And Then, There is Happiness…
by Dr. George H. Elder 6/19/2016
There are countless joys life provides, although circumstances can arise that make finding them nearly impossible. When my mother died, I could only feel despair–a searing pain that still rends my soul at times. When my wife left me, there was an interminable sense of loss and emptiness, the total collapse of what seemed so real. The same is true of any number of events, as I am sure is the case with you. Eventually, I managed to understand that getting bound to any moment’s emotional state is a poor way to live. By definition, moments pass as time flows. And if we allow it, time can take us to places that help allay pain, misery, and hopelessness.
Of course, the sources of our angst are only a memory away, for memory records the past and brings it into the present. Yet the more we experience of what life has to offer, the greater our odds of finding reasons to be happy. Yes, watching a loved one suffer and die generates enough grief to make us question the very fabric of existence, and it is a pain most of us have known. Yet here we are, sharing these words and contemplating how they may or may not meet our needs and desires. We have learned to muse again, to laugh on occasion, and to notice all the good things that friendship, family and living well accords us.
Yet some become tied to past traumas due to their unfathomable finality or sheer brutality. This often happens during wars, horrific accidents, untimely deaths, and the wanton deeds of those with sick hearts. These events can freeze us in place, forever binding us to a single, horrible moment. Every new and old memory becomes inextricably tied to the source of our misery, and we slowly weave a web that allows us no recourse or relief. This is the essence of PTSD, and escaping its clutches in no easy matter. Some simply cannot endure, and duly trade their remaining days for a sleep that knows no waking.
For me, the fleeting nature of life created an ideational bridge of sorts that carries me past many new and old woes. I have come to understand that we are securely tethered to countless threads, an intricate tapestry of experiential associations that wax and wane as life unfolds. They collectively define the course of our lives and our influences on the world we share. When we step back, we can at long last see the picture we are part of, our essential oneness with being. The impetuses that can drive us toward this perception vary, but the only requirement is that we strive to see beyond the present.
I am blessed in having felt death’s embrace. During this crisis, I came to understand a bit more about the nature of time—for my moments were rapidly running out. Yes, one can actually feel life slipping away, or at least I did. I let go of fear and regret, of sadness and despair. I saw how bound I was to the self, how absorbed I was with trivial thoughts and things. I drifted in and out of consciousness, discerning occasional words as if trapped within some dark cavern. The words echoed, with only a few catching my fading awareness.
The primary thought I held on to was a powerful conviction that there is a common source for all things. Some call it Karma. Some call it God. Some like the terms science, physics, and mathematics. But there is no name that accurately fits something that inculcates all these metaphysical constructs and so much more. The source exists simply because it can, and I have yet to read any text that can adequately describe something that is all things and thus no one thing. It is a sublime paradox, with our struggle to grasp its nature being a vital part of our purpose–our raison d’etre.
I had sensed the source before in a dream, but hanging there between life and death instilled a type of peace that cannot be fully described. I recall disjointed bits of excited conversation. “Massive heart attack… Troponin levels 40 times normal… 100% blockage of the LAD… Time is heart tissue!” Yet there was no fear, no trepidation of any kind. Indeed, there was no pain, no nagging concerns, no regrets or sorrows. I was at peace, despite the grim situation. I knew I was one with what created and sustains all that is, and that was comfort enough for me.
No doctor can explain how I managed to walk away from that event as well as I did, but I know why. It is to share words like this with you, although I am a terrible writer. Please, don’t allow yourself to be bound to any moment, be it pure bliss or complete misery. Time will take you to new places, IF you allow it. It is not easy to brush away the tears and ignore the sorrow wrought by tragic events, but this is the only way to live life as it should be lived—unafraid, full of hope, and grateful to be alive. Now, if I could only break free of becoming a cranky old man!
ON THE NATURE OF BEING LIBERAL & CONSERVATIVE
by George H. Elder 6-6-2016
To my way of thinking, people who describe themselves as either Liberals or Conservatives have their heads planted firmly up their asses. All but the stupidest of us are conservative about some issues and liberal about others. For example, I embrace equality, unions, gun control, progressive taxation, Social Security, the separation of church and state, and a host of other liberal notions. On the other hand, I also strongly support the police, our armed forces, the free practice of religion, and the general rule of law–which are often considered conservative territory. Moreover, I am definitely not open to many ideas and/or behaviors–such as pedophilia, slavery, bestiality, torture, fraud, laissez-faire capitalism, and much more.
