“Race” And Its Misuses Destroy Conversation on Human Rights, Science And Religion

A Little-mentioned Major Reason “Race” And Its Misuses Destroy Conversation on Human Rights, Science And Religion

I don’t like conservative religious Christian, Hebrew or Muslim culture in the modern era, because they are cognitively, emotionally and sometimes physically violent.

 The doctrines of these religions are violent — despite their itinerant and intermittant talk of love and generosity. 

This doesn’t make me “racist”, but it might make me an ethniphobe in terms of moderate or conservative religiosity coming from theists.

Basically, if you are a theist, it’s harder to like you (but I love you as a human being) — unless I never hear you talk about these offensive, immoral and indefensible ideas relating to gods, demons, angels, science-denial and “moral” control, and I can be assured they don’t affect your politics.

This is not a casual statement; I have read and listened to — extensively on this — academics who are expert in their fields. I have thought, meditated on and soul-searched this subject, discussed it and written extensively about it, too — with much compassion and what I hope has been seen as generosity.
I mention this, today, because all this increasing talk about “race” has heightened and will worsen the mistruths, sidetracking, political correctness and identity politics relating to the discussion of theism and culture and their effects on society, which philosophers, scientists and human rights activists who are concerned with religion and culture know has a disingenuous, deleterious, dampening and derailing effect on the conversation. 

In case you don’t understand or would like further clarity on this, read these examples, please:

The Bill Maher-Sam Harris-Ben Afleck Incident

A year ago, Bill Maher hosted Sam Harris — the philosopher, author and PhD in neuroscience, as well as Ben Afleck, the actor, and others — to his show, Real Time with Bill Maher.

Ben Affleck attacked Sam Harris, calling him a “racist,” at one point in a very difficult conversation about religion, as Harris, in attempting to state his premise, included saying that Islam gets special treatment and that  “Islamaphobia” is a meme and conversation-stopper and a way to shut down substantive discussion. (I agree.)

Afleck used many colorful and non-sequitor epithets, trying to draw disingenuous and innacurate analogies — false-equivilencies, really — between what Harris and others have been saying and the ethniphobic statements made by anti-semites in ages past.

Ben meant well, but was out of his depth and hot-headed. 

Harris and Maher had to fight to finish each sentence as Afleck continually interrupted them, but Harris and Maher eventually prevailed pointed out to Afleck that what they were saying was about the  high percentage of Muslims who think such-and-such egregeous principle in thier religion is true and right and how the polls in many Mulsim countries — including in “liberal” ones — illustrate the frightening reality of this.

Then, Afleck asks rhetorically whether Harris thinks ‘Islam is a bad idea.’

Probably and mostly out of exasperation, Harris says what many who know scripture and history are aware of, but do not say: 

“Islam is the mother-load of bad ideas.”

This is when Afleck labeled Harris a “racist.”

The Problem And Point

The point is, religions deserve no right to be exempt from criticism and the misuse of the word “race” in relation to them and their adherents, cognitively and verbally sets up an unfair and unjust protection of their doctrines, making them off-limits to scrutiny.

As Douglas Adams and many philosophers and scientists have pointed out, in virtually no other endeavor do we make criticism off-limits.

Misappropriation

Religion and ethnic practices, incorrectly protected by “race” are the only areas of human life walled off and unfairly guarded like this, and it’s unjustified and dangerous.

Mislabeling Criticism as Racist

The second example is all too obvious and ubiquitous and at the heart of every “racist” complaint, which comedians point out is becoming a larger and larger category encompassing any type of criticism.

If you don’t think a majority of (or a large minority of) a particular cultural group is practicing human rights — or some other civic responsibility — to the desired measure of egalitarian norms, you can be called “racist” for your criticism of this behavior. That’s intellectually dishonest and unfair.

This is actually a different example of the first case — mentioned above — but equally demonstrative (or perhaps moreso) of the bad situation we are in, where “race” awards unwarrented and undeserved protection. 

This example will be easier to discuss than some of the classic American issues of this type.

The Burka Ban

France has banned the burka and the burkini. One reason for this is “cultural protectionism,” meaning that many French do not want the face of their culture changing to the extent that it looks like a Muslim majority country. 

Many can argue that this is not an example of how to create a free society, and they would be technically right, but then they could be blamed for being unfair in this assessment as the burka and its derivitives are marks of female-subjugation, which is a concept anathema to the French and in gross contradiction to the ideals and struggles of the Renaissance, the French Revolution and French Enlightenment and a defining aspect of French society. (And I agree.)

Islam, itself, is a religion of submission — an idea quite contrary and offensive to everything it means to be French. 

Pro-Muslim and multi-cultural people can say it is Islamophobia, but this is an attempt both at shutting down the substance of the conversation — because there is nothing wrong with expressing fear of cultural encroachment coming from a culture diametrically opposite and hostile to your values — but it is also tragically comic, because the suggestion is one should not be afraid of Islam, whilst in actuality, people are terrified of it, whether that is right or wrong. That’s how they feel. And the inconvenient truth is there is a good case for defending this fear. Look around. Read the newspapers.

Now if you are poised to attack this notion, understand many of us are terrified of Christianity, too. I am.

Purpose Check

The point of this article is to say that whatever your honest convictions about this subject of religion and culture, “race” doesn’t enter into it — insofar as race is culture plus biology — an amalgam once used to excuse the subjugation of “inferior” people in the time of slavery, but now used to defend against criticisms of religion and cultural practices, so people can enjoy a special status affording them the right not to be offended and the right to — in the case of religion — perpetuate intolerence and dangerous ideas under the guise of multi-culturalism and liberalism. 

The irony is these religions are anti-egalitarian, anti-democratic, anti-science and anti-freedom (in terms of the mind, of sexual freedom and persuasion, of art and expression and of women).

The Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Maajid Nawaz – Southern Poverty Law Center Incident

The final example involves Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an ex Muslim, former Dutch Parliamentarian and author famous for her human rights activism and criticism of Islam. She is a friend and contemporary of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Professor Daniel Dennett and the late Christopher Hitchens, the journalist credited with having been the greatest British essayist since George Orwell.

Ali is also friends with Majid Nawaz, founder of Quilium — an organization founded to reduce Islamic Jihad and Islamism and to promote a reform of Islam to usher the religion into the 21st Century. Nawaz is a former Islamist who left his home country of Britain to spread the ideas of theocracy in Pakistan. He changed in an Egyptian prison, where he met true Jihadis who revealed to him the extreme violence and ignorance of pure, theocratic Islam.

Nawaz met Sam Harris after a debate, and they had an argument, in which a slightly tipsy Harris challenged Nawaz to just come clean about the fact that he couldn’t admit the truth about Islam.

This sparked a discussion in which they became friends, Harris apologized for his abruptness, and they went on to write the recently published book, Islam And The Future of Tolerence. In it they discuss (it’s a printed conversation with audio available) how to solve the problem of radical Islam.

The point about Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz:

Recently, the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Ali and Nawaz Islamophobes and denigrated them and their work — which is, of course, ridiculous and will prove to be a great stain on SPL’s reputation.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s lectures, like those of Harris and Nawaz and the rest of these luminaries, are brilliant — compassionate, repspectful, ingenious, eloquent honest, and accurate.

Ali is a victim of Female Genital Manipulation. She escaped a forced betrothal. She talks of the Mecca-Muhammad (a spiritual persona) and the Medina-Muhammad (a raping, murdering, homophobic warlord manifestation) and how Islam cannot be reformed to eradicate violent Jihad and theocracy unless Muslim guardians — parents and leaders — explain the difference.

The Challemge for Muslims

The problem with reforming Islam is in the fact that the Prophet Muhammad cannot be criticized — as Ali has criticized him — and so his violent pronouncements of how to prosecute war on infidels, rape enemy women and kill gays cannot be amended.

Ali’s friend Theo Van Goh was murdered for making a film about Islam, and his body was left in the streets of Holland with a note pinned to his chest by a dagger, warning the likes of those who criticize Islam, such as Ali. In light of this, Southern Poverty Law Center’s rebuke of her can be seen as extremely irresponsible and damgerous.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an atheist, now. Maajid Nawaz, a reformed Muslim.  She, he and Harris muat travel to their speaking engagements under high security because of death threats.

The Richard Dawkins Incident

Recently, the famed Richard Dawkins, prize winning author of the Selfish Gene, The God Delusion and The Greatest Show in Earth: The Evidence for Evolution was uninvited from a speaking engagement at Berkley because of a politically correct outcry that is attempting to stifle his criticism of religion and of course, principally of Islam. This is the subverting of our culture and erosion of free speech at the highest levels. Dawkins is a genius evolutionary biologist and a gentleman of the highest order.

Conclusions

Muslims are not a “race.” Pretending they or any other cultural or religious group is a “race” represents a dishonest attempt to protect them against legitimate criticism at worst and extremw ignorance at best.

The fact that Southern Poverty Law Center – once a legal bastion of equality and justice, has succumbed to the politically correct dumbing-down of America and become a mouthpiece for blind pop-culture criticism of human rights champions such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz is terrifying testament to how far illigitimate concepts in identity politics such as those which lean on “race” have come to indicate how far the left is becoming fascist.

This is hypocracy, intellectual and spiritual dishonesty, academic illegitimacy and entitlement — and it’s unjust and dangerous.

One Thing You Can Do

I encourage you to stop using this bastard and erroneous word — ‘race,’ perpetuating its illigitimate entitlements and in so-doing you shall also be stopping the perpetuation of the phony concept of “race” and its pernicious effects. We only have cultural challenges, as we are all members of the same race. And cultural challenges cannot be met or eliminitaed with dishonest and innacurate speech.

CA

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.

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

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

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

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

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….

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?”

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-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 alayed 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 lwgend 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 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 The 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 chpice, 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 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

Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes…

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.

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

 

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.

 

 

The Limits of Zen

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 where ever 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.

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

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.

Lunar Modules Are Not Like Spiders Anymore

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Lunar_Module_diagram
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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.

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

I am a Buddhist–a philosophical Buddhist, or Zennist, not a devotional one; I don’t pray to anyone or anything. It is a way of looking at things and a practice.

In Buddhism, there is the concept called the Dharma, or “Dhamma, in Pali.” Think of it, for now, as The Way.

⇐ These characters, on the left, are my Dharma name.  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 “Mahndoe,” 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.

I know that to some people it may seem pretentious to change one’s name. People like Prince and The Edge do it. And actors do it. In the West, women do it when they marry. Did you know that Japanese woodblock masters did it? It was done to protect one’s family name, among other reasons. 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 Man-do (the way it should be transliterated from Korean) was transmitted to me by my teacher, it was conveyed to mean ‘Many Paths of Change.’ In Korean, Mando 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” 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, Man, in Korean and Japanese, or Wan 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 bars that make up a compass, or an X. Now, imagine it spinning, round axis at the intersection points of the two perpendicular bars. Can you also imagine a blur that might be perceived at the ends of those bars? 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..

It 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. 

A Little About What Buddhism is…


A. The assumption should not be made that says a Buddhist practitioner believes this or that, though there are some basic notions. Buddhism to some is a religion. To me it is a practice (to some that’s the same thing, but you will 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. 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. 

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, not what we or some doctrine wants it to be. 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 it in some self-serving image. To me, a good religion or philosophy also must not preach punishment or pain–only benevolence. To do otherwise is politic–a 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 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.

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.

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, 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.

Mando

(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.

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.

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.

 

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 flippant. And I am not alone in this observation, nor is my party small.

I guarantee the day will come in the future–if it is not already upon us now, when Republicans in general will be seen as a throw-back to primitive peoples and primitive times. Indeed, their ways remind me of what I imagine the mindset to be in the dark ages, what with their wanting to teach superstition in science class, their advocacy of legal discrimination, and their war-mongering. When that day comes, when their own ranks disavow themselves of their primitive and fearful ways, present-day Tea Partiers and Republicans will then deny their former party affiliations.

This new era will be ushered in with greater speed and certainty the more Americans grow accustomed to the rest of the civilized world and how greatly the conservatives here are different from they, out there–who have much purer egalitarian and compassionate values. Just look at how Canadians and Europeans laugh at our stewardship of our banking industry, education system, environment protection, and health laws. Everything in our country is ‘businessman first, citizen consumer last (if considered at all)’.

This new era is also being ushered in as science is daily disabusing the conservatives among us of ignorant ideas and superstitions–in the areas of genetics and “race”, evolution, cosmology, meteorology, and sexuality. These conservatives will also move away from their previous positions the more they are compared with conservative Muslims, Nazis, and other fascists–totalitarian-thinkers all. It is already happening; recently a Florida politician changed her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, because she said she could no longer affiliate herself with the values of the party she was once a part of, any longer.

Mando

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

Why We Need A Publicly-funded Election System

Why America Needs a Publicly Funded Electoral System
by Carl Charles Atteniese Jr.

Dear Fellow American Citizen:

A recent study conducted in Britain resulted in the determination that the United States of America is an oligarchy–by virtue of the fact that statistics show the majority of the laws passed here favor the rich and their corporations. It is no longer a left-wing mantra; it’s a fact: We don’t have a democracy any more. And it is because of our election laws and party finance laws.

Think about it; right now, our health, happiness, and security in this country is decided largely by whomever has the most financial influence over a select few candidates who in turn are able to afford the ad campaigns necessary to run for office. They also decide what laws are passed. As it has been accurately said before, ‘that’s an auction’ for political power. Is that what we want?

When it comes to elections–we usually have so few candidates, and that’s why we have to funnel money to candidates who are usually not our first choice–but more are often the lesser of two evils.

Thomas Jefferson said two things were necessary for democracy to thrive–an educated electorate and a free press. That’s all we really need. However, we have a dumbed-down and disenfranchised electorate and a private press, which means the press (the media) is often influenced by who owns it. In addition–and most destructively–we allow money to control our politicians by allowing it to be funneled into campaigns and parties–from corporations and wealthy private citizens who then expect their bidding to be done in office–and it is–to the detriment of truth, our public health, happiness, and security.

Moneyed institutions and banks narrow the size of the political arena and the depth of the national debate by making it near impossible for average, intelligent, and moral citizens to enter politics in America–unless they can compete with the financial saturation of their opponents. And this is precisely how Thomas Jefferson said the American revolution and democracy here would fail and end. He said it would happen when our government fell under the control of banks and moneyed institutions. This is precisely what has happened.

According to Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, thirty to seventy percent of a congressperson’s time is spent raising money for re-election. Moreover, 0.5% of the population supplies 60% of the funds necessary to put people in government. This one-half of one percent of the people decides with their money who is going to be on the ballot. This means a large part of their time is not spent on us, but on them.

Maybe we have allowed money in politics because we haven’t imagined a more fair system being possible. Maybe we privately feel this wealthy small percentage–who choose our candidates for us–along with the Electoral College, which finally picks our presidents—are the only ones qualified for the job. Maybe we are afraid that if rich white men did not control our politics, we would not be able to run this country or that we would really be a truly multi-ethnic society. I am not afraid of these things. Are you?

Imagine if money weren’t such a factor in candidacy; there would likely be a multitude of candidates–probably so many that we wouldn’t have to worry so much about one or the other getting elected. The more candidates, the more congruent their views would tend to be, so we wouldn’t have to worry so much about whether one or the other person takes. The way things are now, candidates to pretend to have vastly different views to strike the illusion of contrast on controversial issues–to differentiate themselves from one another. When really they are not much different at all, except for maybe in the area of social policy and war-making.

We keep supporting a system of elections and policy-making that survives on bribery, which is why we don’t have the foreign or domestic social policy that the majority of us want, nor the energy, education, and civic policies we need, or the environmental ones–necessary to save the planet’s biosphere.

These days, candidates say they’ll advocate a particular policy before being elected and later, as elected representatives, they advocate the opposite. They may believe in the original views got them elected, but if money is not behind them, they have to abandon those views and values (in whole or in part). They consistently have to severely weaken their positions and propose policies supporting the money–instead of what’s best for the nation, and/or what is righteous, just, and reasonable.

People against publically-funded elections say money is free speech. It isn’t. Robert Reich, Bernie Sanders, and all the people against Citizens United & corporate manipulators like the Koch Brothers say it isn’t either. In politics, money is wealth–either enough or not enough–to influence people unnaturally. And it is bribery, when it is coming from a few billionaires and corporations, who actually often write the bills that become the laws—along with political action committees. The reason they get away with this is they pay off the politicians. It’s legal corruption, plain and simple. That’s not democracy. That’s plain chicanery. That’s oligarchy—rule by the rich. Noam Chomsky calls it polyarchy, because it is not democracy, but many rulers who are not us.

Unnatural political influence also creates ads in the media, and phony scientific studies. It’s hiring pundits, lawyers, and broadcasters, to say something over and over again, which we could hear ONCE in a public service announcement (but probably wouldn’t believe, anyway).

It drums ideas into our heads more frequently and more loudly–to bombard us and inculcate us (to program us) — and usually it is skewed messages, outright lies, or irrelevant information designed to distract us. And it is all possible because of private money. It is an insult to our intelligence and to those who have fought for this country and build it, too. It is un-American. It’s advertising–which is for commercial sales, not the running of a nation.

