Tag Archives: Philosophy

Intangible

Tangibility is the key

give it a number

weigh it

measure it

run some electric through it

Does it react?

Misbehave?

Get angry?

The Intangible carries no weight

An assembly of numbers

is still responisible

somehow

as though

The subtle might have a say

Even though it is not

This is

We are

That is an uncomfortable question

Equality under the Law

It is a phrase that we hear from time to time, depending on what we read, watch or listen to, that no one is above the law.  The law that is being discussed is either civil or criminal law, it is the law of and for citizens.  Every country, just about, has these laws on both a national and local level.  In my watching, listening and reading experience, when this phrase is used, no one is above the law, it is in the political arena.  It becomes apparent in the debate that this term is commonly applied to our political leadership and or our captains of industry.  For instance, the term war criminal gets bandied about one political or corporate leader here or there.  Kissinger, George W Bush, Barack Obama and soon, I am sure, Donald Trump will all stand accused of one crime or another the most interesting being a War Criminal.   Who is accused is largely partisan although there are some dissident voices from both extremes, left and right who seem to apply the term with an even hand.  There is a problem though, with the term, as it has little to do with civil or criminal law.  It deals with the laws of and between Nations, International Law.

This is where the weird and illuminating difficulty lies hiding.  There is the same problem with in International Law that there is with in national law.  That problem is that some nations are above the law and others under it lay.  It is evident that great nations or powers benefit from the laws of nations while weaker nations or states find that they are bound by these laws.  This becomes most apparent with respect to War Crimes. The side that wins the war, the most powerful, in American vernacular the winners, have never be tried for war crimes, they will never be seriously accused, in effect war crimes and the laws that define them do not apply.  In other words, regardless of lofty rhetoric War Crimes are exactly that, words designed to get a response and nothing more.  These Crimes are for the Losers, also a term common in American phraseology.

This may seem cold at first but there is a point.  While good citizen’s of the United States worry over serial killers and wax rabid about the crimes of great corporations horrendous things, criminal actions are being undertaken in our name.  At the very least that is how the victims of these actions see it.  The United States is not alone hear, it is in interesting company to say the least.  China, Russia and a couple of key members of that group of nations collectively known as the west, principally England and France.  Notice that The United States, Russia, China, England and France all have one thing in common, they are the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.  Nothing passes with out their agreement, each has the ability to veto any measure the general assembly tries to pass and none of these nations has ever had to have any of its leaders, civilian or military face the charge of War crimes with the possible exception of France.  Instead they prefer the charge of treason.

Why am I talking about this?

We talk about peak oil, terrorism, global warming, nuclear war and other threats to our liberty and our lives.  The system, even the internet system, has away of putting our fears and problems on another level like a land separate or better yet a distant planet.  The secrecy that national security requires and our own elite notions of ourselves as a nation has put us in an unusual position.  We have faced the abyss and closed our eyes instead of taking the leap, letting our own eye wander inwards to survey our own inner world not only as individuals but as a people.  We as a people, I am beginning to believe that this a problem that effects all of humanity, have been put to the test and found lacking.  We are Morally corrupt and have no grasp of ethics while at the same time, we are sitting on a pile of the most destructive weapons ever conceived in written history.  Nuclear, biological, chemical and conventional weapons that until now were unimaginable in the hands of corrupt, confused or simply stupid politicians leading a populations dazzled by bright lights and shiny things or lost in the shadows.  People worry about global warming or rising opiod addiction as the war drums begin to bang and sabers rattle.  The idea of War Crimes like the death penalty, is as a deterrent to violent acts of aggression.  If a person or group of people are above this law then they have no consequences to worry them.

That’s real power, the lack of consequences.  So when the Trump haters and the Trump lovers are dukeing it out in the street and as the war over what words are legal and which are not continue just try and keep that in the back of your mind.  The current President is the type of leader that can find himself trapped in his own rhetoric and then boom.

It won’t be the end, just major set back with lots of pain all around.