I suspect everyone reading these words has both conservative and liberal preferences regarding various issues, so why quibble over generalized labels that only mean something to simple-minded sots who can barely think at all? So if you’re calling yourself a Liberal or Conservative, also use appropriate adjectives–like foolish, stupid, simple-minded, inane, reactionary, myopic, etc. One can thus be a foolish Conservative or myopic Liberal, but one can hardly ever be a “pure” Conservative or Liberal. Yes, one can be mostly “this” on certain issues, but there exists ample room for being “that” on other subjects. As for me, I’ve finally decided I’m neither Conservative nor Liberal. I am misanthropic with idealistic tendencies–which means there is still a tiny bit of hope. As for you self-described Liberals and Conservatives, go F’ yourselves. But please consider the following first.
The dictionary defines liberal as: “not opposed to new ideas or ways of behaving that are not traditional or widely accepted.” With this comes the notion that Liberals believe “that government should be active in supporting social and political change.” Liberals are thus “open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.” The term has become anathema to some, but our nation’s founders certainly embraced liberal ideals, as befits a group that wanted to change an existing order. For example, George Washington advised, “As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”
Conservative is defined as: “holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.” This is a perspective based on preserving the existing order, whatever that order is. Thus, a Conservative “is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.” In terms of US history, Conservatives sided with King George and the established British-based colonial governance. Indeed, they were very much against the revolution, and many fought our nation’s founders. Currently, many self-described American Conservatives believe the US Constitution should be interpreted as perceived by its creators, a very difficult task given the passage of time and the accompanying shifting in meaning of various terms.
So, are you Conservative or Liberal? Or might you be smarter than that?
A TIME TO REFLECT
by George H. Elder 5-30-2016
Here we Liberals are, angrily tearing ourselves to shreds in a brutal internecine conflict. The ongoing battle has the capacity to rip asunder the threads of mutual belief that once united us, and the opposition is doing all it possibly can to stoke the fires. Look, I have no love for Clinton, mostly because she speaks and acts like a disingenuous lawyer. She is intelligent and highly able, not nearly as wicked as some paint her, yet capable of making some bone-headed mistakes. Those same traits define many of us, and I can live with most of them. However, I voted for Bernie during the NH primary. To me, he was the better candidate, and many say he still is. However, Clinton has amassed 3,000,000 more votes nationwide during the primaries, and one cannot dismiss this fundamental fact. She will be the Liberal nominee, like it or not. I accept that, despite whatever reservations I have had.
I am a cripple, someone who survives of a $780 SSI Disability check, Section 8 housing, and food stamps. I used to be a weight lifting coach and scholar, so it has been a particularly long and harsh fall. Had it not been for Social Security and other progressive programs, I would not be here to share these ideas. And now, we have a man of unadulterated greed, reckless prejudice, overweening egotism and petty spite threatening the welfare of 11,000,000 migrants, millions of Blacks, and uncounted numbers of the poorest and most vulnerable of us. And believe me, even the strongest, toughest, and most independent person reading these words will one day experience what it is like to be sick, old, and/or helpless.
What drives me to distraction are those Liberals who are willing to sell folks like me down the river in pursuit of their idealism and goals. Millions of us will vote for Clinton for the sake of our very survival, for we “useless eaters” will surely be devoured by that mendacious orange-hued slug. Despite that clear and present threat, some Bernie supporters tell me they will not vote and others say they will write in Bernie’s name–regardless of how these actions influence the election. They tell me Clinton and Trump are essentially one-and-the-same, which is nonsense when one looks at their policy stances. Some have even said they would rather vote for Trump than Clinton and would rather die than compromise. I am also told that casualties are inevitable in every war, and especially in a fight that seeks to overturn the existing order.
So I ask you, are our kindred Liberals to be willingly sacrificed at the alter of ideological purity? My friends, existential reality does not always provide what we want, need, or hope for. Shit, I didn’t want this life, but here I am–surviving off 18 medications and 6-8 injections per day. Sometimes, we have to do the best that we can within the contexts of our situations, unpleasant though the experiences might be. And I know what it is like to be an idealist, so screw those of you who think I am a Bernie sellout. I lost two jobs and a career over freedom of speech issues, and would gladly do so again. Yet there are times we must put aside our personal desires for the sake of our kith, kin and country.
A wise woman recently told me that we Liberals are a family of free spirits, albeit the spirits of riled up cats and dogs. Sure, we may differ in many areas, but we are united in recognizing the fundamental impetus within the liberal ideology that led to social security and other progressive programs that foster the common welfare and keep many of us alive. It will be Liberals who change the party platform and make it more progressive! It will be Liberals who teach Clinton how to speak and act like a person who has more ideals than ambitions–a most difficult task. But I hope the hell it will not be Liberals who destroy their own kind via means of helping Trump get elected. It is time for the family to come together.