Let none of the money generated by the tax-based electoral system we advocate–in any way–come into contact with candidates or their parties in such a way that it corrupts them or their values. Let is only contribute to air-time and a few debates.

See what happens. I guarantee that after a short time (shorter than it took to get all members of Congress to obey the law on the Affordable Care Act), no one will take the ad campaigns of the then past system of electoral advertising seriously… over the new public service system of our proposed election and campaign process.

In the system we advocate, there would be an allowance given and press time provided for a set number of introductions to a candidate. So, the funds necessary for a few necessary public appearances by candidates would come from a couple cents on the dollar. That’s it.

We don’t worry about whether the police department is staffed with unskilled law enforcement professionals when we dial 911. That’s because we have a plethora of officers whose candidacy for a public service position on the police force is not determined by or predicated on vested wealth-based private interests. Police officers are hired after a test, a background check, and an interview…. That’s precisely how it should be for the most important jobs in the land: political jobs and the running of our nation!

The closer we bring the electoral system to an interview and job selection scenario and further away from its being an ‘auction and popularity contest’, the sooner we won’t have to be intent on one of two (or several) candidates we don’t totally agree with, and the sooner we will have more options in policy, greater commonality in sensible views, a deeper, more meaningful national debate, and astronomically less corruption.

Here is a recent bill that was introduced in the House, supporting public campaign finance and the politicians and celebrated public figures who have championed the cause of publicly funded elections (from Wikipedia):

US, SB 752, the Fair Elections Now Act, called for publicly funded elections in U.S. Senate campaigns. It was sponsored in the 111th Congress (2009–10) by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (D-PA). A companion bill, H.R. 1826, was introduced in the House, sponsored by John Larson (D-CT), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Walter Jones (R-NC). Neither bill moved out of Committee.

Barack Obama as an Illinois senator was the first co-sponsor of the 2007 version of the Durbin–Specter bill. (Obama chose not to participate in the public financing system in 2008)

John Bonifaz, founder of the National Voting Rights Institute
Bill Bradley (D-NJ), former U.S. Senator

John Edwards (D-NC), former U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator
Adonal Foyle, NBA player, and founder of Democracy Matters

Cecil Heftel (D-HI), former U.S. Representative

Ned Lamont (D-CT), former U.S. Senate candidate

John McCain (R-AZ), U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator (McCain has also expressed opposition to a national version of the system and has not endorsed or co-sponsored the bills introduced in the U.S. Senate.)

Ralph Nader of Connecticut, U.S. Presidential Candidate

Janet Napolitano (D-AZ), former Governor, former Secretary of Homeland Security

Bill Richardson (D-NM), U.S. Presidential Candidate and Governor

Eliot Spitzer (D-NY), former Governor

John Eder, Green Party leader who utilized Maine’s public financing to win office to the Maine State Legislature

Thank you,
And Peace, Love, Joy, and Prosperity to You and Yours,
Carl Charles Atteniese Jr.
_________________________

*In actuality, when it comes to corporate issues and the economy, right wing and left wing candidates do not differ very much on the issues. They appear to be different because of tax-issues, social issues, and their foreign policy stances–and both usually take huge contributions from BOTH SIDES of the political spectrum in the corporate sector (most top companies give money to both parties and the two primary candidates running for office), which is why all the other issues connected to the economy (environmental protection, labor, education, health, energy, and foreign policy) generally get compromised once candidates reach office. Politicians have to start raising money for their next election as soon as they sit down at their desks and they have to compromise their principles to take that money from otherwise hitherto ideologically political “enemies”. Money thus hamstrings our best intentions in this country and that is especially true for the well-intentioned politicians–most especially the good ones. The top sixty corporations generally donate to both parties. That makes you and I a complete back-seat concern, unless we are wealthy corporate officers who can have lobbyists rewrite the laws for us. Why not disallow this? What are we; slaves and second-class citizens? That is exactly what we are–under the present system.

American environmental, economic and national security policies have real international challenges; climate, health, education, and social policy are at critical emergency alert levels; now, more than ever, we the average American citizens must wrest control of our national direction and public policies away from the clutches of corporate and wealth-driven greed. It is essential to our survival as a nation and a species.

Join us on Facebook, at:

(Short Link) http://goo.gl/maFyff

Or at:
(Actual Link) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ban-Private-Campaign-Finance/691017934250442

_____
LINKS:

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xzVBe3hmOk

Link: http://www.moneyoutvotersin.org/

Guns in America

When we “anti-gun” people start rabble-rousing, there are pockets of responsible and sane gun owners who raise their voices, gently (not like angry NRA and automatic weapons-lovers)–like the ones who hunt and fish and don’t bring guns everywhere they go. These are the people who might even use bow and arrow in the woods. These are the people who see guns–out on the frontiers of big open spaces or in the deep woods–as dangerous tools–to be left locked up until needed for killing animals for their food. I do sympathize, to some extent, with these people who use guns to hunt–even though I am a vegetarian and look to a better, more advanced day–when most of us will no longer use animals for sustenance. We are undeniably part of the species food chain; we are not vegetarians by design. We are not carnivores by design, either. We are omnivores by natural selection.  

However–I disagree that ‘guns don’t kill people’  as much as I agree that drugs do kill people. Let me explain. Guns empower people who should not be empowered–with infinitely hostile and deadly force. A person under great duress and mental fatigue–from bullying, feelings of inadequacy, injustice, abuse, and neglect–and who perhaps is not usually physically violent, but who will see recourse in the use of a ballistic weapon (unconsciously, at first–perhaps)–especially if suffering feelings of overwhelming persecution–will resort to the means at his or her disposal–if his or her feelings are intense enough.

People under duress are more sensitive–and so when preyed upon, experience emotions of greater intensity and hostility. For this kind of person (or for a person in these circumstances), a gun reduces retribution to an extraordinarily simple and impersonal act, like in the use of a TV remote or video game. For this kind of person, pulling a trigger–notwithstanding the skills necessary to carry, aim and shoot a gun–complies with an inner, painful, and intensely self-preserving feeling and a wish that the source of pain go away–as easily as with the pressing of a button.  

The use of a gun doesn’t require years of martial arts practice, physical or mental stamina, mental concentration, or much study. Guns make killing simple and too easy–so easy that they allow the user to be amazingly impersonal—perhaps just as he or she has been treated. the gun-using assailant doesn’t even have to be close to his or her prey to cause pain… or death. For this reason–among others–guns can be (and I feel they usually are) very dishonorable weapons, which is why they are perfect for the temporarily or long-term mentally ill, the depraved, and the mediocre-minded.  So as you can see—and we might agree–not much mental health is necessary to use a gun–beyond the motor skills involved in its comportment and use.

Even a person with largely pacifistic tendencies, such as I, can notice a marked feeling of power when holding a gun (as well as fear, foreboding, disgust, revulsion and sadness). This is what I sensed when I held an unloaded ballistic weapon in my hand some years ago—which I was using as a prop for a drawing I was doing.  

Another time I felt the latent but real power of a gun when I held a pump-action pistol, which I had found in my late uncle’s drawer. (He was a World War II veteran, a New York City Fireman, and like some of his sons who were police officers, very responsible with his guns); a gun is so powerful that as I held this unloaded one, I imagined that were I alone in the house, and were an intruder to come in unannounced in a threatening manner–or were I to feel set upon in a strange place–on a train, in a plane, or on the road–I might at least lift the weapon and say, ‘stand back’. This almost innate reaction is capable because guns have become second-nature in our culture, and so have their power—which I feel is embedded in our psyches—even for those like myself who have not fired one.  

Let me say that I hate violence–but I felt this feeling pulse through me. And if I could feel it, all human beings—especially those raised in gun-cultures—can feel it, because (as the Roman philosopher said), I am human.  

People and who are not stable are going to feel that power magnified, and when desperate, they will fall prey to it–especially when they are preyed upon, neglected, and abused (or feel as such). That power is going to influence their feelings of powerlessness in a way that gives release to them–to empower them… and it will bring danger to the rest of us. This feeling of empowerment that guns offer is how guns do kill people, because people do not have the power, otherwise, to blow holes in one another–with “the push of a button”—until they hold a gun.  

The seductive power of guns in a society that legitimizes their use in our constitution, glorifies it in our entertainment, and recognizes its significance in our freedom in folklore and history–sits in a device that possesses enormous technological power. And it is too easily available to us.  

In the way just described, we have the reason behind the ‘why?’ — which we hear almost stupidly–every time we learn of a gun-related tragedy… be it in a convenience store, a shopping mall, a school, a kindergarten, a post office, a bell tower, a park, a parking lot, an office, a library, a playground, a work or school campus, a military facility, or on the road. So, I say… stop asking why…. The reasons and means are obvious. We have enabled and justified them. But what are the causes?   Before guns were so ubiquitous and available, families were tighter, games and toys were more innocent, TV was less insane, and school didn’t teach to the test—meaning there was far less stress acting on our children; we weren’t eating plastic and mountains of sugar—meaning we were healthier, had less ADD, ADHAD and other mental disorders (this is documented), and we weren’t pumped up on drugs to make us perform—like those that keep people going, help them sleep, help them relax, and help them relate; we didn’t have devices in our hands–much like the guns, themselves–that make instantaneous satisfaction a reality—justifying immediate gratification and alleviation from pain.  

Before Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq–before the government gutted the bill of rights and started watching us and our neighbors secretly; before they weren’t trying to take away social security, unemployment, and healthcare benefits–and our very dignity was ; before, when Nixon was the only liar; before oil and gas companies weren’t known to be poisoning us on our land, in our air, lakes, streams, and oceans–the American government, society, and life were not such a problem, were they? They are now, and that is why guns are, too.  

So today, when young people have their own intense problems and they think of how they are all the more compounded by the world around them—making them feel more helpless than adolescents usually do, they turn to ending it all… and calling attention to themselves when doing it–lashing out at that unforgiving world–attacking the ones they see as part of the madness; the ones who have hurt them. They resort to the fastest, easiest, most impersonal and graphic means of instantaneous power, revenge, and finality of purpose–the gun. Guns are available to them. They have been raised by a warring culture, a gun-gaming-culture, a hunting culture, a TV and movie culture that worships getting even—often with guns–and a culture that believes heavily in retribution.

Look at our conduct:   1. We are the last western democracy to continuing to kill our own citizens (the use of the death penalty). 2. We use capital punishment against child-offenders. 3. We use immoral, illegal, internationally condemned methods of invasion against other sovereign nations. 4. We secretly surveil both our own citizens and those of our allies. 5. We arrest, incarcerate, and detain suspects without charge. 6. We torture detainees (be it by proxy or not doesn’t matter; we instigate and finance this). 7. We secretly kill by remote-control plane in foreign sovereign nations (often innocents). 8. We secretly kill without due process those we deem a threat to the US government and are pushing for the right to do this in our own land.  These actions represent our true values. They run contrary to most decent peoples’ personal values, but these—nevertheless–are the values we have endorsed as a nation—either by our complicity or ineptitude. Why would we then expect young or old people in our country to not think they can act in the same ways—in non-egalitarian, non methodically just, and totalitarian ways–taking matters into their own hands, unilaterally and with finality?  

All the reasons I have just delineated are part of why guns are such a source of high violence in America and why they are simply too dangerous for our population in general. So many more of our people–especially the sensitive youth growing up in this nightmare landscape, are thinking and feeling(and perhaps saying to themselves) ‘I’ll fight back’ — the way they have been taught.  

Remember the responsible hunters we discussed at the start? It is ostensibly for their benefit, and for the benefit of defending ourselves against our government, that we make guns so avilable. But these responsible ones are the anomaly–the geniuses, if you will; they are the spiritually mature, the highly stable, the very strong–who keep their guns locked up until it is time to k food. They are not the issue, but what we allow for them is hurting us at the hands of others–others who by the logic of probablity and the conditions of our society–will always be among us!  

The youth raised in this fragmented cage of a culture that we have made in the last twenty-five to thirty years–are breaking out with a trigger in front of their fingers, killing–and sometimes killing themselves–because it is easy and because their world is insane–and worst of all, because it justifies this behavior in the culture. They can’t take it, anymore. And neither can you or I, just for the sake of ubiquitous gun ownership.  

I am willing to bet on scientific studies that given the feelings and conditions suffered by the mentally ill youth in our country–the average person furnished with a gun would shoot at other people, too. This is borne out in how easily we can turn a person into a killing soldier– by training him to disregard human life and filling him with the purpose and fear that military life and war require. On a related note, look at the systematic sexual abuse in the rank-and-file of the US military, which is further proof of the brutal nature of our culture. More relevant, this transition of innocent human-being, to cynical, fearful, unforgiving, controlling, and violent individual is borne out in how frequently gun violence occurs among the youth in this country–who are not military! What is it, now–once a month? (At the time of the most recent edit of this article, there were three gun-related violent acts in the same week–here in the United States.)  

The afore-mentioned proves we are simply not evolved enough–in this society–as it has been devolving—for the ubiquity of ballistic weapon ownership. For comparrison, consider that half all people in Sweden own guns. Sweden has the lowest levels of violence worldwide.   

We should not be able to buy guns at Walmart–given our situation–which is patently and clinically insane. We’re not in Norway, Denmark, or Greenland, either–nor are we South Korea or Japan. These are not perfect countries with perfect societies–but they are enormously more harmonious and thus far less violent. And when their societies do exhibit violence, it is usually not in the form of gun violence–in a school, post office, or park.  

This is America; “the land of the free and the home of the brave” — so brave that we take matters into our own hands and don’t seem to care how grave our reaction—meaning we are not terrified by ourselves–and we should be. We keep trying to eat our cake and keep it, too–and we are choking on it! What is the definition of insanity –the popular one?   We can’t afford to allow for ourselves ‘the ‘joy of killing’ for stable people in the woods—if we cannot change this set of circumstances; or at least we have to make gun acquisition as difficult as getting a pilot’s license.

Unstable people are all around us–as the cracks in our society grow, -due to its dehumanization, mean-spirited government policies, demoralizing and desensitizing entertainment, increasing school and employment pressures, and the stress and hopelessness this all creates among us.   Unstable people will always be among us–and in greater numbers now–perhaps (or fewer, now that millions en masse are acquiring healthcare?). And as long as we continue to sell and make weapons of this nature readily available, death of this kind will be a part of our lives: public shootings.  

We apparently don’t care enough. Once we do, we will all agree that the guns have to go–because we won’t transform the society over night, right? Or we need far stricter background checks. Isn’t that rational? But that line of thinking presupposes that life means so much to us that it can be weighed over this fantasy of gun ownership without consequences, of this desire to be constantly armed, this need for self-defense and protection against our own government. What insane paranoia. Humanize the society, integrate your involvement with government (instead of against it), and those fears will go away–but once again, not over night–and not as long as people are delusional and selfish.

It is really a question of mental health and intelligence, I fear–two aspects of humanity that America is showing the world it lacks in large proportion.   In order to get people to agree that guns are part of the problem, we have to become more rational, but how can we? We cannot even get half the nation to agree with the most talented scientists on Earth about the condition of the environment, the origins of the Earth and life on it, and until very recently–the importance of health care for the the non-wealthy aged, the under-privileged and the unable to work or capable unemployed. How will we get the majority to agree on the dehumanizing aspects of our society and its worsening by easy gun ownership? It is a much more abstract principle.   It seems we’re too proud–and we all want to be right. That’s not possible. Even if it were, there is no time for such selfishness. Just like with the climate: rational and unselfish minds know it is not time for more debate (and this is true regarding guns, as well). It is time for sweeping, solution and emergancy action. We have an almost contagious problem, it would seem.   

Not one more person–especially a child–should die in this country as a result of such stupidity, irrationality, selfishness, and inaction. What honorable, sane, and self-effacing citizen can stand for that? (Since the recent massacre in San Diego, California–this has become the slogan: “Not One More!”)  

Alas, too many Americans apparently love their guns. I don’t. I look upon a gun with embarrassment. As a member of the human species, which is conquering outer space, genetics, and micro-electronics, it is embarrassing to me that we still dependent on centuries-old primitive weapons technology, designed to maim and kill by having people bleed to death by puncture wounds–a revulsion and testament to our lack of civilization, sophistication, reason, and compassion.   Finally–with most people wanting at least stricter laws inhibiting gun purchase in the United States, the NRA, other PACs and politicians keep guns easily available against the will of that majority, and against good sense, decency, logic, morality–and the constitutional provision for the common defense–of individual citizens.   We had better stop asking ‘why’, as the killing continues. We have seen–and are surrounded by–the answers that have been under our noses since long before this all got out of hand. The question is, what are we going to do about it? We are sentient, aren’t we? Don’t we still live in a democracy? We love our children, don’t we? We love ourselves…. Or, do we love our guns more?   It’s high time we got busy solving the problem, or we should be resigned to its escalation–and get busy burying family members without complaints and stupid questions.  

Carl Charles Carroll Atteniese    

 

Blame And The Fantasy of Justice

The problem with attempting to lay blame on one corpus and cognitive identity for something unconscionable in a perfect world is it ignores that the perpetrator of the unconscionable act is human and part product of a paradigm, and that it takes away from the real causes of such certain tragedies–guaranteeing their continuance and giving us some inane sense of self-righteous justice. There is no justice, only suffering. The question is, are we adding to it or subtracting from it.

