“When You Turn Your Back To Your Enemy You Prove Yourself Either a Coward or a Fool.”

It has been a difficult period for me as I have watched half of our country viscerally attack other half through the proxy of President Trump. Some would say justified attacks in response to those against President Obama but I find these attacks possibly more damaging to the country as a whole. Perhaps the most problematic is the refusal to even listen to the other side, turning your back on a perceived problem does not make it go away.  Now it seems that one  half of our country is  picking at every scab it can find  while the other non politician half largely sits and quietly watches. Not unlike the scenario we saw before the last election when surprises were not uncommon.  It seems dangerous to me how quiet 1/2 of America has become. Either they are as a boiling pot covered but raging and ready to boil over  or perhaps  like a wounded animal sulking in the dark licking its wounds and preparing for  revenge. Either way the silence is troubling and possibly a bit dangerous.

Our two major internet news services have switched places one that used to be filled with light and hope now filled with dark innuendo  while the other by comparison seems to have  become less extreme and more reasonable. Is it possible that  good and evil in America are now defined in political terms or on late night “comedy” shows  rather than moral terms as they should be.   That seems a dangerous path.

For guidance I turn to Nietzsche and Marilyn Manson and others , Manson and Nietzsche it should be noted are  not often quoted together  anywhere..

“It should make you just a bit  nervous when your onslaught of attacks provoke nothing from the people you are attacking”. R. Safris ( note I am talking like the Chevy commercials  about “real People” not politicians.)

“He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” Nietzsche

“The tormentor becomes the tormented.” Nietzsche

“How do people become what they hate” Anon

“It is as a hall of mirrors folding in on itself.” Anon

Is it okay to bully a bully?  R. Safris

“And the more he struggled against the tar the more he was covered by it and stuck in it” Br’er rabbit and the tar baby,

“With him finally surrendering to the matrix to destroy it.” – The Matrix

“Remember, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they. “ Yoda

“Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!” The Emperor Star Wars

“You want this, don’t you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.” The Emperor Star Wars

I became persuaded, that my love of mankind, and of excellence for its own sake, had worn itself out .”John Stuart Mill

“And what is inside us, we cultivated.” Anon

“Minds so undisciplined they created whatever they feared.” Michael Crichton

“Is it okay to hate the hater because they hate?” R.Safris

“Many people get co-opted into evil Such as Eve and the temptation. We are seeing that in many facets of society today but the political and religious ones are still the favorites for people losing their souls.” Anon

“Addicts always start out with a view they can tempt the abyss and not be caught. Every addict ends up saying: Oops!” Anon

“There are none so blind as those who will not see” Bible/Various

“I hate what I have become to escape what I hated. “ Marilyn Manson

“We have become as teenagers looking for any weakness to torment apparently not aware that it may become  a permanent scar” R. Safris

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The price of light is less than the cost of darkness…… Arthur C. Nielsen

Arthur Nielsen gained his fame by rating TV shows and his quote is quite true with the exception of current  TV and Internet news where I would need to add, ” Unless the darkness sells Advertising minutes.”

Any science news, particularly that supported with statistics must be looked at carefully when presented on the internet or TV news. Often incomplete information or cherry picking of facts or statements distort the true meaning of what was actually discovered. Too often now the science and stats we see on TV are the results of someone funding a project because they have a bone to pick ,a bone to bury or they wish to begin chewing on someone else’s bone. Citing of questionable studies and twisted surveys accompanied by meaningless stats and misleading charts is so common as to be endemic on the internet and TV news. A friend once told me that if you, ” massage the numbers long enough they will become your friend,” or conversely, ” if you torture the data long enough it will confess.”

Please do  not accept anything incredible that  you hear or see on TV or the Internet without further investigation. Apply Sagan’s advice that , ” Extraordinary  claims require Extraordinary evidence” and always consider that  although it may be true it also may not be correct as is illustrated by the story of the “Six blind men and the elephant,”  by Saxe included at the end of this post.