MEMORIES ON A CLOUDY SUNDAY
by George H. Elder 5-22-2016
In my mind’s eye, I can still see the loaded bar resting on the power racks. It was standing press day, one of my favorites. I was obese by any measure, with my weight hovering around 300 pounds–give or take 10. All that mass pilled on a 5’8″ frame. But back then, 300 pounds was a light weight to heft in many lifts. Yeah, I was a strong fat man. The warm up sets with 225, 295, and 335 were easy, but 365 was on the bar–and the goal was five reps. That was tough at the time, three big plates and a quarter on each side of the bar.
One prepares for maximal efforts by removing all the clutter, finding a place of clarity some call “the zone.” There are no doubts or nagging worries in the zone. One goes deep inside and calls upon an impetus that has no form, name, or even description. Perhaps that is because this impetus is largely defined by the stark absence of nearly everything. There’s no higher thought, no doubts, no sounds, no distractions of any kind. There is only the bar and the goal. A powerful emotional state slowly sweeps over one. Eyes open wide, heart pounds, breathing deepens, and one might even begin growling.
One literally runs to the challenge, tearing the bear off the racks as it were a broom stick. And up that bar speeds, propelled by forces that go beyond the mechanical. On that day, 365 by five felt like a warm-up, so I bumped the bar up to 385. Anther psych bout, and I nearly got a triple. Almost all athletes know this Zen-like place one goes when preparing for a good hit, a personal record jump, or any number of other maximal efforts. It is something well beyond the physical and approaching the spiritual.
Across the room from me rests a pair of metal forearm crutches and a stout walker. Too fat, too much cholesterol, too much of everything. Massive heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, advanced osteoarthritis, and a nasty neurological disease that is gradually destroying parts of my cerebellum. Every clumsy step is agony at times, and a chair awaits soon enough. The choking and/or apnea gets you in the end, or so they say. There is a fight for air, and then one goes the way of all things.
Yet I have never been more at peace. The physical is very nearly gone, but I have something else that compels me. That zone I described, I am blessed to still be able enough to call upon it. Should there be a fall or stumble over a barrier I can’t quite manage, I get pissed off–knowing that months of healing and/or rehab might be coming. But then I think of that silly song. “Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s going to be a bright, bright, bright sun-shinny day.”
I’ve made the choice to be optimistic, and to face life in a fashion that gives me some degree of happiness, ever thankful to simply be here. Sure, it will be difficult to maintain that perspective until the very end, but that place of peace I know is just a thought away. I call upon it when the pain of a cartilage tear won’t allow sleep or when I reflect upon how weak and feeble I’ve become. Then comes that surge of warmth, that powerful impetus that compels me to complete as essay such as this. Only the goals have changed from days gone by.
The way I see it, the gift of life is a but a blink. We glimpse a tiny bit of being as discrete entities and then move on. It is what we opt to do while glimpsing that speck of existence that matters most. If we experience our time as sharing and caring passengers during this journey, then that is a life well-lived. Would that I could be better at doing that, but I am contentious by nature.
As for death, it is a win-win proposition. If there is an incorporeal existence after death, then all of eternity will be spent perceiving and experiencing things from new perspectives–a sublime dream-time. If there is no being of any kind after death, then all of time will be as a gentle and sound night’s sleep. The ancients studied and knew these things, but many of us tend to ignore their insights. And now to go out and about…
BERNIE OR BUST
by George H. Elder 5/13/2016
I voted for Bernie Sanders during the NH primary because I felt he was much more inspiring than Clinton and perhaps more electable. Clinton defeated him during the debates, and Sanders was never definitive about where the funding would come from for many of his programs. Still, here was a passionate man of conviction, the quintessential idealist. Such a person is worth a stadium full of mealy-mouthed politicians, as Reagan amply proved. I did not support Reagan because of policy issues, but I never doubted that he held strongly to certain values–at least for the most part.
I have always regarded Clinton as a chameleon, albeit a very capable and bright one. Moreover, she garnered millions of more primary votes than did Sanders. Much of his support comes from caucus states wherein a relatively small (but dedicated) percentage of the electorate vote. Nonetheless, he has also won several primaries, and his supporters are zealous, loyal and minion. How farsighted they are is another matter altogether.