That is the thing about Power.  It isn’t the wealth, the admiration of the masses, all the free or cheap stuff, the comfort, multitudes of people to boss around, markets to establish, resources to exploit or the access to the worlds best medical care, it is the absence of consequences.  Real power can kill and rape on a scale that would make Ted Bundy or Charles Manson’s eyes turn green with envy.  Like the old saying goes, Kill one man and you are a murder, kill a million and you are a conqueror.  That is the problem with power.  That is why so many desire it and why it will be our undoing.

We are entering an interesting time.  I can only offer this advice, mostly to myself.  When the abyss finally opens at my, our, feet don’t close your eyes and I won’t close mine either.  Always give those you love a hug. Finally always try and remember that you are blessed.

Have a better than average day.

The Power of Hesitation

It is easy, I have found, to get caught up in the moment.  The mob is both frightening and enticing.  Once caught in its grasp there is this shifting of responsibility away from the individual  to the seething throbbing whole.  In this surrender of free will one find’s themselves trapped without feeling trapped,  Now if you are into this sort of thing then you can feel free to stop reading,  This is a piece about exercising free will and its not for everyone.

Any given individual is either a part of an event, acting with in their own sense of agency or in a neutral, observer state.  Rephrase, we are reacting, acting or hesitating.  The professor who taught the Action Theory class I suffered through back in college, one Doctor Robins, might have referred to this as a folk analysis or a folk understanding.  Well everybody has to start somewhere.   We do not just live in a world of events, we also live in a world of agents.  This is why an understanding, in an individual sense, is so important.  This debate, in my limited experience, breaks down between Predestiny (Determinism) verses Free Will (Action Theory).  Determinism is the idea that whatever choice you make today, at this second is based on all of the previous events, experiences and choices that you have made in the past.  Action Theory is dependent on the idea of Agency.

Agency means that some entities are actors and that they possess a thing or an ability that allows them to act that is known as Will.  There is an intellectual tendency to choose a camp but I prefer the quantum equivalent.   That any given individual exists in two states simultaneously.   The predestined state and the free will state coexist and that our resting state is the predestined state.  In the Predestined state we are simply reacting to the events taking place around us.  There is no exercise of free will.  Think of it like breathing.  You do it with out thought, it requires no exercise of will, it simply is.  A person simply breaths because their body demands it.

On the other hand there is Agency.  We are all born with this ability, we are all made to be Free Agents and we all have Free Will.  The choice, though, is like a muscle, it has to be exercised.  There is where the problem lies.  How can any individual tell the difference between a reaction and a choice, choice in this case requiring the exercise of Free Will?

This is where hesitation becomes important, the previously mentioned third state.  If one carefully observes others they have the opportunity to notice instant reactions when they occur, like the knee jerk response.  I swear to you I have seen people jerk their knee when they hear something or see something that they instinctively react to negatively.  Hesitation takes a great exercise of will.  It also involves some risk.  When The Christ stated turn the other cheek, he is talking about denying the reaction and concentrating on the action.  The act of Hesitating has to become trained, instinctive, it is through the act of Hesitating that any individual might be able to begin to detect the difference between reacting and acting.  Hesitating is an exhaustive process as it denies the instinctive response.  It also requires that part of the individuals attention constantly be cast inward in a semi reflective state.  Any one following this path needs a quiet space where they can just be.  This will give them the opportunity to rest and recuperate.  The path of Hesitation takes discipline and patience.  In time the difference between the two states, reacting and acting, will become easily discernible.  This will give the individual the opportunity to act when they think or feel they must and save their energy for pursuits closer to the heart.

The test is a simple one.  People, especially educated people, are experts at pushing other peoples buttons.  That is saying or doing something that will provoke a reaction.  So the next time some one hits you, out of the blue and for no apparent reason, or says a thing that cuts deep, that causes your body to scream and demand a response, hesitate.  While hesitating watch the reaction of the provocateur.

That is where the real education begins.

Beasts

“You are a killer,” Said Lion to Tiger

“You should not speak so,”

“Your Bloody paws can no longer touch the earth,” Responded Tiger.