New Political Parties

Imagine we had to rename our political parties the ‘Pro-Human’ and ‘Anti-Human’ parties. And then, according to the record of positive and negative affects of each–not opinions and theories–the members from our existing parties had to enter the newly named parties. From which party would come most of the people that would have to enter the Anti Human party–according to their history of behavior, views, and policies? Would it be mostly the Republicans or the Democrats?

Why Women Are Not Treated Equally

There are ten reasons women are not treated equal to men:

1. The Quran & Hadith;
2. The Bible;
3. The Torah & Talmud;
4. There are historically provable errors in the books above;
5. Women expect men to take care of them;
6. Men want to take care of women;
8. Our media & populace are fascinated with medieval primitivism, thinking it is sexy;
9. We are inculcated with all of the above in childhood, school, church, and games;
10. We do not teach Love, Honor, & Science, but a pop-culture versions of them

Carl Carroll Atteniese

http://carlatteniese.org

http://facebook.com/The-Precepts-of-Love
http://www.allexperts.com/ep/855-62147/Know-Really-in-Love/Carl-Atteniese-Jr.htm

Mean-spiritedness in America

I used to think America was kind; after all, when you get to know mentally healthy–even non-mentally healthy–Americans, you often can detect the kindness and basic affinity for egalitarianism–even under the shield of conservatism–but, I think there are far more mean-spirited conservatives in North America–in the USA, especially–than in Canada, Latin America, Europe or Asia-notwithstanding, of course, the mean-spiritedness you would expect to find among desperate people, like Kim Jung Un and his beleaguered population, the mean-spiritedness you find among gangsters all over the world (they are desperate people, too), and the mean-spiritedness you find among fundamentalists (they are more or less insane, or temporarily mentally ill–in my most compassionate estimate).

I cannot make excuses anymore. Too many Americans are heartless, careless, and mean–with the majority of them being conservatives, so how much longer can I pretend Americans are kind? Look at our Congress; look at the Tea-party. The very existence of it and the behavior of these people, their views, their actions, and their staying power means we are mean people in no small numbers–because mean-spiritedness is what keeps them in power. And if we are not mean, why are they and their supporters still there?

The people I am talking about are discriminatory, unforgiving, and pro-global warming that in their pretense of denying it, they support its degrading progression; yes, for the climate change we are already suffering from. Do you really think they don’t believe it is what science says it is? Honestly? I mean, let’s face it, if you are against the 97% of the scientists screaming at the top of their ingenious proverbial lungs that we are damaging the environment irreparably in terms of human comfort and survival, there is something seriously wrong with you–because you are in favor of risking that comfort and survival–at best and you think you know better than NASA. That’s insane, clinically, I would imagine.

Too many Americans are for killing people with remote-control planes, punitive and exorbitantly expensive capital punishments, and fighting against national health-care. They are for exempting the oil, gas, and petrochemical industry from environmental laws they are in favor of rolling back free speech in their gagging the public and keeping them from knowing about the damage they support in the name of profit); and they hate the poor. This is all proven by what they support.

Americans will pay insane prices for a military that has to control the world to maintain the dirty energy they crave, but cry and stomp their feet over social programs that cost a pittance in contrast. Oh, yes–and they are terrified of that same military government they have no problem paying for with huge taxes–so they fight for no gun laws in total disregard of the probabilities inherent in the human condition–paving the way for students to be killed in schools.

I don’t know whether to say our affliction is more stupidity than anything else. You tell me; are Americans not mean, or are they just ignorant of the pain they cause, the consequences they are setting in motion, and image we have in the world?

I have not found a job yet, since returning from Asia, and I am very uninterested in doing so–in certain respects–because, if I cannot get a job wherein I can address this insanity, I feel very uninspired in supporting this apparently mean and stupid nation.

And when I think of people from other nations–unless they are gangsters in Russia, or Kim Jung Un in North Korea, or fanatical Muslim clerics and other chauvinists starving their people of the chance for knowledge–I cannot imagine them being as mean and stupid as Americans seem to be.

I lived in Asia for fifteen years and encountered people from all over the world. I could tell that ninety-nine percent of those people I encountered were liberal-minded to the extent that given the choice, none of them would have voted for the kinds of laws that would make their countries like America, except perhaps in favor of increased open-mindedness and greater tolerance and equality–but we seem to be growing pale in thin those ways. I know they wouldn’t be against sustainable energy, fighting global warming, sensible gun laws, lower defense budgets, and universal health care. And only in the most primitive places to other people of the world resemble Conservative Christian Americans who discriminate against people for how they were born.

America, what in hell is wrong with you?

Denver Post, Stop Climate Deniers

Here is a crucial petition: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/ban-private-campaign-2. It is a call for unity and action more important than any other, because the overwhelmingly monumental issue in our politics is how restrained and financially compromised our elections and representation is. Everything stems from there. After having a free press and an educated electorate, what else is important to democracy besides unfettered participation? Speaking of a free press, what good is it if it panders to non-sense that endangers the entire planet by promoting ignorance and slowing progressive policy that can save us? The Denver Post is rightly the target of a petition addressing this inanity, at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/to-my-local-newspaper-14/, because this publication gives space to climate deniers. The global scientific consensus on climate change is that it is anthropomorphic. We are near a “tipping point”, beyond which human effort will be moot—taking climate mutation exponentially out-of-control—if we do not initiate sweeping and grossly prejudicial global policy changes immediately.

“Ike”

I watched Ike, starring Tom Selleck, tonight, and was humbled, saddened, and put in awe. The way his good natured discretion, strength, intelligence, leadership, and compassion came to bear should be an inspiration to all men in how to conduct themselves and approach life.

As was said by Churchill, Ike had more power than any man in history, and he certainly had it when the stakes for humanity were the highest.

When he reprimanded Patton on the over-zealous General’s statement that post-war, the world would be run by the Anglo Saxons, his straightforward, elegant, and precisely appropriate words prompted me to think that no one in the world today should think for a minute that she or he does anything less than spit on a World War II soldier’s grave when he embraces “racialism”.

If you can watch this film and remain dry all the way through, I hope it is because you are Spartan, not cold, not unable to appreciate that the monumental horror, risks, courage, and sacrifices afoot in the second world war were instrumental elements we should never forget–their towering significance never to be underestimated in the importance of our free societies, today, in the West, or the East.

Where Do Epiphany And Genius Come From

Comments on a Video That Defends Against The Fundamentalist Manipulations of Ray Comfort…

I am very impressed, Jaclyn, and I learned something from your video–the circular evolution phenomenon.

I understand why you feel this is important to do, and thank you for it, but I think that we have to feel bad for the Ray Comforts of the world; they make us angry, yes, because they spread disinformation, preying on vulnerable minds–which is immoral and dangerous. However, my honest feeling is that these people are more unenlightened, than evil.

Let me explain what I mean. There are cognitive processes that result from mental reasoning, calculation, and deep, almost–linear thought. Then there are moments and periods of what we can only call epiphany and dreaming. Whatever you may think about the origin of the latter, it matters not for what I am about to say, except for the fact that even scientific people have utilized it–not just poets, artists, and extemporaneous speakers.

Einstein said he began to work out his theories of relativity and the behavior of light in the universe, through daydreams. We have all been in meditation, or caught up in a mundane act, like staring out the window of a moving train, or washing the dishes, and suddenly, before we realize we are not actually in the process of conscious thought, we discover a realization, an intact idea–“a thought”–in images, sounds, or words. Some call this channeling. We didn’t “think” of it; ‘it came to us.’

I have no problem with any interpretation of what this is or where this comes from. I don’t even mind people saying it is God, as long as their actions that follow–either in belief or action, are harmless. In fact, it is because I believe that if there were a God, this “process” would be pure and not judged by God–that I know that there cannot be only one spiritual truth, because we are virtually helpless in controlling it–and I believe it is the most honest phenomenon that occurs in our conscious mind! The sad thing is, religious people most of all can not allow this honesty to take them where it would, which is why they are so compromised!

This is–to me–the source of our spirit, our truth, and the source of love.

Whatever it is, I believe it is part of the unconscious abstract functioning of the brain. We can call it our spirit, our heart-mind, spirit-mind, our imagination, and many more things, but what I believe it is…is the true nature of intelligence. Ray Comfort and most fundamentalists lack this. So, rather than get angry at them, I feel empathy. These people–all fundamentalists, lack this, or in the least, have not been able to release and foster this. After all, if it is not a lacking, but a suppression, it is the result of culture, inculcation, and self-denial. This, in an organized and totalitarian dogma, is the basis–or maligned principle phenomenon we find in organized Christianity, Islam, and Judaism (of the strict forms). It is dangerous, because it is completely counter-intuitive and anti-intelligent.

When I was younger, I felt it was unconscionable of the Chinese to outlaw religion, as it is an outcropping of the consciousness. But I am not so sure, anymore (notwithstanding the fact that centralized government is dependent on a state religion), because at least in the form of theistic and totalitarian religions, like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, we are dealing with thought control and repression just as evil as Nazism and totalitarian Communism. And they are built on misinforming children–indoctrination, inculcation of the helpless unwitting youth.

For people who submit themselves to this willingly, I feel pity, not anger. Don’t be mad at Ray Comfort. He is a man who might have other forms of intelligence, other talents and blessings, but abstract intelligence (or it is fettered if he has it, by a mental block set up by dogma and so genius is not one of them, unless of course he is just suppressing it, to deal with a deep, inner pain, or a lie meant to uphold something he cannot escape, such as some relationship or great fear.

Great video.

Carl Atteniese

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0k9NyHh7TQ

Douglas Adams on Religious Taboos

Douglas Adams on Religion (and the taboos created around it/by it, which limit our rights):

Now, the invention of the scientific method and science is, I’m sure we’ll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and that it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked and if it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn’t withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn’t seem to work like that; it has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. That’s an idea we’re so familiar with, whether we subscribe to it or not, that it’s kind of odd to think what it actually means, because really what it means is ‘Here is an idea or a notion that you’re not allowed to say anything bad about; you’re just not. Why not? — because you’re not!’ If somebody votes for a party that you don’t agree with, you’re free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it, but on the other hand if somebody says ‘I mustn’t move a light switch on a Saturday’, you say, ‘Fine, I respect that’. 

The odd thing is, even as I am saying that I am thinking ‘Is there an Orthodox Jew here who is going to be offended by the fact that I just said that?’ but I wouldn’t have thought ‘Maybe there’s somebody from the left wing or somebody from the right wing or somebody who subscribes to this view or the other in economics’ when I was making the other points. I just think ‘Fine, we have different opinions’. But, the moment I say something that has something to do with somebody’s (I’m going to stick my neck out here and say irrational) beliefs, then we all become terribly protective and terribly defensive and say ‘No, we don’t attack that; that’s an irrational belief but no, we respect it’.

It’s rather like, if you think back in terms of animal evolution, an animal that’s grown an incredible carapace around it, such as a tortoise—that’s a great survival strategy because nothing can get through it; or maybe like a poisonous fish that nothing will come close to, which therefore thrives by keeping away any challenges to what it is it. In the case of an idea, if we think ‘Here is an idea that is protected by holiness or sanctity’, what does it mean? Why should it be that it’s perfectly legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows, but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe, no, that’s holy? What does that mean? Why do we ring-fence that for any other reason other than that we’ve just got used to doing so? There’s no other reason at all, it’s just one of those things that crept into being and once that loop gets going it’s very, very powerful. So, we are used to not challenging religious ideas but it’s very interesting how much of a furore Richard creates when he does it! Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you’re not allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn’t be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn’t be.

Illogical Logic

Bertrand Russell and Richard Dawkins: Brilliant vindication of Why People Are Hostile Toward Religion (from Wikipedia):

Russell’s Original Proposition

In an unpublished article entitled “Is There a God?”, commissioned in 1952 by Illustrated magazine, Russell suggested the following thought experiment to illustrate the burden of proof and falsifiability:
_________
(Russell:)
If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes.

But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.

If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.
_________

The existence of this teapot cannot be disproved. We can look and scan the skies almost for eternity, and it may always just be the case that it wasn’t in the place we looked; there may be another spot we’ve overlooked, or it may have moved while we were looking. However, given the absurd nature of the specific example, the teapot, we would rightly infer that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Russell’s audacity in the thought experiment was to question why people don’t like to apply the same, sound, logic (remembering that formal logic is independent of the actual content of an argument) to the existence of any particular deity; there is no difference in the evidence base provided, therefore there is no reason to assume a God and not a celestial teapot.

Extension and use by Dawkins:

The Richard Dawkins Foundation professes its belief in the Almighty Celestial Teapot.

Richard Dawkins also used Russell’s teapot argument extensively in The God Delusion and A Devil’s Chaplain. He developed the argument further, to include many attitudes associated with the bad side of religion including fear, oppression and persecution.

(Dawkins):
The reason organized religion merits outright hostility is that, unlike belief in Russell’s teapot, religion is powerful, influential, tax-exempt and systematically passed on to children too young to defend themselves. Children are not compelled to spend their formative years memorizing loony books about teapots. Government-subsidized schools don’t exclude children whose parents prefer the wrong shape of teapot. Teapot-believers don’t stone teapot-unbelievers, teapot-apostates, teapot-heretics and teapot-blasphemers to death. Mothers don’t warn their sons off marrying teapot-shiksas whose parents believe in three teapots rather than one. People who put the milk in first don’t kneecap those who put the tea in first.

My Beliefs

YESTERDAY, I JOKED ABOUT WHAT I BELIEVE; HERE IS THE REAL ARTICLE:

Love is my Religion. But let me explain…

People who know me understand I am adamant about several things:

One thing I am adamant about is appreciation of the accomplishment of life and thus:

Having superlative respect for life; 

I am adamant about the respect that should be engendered by the infinitely fortunate condition of sentience.

Finally, given sentience, we humans should hold that humans and their thoughts & expression are sacred, and thus it should be considered the greatest crime to harm anyone. 

Included in my idea of ‘harm’ is the curtailing of anyone’s freedom, beginning with being dishonest with another person. Yes, being dishonest with someone is a curtailing of his or her freedom.

Being dishonest with another includes teaching children anything that is dogmatic; if a doctrine is dogmatic, it must go beyond theory and it must be provable to be true. If not, it should not be taught to them as true.

Therefore, based on this set of principles I find to be of the highest sense and self-evidence, I find the teaching of religious dogma to children, immoral. 

Anything that is predicated on dictates is maligned. Truths must be experienced, and honest–if not provable, not in conflict with reality–otherwise, how can they be universal and above reproach? 

If we want to teach children that love is the highest virtue and that hate is the sickness plaguing humanity–then we have to strike from their education all prejudice engendered by religion, all justification of violence in the lessons of religion, and all refutations of reality, which engender fantasy–completely pernicious and different from healthy and imaginative flights of fancy and dreams.

People offended by what I have just said should ask themselves these questions:

1. Do you believe what you believe because it was forced on you, or because you came to find it as true through your own enlightenment?

2. Do you believe in a religion that directly or indirectly justifies or justified violence of any kind?

Do you believe in a religion that requires you to gloss over violence in its prescriptions, with justifications or dishonesty?

4. Do you believe in a religion that can be easily used to harm others?

5. Does your religion refute science, putting you against the most honest system of exploration devised by humanity?

7. Does your religion cause you to go against what is best for humanity, whether it is human and compassionate use of technology to reduce suffering, or repair of our environment?

8. Does your religion cause you to be focused on prophesy–a method of selling the religion–rather than on love and forgiveness?

9. Does your religion cause you to create heartbreak, with mental and spiritual rigidity and intolerance?

10. Does your religion promote independent thought and spiritual exploration, or does it promote martial adherence protected by fear and punishment?

The worth of a religion is in its promotion of love, truth, independent spiritual growth and freedom. A religion that promotes the opposite of these virtues, necessary elements for peace, science, and happiness, is a danger to humanity.

These are my religious beliefs.

My religious practice is different: 

1. I love all humanity;

2. I meditate for awareness and the escape of the animal ego;

3. I “pray” without begging, words, or doctrine, by trying to imagine with sincerity communion with righteousness and loving intentions. Any true god or representative of the divine surely requires no language, no worship, no petty use of punishment. Once we eliminate these pernicious elements of ego, we shall all be in heaven.

Carl Charles Carroll Atteniese

Tax by Choice

What if we paid tax by interest and conviction?

In other words, we all decide we have to pay a certain amount of tax to run the government and infrastructure, but we would choose where the bulk of our contribution would go, and how to divide the balance among the other necessary outlays; 

For example, I am steadfastly against killing people with Fly by Wire Planes (“drones”), so I would contribute least to that and the balance of my drone tax would go to my apportionment set up for healthcare, human services, education, public works, the electoral system, foreign aid, and NASA–morally necessary things. The other people who agree with drones or execution, for example–would send more tax money to those outlays and less to education, healthcare, etc.?