I believe many Bernie people perceive themselves as latter-day patriots, proud bearers of three-cornered hats and fervent revolutionary ideals. They are here to save the country from powerful vested interests and that god-awful money that greases the slide of American politics in general. To that end, they regard Clinton as the very personification of the corporate evil they are confronting, and they accord her no significant difference with the dreaded Trump.
Basically, many of Bernie’s supporters are set on overturning American politics as it currently operates in preference for… for what? Well, some believe we have the wondrous age of Bernie dawning. Therein, he and his fervent cohorts will suddenly undo the perfidious part of human nature that created this electoral system as it now exists–that being a monster based on banal greed and wanton duplicity.
Really? They want to overthrow all that? Well, of course they do. That is the calling of all our higher natures. It is the realm of the revolutionary ideal, a place where eggs are broken but never scrambled. The trouble is, the ideal is running into a harsh reality. Bernie is losing in terms of raw votes and delegates, though we all know this is ONLY because the system is rigged, etc., etc., etc. Just ask the Huffington Post. Thus, the barrage against Clinton continues unabated.
And yes, I have no doubt that the damage Bernie supporters are doing to Clinton could cause Trump to prevail. In fact, I expect it will given the existing animus within the Democratic Party. Bernie supporters drove folks like me away from his camp with their blind stridency, but perhaps I was never ardent or pure enough. For example, I still cling to the silly notion that politics is largely a game of pragmatism. Ask Bernie about his gun positions, and then you’ll fully understand the nature of political pragmatism.
Yet it is “Bernie or Bust” for the true believers, although I fail to see how a Trump victory would further Bernie’s causes in any way. After all, it isn’t like Trump has Bernie-friendly policies! And like it or not, the votes are what they are. Clinton will have more. No one might have enough to claim a mandate. Either a grand compromise is made that recognizes this basic truth or the Democrats will implode. We all know that.
Thus, if one does not seek or accept the middle ground, he or she willingly prioritizes a personal ideal over all else. And while I would, and have, suffered much in pursuit of the ideal, I have never done so at the cost of others. The way I see it, Trump is an existential threat to many; including Hispanics, Blacks, women, the disabled, poor, children, and the homeless. We are to be sacrificed, and largely upon the alter of those Bernie supporters who share many of our beliefs. Can any of us be so sure and dogged about our positions that we risk the fate of others?
The counterargument is that by rigidly adhering to principles one can eventually insure the future welfare of all. Tell that to the people being yanked out of their homes and deported. Tell that to the little girls who are exposed to Trump’s constant misogyny. Tell it to the seniors and disabled who are cast adrift.
The way I see it, some Bernie supporters have become so ardent that they are willing to sacrifice all for the sake of their personal beliefs–including the welfare of their friends and families. Does that make them idealists, or might a better word be… selfish? Here we see a clear prioritization of the self over the many. Selfishness is a species of greed, and that is the very thing Bernie supporters wail against.
We have come full circle. Reality is a bitch, and the best Bernie can hope for is to have an important influence on the platform, which will include some of the ideals his supporters cling to. Is that enough, or must we risk others for the sake of a personal cause? In an ideal world there should be a Clinton-Bernie ticket. But as I have said many times, Democrats are hardly ever wise enough to do the intelligent thing. I just hope they have the capacity to stop savaging each other. The enemy is at the gates…
by Dr. George H. Elder 5-4-2016
And so the Republican race is now over, with Trump being the anointed. The Beast is in no way a true Republican and has a general philosophy that is best described as predatory opportunism. His claim to fame is unadulterated egotism mixed with a bombastic tendency to define others by way of puerile insults. Indeed, he insults entire countries, and one shudders at where this approach will lead when it comes to dealing with both enemies and friends. Calling folks names is fine for enlisting the unthinking masses who voted for the Beast, but it will not play well in the international forum in terms of policy nor the domestic forum in terms of getting legislation passed.
Nonetheless, the possibility of a President Trump has become a very real and pressing danger. Indeed, I imagine thousands of immigrants and citizens are busily engaged in finding ways to stop the Beast. Perhaps a thousand or so are thinking in terms of guns or bombs, and him surviving these threats is problematic. Yet Hitler survived those who wanted him dead until he destroyed much of Europe, leaving about 40 million dead–including over 7,000,000 Germans. That is the price the Germans paid for their wanton rectitude, and one wonders at the price we will pay if the Beast is elected. Hitler had opposition, but it was divided and disorganized, unable to stop what they knew was looming.
