‘liberal’ means open-minded and flexible, progressive and innovative. Tea Partiers in particular and Republicans in the main, erroneously take ‘liberal’ to mean something akin to “communist”. Or, at least that is how they use the word.

Furthermore, Tea Partiers and Republicans in general suffer from a particular kind of idealism that is akin to totalitarian thinking–or it is, precisely, totalitarian thinking–meaning it is an irrational total-solution-state of mind; ie: ‘everyone can get a job that satisfies his or her needs.’ Not coincidentally, this is why the majority of them are Christians. Or rather, they are Republicans BECAUSE they are Christians.

With no disrespect to moderate and near-secular Christians, theists who follow the copied bible manuscripts literally are the ones so indoctrinated in totalitarian values (as are conservative Jews and Muslims); ie: they see issues as black and white, resulting in such erroneous ideas as those which say that LGBT people are not deserving of the same human rights as the rest of us, a state of mind akin to that in the simple-mindedness that says, ‘everyone can get a job and healthcare’.

What’s worse is, Tea Partiers and Republicans don’t care about–or are cognitively immune to–the consequences of their own across-the-board black and white thinking. And the kind of prejudicial discrimination it engenders, when levied against those different from them, is indicative of the their world-view which leads to their obvious and shameful selfishness, cold-heartedness, and rigidity. this is obvious in their denier status in the face of such challenges as the causes of poverty and global climate change and the self-evidentiary righteousness of  womens’ rights, labor issues, and more.

The rigidity and cognitive dissonance of pathologically conservative Americans is the reason they are ‘the party of guns’. They cannot see–or won’t–that ubiquitous gun ownership and lax laws on the acquisition of fire-arms is a major contributing factor to the high level of gun violence in America–because they think everyone can be responsible with a gun–or don’t care if the opposite is true… so long as THEY can have THEIR guns, the machismo attached to them, and the profits of their sales…per THEIR “constitutional rights” (at the expense of public welfare paid for by everyone).

I truly believe we are in a situation in America–with these people–that describes nothing less than a clash of civilizations; one enlightened and courageous–thus generous and progressive, and the other, frightened and ignorant–thus retrograde. I am not being the least bit