Non-NASA Evidence of The Moon Landings

Non-NASA Evidence of The Moon Landings

Several months ago I had written an essay entitled Yes, We went to The Moon (I will create a link to this article, right here in the title, when I have more time). You can find it by search, or by looking below at my list of recent publications, on the right, under my flash galleries.

I discovered writing on this additional evidence whilst exploring another aspect of the lunar missions at Wikipedia (an absolutely fascinating and perception-shattering and highly news-worthy element of the moon missions beginning with Apollo 12 that I was previously ignorant of, known as SEVAs).

The Wiki link I am providing here shows how photo-imagery from Japanese and Chinese spacecraft  details the changes in lunar regolith reflectivity that matches the lurain data of where our astronauts landed on the moon. In simple terms, this means that the rocket engines of the craft we took to the moon were responsible for kicking up enormous amounts of moon dust which changed the features of the moon, and thus how sunlight is reflected into space in the places where the astronauts landed on the moon. Japanese and Chinese crafts have shown this with their photography. (American craft  show the actual landers and I will provide a link to that, but the point of this article is to show the non-American, non-NASA proof, thereby dispelling the notions of a hoax.)

I will write more about this in the future and of course start a link list with important data like this at Yes, We went to The Moon.

Thank you for reading.

Never stop exploring, questioning, and trusting the right sources.

Carl Atteniese

“THE EYES of THE WORLD…”

DSC_2716
Carl Atteniese by Jonathan Conklin Photography

WHAT IS REALLY PRECISELY RIGHT & WRONG with HUMANITY

Instantly, upon waking this morning, I realized that the most frustrating aspect of human society is not inability; it’s inanity.

Humanity is not without high compassion, intelligence, vast creativity, and endless resources (if you choose the right ones!)… on this planet or in our part of the solar system; we don’t have a personal or species-wide death-wish… not consciously, anyway–but we certainly act like it!

Our problem is… we do almost everything… conflict resolution, education, industry, economics, and environmental management; energy procurement & usage… food production, recycling, waste-management and governance; infrastructure, and health & human services, even love and recreation… in inefficient, dangerous, unfair, and plainly stupid ways.

We mean well–but we act unwell. The human race is not collectively working in its own best interest.

We aren’t stupid; we aren’t intentionally cruel (most of us, any way); we are–practically speaking–ignorant, lazy, reckless, selfish, unconsciously unkind… and in a dream world.

As Elon Musk put it whilst  talking about the ways we power the planet and our transportation: ‘Why are we even doing the experiment?’, and by ‘the experiment’, he’d meant the enormously foolish, uncertain, and dangerous practice of taking ‘what was buried deep in the Earth for millions of years and putting it into the atmosphere.’ He is an enormously polite gentleman genius, so he didn’t say it, but he meant, ‘we are really stupid for doing it!’ And he is superlatively correct. He knows the biosphere is not a liberal agenda. It is our space suit. And we are smoking in it and doing doo-doo in it.

Of all the elements.. in our dis-ease… that I just referred to, the most problematic is one I didn’t mention, and it is both what keeps us going and what is killing us. It is belief.

Too many people are kept–and keep themselves–selfish, ignorant, inactive, unproductive and doing the wrong things–things which are literally destroying us (something most of the scientists, poets, and artists have known for a long time), because of their erroneous faith-based notion that “everything is going to be all right”. I and tens of thousands of scientists have got news for you: No, it isn’t. The tsunamis, hurricanes, growing deserts, increasing droughts, melting ice sheets, acidification and deadening of the ocean, over-greenhousing of the atmosphere, advancing evolution of virus mutations resistant to antibiotics, and the petrochemical induced mutations in sea and animal life is the cataclysmic and horrifying proof of that. And those sensationalized, near-pop-culture-level aspects of the environmental crisis which do not comprise the whole list of issues by far…all have interlocking, exponentially digressive and out of control degenerative effects of their own, and so on, adinfinitum. Everything’s connected, dude.

And in the face of the manageable challenges of daily, private, and public life, many people can be heard proving the hopelessness that Dr. Chomsky says the average man feels politically…when he says, ‘there’s nothing you can do about it.’ And need we be reminded that in the most capable nation on Earth, half the government is in active revolution against anything progressive, to the extent that they shut down that government.

Those two obvious fallacies–‘everything is going to be all right’, and ‘there’s nothing you can do about it’, are our enormous hurdles to overcome, and more than anything else, they are made almost monumental next to the problem of over-paid government which is standing in the way of solutions and actively trying to make it worse, because they are afraid of “socialism” and a progressive president.

Some of the richest and most comfortable among us, and some of those in government they influence, have a vested interest in keeping the conversation from commencing, let alone inspiring solutions. Look at the US Congress. Look at your neighbor who buys an SUV, a jet ski, a large car for joy-riding….

These factors–if anything–will contribute more to the very real possibility of ending our species (or at least society in a decent, livable world) more than the biosphere-related challenges we face and must solve if we don’t want to be racing to find another planet to live on before five hundred years passes.

And so, the environmental challenges and these hurdles of ignorance, laziness, fantasy, and obfuscation making them more difficult –will possibly make it so we must seek refuge on other worlds–not out of a sense of exploration, beauty, and righteous curiosity, but to continue our progeny, to survive! Dr. Stephen Hawking thinks so, too! That’s no small-minded or insignificant opinion.

The solution is, we have to get most everyone on the same page in– certain areas of scientific understanding, human potential, compassion, and responsibility… and most of us who are thinking and compassionate know precisely what the titles of those pages are, and the scientists know what’s on them.

The tragic element in all this is, too many people and groups of people either ‘aren’t reading’, or they are spending too much time reading the wrong things (out of fear and ego), or they don’t want to know what the real score is.

And the shame is, many of us who do know what is really critical right now are too afraid to break the truth to those we love or to strangers. We don’t want to look worried, disharmonious, socially disquiet, or rude. As Alain de Botton suggests, ‘we don’t talk to each other’, at least not about what matters. The house is on fire, but we’d rather talk about the drapes. We are too afraid.

When was the last time, upon making a new acquaintance and getting through the small-talk, you asked something like, ‘what do you think of the president’s health care initiative?’, or ‘how do you feel about global climate change?’

In the least, if you don’t want to disturb the decorum (why should such talk do that, anyway?), or the delirium with new acquaintances, can you discuss what matters with friends? You may think, ‘who am I to think about, let alone, discuss such big issues?’ Well, who are you not to?

You are a human being, a member of the most capable species on the planet, that’s who you are, and you have a huge effect–when measured with your fellows–on the planet and other people.

You are a human soul, with a conscious mind. Nelson Mandela pointed out that we must not be small. ‘Who are you not to be great?’ he asked, encouraging us to realize that The Divine did not make us to be small and saying that we validate and encourage no one by doing so. We inspire others to be great in being great ourselves.

I ask you, my dear reader, ‘what are you going to do about it?’ Are you going to finish this article by thinking, ‘this writer is just angry, a complainer, someone who isn’t happy in his life?’ You’d be wrong…

In the words of Peter Gabriel, in the anthem, “Biko”, about assassinated South African anti-apartheid activist Steven Biko, “And the eyes of the world are watching now… watching now.” And now they are the eyes of those suffering, in our time-suffering the ravages of hunger, disease, poverty, war, climate change–and inaction;

They are the  eyes of the children of tomorrow–the eyes of your children and grandchildren.

Take care, and for humanity’s sake, use your imagination, think, and take action, now.

Carl Carroll Atteniese

Link:

What Some Prominent People Are Saying to The Children of The Future

Weigh in on Obama Care

Give me the 1s, 2s, 3s, and the The ABCs!

I N S T R U C T I O N S :

  Answer this post ONLY…

  1. if you answer these three questions and their sub-questions.
  2. You can write whatever else you like after the answers.
  3. If you do not answer the three questions and sub-questions, I will delete your comments:

Simple enough? Let’s Begin:

1. If your health care costs have increased, (A) tell me WHY (was it the Insurance claim or your actual premiums that caused it)?

2. Watch the video and tell me (B) if you think these features of the ACA, AKA “Obama Care” are good or bad and (C) tell me why.

3. If you do not support Obama Care, you must give an alternate proposal that conforms with the constitutional mission statement “provide for the general welfare” in terms of health care coverage for all. Keep in mind that under the system we had before Obama Care, Insurance Companies controlled the health care system in America and actively employed people to deny your benefits and health care for a multitude of reasons.

Open The JFK Files (Petition)

 

John F. Kennedy was a brilliant mix of genius, charisma, poet, statesman, and courageous visionary–tempered by war, a philosopher-king’s wisdom, and a Zen monk’s compassion & cool. He was what we needed in a moral leader, a real man…not afraid to fight, but man enough to resist and intelligent enough to lead the world to peace. He was a senator, an orator, educated, perceptive, feeling, and humane; a man who could motivate masses of human spirits, and he wanted to stop the secret societies, the military-industrial complex’s hold on our economy, and the unfair control of our monetary system by the Fed; He wanted an end to international intervention–to end all foreign wars and foreign armies–including ours. He was a man ahead of his time and deeply embedded in the real issues of his own. He saved us from nuclear holocaust in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and knew the CIA had to be ‘splintered into a thousand pieces and scattered to the wind’, along with the military advisors who wanted him to bomb Russia–after they hid in a bunker–those Dr. Srangelove maniacs–lest we have…well…what we have today–a fascist state (in the precise technical, textbook meaning of the term). And the people who killed him did it so we could have what THEY have today… America by the scruff: George Bush, Allen Dulles, E. Howard Hunt, Nixon… They ruined us, and shat upon what our founding fathers made for us, spat upon what my family fought for in the wars that were supposed to free us of Nazism; and we are still doing what Eisenhower warned against, hauling ourselves off to war, for their profit–slaves to a military economy that pretends to the virtues of democracy whilst creating instability in the Koreas, Iraq, and soon, Iran and Pakistan…with limited historical vision; their terrified Republican school-boy dreams of Big Daddy’s Sweaty Pocketful of fear and jingling coins… for their benefactors…the one percent.

Let us not forget that John Fitzgerald Kennedy launched us on a peaceful mission to the stars–which not only brought vision, peaceful scientific and technological progress and endeavor, but a means for international cooperation that binds us in peace to former rivals and enemies. And that is why he did it. And that mission to the stars may save us in more ways than one. Ask me about this, if you do not understand how.

So, we need to know the truth, even if only to set these characters free of the suspicion that most Americans level at them, wouldn’t you say? Or maybe so we can grow up. Yes; the truth will allow us to grow up. And stop being the bastards of the human race.

Please sign, for your children, those you love, and for yourselves. For the blood, sweat, and tears shed in the name of a nation that was once the shining beacon of freedom in the world. And for Jack, because he was there for all of us, until he was taken from us by those who absconded with a better destiny for America and the world.

Peace, Love, Joy, and Honest Imagination to you and yours,

Carl Carroll Atteniese

http://carlatteniese.org/
http://jfkinfo.org/

 

Free the JFK Files – Sign the Petition!

Carl just signed this petition on Change.org.

2234 signatures are still needed!

 

Upon The Anniversary of This Giant’s Death

ImageA MESSAGE OF MONUMENTAL IMPORTANCE AND PROPHESY THAT GOES BEYOND THE GREATNESS OF MANNED SPACE FLIGHT… Listen VERY Carefully to His Words

This Great President and Patriot, Peace Hero, War Veteran, Poet, And Orator… inspired us and committed us with eloquence, courage, integrity and passion… to the ultimate challenge, which brought Americans and humanity… to not only contemplate the need to escape secret societies & the grip of the military industrial complex and the militarization of space; not only to embrace civil rights; not only to prevent war, discrimination, and poverty… but to take on an adventure… as leaders… to reach into outer space, beginning with his intrepid challenge for us to take the world, into “this new sea of peace”, as a space faring nation… first to the moon…. Lest we not remember this great man, his warnings, inspirations, and passion, please watch… and REMEMBER.

And Directors at NASA, It is time to name a spacecraft after this man….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuW4oGKzVKc

Buddha Mind to The Rescue!

When you don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s okay to experience fear, but panicking can only make things worse.

My landlady’s daughter just called up the stairs in emphatic distress for me to come down and investigate a sinister and ‘soon-to-explode-like’ repetitive sound coming from the boiler room. She was terrified. I went down and was not too at ease, myself.

I ventured into the dark labyrinth of pipes playing “man-of-the-house” and was wondering, now–myself.. in my ignorance… if in fact the mysterious contraption wasn’t going to explode and blow my innards all over the basement. Several times I walked in, looked for a switch or water gauge, and in quiet, disguised and concealed concern, walked out to talk to ‘Carol’. Most of the conversation centered around my telling her to be calm.

In the absence of any technical knowledge, I advised Carol and my mother–who was now on the scene–to coil a boiler repair man, and to return to the relative safety of the first floor. I went up to the second, where our family lives, and went and used the bathroom. Standing there, I could hear the rattling, patterned sound coming up through the bathroom radiator and it reminded me of when the boiler in our former house needed water. So, I returned to the basement and looked again for a gauge and a valve in that little, noise-filled chamber of a room. Once again, I wondered if
the boiler wasn’t experiencing a gas-pressure problem, and whether I wasn’t going to be blown to bits. I suspended my fear once again.

When I emerged not having solved the problem, and the noise still ominously reverberating throughout the house, I went up and asked Carol where the boiler switch was. My mother chimed in after having called Carol’s mother and my dad, saying in effect, ‘Yes, there is a switch, over there.’ I looked in the stairway and saw the same kind of ‘EMERGENCY’ switch as was in our old house in Lynbrook. I pressed it into the off position. The noise stopped.

After, when we all started breathing more normally (I had really experienced any emotional effects at all, to be honest), Carol said to my mother, ‘Carl is just like my son; nothing bothers him.’

I told Carol what Melanie Beatie once said: ‘There is nothing we cannot do better by being calm’, and I realized something as I climbed the stairs to return to our apartment: Every town could benefit from having a Buddhist monk on a hotline, a balanced human being who knows the value of ‘being here (calmly), NOW.’

People descend into panic all the time, and do not realize that it only makes things worse. The reason they do this is they do not reside in the present moment, where solutions are found.

When an apparent problem arises that may involve some loss–of money, time, health, or worse… even life–people elevate the challenge to crisis level by launching their minds into a future fantasy-scenario. This is like putting a crying baby into a catapult and sending it aloft. What’s that going to accomplish?

If you find yourself losing presence of mind, –when a challenge arises–and you don’t have the benefit of a Monk in town or on a hotline, say to yourself, and other worriers around you the words of Thich Nhat Hanh:

‘If I do not have a problem in this moment
I do not have a problem’

And remember, A problem is disaster; A challenge is an issue you can solve if you are calm, to avoid disaster!

Why ‘Gansta’?

20130403-141748.jpgPublished on Facebook as, ‘A DUMB WHITE GUY’s SERIOUS QUESTION’

I don’t mean to be rude, disrespectful, or stupid, but, is being a gangster a good thing? In the American “inner-city”, in the Philippines, in the young Korean pop culture community, and elsewhere, does ‘gangster’ have another meaning?

In American English, a gangster is a person from an intellectually and financially impoverished family, or a person from a rich crime family. Often s/he has been abused, neglected, and has mental issues;

A gangster–by dint of definition, if not by behavior alone–forces other people to do things they do not want to do; he is not merely involved in corruption, he is an organizer of it–or at least one of its protectors and facilitators. Often s/he is called a mafia (crime family) soldier. S/He will verbally, mentally, and physically abuse people–even kill them. Often, murder is his total job responsibility. In this case, s/he is called a “hitman”. Gangsters are responsible for drug-pushing, extortion, prostitution, slavery, and often human trafficking.

A gangster is a criminal. Sometimes s/he is a politician. Many Republican politicians in America–by evidence of their behavior, not their clothes and demeanor, per se–are gangsters. Some political gangsters in American history are quite famous for their illegal behavior, lies, corruption, and murder. A few infamous ones around the world are Reagan, The Bushes, Nixon, Kissinger, Cheney…. We need not mention the names of out-and-out (non-politician) gangsters–they are celebrated by people who do not understand why serious directors have made movies about their lives. Indeed, if one goes into a pizzeria anywhere in America, one might get the distinct–albeit sadly hilarious and embarrassing impression–that most Italian restaurant owners think that Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, James Caan, and Frank Sinatra are in the mafia and condone gangsterism; they aren’t and weren’t, and don’t and didn’t. They were and are performers. They are playing tragic characters in their movies. If My Way is about a gangster meeting his end, it is a sad epitaph, not a celebration of being a professional rebel.

Many of these people who knowingly or unknowingly celebrate the life and behavior of gangsters, perhaps do not realize that Hollywood movies about the Mafia, when done well–are serious art and social commentary, not validation, admiration, and approval of untreated sociopathic and criminal behavior.

Most terrorists are gangsters. Gangsters are a menace. Is this the same type of gangster being admired among young people, today, including rappers, Korean pop music performers & their fans, and in the Philippines and elsewhere? I am just curious.