And now we have ardent Bernie supporters, gladly professing how ready they are to douse themselves with gasoline and go proudly into the electoral fires–sans Clinton. The problem with idealism is that it can become so rigid that survival itself becomes forfeit. I voted for Bernie, but anyone can see that the votes are simply not there for him to become the Democratic nominee. So there is talk of a massive write-in and fervent insistence that its Bernie or nothing. This attitude is so damn childish I can barely stand it, but I imagine the opponents of Hitler felt the same way about their darlings.
In the end, Bernie will do the sensible thing. He will broker his support into changes in the platform that will make the Democratic party’s position analogous to the ideas he has professed. Yet that may not matter, for we now have both Trumpanistas and Bernie supporters savaging Clinton. Her negatives go through the roof, and Trump inherits the presidency due in large part to Bernie supporters. What a deal! In a perfect world Bernie and Clinton would be on the same ticket, but we all know the Democrats are hardly ever capable of doing the intelligent and pragmatic thing. Idealists never are!
So, we stand on the precipice, facing a drop into a void that could devour our entire nation. The Beast stands ready, while we who oppose it bicker mindlessly. The Beast mocks us and laughs in glee at our “write-in Bernie” campaigns and our constant pillorying of Hillary. It amazes me that so many of my dear friends buy into this obvious and dangerous nonsense. For God’s sake, LOOK! See the America that is at the bottom of the Beast’s pit. It is a land crafted in the Beast’s image.
The imperious rule begins with a purging of all opposition, and the former Republican party is crafted into an apparatus that the likes of Lincoln would never recognize. Immigrants are marched to the boarders, even those who fought in our wars and helped service many of our industries. Support of children, the disabled, and even veterans withers, while untold treasure is spent on armaments of all kinds. Brush wars proliferate, for not all will bend to the Beast’s will. We even make war on Iran, using missiles and aircraft to defeat the Persians. A similar treatment is served up to North Korea, and soon enemies and allies alike grow to fear us. The blathering talking heads and senseless masses cheer, and the march goes on.
Suddenly, a person in New York is admitted to an emergency room with a bizarre and untreatable constellation of symptoms. That is where the plague begins, an unknown biological agent that is released by an unknown enemy. We die by the millions in heaps of rotting flesh that become to massive to bury. We lash out blindly, not wanting any enemy to take advantage of our growing weakness. The innocent and guilty alike burn while the skies turn an acrid white. Our few remaining children choke on their own vomit while the Beast lurks in the safe and dark recesses of hidden bunkers. All hail the Beast.
And the people who made all of this possible are those that most detested the Beast, but who were completely unable to concur their own pride and prejudice. They unwittingly created the hole our nation fell into, only realizing the service they did for the Beast as they are devoured by his works. So here we are, standing on the precipice. Before us resides a nightmare of our own making. What will you do, my friends?
by Dr. George H. Elder 4/30/2016
The crying isn’t quite over, but it looks like it will be Clinton vs. Trump for the role of president. And with the violence running rampant in anything to do with Trump, I imagine the blood will flow this year. Both of these candidates are so very flawed that it is a wonder they have not been jailed. Clinton cannot seem to give a yes/no strait answer to ANY question, and she has all the likeability of an alligator in heat. Trump is a fool’s fool and the press’s lovechild. He is all about bombast and ego, mixed with a pedestrian intellect and remarkably simplistic world view. This is what “we” have come up with, and many good people have fallen by the way during the travails. So, why has this miserable choice been foisted upon us?
Well, the press is a big part of the reason. They adore Trumpism because it provides good ratings no matter what. There is no work or research involved. One just asks the talking-head and he spits out 20 second sound bights with lots of thundering adjectives and adverbs–all of which mean nothing. In terms of actual content, I have seldom seen more stupidity on open display. Building great walls… deporting 13 million people… making America great again… The list of pandering pabulum and empty promises goes on and on, without an iota of explanation about how any of this is to be done. And the man is a pathological liar, spewing out so many whoppers that one cannot possibly remember them all. My favorite was the thousands of cheering US Moslems that appeared when the towers fell. Still, there is no political cost for any of this when one has supporters who are lucky to have double digit IQs.
As for Clinton, she wants the position too damn much and will do nearly anything to get it. The word “conniving” comes readily to mind. Yes, she has experience, and could probably do a reasonable job as president. But she is so damn deceptive that Satan himself would need a lawyer to understand the hidden implications of every word she says. “Yes” and “no” answers are impossible for Clinton, although I noticed how she pounded the Benghazi Committee. She is most certainly smart, but is she honest? It seems to me that no Clinton in that particular family is honest, but they are effective bureaucrats. That is the ONLY reason why I will vote for that split-tongued woman. God, she may as well be hissing as giving us a speech. I fully expect her to lie on a regular basis IF she get the brass ring, as would be the case with Trump.