War is ninety percent information.
Napoleon Bonaparte
A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.
Marshall McLuhan
I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts – for support rather than for illumination.
Andrew Lang,

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
Albert Einstein
Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.
Aaron Levenstein

 

The Blind Men and the Elephant

IT was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

ii.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me!—but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

iii.

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried:”Ho!—what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ‘t is mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

iv.

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:

“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant

Is very like a snake!”

v

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
” ‘T is clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

vi.

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

vii.

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

viii.

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

moral

So, oft in theologic wars

The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

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Pat Robertson, Prison time, Drugs, and Me

Source: Pat Robertson, Prison time, Drugs, and Me

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Be Afraid Be Very Afraid

Sorry about his but it pains me tremendously to see so many Americans cowering in fear, intolerant of any exception to the norm. I have seen too many stories today on the internet about this is so dangerous that is so dangerous, don’t take any risks no matter how small,

” Be afraid be very afraid,” because when you are always afraid you can be controlled and when fear and control are established absolutely you will have no risk but no rewards either. And in actuality if your fears should ever actually be soothed the powerful will create new ones for you, it’s happening daily and hourly as this is written. Can you remember what we were supposed to be afraid on last year? Did it disappear? Did it happen?

Politicians seem to be the best salesmen of this credo right behind TV weather and internet news and eventually if the fearmongers get their way the picture on our TV screens and computer monitors will be a perfect shade of gray in complete stasis and Orwell’s 1984 nightmare will seem like a pleasant dream.

FDR said , ” we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” certainly a wide generalization but still generally true today. as It’s hard to accomplish anything when you’re fearfully cowering in the shadows in the corner of your own little part of the world shouting fearful puerile gibberish.

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“I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.”

When I was a young fat kid. Popeye gave me the key to a happy life.  I used to worry about what I should be rather than what I was. It warped my responses tPopeyeo almost everything around me.  In some cases it was a huge blow to my self-confidence in others it was a motivating factor for success and most certainly the foundations of the philosophy by which I try to live my life.  “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am or as Popeye would say it , ” I yam what I Yam and that’s all that I yam.”

There is a lot of meaning in that short cartoon sentence.

I was sick for months in 2nd or 3rd grade, it weakened my legs and I got to spend my days and nights  laying on the couch in the living room because it was difficult to get upstairs to my bedroom.  During that period there was little to do  during the day but watch TV, read or eat. I did all three things to excess.  I became the “fat kid.”  I loved ice cream and we had a freezer, my mom limited me to one bowl of ice cream a day… so when she wasn’t looking I got out a soup bowl. Many of you have never seen a soup bowl but when soup was king there were larger bowls ( bigger than salad bowls) in most dish sets.  And so I laid around , ate what ever I could find and gained weight although I must admit I wasn’t particularly svelte before that occurred.

I returned to school and kids being what they were and are  I was at times made fun of because I was fat, short, and more importantly slow.  I probably learned a lot from that.  There was one girl in particular who made my days difficult, she was big, strong, and eventually became a great  high school swimmer but in 5th grade she was the bane of my existence.  She teased me unmercifully, verbally and one day I crept up behind her and to my shame “rabbit punched” her in the back of the neck.  I probably had to  use all 4 inches of my vertical leap to do so.  She got hurt I got sent to the office and my recovery began. The principal of course was not happy about me hitting anyone but as part of the process of explaining myself to the principal I began to realize that by reacting I was losing and  that rather than “ignorance being bliss,” perhaps ” ignoring might lead to bliss”.  That becoming angry was losing, thinking of a solution was winning.  In short acceptance of who and what  I was and working from that basis was a much better solution than wishing I was someone else.