Yes, We Went to The Moon

gemini-program-space-photos-scanned-pilot-thomas-stafford-window_47266_600x450

The evidence for the moon landings by American astronauts is in mountainous abundance. The astronauts preparations, prior missions, the documentation of their missions to the moon, the evidence left there and brought back, and the explorer’s debriefing–as well as the journalistic & scientific reporting on the accomplishment—cannot be diluted by the handful of conspiratorial accusations in the areas of optics and physics.

 

All aspects of the journeys are described in great technical detail (about which physicists and engineers can explain the apparent “anomalies” claimed to be in existence–showing how misconceptions come from ill-informed assumptions. If this were not the case–if the moon missions were a hoax, ignorance of everything being discussed herein and elsewhere, would be obvious, The evidence and erudition therefrom, would not be.

 

When I was a young boy, my father called the Johnson Space Center and had materials sent to me: the scientific experiments and their results (in the form of fist-thick texts) about the moon missions—because I had said I was interested in the space program; The heavy books, which explicitly review in painstaking point-by-point detail (in written, graphic, and equation form) the entire body of work done on the lunar surface by the Apollo 16 and 17 astronauts, make it clear—along with data at the NASA websites, at museums, and in countless books—that America did in fact go to the Earth’s closest neighbor, Luna—in the late nineteen-sixties and seventies.gemini-program-space-photos-scanned-michael-collins-blurry_47265_600x450We have moon rocks. We have the testimonies of these (Apollo 11 Astronauts in the post flight debriefing on You Tube) and we have their documented historical, medical, and municipal public and–medical histories and the testimonies of 10 other men who walked on the moon (not discounting the seven Command Module pilots who went to the moon–which could be included as well).

We have movies of phenomena occurring on the moon—such as the pendulum-swing video, taken of a restraining cord that swung in such a way on the moon—suspended from a scientific experiment deployment bay on the lunar excursion module (LEM)—such as it cannot… on Earth. Look it up.Finally, we have thousands of photographs and movies of astronauts on the moon, not containing anomalies, and of the moon, itself–the features of which match the geography of the moon as documented by satellite photography and probes we have sent there.

 

gemini-program-space-photos-scanned-ed-white-above-hawaii_47256_600x450And let us not forget many photographs can and have been taken of Earth from the moon and of the moon from Earth. Orbiting devices in lunar orbit now, show the artifacts our astronauts left on the moon: flags, experiment packages (which by the way still send data to Earth), life-support systems (“backpacks”), the decent stages of six LEMs (Lunar Excursion Modules, or Lunar Modules [LM]), lunar rovers, and the like. The evidence is clear. And men (one of whom I know) are writing laws to protect these historical objects and where they are. Would that be part of “the hoax”, too?If you are interested in manned spaceflight, of course you are looking at a source that has endless references and information: the internet. Books I would recommend include, Carrying the Fire, by astronaut Michael Collins (geared toward children, actually) as well as other publications by astronauts, engineers, and science writers (sorry, I read piles of books on the subject as a boy and as a young man, but have to do research to find those titles — and I will, posting them here).I also recommend the Netflixs series, When We Left Earth, which briefly but thoroughly and originally describes the topic from the Mercury program through the moon landings, to the international space station, with a very relevant theme of acquiring skills necessary to go to the moon. Of course, the classic film, The Right Stuff is a very exciting and realistic portrayal of the beginning of the American space program and Apollo 13 is also quite a thriller and an accurate depiction of history as well.

gemini-program-space-photos-scanned-buzz-aldrin-self-portrait_47262_600x450

Happy learning, and keep dreaming, and if you are a young man or woman and would like to be part of the missions to the moon, Mars, and Asteroids, I recommend a steady diet of unfettered learning, dreaming, and strict goal – setting. After all, mankind is star-bound, determined to continue the human journey deeper into space begun not even sixty years ago — regardless of who disbelieves it. They are going — with or without you.

 

Carl Carroll Atteniese

Lakewood, Colorado,

September 21st, 2013

Photos (from the top): Tom Stafford, Michael Collins, Ed White, Buzz Aldrin; These are from the Gemini Program. I will add Apollo Program photos in the future.  Photos: NASA

The Conscience You Cultivate Requires Action

The Conscience You Cultivate Requires Action

I just watched The Trials of Henry Kissinger. It should be really hard for a decent human being to not feel outrage, shame, disgust, embarrassment, and supreme amounts of remorse and guilt–as an American watching this, seeing what we did under this man and under Nixon and Ford–to South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and East Timor & their people, and to Salvador Allende.

However, one realizes that men like Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon, Alexander Haig, Gerald Ford, and others like them (Bush,

mqdefault (1)Reagan, etc.) have succeeded in their undeniably clinical insanity and maniacal treachery by lying to the American people. This may afford consolation–short, temporary, abstract respites of reprieve from guilt; but being American, and members of a citizens’ representative democracy–we are bound by culpability that is certain, for we have let these men walk free, and we have continued to allow them and men like them…after them–in the same positions–to continue on, to wield and abuse the same power they abused in the sixties and seventies–to be butchers in our name. And in fear, we have even gone into the same or similar activities again for them, duped and duplicitous….

I can see why friends of mine do not want to pay taxes when they know our taxes are paying for treachery like this. And for whom? In the past it was United Fruit, Dole, Pepsi, ITT, Bell Helicopter–for agribusiness, telecom, coal, rubber, and aero-military. Now it is for Carlyle, Brown & Root, Halliburton…for oil, gas, and contractors.

I can see why Dr. Chomsky wanted a tax revolt during Vietnam. What is America’s excuse, today? Same as it was then. Too many Americans are god damned oblivious. And most of us are not involved in our democracy.

Go ahead, watch another dumb sitcom. Post about how much you love your daughter or your son, or your pet. These are nice, even necessary, sometimes. But how many of you will will actually give a damn, educate yourselves, and do something about it. Like change the way you vote or sign a petition?

Perhaps the scariest aspect of all this now, is, we have fewer civil liberties with which to defend our rights, should clinically verifiable sociopathic maniacs such as these infest our halls of government, again, and we wish to divert them. Worse, still, we have allowed ourselves to fall for the second Pearl Harbor that virtually guarantees our perpetual fear a terrorism we are largely responsible for, so they can embroil us next time with far greater ease. Watch this, as a duty to America, so you fail to fall for for it any longer.

http://movies.netflix.com/WiPlayer?movieid=60029848&trkid=13462100&t=The%2BTrials%2Bof%2BHenry%2BKissinger&tctx=-99%2C-99%2Cf58e377c-5a2d-4437-8140-2923643e6b4a-108111953

Expedition 37: Astronauts Land

International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 37: Crew members landed in the steppe of Kazakhstan at 9:49 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Sunday. They completed 166 days in space and more than 2,600 orbits. So that’s how many breathtaking sunrises they were treated to.

They returned in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft pictured here (the same type of craft used since the beginning of the Russian space program and also the craft featured in “Gravity”). This is the workhorse for space travel for American astronauts who learn Russian to fly with their counterpart cosmonauts. We have to fly with our friends from Russia to reach orbit because we no longer use the space shuttle and at present have no launch vehicle in operation to take its place. Though I miss seeing American spacecraft take off from cape Kennedy, I like the idea of “car-pooling” to orbit for environmental and budgetary reasons, and I think it is fantastic that we are so close now with our former cold-war rivals.

The Soyuz was carrying Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano. For more on the important cultural, scientific, and international relations oriented benefits of the space program, go to http://nasa.gov/.

Anyone curious about space travel, feel free to contact me with questions–or, of course, you can go to the NASA website, youtube, or Wikipedia. This has been a topic of supreme interest to me since I was a boy (as many of my childhood school-mates may remember; my nick-name was “Spaceman”). Have great moments, Friends.

A Tale of Two Slumber Zones

Originally published here on Tuesday, October 22, 2013

East Rockaway is like Korea: no alarm clocks required. We have garbage men. They don’t holler, like the sudden parkside drunks in Kyounggi doe who in their melancholy suddenly rocket your heart into your throat with their middle-of-the-night blood curdling shotgun screams of anguish, but they have elephant-like whining hydraulic trash compactors on their monster garbage trucks.

There are no break-of-dawn jack hammers that sound like a parade of angry elephants, and no platoons of Samsung employees shouting out their numbered calisthenics in marine corps fashion, like in Suwon, but there are interstate-ready, stereophonic, heart-attack-inducing fire sirens that sound like Godzilla. And there are buzzers that sound like what I imagine the ones sound blasting their warnings before rockets take off at the launch sites round Cape Canaveral.

And, there are no people making as much noise as possible with banging heels and slamming doors — such as I experienced in almost every building I tried to sleep in in “The Land of The Morning Calm”, but of course, there are the (usually charming, but not at six AM) backyard railroad trains that sound like 747s erupting through the morning quiet ‘back of the house, complete with their bells, and whistles. And there is the explosive morning sunshine.

But it’s all right. I’m home. For now, anyway….

The State is Not Responsible for Your Relationship

I am responding to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bvM97_Z9g50

Basically the video presents the statistical analysis that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, a correlation between children developing emotional and physical ailments, committing rape and suicide, dropping out of school, abusing drugs, getting involved in teenage pregnancy, becoming obese and a general decline in all areas of life-success–coming from single-parent homes and unmarried-parent homes. Great information, tragic reality.

Brilliant. One flaw: Break-ups or; a man leaving a woman/ a woman leaving a man (or two same-sex partners, one female-role-modeling, the other male-role-modeling breaking up) is not the fault of the state and has everything to do with how we teach [and usually do not teach} love, how we inundate ourselves with open-relationship-oriented media and role-modeling in peer groups and with elders, and everything to do with how (you saw this in Korea most heavily) parents and other peer-group-influenced parroting guardians equate marriage with shopping for a provider, thus often interrupting the passionate bond that holds people together, inspiring the excuse and habit-forming practice of moving to partner to partner. I cannot tell you how many request-for-counseling-letters I received from young adults exhibiting concerns that they should be dating around, despite the fact that they were madly in love and devoted to someone–BECAUSE the culture says they are a certain age and should not be feeling these feelings and should not be devoted to another young adult. In my opinion, this is the habit-energy producing behavior that takes them into infidelity, poor relationships, and divorce. People often wind up marrying whom they think they should marry, instead of whom they want to marry; thus we often hear the pitifully ridiculous phrase known to everyone not living on Mars– “I can do better.” So, the evidence is clear, that people fare better coming from a two parent home, but there is no evidence they are not in a two parent home because of the state. In this report, it is assumed. It is called social engineering. If you break up with your partner, it is your behavioral issue, not the issue of the state.

f the state.

Government Oversight with Hyper-vigilant Public involvement

WITHOUT HYPER-VIGILANT PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, GOVERNMENT RUNS AMOK:

This is from a discussion with a friend who feels government is morally groundless and should not have authority over what we do:Friend, I am not saying you’re stupid; you quite obviously aren’t. I don’t think you are, either. Smart People can say and do stupid things, however–but I’m not even saying that about you; what I am saying is we need people sent to examine what we do with the physical world–in business related to food, medicine, and energy production, otherwise we get Tylenol that poisons people, chemotherapy that increases cancer growth, cigarettes with polonium 210 in them, as well as arsenic, and other harmful poisons in them, faulty nuclear reactor constructions, oil spills, oil-over-use, wind, geothermal, solar, and hydroelectric UNDER-use, no emissions controls, etc., etc. This means oversight and regulation; WE decide on the parameters of that oversight and regulation, and we have our representatives pass the laws related to it–to protect us(!).
Look at fracking (!). It’s insane. Look at coal-production (which bleeds more nuclear radiation into the environment than nuclear power); Look at oil-procurement (and the wars necessary for it!); Look at nuclear power; It is said that given the conditions of the damaged Tepco reactors in Japan, right now, if they have a Richter 7-earthquake in the next two years–and the chances of that are above 95%–Japan may be finished (!). I read yesterday that the contamination of the Fukushima reactors could end life on the planet–or in the northern hemisphere. This is corporate (and government) failure (but without government regulation, I don’t think we would even be here, right now).
We can’t wait for years and years–decades even, to see the harmful results of greed, ignorance, and stupidity in business, any more–waiting for consumer-awareness to remedy the problems that stem from business manipulating the environment and what we drink, eat, and breathe doesn’t help.
 The average person is too busy, not expert enough in the sciences, and has a pseudo-religious, and fantastical cum delusional outlook: ‘Nothing really bad is going to happen (to me).’ THAT’S A BIG PART OF WHAT GOT US WHERE WE ARE.We have DESTROYED the healthy progression of the biosphere and our health and evolution within it, letting business do what it wants (!); government, too, actually. However, government still has the power to regulate business, and we are a part of that.
 Despite government’s failures, the answer is not to scrap government. Bush & Reaganomics, Deregulation… these are why we are where we are economically and environmentally. We need to reform government. But getting rid of it means every money-hungry fool with capital can do what he wants to us and the planet. We must be aware of the issues associated with what we learn from good scientists, and we must be telling our servants in government what they need to be doing to keep our species and other species thriving. Those other species (and the natural meteorological and geological processes they are a part of) are our biosphere. And it takes regulations to keep our biosphere and our food supplies healthy–because the average person is not yet cognitively advanced enough to care about that, especially when s/he can benefit enormously–financially–bu ignoring that.Friend, you lived in Korea. You saw what an ignorant population does to itself with little or no regulations (Ours is no different, but regarding different issues): At virtually every construction site I passed in Korea, workers burned trash–more as a tradition and a way to save on waste-removal–and that trash included plastics; I smelled burning plastics all the time. That is one example, only one.
IT IS MAN’s TENDENCY TO BE LAZY, on top of his hurry to do right in order to survive (and now to survive exceedingly well); it is man’s tendency to be ignorant and naturally greedy–especially in this age. Unchecked, man will–as is abundantly obvious with global climate change–destroy his environment and everything in it. And yes, it is government that has been a part of this, due to the slow growth of our understanding of the natural world, but yes, also due to our inaction on the issue, the corruption of the political process, and because of corporate corruption and bigger concerns over economics than over human and planetary health.

 

But no regulations, no oversight, and no penalties for abuse and we would have a situation ten times worse than what we have. Do you remember leaded gasoline? I do! It’s illegal now. If it weren’t, do you think you would not be inhaling its deadly derivative vapors in a country where the average conservative doesn’t care about health-care? Where there is still a fight against agreeing on a decent hourly wage? Where, without legislation, children would still be working in sweatshops and there would be no labor standards, health standards, and non-discrimination laws?And people need to start understanding science. That’s partially what’s been wrong too; people are too ignorant or too busy (or both) to know their foods, cigarettes, and power sources are killing not only themselves, but everyone else.Cigarettes, nuclear power, hydrogenated oils, harmful additives, and pesticides in foods, fossil fuels, the over-production and unsafe disposal of plastics, and other deleterious products and practices of business need to be outlawed–outright. And stupid, immoral, and/or ignorant business isn’t the only culprit;Our government and other nation-state governments completely irradiated all of us and the entire planet with upwards of 800 nuclear bomb tests; you, the reader have radioactive strontium 90 in your body because of it.The choice is ours; we must be more involved in our government, and when it doesn’t do what’s healthy and good for us & future generations, we must bar the members in it who are responsible from ever seeking office again, perhaps even jail them.The problem is you, the reader, if you think the government is your daddy; It isn’t; The government is the staff, and you are the management. If you don’t want that job, you don’t deserve democracy and you don’t deserve anything better than what you get.

 

To Love A Foreigner in Korea

The Deleterious Experiences of an Expat in Korea, and Their Causes:  An Essay in Seven Parts 

You are in a foreign country, culturally almost diametrically opposite your own. You struggle to fit in and do your work well, serving as a teacher and never giving up in the face of a great many health and comfort-related inconveniences. You deal with guilt of having been racially selected. You deal with incredible amounts of pollution. One day you meet someone and you change one another’s lives. You love one another, but this person is not allowed to be with you… because you are different…

Part 1

I Just Want To Be Helpful
This essay will describe judgements I have made, based on feelings, observations, and wounds I have suffered, of an intellectual and emotional–perhaps even a spiritual in nature. I wish to make it clear to you, the reader, that these judgements are based on seventeen years of experiences dealing intimately with a wonderful group of people, but to be  sure, a group of people who by their own proud and often sad admission–have a distinct way of life that is not only difficult for others coming in contact with them, but for themselves. My only intention is to shed light on what I have learned and on the pain I and others have suffered, so these wonderful people and others interacting with them can perhaps be the wiser, and so that progressive change may occur in their lives and the lives of others like myself. My goal is for people to be allowed by one another to pursue happiness–specifically in that most important and soul-uplifting area of human life we call true love.

Someone very special to me in Korea once said that I was going to be alone. Well, I am, now–though it is largely by choice. Probably in her view, at the time, it was because I tended to make ‘trouble’ wherever I went. How so?  By gently,  (and sometimes not-so-gently) and firmly standing up to manipulation, neglect, poor management, disrespect, ignorance, and lack of consideration. But to be fair to myself, I must say that it is far easier to be socially inappropriate in this manner–in Korea–than in other places, because in Korea people are known to hold their tongues. In fact, they are supposed to do this. They suffer in silence. This is very different from life in many places in the West. In Western countries, we are expected to say something when treated unfairly. We don’t have to be rude about it, but we are encouraged to seek justice. 