As for the press, they created this miasma, and must be systematically hunted down and purged. Once a year, we all ought to have a right to stalk those simple-minded trouble-makers down, and to sew shut the mouths, eyes, and ears of any that we manage to catch. Such an open season on the press is more of a necessity than an option if the nation is to survive. The press created the likes of Trump and Clinton, and “they” ought to pay heavily for their roles in the looming fiasco. Of course, commercialism is the real threat here, for the press panders to whatever gets ratings and money for their masters. They will get a lot of good ratings when grisly videos are shown of their sewn shut mouths, eyes and ears. The up-side is that the mutilated reporters can be the center of the story, a place the press has longed for.
But the real problem is us. We voted, and our collective inputs lead to this miserable state of affairs. To me, this is absolute proof that the democracy we have evolved is an utterly foolish form of governance. Nor would the founding fathers recognize what we call democracy, for they did not envision everyone even being allowed to vote for president. They clearly recognized that the “elite” are best-oriented to decide whom should be in power, a keen point in many of their writings. And let us face it, few of us are bright enough to analyze claims, let alone select the better of two or more candidates. To me, the parliamentary system of selecting leaders is slightly better than our universal electoral system, though I can understand why some would disagree. However, the electoral procedures that give us Trump vs. Clinton must be doubted by all given the unreliable nature of both candidates. So yeah, we’re all to fault, and richly deserve whatever we get. It is a sickening situation.
ON GETTING ALONG
by George H. Elder 4/20/2016
I voted for Sanders, but accept that he is now as close to mathematical elimination as a candidate can be. My hope is that he and Clinton can get together on the same ticket. The more anger and vitriol that is spewed, the less likely this becomes. The thought of a President Trump is horrifying to me. The man does not know 7/11 from 9/11 and can barely speak in a cogent fashion. Simply put, he isn’t very bright or stable–which makes him ideal for many voters. As for Clinton, she is about as lovable as a two-faced alligator, and Trump could indeed defeat her. Add a little Bern to the ticket, and this will not happen. It is the intelligent thing to do, which means the Democrats are very unlikely to manage the task. Can’t we just get along? Or will pride and anger become our killers?
ON LIFE, DEATH & THE NATURE OF BEING
by Dr. George H. Elder 4/8/2016
To each life there is a beginning, middle, and end, yet I find myself pondering if our shared existence is really so linear. Yes, we all appear to ride the arrow of time, that intricate chain of cause-and-effect events that seems to flow in one direction only–from past to future. Let us open our minds a bit and ponder some possibilities. I gaze up at distant stars on a cloudless night. Had I sufficient tools, I could focus on a single star and see planets orbiting the heavenly sphere. Looking deeper still, I might detect a planet that is much like our own, complete with puffy white clouds and azure seas. And if our tools are capable enough, I could detect the presence of cities and roads, the evidence of a busy society. At the Nth degree of detail, I might even see some beings gathered on the porch of a humble, bucolic abode.
I zoom in on them, and note their faces and bodies are very similar to our own. I see the “people” exchange glances and facial expressions while their mouths open and close. The words cannot be heard, but after some time I begin to grasp an occasional bit of meaning. I deduce laughter and see gestures that emphasize what is being said. Soon, differences in gender become evident while various sized and shaped people enter and leave the scene. I watch for hours while the action unfolds and slowly work out what is going on. This is a small family: a wife, husband, and two young children. Neighbors come by for visits, and a bevy of details unfolds while I watch. I frequently cannot quite tell what the children are doing because they move at a frenetic pace, leaving and entering the scene with great irregularity. On occasion, they zip away and return on wheeled vehicles that look like bicycles.
A passing cloud briefly obscures my view, but a change of lenses solves the problem. I have recorded the scene, and will study it later. But for now, I watch. A moment of quiet occurs wherein the two parents are alone and huddled close together on a weathered old couch. The children have left the scene, and here are Mom and Dad, locked in a tender embrace. They seem to look up briefly and glance in my direction. I ponder if they are contemplating me while I contemplate them. But the fact is, they are thousands of light years away. Their time came and went eons ago, though from my distant perspective their lives are still unfolding. I am seeing reflected light that has been traveling for thousands of years. That light will continue to travel for long after I am gone, and thus those far removed from me might also tune into the same scene I witnessed. Indeed, they may even tune into me.