They stared one and the other

One tawny, lithe and agile, one striped, strong and lacking in guile

The silent debate raged

Bear, Wolf, Eagle and Dragon aged

all carefully observed

It be the Monkey that drew their attention

It was their lunch by anyone’s reckonning

But the little beast had hesitated

at the most momentous second

It is these times that steal your breath

Stormy winds, shuddering earth, scorching fire and chilling water

before the step into impossibility

“Our meal is about to leave us,” the Eagle warned

Bear, Wolf and Dragon made carefully study

“Fear not,” Said the Tiger, “it can not leave us.”

“Trapped it is,” agreed the Lion

At the very worst it will eat itself

Then we will be without our lunch

and Monkey will stand on the edge of eternity

I wonder more often than not

If we have really come that far

as only a glance back reveals our own bloody footprints

would say other wise

 

Not So Smart

I still remember this old cast iron wall hanging that use to be in the kitchen of my maternal grandparents house many years ago.  It seemed old to me at the time, a single color, something akin to a bright yellow with flashes and streaks of the iron underneath showing through.  It hung there high on the wall across from the chair that my grandfather sat so that he could see it when he ate.  If he cared to tip his head just slightly. It was written in German with the image of an old man wagging a thoughtful finger at what I assumed then and still today to be a grandchild, probably a son.  In my minds eye I can still see one word clearly, Schmart.  Of course my mind, being what it is might have twisted that a bit but I still think it is probably correct, after all it was some time ago.  I still have a rough translation of what the little cast iron thingy had written on it, “The older you get the more you find that the less smart you are.”

This was a big topic for Grandpa whom seemed quite old to me at the time though I personally knew many people who were even older.  He would get into detail about books of knowledge and how when you were young the book of what you knew was such and so big.  Then he would hold his fingers far apart to indicate a book of great thickness.   He would go on to explain that when you get older you realize that the book of what you actually know is only this thick and he would squeeze his fingers together to indicate a book to thin to draw even my interest as an eleven year old.  I did read quite a bit by that time.  I think that summer was my first encounter with To Kill A Mockingbird, Lord of the flies and Atlas Shrugged.  The last title well beyond my ability to properly appreciate.  So I liked the book reference and I thought that I understood what he meant which was that so much was being added to the body of knowledge that an individual just couldn’t keep up.  Sort of the standard point of view of youth which I have heard often through out my life pointed at me as well as my wife which is old people don’t know anything.  Mom’s don’t know anything, just pick your group and stick “don’t know anything” behind it.

So I thought I understood when I was young and in a way I did when I was young and that understanding was, as repetitious as it is, young.  Being that I have some formal education, a mental disability and nothing but time I do a lot of thinking and reflecting which is probably one of the reasons that I deal with schizophrenia as well as a do.  As a growing person has experiences and sometimes those experiences contradict what we were taught in school, college or at university.  When we accept a thing as known with out having tested the idea to be sure, assuming that the thing is knowable, then it is an assumption.  Believe me when I say that assumptions are everywhere like land mines.  Assumptions extrapolated from, built on top of other and piled high and deep.  Even when you know its an assumption you rush to defend it like the love of your life.  Sometimes you think you now when you don’t.  There are plenty of things of which I am fully well aware that I know nothing about and that’s not the issue the issue is the shit I think I know something about when I know nothing at all.  I keep stumbling over these things, things I accept are so with out really knowing.  Its getting to be a major pain in the ass and in the end that is what I think my Grandfather was talking about.

Its strange to me what I remember, those strange scant moments like shadows, vague an hazy and the ones that are sharp like yesterday’s morning.  Why would my young eleven year old mind latch on to those conversations.  Was it repetition?  My brothers heard the same as often as I yet the have no recollection.  It is odd what one remembers and how it effects them and influences their lives.  So that “Not so Smart” was a joint project between myself and my Grandfather.

Look for your Muses and don’t be afraid to be wrong as much of a pain as it is, you might find a pleasant surprise on the other side of that fear.

Have a better than average day.