Losing Your Cool
This was an issue in public, and in private. It wasn’t just me. Foreigners get the impression that in Korea, locals will say one thing and do another, whether it is due to some kind of “auto-pilot”, fear, cunning, carelessness, a lack of respect, or incompetence. After a while, many of us wind up losing our cool because of this. Losing one’s cool is not cool in Korea, like in most Asian countries–but perhaps there more than elsewhere. To be fair to Koreans, when you do lose your cool, Koreans are enormously forgiving–after all, they often do it themselves. 

Opposites
In fact, one can eventually get into hot water with one’s Korean girlfriend for exhibiting what we in West see as chivalry. For example, having a waiter take something away that was not served correctly, or requesting that a bus driver drive more safely, that he turn down the heat in the advent of summer, the air conditioner in the fall, and so on–can bring gentle scorn from a Korean. Or, she won’t say anything at all–or not for a long time–but you may find out later that you have erred for doing what in our culture is a no brainer and correct. Koreans believe in enduring, which I admire about them enormously. However, as much as this endurance can be attributed to Korean virtues, it can as likely be attributed to fear–because the Korean society is not only based on the virtues of harmony, but heavily on hierarchy and maintaining face. So, when you do not endure–and you express displeasure–it can be embarrassing for them. 


Koreans hold their tongues so often, that a Korean may help you raise an issue–as many Koreans, like the Japanese, feel a near obligation to be helpful–and then, in private, they may tell you how embarrassing it was to have seen you do it–even if you had done it very politely and quietly, and in the interest of everyone. I had this very same thing happen with the woman I loved dearly.


Of course, like all of us in the human species, I had my own issues that were not related to others we encountered in our relationship, as did my wonderful girlfriend–but usually our issues resulted from dilemmas over family involvement, our attempts to avoid it, or culture shock–which any honest expat living in Korea will tell you is enormously frustrating on a daily basis–to the point that it causes most people who leave Korea to leave because of it. 


Good Intentions

We aren’t idiots. We know Korea is another country with its own ways of doing things, and we willingly came to Korea to experience another culture. The problem is that Westerners are rooted in a diametrically opposite culture from that which Koreans are rooted in, and it invariably comes down to values about the individual, comfort, logic, justice, and respect. And on these points there is conflict every single day in Korea–whether you keep silent about it – or you say something about it. And if you are a thinking Westerner, one who is a Westerner because of your views of these ideas–it tortures you.

Part 2

The Greatest Injustice

I have always been adaptable. This comes from my sense of compassion for others. Where that breaks down–however–is where I find injustice. No matter how indignant we may become over the injustice we see beyond ourselves, the hardest injustice to brook is that which is leveled upon us, personally. The greatest injustice I felt in Korea was not being cheated for work I had done, not being pushed or passed over in public settings, not being excluded from public places because of my skin color and “race” (I couldn’t care less; whilst my friends, some of them famous, wanted to do something about it, I felt, ‘let more of these places crop up, showing the true racist nature of the Korean psyche.’), and not even being compared to a monkey for the hair on my arms. The greatest injustice I felt in Korea was being rejected by the “Christian” parents of the girl I had fallen in love with–and who loved me–before they had met me. I cannot express to you without a long diatribe or screed how fundamentally and humanly wrong I feel this is. And I will never forget it for the rest of my life. After all, we were perfect for one another, had everything in common, were very attracted to each other, and I treated her like a princess–taking her to the hospital when she was ill (even when we were not together), paying for a procedure that identified her health issue, even saving her family by helping her get a great job (all unbeknownst to her father).


Meet The Parents and Criticize with Love

About her parents, who never met me formally, but disapproved of me and barred me from their church and from seeing their daughter–I imagine that within the context of Korean society, they were nice people. After all, they raised the most kind, caring, considerate, and wonderful human being I have ever met, and one who was a great artist and intellect, too. However, as politically incorrect as it may be in polite company to criticize another culture–it is more than proper to do it in an essay, especially when the structure of that culture causes unnecessary pain for people who don’t deserve it, and most especially when that pain is something that results from institutionalized unfairness that only benefits those doling that unfairness out. Finally, it is the parents in Korea–and the children who won’t politely but firmly stand up to them which perpetuates this antique system of sets of discrimination. Indeed, in certain ways, this discriminatory society actually sets up many situations wherein its citizens can and do benefit for their discriminatory practices, to the tune of using people–in labor and personal situations. 


When one can learn English by spending time with a foreigner (enormously important in Korean society), a foreigner whom you do not really have to introduce to anyone; when you can gain sexual experience with a foreigner you do not have to actually continue a serious relationship with; when you can date, receive gifts, and acquire cultural experience from someone you are likely going to have to break up with once your relationship is known to your parents; when you can let your hair down, escaping the strict judgments of your home culture (a Confucian one)–an escape-oriented relationship (or a string of them) can become hard to resist, and so becomes your unconscious goal and MO for achievement through dating. 


Indeed, it is a well-known fact and feature of the Korean society that there are boys for dating and boys for marrying. Korean girls are raised to be in one mode or the other. This is not something geared only toward avoiding foreign men; it is practiced with their own kind. 


More About The Ubiquity of Unscrupulous Behavior

If you are an employer, the in-place prejudices about foreigners can be your way around abusing them and your excuse for not following the agreed upon elements of labor contracts. Korea is a place that is a weird amalgam of strictures and laxness which come together to endemically and passively (as well as actively) encourage corruption — familial-ly, personally, academically, professionally, and governmentally–down to the graces and prejudices that underlie the national philosophy.

Part 3

The “Bad Foreigner” Many Korean Women Secretly Love
Now, of course, for the foreigner who just wants to sleep around in Korea, a situation wherein the girls do not want or are not allowed to have serious relationships is quite conducive to that. Indeed, the argument can be made that many, if not all people–at one time or another–just want “a little warmth”, as my ex described it. And of course there are those who might describe themselves as the non-monogamous types in any culture. I am not here to judge them per se, or those times when people find themselves between points where serious relationships are wanted. However, I am trying to create awareness about the circumstances in a country where people go with open hearts, only to have their hearts and minds broken–largely because of the “racism”, nationalism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance of Korean parents and elder friends and family members, making Korea one of the most racist countries in the world–which is, unfortunately, the proof of gross ignorance and spiritual decrepitude on the part of otherwise well-meaning people who are (in international terms) quite unaware of themselves and how they are perceived. Remember, there is,scientifically-speaking, no such thing as race. Look it up.


In the end–if you are dating a girl in Korea who comes from a traditional Korean Confucian family–the responsibility rests with you as to whether you will adapt and remain, fighting on in chivalry and loving dedication (as I tried to do) or you leave that beguiling, charming (and as I am apt to say) “knuckle-whitening” country. Being a man from the West, I decided to stick it out. I was smitten with the girl I loved, and I was willing to do anything to be a good man for her, but perhaps, knowing the odds I was up against, my attempts at showering her with gifts, love, poetry, kindness, and dedication… were a bit too much. I over-compensated. However, it might not have mattered, even had I gone a lot more easily. Here is why:


How it Starts

I have met many Korean women in their thirties and forties; unmarried, divorced, or unhappily married. They speak English. Perhaps they work in the ESL industry. Perhaps they are just parents who love their husbands, but whose lives lack any excitement or romance (which is changing, as affairs and “secret boyfriends” and even remaining single indefinitely have become all the rave in Korea). They know something about Western culture… and they are enamored by it; its exotic nature, its freedoms, the beauty of Western countries, their expansiveness — and of course, their egalitarianism and open-minded multi-culturalism. 

Korean women like the chivalry of Western culture, and the freedoms won by women in the Western civil rights movements. And so, they are caught dreaming of these virtues, attributes, freedoms, and characteristics of the Western world, and endlessly dating Western men (many of them “high society women” with six-figure husbands).


Working against this affection, there is an ever-present bulwark against it that is the national attitude that marrying Korean is better. Parents tell their children outright that marrying foreigners is forbidden. Korea was dominated by China, then Japan, who brutally de-acculturated Korea as much as possible; then Korea was occupied by the former Soviet  Union and Union United States, with the latter of the two nations now being her military protector since 1953. A lot of terrible things happened whilst we helped the Koreans attain democracy, which we Americans were responsible for. This has engendered some deep-seated resentment. I understand that, and so do most educated foreigners. However, we are no evil occupiers, and many tens of thousands of Americans died and many hundreds of thousands were injured defending Korea in her terrible civil war. 


Part 4

There is this ridiculous notion among “conservative” Koreans–only now beginning to be distanced from–that says that Koreans should aim for a “Pure Blood” society. Apparently, the idea in genetics that says the mixing of DNA types (“races”) is beneficial to the human species is little-known in Korea — or it is side-stepped in favor of exclusionist ideologies that border on racism and xenophobia. This notion of Pure Blood arose among Koreans in Japan, when Korea had been annexed by the Japanese (1910-1945), and those Koreans who were abducted to build the Japanese war machine sought to create an ideology that would unify them and augment their efforts to galvanize pride and survival among them–as they struggled in the face of Japanese domination. 


So, “Koreans”–as one of my best friends, a professor of political science and a former lecturer at Korea University, has said–“have a national identity crisis.” Like the small number of discriminating Japanese conservatives in Japan who are afraid of having their culture diluted by Korean immigrants in the present day, Koreans are afraid of disappearing as a culture and a “race” as well, which many of them believe they are (a distinct race). This fuels an anti-foreign agenda (along with the burgeoning–albeit immature varieties of–Christianity, which has, to some degree, become a movement to downplay, discredit, and even destroy Buddhism in Korea, a religion that is probably most socially responsible, historically, for the better part of the grace and restraint in Korean people). 

I also firmly believe there is a great deal of penis-envy in the Korean male population, leveled at the anatomically more-endowed Caucasian and Negroid social groups, evident in the Korean male populations’ attempt to be more “gentle”, and in their mad rush for phallus surgery. 

 

The “Good Girls”
Unlike the expats with “yellow fever”, who often look at Korean women as if those women are a box of chocolates to be endlessly sampled (in some cases because it seems hopeless to try to be serious with them–both because of their racist parents and friends, and because Korean dating scenarios when serious are often–if not always–quite childish and enormously frustrating, by Western standards) some of these Korean women are caught up trying to figure out why they keep choosing “the wrong ones” from The West. Sometimes, these women are not even able to admit what they are doing. I could get into the social, gender-related, and cultural reasons for this, but it’s for another piece of writing, another essay. The general simple reason why Korean women dating foreigners are unhappy is, akin to the reason which befalls Kyopos: they are caught between two worlds. 


Part 5

Why is She Giving You A Hard Time?
And when they do love their boyfriends–but face the difficult issue of “convincing” their parents to let them love whom they wish, many Korean women (and men) are too polite, afraid, attached, and not grown up enough to face their parents, and are too afraid to choose the man they really want. Indeed, the reward for giving up the taboo of dating a foreign man is nothing less than credit for the restoration of normal relations with Mother and Father, and a return to being in their graces. 


Koreans are raised to not only honor “thy father and mother”, but to virtually worship them, and to nary go against their dictates, at pain of “disappointing” them — something anathema to the culture. And of course — no strange fact to any expat with a few months experience in Korea (as Koreans will unabashedly tell you themselves — as if it is acceptable and normal elsewhere in Westernized democracies): ‘well, you know, our parents don’t want us marrying foreigners.’ This is said in the most matter-of fact way, with no shame at all.


How Do They Look at Us?

Korean women also tend to judge the Western man by Korean standards; This is a big mistake, if you are a Korean woman who would like to keep your Western boyfriend. Their criteria is based on a lot of idiosyncrasy particular and relevant to Korean men and Korean society, not to Western men. What’s worse, they are raised to see foreigners as morally inferior, unclean, diseased, and maligned. National broadcasting stations actually regularly produce “documentaries” teaching these ideas, and they add the notion that Korean women are doing something wrong, unpatriotic, and racially impure when dating foreigners. 


An added problem is, the old expression, “When in Rome…” is not a cute platitude in Korea, but ‘a correct’ belief bandied about as a defense in Korea — in a serious way, and with serious intent — for example, when a teacher tells his managers that something they are doing is ineffective, unfair, or against the contract already agreed upon. 


Koreans en masse are simply not taught yet — although this is slowly changing — that people have a right to maintain their own values and culture, when visiting Korea — and that most contractual labor language is universal in its fairness and should be followed. Certainly, they see this concept as understandable, but quaint–not something worthy of support and worthy of what I would call “maxim status”. And to this end, I feel, many Koreans–in their pride–find it hard to accept that many foreigners coming to Korea are not actually in Korea trying to assimilate completely (which immigrants are not expected to do in their home countries, except by the most jingoistic members of Western society). Many Koreans–I suppose the younger ones, most of all–seem to have the attitude that foreigners have come to Korea to immigrate, not to help, make money, or simply “find themselves”. 


Part 6

Simply put, Korean women don’t know enough about the West to do what they should do, if they would like to succeed in love with their foreign boyfriends; look at Western men–who are raised to be tolerant and supportive of other modes of thinking, recreating, loving, working, believing, and living — in terms of their own Western individuality and culture, which is to say, Korean women need to judge Western men by Western ideals, instead of judging Western men by Korean ideals. Indeed, those of us from the West who believe in egalitarianism and in our civilization’s ancient Greek roots, feel this is the hallmark of our society; diversity of thought, action, and lifestyle! These women have spent little or no time abroad, and worse, are not raised in egalitarian ways; they are raised in soft totalitarian values–being told what to do and when to do it by everyone older than they are. That’s why they often cannot even begin to understand the freedoms of the mind and body–possessed by the Westerner, and instead… often see the Westerner as “a hippy”, or someone who does not have respect or love for his parents. The Westerner in Korea–at first–finds this innocence, this ignorance, and this prejudice to be a kind of naiveté, and often finds out far too late just how endemic and serious it is — and that it is worse than naiveté, because it is rarely outgrown and often passed on.


Doesn’t it Go The Other Way? (And, Why It Often Cannot)

If you are reading this and thinking as I am–as I write it–that a defense could be brought up, for Koreans… using my own logic, congratulations. I will address it: Why shouldn’t “foreigners”, as we are annoyingly called no matter how long we are in Korea, judge Koreans by their standards. We do. That is precisely why we forgive them and do not give up on them when they present us with a patronizing and false front (even when trying their best), racism, and dysfunctional behavior; lies, taciturn personalities, mundane sameness in their points of view, evasion, tantrums, manipulation, childish modes of speech, infidelity, off-the charts jealousy, invasions of privacy, and even violence. All these behaviors are, by the way, what one should expect from a culture that is hierarchical, ageist, sexist, chauvinist, racist, and in high admiration of a part of history called “The Three Kingdoms Period”.

I’ve never seen such obsessive focus on princes and princesses in the West, The Philippines, Japan, or even in England (because we fought this and outgrew it, creating modern-day democracy–something that was virtually handed to the Koreans; Democracy is simply not a high value, there–or, at least, it is taken for granted… not having been earned in such a way as would enable Koreans to see the clear difference between democracy and ‘relative freedom’ under a king pretending toward it; Korean society can give the Westerner the feeling that democracy is a broom in the closet, taken out for utilitarian purposes–from time to time.  


Koreans do not give a foreign citizen the impression their society is imbued at all levels with at least the fundamental essence of Democracy and democratic principles–or the egalitarian ones that are its underpinnings. On the contrary, one gets the impression that virtually every element of the Koreans’ lives is proscribed. Every ritual–and there is a ritual, often a quaint and cozy one–for almost every aspect of their lives. Indeed, I never heard ‘it can’t be helped’, or the equivalent of ‘there’s nothing (I/we) can do about it’ more than in dealing with Koreans presented with a dilemma. 


In Korea, it seems everyone is intent on wealth and kingly power; that is what’s valued–apparently–in what the West has won them). Now I know Koreans fought the North to avoid Communism–alongside the US, Canada, Ireland, Aussies… nineteen nations, as I learned it, but their society does not seem to celebrate democracy. It seems to use it, and value… totalitarian principles, more. Westerners in good conscience cannot adopt these modes of behavior, nor even admire them in a nostalgic way, without destroying what we were raised to be: brave, tolerant, op open-minded, and free! To be otherwise is unconscionable to us. I am not trying to scare anyone away from Korea– indeed, part of why I stayed there so long was I possessed a love for the hearts of the people, a love for their kindness, and a love for helping my students embrace more than tradition; I was there to help usher in the new age, and of course, I was in love with my beloved and am a man of enormous steadfastness in love. I am also not here attempting insult anyone over sour grapes, spilled milk, or missed kimchi. I want you to know what I feel, what I felt, and what I saw and learned in seventeen years of dealing with Korean people, for their benefit and yours. Korea taught me a lot, but in the end, she broke my heart–perhaps irreparably. I don’t want that happening to others, to Koreans or to visitors in Korea.