I learned to use my brain instead of my feet, although as I grew into my ” fat” my feet got just a little quicker as well.  I got into sports and was at least average and played in high school until my thinking and at times uncontrollably attached mouth got me into trouble with two coaches leading me to spend much of my time my senior year sitting around.  And yet I didn’t quit, even though at least one coach advised me to do so and proudly I even got to play 34 seconds of one game after being a starter the precious year, when the coach  noticed that we didn’t have enough players on the field and grabbed the first one, who just happened to be me and threw him into the game.

In my perhaps warped perception not quitting made me a winner.  I learned that I couldnt control what others did but I could control how I reacted to it, because my reaction was my decision.  I was what I was and although I sometimes think of what I could have been the pain is lessened by the knowledge that I chose the path I followed.

So back to Popeye,  If you accept who you are you can move forward with the understanding that you may never play the piano or be skinny, or be wealthy but when you die everyone will recognize your face because it’s your face not someone elses.

The implications:

Don’t worry about things over which you have no control

Don’t worry about what you might be or might have been but think instead of what you may become if you only understand who and what you are.

Don’t worry about the perceptions of others, worry instead  about your own self-perception

Repeat to yourself when you make mistakes or  things spin out of your control, ” I am what I am and that is all that I am.” and because I know what I am I can improve my own  reality not perception.

It also seems that Popeye was a lot smarter than most of us thought because when he said , ” I am what I am and that’s all that I am he  was just paraphrasing Tennyson’s Ulysses; ”

…..that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Renewed by time and fate, still strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

 

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Thoughts on a Nor’easter

noreaster-loopAs a strong Nor’Easter approaches the East Coast there will be some positives. No it may not be a positive for those who have to shovel or those whose deaths or property destruction are attributed to the storm whether actually caused by it or not. Nor will it be a clear positive for most people other than school children who may avoid another day of too often stultifying sameness in their classrooms.

But it will be a positive because it will drive politics off the front page for a day, it will stem the blizzard of half-truths and innuendo to which we are currently being subjected. It may stop the gusts of lies and their thin and unsatisfying  explanations with the probable exception of TV weather people who will continue to throw words around like ,”catastrophe, worst, and disaster” uncaring that they are making those words meaningless by their continual use.

Enjoy the nor’easter, sit snug in your homes. Hug your wife, your husband, your children, your dog, yourself even your cat if they will allow it. You might even consider secretly unplugging the cable or the wireless and  spending your time talking or thinking rather than being talked at and thought for, go outside and if you have children, take your children with you  to experience the power of nature and be humbled by the frailty of invincible men in the face of her power.  Read about the Armistice Day Blizzard or Jack London’s ,”To Build a Fire.”  and feel better about where you are now.   Make some cookies or cocoa from scratch, turn off the furnace and sit in front of the fireplace together for warmth and if you don’t have a fireplace turn on the oven and sit together in front of that. with one blanket covering all, if you don’t have an oven then a candle will do. But do it together, nothing creates real understanding more than an inconvenient  shared hardship.

And as to shoveling, although considered a negative by most, there is a little known but I believe  strong relationship  gained by shoveling together. In fact I would guess that to paraphrase a popular  saying,  the family that shovels together stays together.

It could be that a driving blizzard with zero visibility and all the changes in our normal routine is mother natures way of showing us what we should be doing and where we should be going.

I do however wonder if someone somewhere is right now penning a screed about the injection of the Christian religion into the weather! Offended! because after all it is called a nor’EASTER. I also know that for some people this storm will be a test of their wills, their family and their lives and for those people I empathize and wish the best.

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New Electoral Medical Condition identified

bacteriaNew information of medical conditions affecting elected officials!
Party in power- characterized by poor hearing,slow reaction time, and long selective memory.
Party out of power: characterized by very sharp hearing, over reaction and a short selective memory.
Often very contagious and  characterized by over stimulation of the id and superego while paralyzing the ego. Infection is common immediately after elections and is diagnosed by the observable presence of self serving serial lying, self denial with ancillary self esteem issues including false feelings of powerlessness and grandeur.

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