The point is, our existence and lives are not fully bound by time and distance. Rather, they are linked by thought and imagination–the kind of imagination that allows us to examine possibilities and craft accounts such as this. The person reading these words is well and truly separated from me in many ways, yet we are conjoined at this moment via shared thoughts. It is difficult to ponder the nature of thought as it relates to space, energy, and time, but here we, sharing ideas that can influence our perspectives. One of these ideas is that people do not die. They simply leave the scene, for in having been–they will always be. Their countless physical effects, thoughts, and reflected energy will become part of the fabric that defines our being and existential context. It is the perspective we don that allows us to see them again, sitting on that porch and exchanging glances and smiles. It might seem a thread-bare exercise in rationalism that links us right now, and especially if you have lost a loved one. But perhaps we should ponder how distant perspectives can link all things, including those we have lost. They are simply in the past, which is another person’s future. We need only ride the tides of thought and imagination to reach them. And if one truly wishes to ponder possibilities, consider the perspective of what created us.
On Getting What We Deserve
by George H. Elder 4-6-2016
The Germans got exactly what they deserved for supporting Hitler, as did the French and British for creating the conditions that made Hitler’s ascension possible. Indeed, WWII was mostly about a demagogue feeding off a vast supply of popular resentment and anger. Sound familiar? I wonder if WWIII will have the same causal nexus, as in frustrated and mostly ignorant folks voting with their emotions? And while Hitler’s antics killed nearly 10% of his own people, I wonder how many Americans will die when Trump makes his ultimate bad deal–the one that sows burgeoning mushroom clouds that devour our great cities? That dreary eventuality will be “our” collective fault for voting the egotistical fool into office, and so we reap what we richly deserve.
Thus far, only 4,000,000 people have voted for Trump, and by the end of the primaries I doubt even 20,000,000 will have cast their lot with the devil. There are about 150,000,000 Americans who are eligible to vote, but a mere 13% of them may be enough to damn us all. Trump voters just don’t get it. They are pissed off, and often for reasons they cannot fully articulate. “They’ll take our guns!” “They’ll kill babies!” “They don’t stand with Jesus,” and so it goes–half-truths and falsehoods mixed with fear and opprobrium. They talk of liberals being evil with no understanding that the United States was founded by men who were self-avowed liberals. They demand Christian doctrines, while failing to see that our founders expressly eschewed mixing state and religion.
It is futile to argue with these folks, for they do not know that they do not know. Indeed, some of my friends have drank the Kool-Aid, and I am sick to death of their nonsense. Their outrage and shallowness will bring ruin on this country, for how could any thinking person support what is going on in contemporary Republican politics? My God, Presidential contenders are babbling about their penis size and telling lies that are not even thinly disguised. And into this boundless void of unworthiness stream the crap-eating press and minions of reality TV followers. In the meantime, some of us are being swept down Trump river, kicking and screaming all the way.
Screw you, Trump voters! I will never accept that orange-hued, quaffed-haired, muffin as my president! Hell, Donald Trump wouldn’t exist if people stopped talking about him for 10 minutes–something that will never happen thanks to the puerile press. Should his rise come to pass, folks like me will begin working on his downfall immediately. We will not be good little “losers.” We will gather, plan, and march if the need be. But we will never watch passively while our country is turned into a damn reality TV sit com. And come the revolution, it won’t be the lawyers who are first against the wall. That place will be reserved for the press and our talking heads–those folks who constantly tell us how we feel about this or that. After those warts on the human condition fall, it will be time for the elite Trumpinistas to face the music, with folks like Christi being roasted on spits. And then will come the Trump voters, unless the nuc’s already fried their sorry asses.
Of course, some things just ain’t funny. Well, I know we have to help ourselves, but it never hurts to acknowledge and invoke the Devine. God, I don’t often pray in public. And you know how totally unworthy I am in so very many ways.
But if you kindly would, help us act as we should. Yes, all things happen for reasons, as everyone sees in the turn of the seasons. But I fear the price we all must pay if only the angry have their way. All I can ask is for a bit of light, some truth that shines through the darkest night. Then they may see the rocks up ahead, portents of doom, perils to dread.