Love in Korea, Out of Korea, and in The Heart

Remember, when in love, this is your greatest hour of certainty, confidence, and courage. That’s “why” love is “given” to us, or why we have love in our lives; to be inspired by that confidence to do the impossible that love empowers us to go: to grow as people, to achieve, to say ‘I love you’ in circumstances we normally cannot, and to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. And this is never achieved by logic. It is all driven by sentiment–and when we are blessed with that all-empowering sentiment and emotion, we should never squander it, nor should we let others sabotage our attempts to. We have to follow the heart, because the mind is like a pie. Everyone wants a piece and everything in the world is unstable–from the climate, to the economies we make, to the politics, to your job. However, our hearts–usually belong to one person. If you keep it that way, you can dedicate it to one person. This makes all the difference in making life simple, beautiful, and easy.

 

Part 7

Many Koreans see love as a luxury, a fantasy, a chemical reaction that lasts about three years. They are unaware that in the West, where “the love marriage” (as opposed to the marriage decided by logic, family-wealth & status, and “compatibility”) is the standard–we have a love that has evolved beyond the “love” of the imperial age and its fiat, estate and kingly concerns, economics, and greed–perhaps the survival of a daughter, or a family. I call this ‘peasant love’, or, ‘squirrel love’. Modern love, or true love is an art, a process, a way of practicing self-care, the care of others. It is the perpetuation of romantic relationships and marriage itself. I have heard many Koreans say they do not believe in love, or when they do, it is easy to see the betrayal of a belief as I just described–to them, love is often a sort of pre-marriage ideal–meant for fantasy. 


How it Ends

If you want an easy time of understanding things and people of a Western nature, if you want to succeed in having a life-long love with a Western person, either truly listen to that Western man (or woman) who loves you, and as soon as you can get on a plane and go see his or her country for at least five years. No Korean , born in Korea or born abroad, can ever solve the mysteries of your heart, nor can he tell you the truth about this person in your life or about his culture–ever. 


And you cannot love this person until you understand that, deeply. So follow your heart and find what you need to know. Love depends on knowing someone. Or fail at love and be obedient, and contribute to Korea staying the way it is.

In closing, I would like my brethren in Korea to consider what a fair employment looks like for people in the West. This was taken from Craig’s List. It is an add for teachers to come and work I n California. This is what you should aspire to:


“We encourage applicants of diverse backgrounds to apply for any open position in which they feel qualified. We are committed to embracing diversity and consider all applicants for all positions without regard to color, ethnic background, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or any other legally protected class. Cal/West is committed to providing inclusive opportunities for all prospective candidates.” 


That’s the way good people consider others for all opportunities, including friendship, love, club and community organization, and sports… not just those relationships involving work. 


Peace, Love, Joy, and Imagination,

Carl Carroll Atteniese

 

Love

Will make you

Chase happiness

If you want to be healthy and have it

Will make you forget, if you can

And find it who-where

If you can

Will make you suffer, forever

Opening yourself to them

To find this wisdom of finality

Torturously captured by her

Though this muse is gone, again and again

Or else you’ll never know
Why you must keeping searching

And you’ll fall and fall, then and then

Even if because you have to hurl yourself over

Will make you die in flight

Seeking those charms

In another

Until your alone

And remember

That happiness is right then

Until there’s silence, again

And you love them and hate them

And it never ends

Steven Hawking Says He Doubts We’ll Survive

Steven Hawking Says He Doubts We’ll Survive…The Next Thousand Years Without having to escape the fragility of our world.

I read today that “every science academy in the world ‘accepts the mainstream view of man-made global warming.’ Next, ‘Every government recognizes the danger of tampering with the climate that allowed human society to thrive. They’ve agreed we must limit the global temperature increase to 2C – “a level which isn’t by any means “safe” but which may be enough to avoid the worst impacts.” Then, “The amount of warming we will experience goes up roughly in proportion to the total amount of carbon that the global society emits – cumulatively.”

Read the article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/17/why-cant-we-give-up-fossil-fuels) I took these quotes and paraphrased from. It is much worse than you think. It is not a matter of whether we hae a disaster, now, it is a matter of how devastating it will be, even if we stop taking fossil fuels from the Earth and only burn what we have extracted, we are going to put 3tn tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and it is “overwhelmingly likely that we would shoot well past 2C and towards 3C or even 4C of warming.”

The Heart And Mind

Between “The Heart” and “The Mind” there are processes of observation, perception, thought, feeling, idea, dream, and decision. But meditation on such things is not done in “the heart”.

“The mind” is the thinking, self-aware part of the brain’s functioning that is our consciousness, which making us self-aware, or sentient; where we make decisions on issues, via reason. This part of the mind contains good or bad social programming, an understanding of reality–based on observation, inference, deduction, rational analysis, and arriving at decisions of judgement and certainty. Some if this may depend on education and the processing of all observation depends on intelligence (the capacity for abstract thought; a logic of cause and effect. The minds ability to observe and understand also depends on DNA, body chemistry, health, the environment, and consumption. This is not the heart.

All the experiences of all of the afore-mentioned processes take place in the brain (though I’ve heard some authorities are said to have mentioned that they now think other organs are involved in consciousness, such as the stomach).

Then there is the part of the brain related to physiology that runs the heart, and other organs automatically, and which “decides” issues unconsciously, such as how we should react to tactile stimulation, creating reactive sensations and instinctive reactions–to external temperature, humidity, pressure, incision, etc…. The brain will send a signal to the part of the body that’s been stimulated externally, to create recognition of that area consciously–whether it be to register the sensation of a tear-drop sliding down your cheek, or the dilation of the pupil in reduced light. Of course there are signals sent to and fro to make you aware of inner comfort or discomfort as well (for needs of excretion, elimination, pleasure, pressure, pain, sexual and nutritional requirements. This, of course, is not the work of “the heart”.

There is still another part of the mind that connects the afore-mentioned to our sentimentality, and to our philosophical experience, and perhaps, most importantly, “decides” our deepest, non-logical preferences, like our favorite color, our particular intellectual interests, our predilection for certain sensations, including those experienced when in the presence of art, like an arrangement of color, shape, light, and shadow (visual art); tones, melodies, rhythms, (music), three-dimentional creations of positive and negative space, depth, height, length, and volume (form), vocal pitch, range, and use (song); movement experienced or observed (mime, dance, physical comedy [though intellectual comedy is ironic to a deeper, more cognitive level, so relies heavily on social programing and education]) ….and our metaphysical belief or lack there-of.
These preferences are–not totally–but for the most part unable to be influenced by reason. They comprise what we “feel”, exclusively–not “think”.

This is where love comes from, which is affected by hormonal disposition and childhood psychology and experienced social programing, as well as other cognitive and experiential–even physical (chemical) influences, but love does not originate there. And the confluence of those interlocking and exponentially complex factors is so grand, we might as well call it un-map-able.

This is the place that tells you whom you love…

…and it’s the place that tells you what you believe when tested reality (science) “cannot” explain it (yet).

And this place, to a deeper extent, tells you right from wrong–beyond the morals of your particular philosophy or religion.

This is what we have in common with animals that rescue human babies from trash heaps.

This is what makes the mass murderer sorry, or at least cognizant of his deleterious effects on individuals and society, even if he is a sociopath and can’t “feel” it; enabling him to donate his body to science.

This place is mostly beyond reason, and therefore hard to understand and explain, though poets and other artists try.

If God speaks to you, it is hear that you listen. If he does not, it is this place that decides that he can’t be heard, because it is ridiculous to you to think so, along with your cognition (thinking, intelligent, observant part of your brain).

This is “The Heart”, and it is “a mind” apart from what a particular society or religion programs. And it is the source of the real truth, for you. That’s why people say, “follow your heart”, and because not to do so leads to unhappiness.

Your Hope

Breathe, and know that if you do not have a real life-and-death problem at this moment, you do not have a problem*, and that everything is a matter of awareness, good-natured-ness, options, and positivity. All negativity is fantasy, born out of worry about the past, which is gone, and the future, which never comes; only the passing of the present moment.

Kwang-Jon Kim’s Tweets

SENT to THE KOREA HERALD:

Dear Mr. Bae Hyun-Jung,

Greetings, Sir.

Thank you for your interesting article highlighting the pre law-maker-status remarks on twitter of Representative Kwang-jin Kim.

Though I feel a man heading for political office needs to reign in his possibly offensive and personal opinions on his physical proclivities and death wishes for President Lee in public statements–I am at least heartened by Kwang-jin Kim’s candor (albeit shocked a bit and embarrassed for him).

However, it is clear to me that this is being highlighted not only for its news-worthiness and the relevance of the damage-control-apology made for Kim by DUP leader Jie-won Park, but also because of its damaging impact on the DUP (by conservatives).

I wonder what kind of tweets, messages, and Kakao banter we would discover if a sweep were done of all law-makers, especially of conservatives.

Sincerely,

Carl Atteniese,
Seoul

http://carlatteniese.org/

Lincoln

Lincoln gave the slaves the right of self-defense. It SEEMS this was to back up a major change in the war that according to historian Richard Slotkin, was originally to preserve the union, but now–perhaps largely due to the “narcissistic” and insurrectionist demands of Lincoln’s pro-slavery general, West Point engineer, George McClellan, was to change the nature of the South and put men against the pro-slavery South.

McClellan had threatened the dissolving of the army and demanded in a letter that nothing radical be done to slavery.

Lincoln declared the emancipation in defiance of his intrigue-making military leader, who had thought of leading a dictatorship.

Declaring the freedom of the slaves is significant, because at the beginning of the war, the decisive end of slavery was not actually a key goal of the North, though Lincoln was morally opposed to it. In fact, in his efforts to lessen the conflict and keep the union together, Lincoln promised the South that it could keep slaves (though he envisioned ending slavery later). Check NPR for the interview I learned this in by looking up the author and his new book, ‘The Long Road to Antietem’.

Speak Up and Be a Man

cropped-carl-for-temp-page.pngThe prophets of tomorrow are the crazy men of today. This is just a sign of what Einstein called mediocre minds. The mark of a man is not how gentlemanly or harmonious he can be, for a gentleman in one society is a coward in another. Each of us whom is a man of conscience shoulders the burden of balancing reputation, harmony, and the weight of that conscience. There simply is no easy way to do that, and if one is such a man of conscience that he has an eye toward change, that is, ‘justice, compassion, and progress’, it is a heavier burden to be silent and to have feet of clay than it is to embarrass oneself, sacrifice one’s reputation, and speak. There are many silent corpses–forgotten, and very few dead heroes. They live on, immortal BECAUSE immortality was not their aim. Humanity was. The heroes speak–or where the case may call for it–do a deed, but they are the ones who save us all. And they become the prophets of yesterday; the role models of men of action, today, and the monuments of humanity, tomorrow. So speak now, or forever rest in peace.

Violence Against Children

What The Taliban have allegedly* done to a fourteen-year old school girl defying their edict that girls not attend school.. is terrible, and morally groundless. However, I encourage all who care about true freedom and dignity, a superior morality and intelligence, human rights and decency, to realize that though it is natural to make a special distinction in this case because the victim is a child, it is this paradigm of distinctions that allows us to justify cruelty “across the board”, as it were. For why (and the suggestion is, by this distinction) is it that it would it be “okay” to target with less egregious culpability, someone who is male, and/or over the ages of say, 18 or 21; because we engage in horrific forms of violence ourselves?

We must voraciously and without exception BAN ALL FORMS OF JUSTIFIED VIOLENCE, even against tyrants, if we are to stop this kind of thing. When we arrest the perpetrators of such violence, the way we treat them directly and unequivocally goes hand-in-hand with this kind of barbarism.

Either you are for violence or against it. THIS is the only way to stop all of it, eventually. For if violence is justified in one culture, and in one particular situation, it will be justified in another, in other situations–in ways abhorrent to outsiders, but justifiable to its perpetrators and their sense of society and survival. However, it is still violence in all forms. Until we are honest enough, “man” enough, courageous enough, and serious enough to admit this, and we are ready to condemn violence everywhere, we can stop it only here and there, and thus not at all.

Finally, I will say that the only time it is understandable to use violence is in a situation of clear, present, and direct threat to oneself and one’s people nearby; no pre-emptive violence can be justified, otherwise, The Taliban will justify killing a fourteen-year-old girl just as we justify drone strikes, shock and awe cluster-bombs, grenades, napalm, and atomic weapons doing the exact same thing (and of course, we absolutley have).
__________________________
* I question this only because I know my government and other governments use conspiracy and lies, covert action and atrocity, when it deems necessary.

This Essay is in response to: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/10/09/162573135/taliban-say-they-shot-14-year-old-pakistani-girl-who-exposed-their-cruelty

How to Live

BrilliantThe best way I have found–to live, is lovingly; loving myself, and loving others… moment to moment.

You will get angry at ourself and others–despite trying to live this way, but as long as you ‘call yourself back to the path of love’, you will be better off than if you hadn’t.

What does loving yourself and others mean? Well, we can start by understanding that we are human and that means we are very special, and so are should be treated very specially; as the brilliant, capable creatures we have been proven to be, and so not taken for granted or abused. Human beings should be revered by each other, as a virtual miracle if billions of years of cosmological evolution, tens of millions of years of biological evolution, and several hundreds of thousands of years of existence of a particular surviving type of human, and as the products of social evolution. We have come a long way!

Think of it this way. We that are human could have become something else, but we are here–as we are, fortunate, living alongside other highly intelligent mammals; other primates, the dolphins, the whales….

And if you believe in God, then another reason to love and respect yourself and others is, God created that process which resulted in our being here, resulting in a masterpiece.

However great we are, in our capacity to love, think, and create; to manipulate, control and destroy; and to repair–as a species, this greatness should not be seen as an excuse or a reason for the right to control others; other species or other human beings. This is, however, what we have done and are still doing, and it may yet be the eventual end of us.

Gun Control

I had a conversation about gun ownership in America last night with a soldier in Seoul, who is heading to Fort Drum in New York and soon to Afghanistan, probably. He really liked my idea that we need a long, drawn-out psych-evaluation for people who would purchase guns. People can’t get behind the wheel of a car or the yolk of an airplane without a long course of practice and certification–either–so likewise, no one should be handed the right to use a deadly weapon without, say–twice as much time in analysis and learning. Finally, automatic weapons should not be purchase-able by non-military. If we want safeguards protecting us from the chance that the federal government could go mad and mobilize in our towns, we can establish a citizens’ armament which couldn’t be accessed without the coming together of a number of appointed council members who would possess keys in each municipality—to such a locker, like the officers who carry the nuclear-launch keys in a submarine. Guns must otherwise be taken from citizens en masse, or in the case where they are the only protection against thieves and rapists, reduced to the size of small handguns. In such cases, I also recommend ballistic weapons be replaced with non-lethal weapons, like tazers, or something else that could be manufactured. There is no reason to have the power to kill…placed in a citizen’s hand; none; zero. © Copyright Carl Atteniese Jr., 2012, All Rights Reserved.

Hi, All.

This should be on an about page, but I wanted it to get top-billing. For a long time there have been no memoir-style updates on my site. The reason is I was presenting myself as an artist/poet/photographer, and I didn’t want my site to look like a blog. I even dislike the word, ‘blog’. It is undignified and aesthetically unpleasing. It sounds like a creature form a nineteen-fifties B movie sci-fi flick.

Anyway, I was trying to market myself as a soon-to-be professional, and I had planned to do drawings and photos for printing (which I would still like to do), so I wanted the site to look clean, simple, and focused on visual art. Another reason I was marketing my work in website format–with no daily updates and only links to what was featured–was that my girlfriend was saying she wanted to see a professional site. And another reason still, was a good friend was saying to be professional, ‘get the personal stuff off the site.’ Some of the most successful people have marketed themselves that way, but their sites are boring, even when designed beautifully, because they are like sign-posts in the desert, where no one goes for long. Why? They are lonely, and the interactive blog environment is the answer to that, and it is the website of today, where people congregate. So that is why I am returning to a blog-style format.

Here’s the thing. A long time ago I had an epiphany; ‘Don’t change yourself into something, be more of what you are, or get better at it.’ I am not only a photographer. I am not only a poet. I m not only a teacher (well, I don’t do that any more). I am not only a spoken-word performer and a comic. I am all these things and that is what I am. And the charm in a person comes in the amalgam of what she or he is, not in dissecting his or her parts. Besides, it’s more fun and less pretentious to present yourself as a whole person, and on the blogosphere, ease is the means of the day, so I have everything all here in one place. I think that if anyone wants to take a professional interest in me or my work, he can click one link or another and focus on what he wants.

Furthermore, in the spirit of being whole, I will have daily updates of my life in Korea, because, let’s face it, this is my ‘journey to the moon’, and the defining event of my life, thus far.

Peace, Love, Joy, & Imagination,

Carl

Confidence

In popular (read, ‘unconscious’ culture), a man is perceived as having no confidence if he petitions a woman’s good will–with multiple attempts–contacting her to implore her understanding of what has transpired between them. Or, er, that is what is implied. For when a man does that and gets undesired results, “confident” people say, ‘you look weak; you should ignore her’. No knowledge of the past and how this “worked” before matters, apparently. No inquiry is made into the details. Only this primitive, Darwinian-like analysis on the most basic level of input-output is pronounced, and the suggestion is, ‘women are mere animals; ‘all the same’, and thus: ‘we must treat them in this particular way to get what we want.

Of course–this is about the beginning of the dating game nonsense– to gain or ascertain a person’s interest–playing on the sense of mystery is the preferred method of choice in Korea–to answer the questions, ‘does he like me enough?’/’Is he is calling/texting/writing me’ just because he thinks I am easy?’. And to this end, of course the ‘Hello!’/’Oh, hello, how are you?’, and then the requisite ‘no response to the second ‘hello’ method is popular, among women; You know…it goes like this:

Guy: Hi there (^.^)!

Girl (three days later): Hi ^^!

Guy (a minute later): How are you?

Girl (leaves chatroom to return a week later): Hi! Let’s meet in June, are you okay?

If you’re like me, you don’t care for these infantile and primitive dating rituals that you never had to deal with in your life, and you ignore this and only say ‘hello’ again a few days later; not as strategy; you couldn’t give a damn fora person or situation engendering games. You grew up when there were no cell-phones smaller than a shampoo bottle and you had to be rich to own one. There were no pagers, and you waited half your adult life to get an answering machine, which until the mid nineties, you had to return home to check. So you cannot understand all this wasted time. Also, if you’re like me, you understand the games–but appreciate confident people who have no use for them, and are not afraid to gently persue an issue that is important, because it related in a time-sensitve way to your and the other person’s heart.

But games in dating are supposed to be all about starting out, right? You shouldn’t have to deal with this detritus with one you have expressed undying love for, dedication, and even a pledge to support her family; whom you took to the hospital multiple times, bought expensive gifts for, gave money to when she was out of work, traveled with, shared secrets, dreams, romance with, right; one who noticed intimate anomalies about your health–that your doctors never w!

So, why is it like this? Because you are in Korea; the place that is beguilingly accommodating and congenial, yet insanity-inspiring and knuckle-whitening-in its ability to always be frustrating–always at the same damn time.

It was different when I first arrived in Korea, years ago. Women pursued you and after they got your interest, they held on. The younger generation is all about these games. Why Men Love Bitches became popular with idots in the West, and of course in Korea–a country wherein men have held insane amounts of power for thousands of years, women have caught on to how to manipulate their near-animalistic desire for sex–in a culture that facilitates affairs in every way–probably more than any other on the planet in human history. Korean women have adopted a cold, calculated, and mean MO that would make western women pale in horror. The funny thing is, they hardly know it, themselves. And of course a version of the afore-mentioned book exists here, too.

Ah, ignore it!

About Art

Dear Viewer:

Art historian H. Gombrich said “there is no art; only artists.’ Artists, whatever they and their work are, owe nothing to any person, group, dogma, philosophy, religion, or political movement. Art is innocent-unless it is used as propaganda in manipulation of people for maligned purposes. However, Art-like religion, industry, and physical, & verbal behavior… must be displayed and utilized responsibly to guard against its being misinterpreted by the immature, the primitive, and the violent-for the safety of society and the compassionate and responsible raising of children.

Art should never be censored, as it is the product of the human mind; the greatest accomplishment in sentience we have evidence of in the known universe. As such it is a window into an individual and his experience; a group and its experience, or maybe that of a culture. Seeing into an entity’s experience-into peoples’ experiences is the only way to understand them, and thus the only way for anyone or any group to accomplish reconciliation. Understanding one another is the only way to see the world of beings, to love, to avoid violent conflict.

Art is self-expression applied soulfully through a mastered-or practiced (or in the least, artful) craft. It expresses human emotion, intelligence, ingenuity, and observations. Therefore, Art is testament to humanity and being human (a concept I further developed in talks with Amber Park). Art encompasses artful living, all the recognized “art forms”,and the technological and creative fields of science-such as engineering and architecture.And most importantly, art encompasses love.

Some of what you see here at CarlAtteniese may not seem to be art to you (indeed, some of my work is sketching from the unconscious), but another way of looking at art is how an acquaintence named Joshua-a dancer and choreographer-described it to me:

‘Art is the asking of questions not focused on specific answers.’

I would add that art is not solely journalistic, which means it is meant to be more than something in a personal diary; it is meant to be seen. To some, Art may be art only after it is viewed, meaning it is not art until perceived in the mind of a viewer. In this vein, Amber Park says ‘art is for the observer.’

Please look at my art. Try, if you would be so kind, to feel what you might think I felt when I made it, or…don’t. Observe your feelings when looking at it.

I present my art with heartfelt apologies to the victims of war, execution, and global climate change, and with apologies to the memory of Masters Hokusai Katsushika and Hiroshige Ando; former President George W. Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush, and to my father, to whom along with my mother, I dedicate my work.

Many thanks to my mom and dad, Robert M. Diefendorf, Lois Diefendorf (RIP), Amber Park, Christopher Barbaria, Gary Kim, Louis Trentidue, Adam Hoffman, Mike Stewart, Michael Kozzloff, Andrew Gerndt, Sardi Klein, Patti Bellantoni, Leigh Benkhi, Marshall Arisman, and Bing Lee.

With Love, Peace, Joy, and Imagination,

Carl Atteniese Jr.

Why I Am A Vegan

Forward by Carl Atteniese

The vegetarian diet is good for the environment, good for your health, and good for our animal friends. Many animals that humans eat and kill for other reasons have feelings, sentience, and of course-feel pain suffer mentally as well as physically, due to our techniques in raising them for slaughter.

This letter was written by Amber Park, a teacher, artist, essayist, poet, photographer, and musician. She is also an English-institute director. Miss Park is very serious about animal rights, compassion, humanitarianism, and human health and welfare.

I am sorry this piece is only in Korean, but glad as well, because I am going to study it for my Korean erudition. I will have it translated and posted in English in the future. In addition, the number of vegetarians in Korea is quite small, and the health of the Korean people has been getting worse as their economy has been improving since the ninteen-sixties. They have been able to afford more meat and dairy products as they have become moe affluent, but they are seeing more cancer, stroke, and heart-disease in their numbers since that time.

It is my hope that more and more people of Korea will embrace vegetarianism.

_______________________________________________________________

안녕,

요즘 어떻게 지내는지 궁금하다 ^^

다들 각자의 삶속에서 어떤 기분으로 살고 있을까.

신묘년 한 해의 첫달이 저물어가는데 결심한 일은 잘 진행되고 있을까.

난 요즘 채식관련 책들을 거의 섭렵하다시피 찾아서 모조리 읽고 있어.

지금은 이미 절판된 책들도 중고서점에서 찾아내서 사두었고..

능력만 된다면 우리나라에는 없는 외국서적들도 읽어볼 생각이야.

내가 왜 이러느냐면,

좋은 것이 있는데 나만 알고 있고, 나만 누리는 건 옳지 않다는 생각이 들어서.

그래서 누군가가 내게

너는 왜 채식을 하니?”

라고 물으면 그 이유를 차근차근 설명해주고 싶어서 였어.

사실, 건강해지려고 얼마전 헬스클럽에도 등록을 했고

가공식품에도 손대지 않으려고 노력하면서 몸을 챙기고 있어.

그러다가 좀더 알고 싶은 맘에 자연스럽게 책을 사 읽게 된거야.

그런데 말야,

내가 책을 읽을 수록 깨닫게 되는건, 채식을 ‘단순히’ 건강을 위해서 한다는 건

사치스럽고 한가롭고, 심지어 오만하기까지한 생각일 수 있다는 거야.

무지에서 비롯되는 생각.

물론 채식은 건강에 두말할 것 없이 도움을 주는 방법이야.

고기가 영양분을 보충하고 에너지를 준다는 게 세기의 사기극이었다는 것도

내가 추천하는 책을 읽어보면 곧 알게 될거야.

**”육식, 건강을 망치고 세상을 망친다-John Robbins” (읽어보고 싶은 사람은 내가 -기꺼이!-선물해줄께 부담갖지말고 꼭 말해줘~)

육식집단 보다 채식집단이 신체, 정신적으로 건강한 삶을 영위할 수 있다는 걸

증명할 수 있는 너무나도 많은 연구와 사례들이 실존하고 있어.

가설이 아니라 사실들이.

채식만 하게 되면 부족한 영양분때문에 비리비리하게 된다면

이런 사실들은 절대 증명될 수 없었겠지? ^^

사실, 난 채식주의자라는 말을 싫어했어.

채식인이면 채식인이지 거기에 왜 사상을 뜻하는 단어를 덧붙여서 ‘채식주의자’라고 부르는지 이해할 수 없었거든.

그런데 알면 알수록 채식주의는 개인의 한 몸 건강하게 오래살자고 사치를 떠는

까다로운 편식이 아니라는 걸 깨닫고 있어.

지금 얼마나 많은 동물들이 육식을 위해 잔인하고 비인간적으로 도살되고 있는지 알게된다면

당장 내일부터 내가 말리지 않아도 고기를 멀리하게 될거야.

알고싶지 않고, 멀리하고 싶고, 생각하고 싶지 않은 불편한 진실들을

용기를 내서 알려 하고, 그것이 부당하고 옳지 않다는 걸 바로잡으려는 노력을

조금이라도 하지 않으면 안되겠다는 생각이 들었어.

나 한 두사람 실천한다고 뭐가 되겠냐는 생각은 더이상 하지 않기로 했어.

옛날의 마녀사냥을 바로잡은거나 노예를 해방시킨 거나

민주화를 정착시킨 역사들도 결국 부당함을 알아챈 한 두사람의 자각과 실천으로부터 시작된거잖아.

나도 마음이 아파서 동물들이 산채로 가죽이 벗겨지거나 처참하게 맞아 죽는 영상은

절대 보고 싶지 않았거든?

그런데, 그러다보니 그냥 먼나라 이야기, 사실이 아닐지도 모르는 이야기로

느껴지면서 실감이 나지 않더라. 백화점에 걸린 부드럽고 가벼운 모피코트가

학대당한 동물의 살갗이라고 느껴지지가 않더라. 고기도, 가죽가방도 마찬가지였어.

친구야.

난 채식을 강요하고 싶은 마음도, 당장 가죽제품과 동물의 털로 만든 제품들을 쓰지 말라고

재촉하고 싶은 마음도 없어.

다만, 그것들이 어떤 경로로 우리에게 들어오고

어떤 생명들이 살 권리를 잃고 죽어가는지를 알았으면 좋겠어.

그래서 마음이 불편하더라도 무지에서 비롯되는 악에 동참하지는 않았으면 해.

(살기에 불편함이 없는데도 다른 생명을 이기적인 이유로 괴롭히고 죽이는 건

선한 일이 아니잖아.)

그래서 일주일에, 아니 한 달에 단 한번이라도 육식이나 동물로부터 생산되는 제품구입을 피한다면

그게 바로 첫 실천인 것 같아.

“행동하지 않는 양심은 악의 축이다. “

김대중 전 대통령님이 하신 말씀이래.

나는 정치적으로 어느 한쪽 편에서 목소리를 높이는 사람은 아니지만

저말에는 절대 공감해.

세상은 너무 빨리 돌아가고 돈은 너무 중요하고 내 삶은 고달프고 시간은 없어도

우리가 인간임을 한시도 잊지 말자.

우리는 양심을 가지고 있고, 사랑하는 마음과 자비로운 마음을 가진

인간임을 잊지 말자.

*아래는 수없이 자행되고 있는 일들의 지극히 일부분이 담긴 영상이야.

불편한 진실을 용기있게 대하고 싶다면 봐도 좋아.

http://action.peta.org.uk/ea-campaign/clientcampaign.do?ea.client.id=5&ea.campaign.id=7742

채식을 오래동안 고집하고 나름 동물보호와 사랑을 실천하고 있다고 생각하는 나로서도

알아볼수록 충격적인 소식들이 너무나 많았어. 사람들의 목적과 이윤을 위해서는 진실들은

얼마든지 감추어질 수 있다는 것이 너무 놀라워. 세상이 이렇게 돈 앞에 무섭다는 것이.

부디…내 메일이 불쾌하지 않았으면 해.

내가 용기를 내어서 이 메일을 보내는 이유도

내가 알고 있는 사람들은 이런 일들에 대해 제대로 알고 느끼고 생각했으면 해서야.

그게 비록 불편한 진실을 마주대하는 일이더라도..

‘나는 아무리 그래도 채식을 시작하거나 당장 무언가 실천하는게 어렵다- ‘그렇다 하더라도 괜찮아.

나도 채식을 천천히 진행해 왔고 아직까지도 Vegan이(육류,생선류,달걀,우유등을 모두 먹지 않는 완전채식인) 되진 못했어.

워낙 의지 박약이라서 단계별로 4년간 하나하나 줄여갔는데도

아직까지도 생선이나 달걀이나 유제품등은 먹고 있을 정도로 실생활에서 완전 채식을 실천하는 건 정말 큰 용기와

결심을 필요로 하는 일이더라. 사람들에게 외계인처럼 취급당하는 일들도 많고..

그런데 참 좋은건, 진실을 알면 알수록 내가 내 스스로에게 자부심이 들어.

옳지 않은 일에 참여하지 않고 있다는 자긍심.

그치만 그것이 자만으로 끝나지 않으려면 내가 아끼는 사람들에게도 진실을 알려야 할 것 같아서

이 글을 쓰게 된거야.

사실 긴 글을 보내면서도 걱정이 돼. 괜히 반발심을 부추기거나 오히려 이 모든것들을 비웃게 만들어 버리면 어쩌나.

그렇다 하더라도…

난 우리가 지금까지 살아왔던 날들보다 앞으로 살아갈 날들이

늘 축복받으며, 누군가를 축복할 수 있는 나날들이었으면 좋겠어.

당당하고 떳떳하고, 사랑스러운 존재로 살아갈 수 있었으면 좋겠어.

좋은 것들은 서로 나누고 나쁜 것들은 알려주고 피하는 관계로

살아갈 수 있으면 더 좋겠어. ^^

좋은 주말 보내고, 궁금한 것이 있다면 언제든 연락해줘.

앞으로도 종종 글을 쓸께.

읽어줘서 고마워.

사랑하는 친구들, 그리고 아끼는 사람들에게,

빛나로부터….

* P.S. ‘Special thanks to B. Joe, my friend~who taught me about all these things. You made my life better. 🙂

For A Better life together!

“Left-Overs” in Love

The writer asked me why he was feeling he was receiving less than he felt he deserved from his girlfriend. They have “been through a lot”, he’d said, and he had even lost acceptance in his religious sect for supporting this girl. They are still together, and she is very busy–in addition to all this–and he wonders about how to view her apparent neglect. This is what I told him:

1. Pray and meditate to find peace and truth;

Dear MI,

Hi there, New Friend,

Please pray AND meditate before talking to your girlfriend, again. The two are vastly different, though you can do them –sort of at the same time, if you wish.

Meditating means sitting and breathing and not petitioning anyone, like God. It means calming yourself, and only breathing; stilling the mind, not thinking, worrying, connecting thought to thought, and getting lost in fantasy (If you need more help with how to meditate, look at my intro page). When we meditate, we open ourselves, our minds, our “spirits”, our creativity, memory, and intelligence. Answers come, and memories, visions, and realizations may appear. Do that until you are entirely peaceful. And before that, if you wish, you could pray and ask God to make it a good experience, revealing truths to you.

I could ask you to do that and then write me, which would be better, but you probably want a solution-oriented answer now, so here goes:

Everything you are assuming is a product of your imagination. I have a lot of experience with this as a human being, first of all–because we all do it, and as a hypoglycemic, second of all. This disease, when not managed, makes a person hyper focused when the blood sugar is low, and creates a hyper-imagination, sort of.

Now, My Friend…

No matter how much you may think something is the case, until you have the facts–and even then–it is largely your perceptions and imagination which tell you what has happened and what is happening. The truth is ALWAYS between us, never in only one mind.

Your girlfriend is a very busy person, and assumes–most likely–that you “are there for her” and so she takes you for granted at least to the normal degree, meaning she thinks you love her and will continue to do so, so she focusses on school, her job, her religious practice and her family more, right now. Unless there is another issue, you feel like you are getting “left-overs” because you ARE–and if she really loves you, proven by her presence in the relationship–you might feel flattered by this if you want to. As long as there is not another reason for it (disappointment in you for some reason; real or imagined, personal issues she hasn’t revealed, etc.), she loves you and shows that by feeling you would want her to only focus on you when she can, not more than her responsibilities allow. Do you see? You are like a foundation to her, hopefully, which she “knows and expects” to be there, whilst she is busy.

I suggest you to do four things;
2. Appreciate her in your life and balance your needs from her with her abilities;
3. After doing 1 &2, find time to do something loving for this busy woman you are likely lucky to have in your life;
4. After doing 1, 2, & 3, then, gently and totally listen to her about what is going on in her life and heart, before explaining your concern.

You may get the answer to your question.

As far as being co-dependent I do not know. I do not know enough about your relationship. It seems like she is not suffering that, but I don’t know about you.

Focus on making your life better, and making her comfortable. These are two key parts of what we must do to make our lovers happy.

Let me know what you think.

Peace, Love, Joy, and Imagination,

Carl Atteniese Jr.