ON KILLING TRUMP
by George H. Elder 2/25/2016
Donald Trump openly called for beating a heckler the other day, and thrashing the man so savagely that a stretcher would be needed to haul him away. Trump’s zombie supporters hooted and howled, revealing that their souls are just as rabid and ugly as their master’s. A good part of the nation’s population has gone mad, like the many mindless porcines in New Hampshire who voted for the Evil One. He is a man akin to Putin and Kim, and he most assuredly should leave the stage or die before doing harm. Alas, God’s plans often include the very worst of humanity. They act as brutal pruning tools that exterminate the innocent, guilty, and everyone else by the millions. And Trump is a man who has already said that he would rain death down on multitudes, not to mention the desolation of the millions he plans to cast out of their communities and homes.
My thoughts grow dark. Should I write about killing Trump? It is an honest feeling that comes from deep within, for Trump is a self-avowed existential threat to many. Yet is slaying a would-be killer ever justifiable? I must ponder long and hard. Doing the right thing is not always easy, for morality is often a bride to pragmatism. Would it have been right to kill Hitler when he was in the crib? One can contemplate such issues indefinitely, but in the meantime baby Hitler grows up and runs amok. And Trump has already told us he would bring absolute ruin to many within and outside our borders,” with the zombies gleefully thinking this is a great idea.
None of these fools seem to understand that carpet bombing means nothing to people who welcome being killed nearly as much as they do killing. Moreover, these kind of extermination tactics will sow endless future problems for the US, and they will make this country into something that is reviled and evil. For this alone, Trump must be stopped, let alone the hardships that many “illegal aliens” will face when they are expelled. Never mind that these people and their sons and daughters fight in our wars, pick our crops, do our hard labor, and are important parts of the communities they live in. “They” must all go.
I am positive that many Americans have found ample reasons to want Trump dead. In fact, I freely confess that I would have given my life to put an end to Trump’s madness, though the chances of that ever happening were very slim given my disabilities and limitations. Besides, do I truly wish to die with the blood of anyone on my hands, be he or she a demon or saint? There are some inescapable truths to consider. Killing another makes one into a killer by definition, no matter the motive or justification. The bottom line is a life was taken, and it is difficult for any thinking person to be a supporter of life while justifying murder.
God does things for reasons, and she also gives us free choice. Free choice can be a bitch when demagogues are running amok within a flock of brain-dead and angry sheep. Yet is it ever moral to act as judge, jury, and executioner? Play it all out. Well, let us assume I or you had the capacity, inclination, and opportunity to pull the trigger, for many of us have a bit of the beast within. So, bang, and down the demon goes. Of course, I would never flee from my perfidy nor offer up lame justifications. I am no Snowden, a man who lacks any sense of honor. Hell, I know that killing that lame prick would be wrong, and that if one does such a thing, he or she should face death or whatever else the courts dictate. One does not run from responsibility.
No, it is certainly not fear of retribution that stills my savagery, but something more profound. You see, I am sure others are also contemplating Trump’s demise, and some may be well along in their planning. Oh, what to do? Some of us need to pay a bit of penance for our savage inclinations, and God seems to have already lined up a huge dose of atonement for me. Honestly, every day there is constant pain, disability, and suffering, but I have no complaints whatsoever. Time is precious, and the misery being felt does nothing to lessen my gratitude for still being here. So is it right to take time from Trump, despite the clear and present danger he represents to this country and the world? Perhaps not.
All the fool needs is clown-face makeup, and then a few of the zombie sheep supporting him might recognize what is actually there. Hmmm… maybe “they” should hit the Trump with clown pies instead of bullets, puffy pastries that leave long-lasting multi-colored hues. Now, some of you might think I’m pretty damn arrogant to be voicing these views. All I can say in my defense is that you’re reading these lines, and if they influence you in a positive way–then that is not such a terrible outcome. My choice is to walk away from the notion of killing Satan incarnate. You may decide differently, but understand the price you must be willing to pay for putting a cause into effect. To kill is to die, and in more ways than the physical. One must simply find another way.
Pigs & Politics
by George H. Elder 2/11/2016
A fair-sized hog found its way to a polling place during this Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. I found it most appropriate, for that porcine is at least as bright as those who voted for Trump. I bet that big, old hog did get a ballot–a nice pink one. Yeah, and he probably managed a mark in the right place, though getting the ballot into the machine required some help.
I am usually very proud of New Hampshire, but I have to agree with the New York Daily News. There are ‘Mindless Zombie’ voters in New Hampshire and lots of them. Some are my friends! Hell, I see one every time I glance in the mirror. And to these many New Hampshire zombies that voted for Trump goes the credit of enshrining he who will destroy. Yeah, we’ve made lots of mistakes in the past, but we never placed Satan upon the thrown. Oh, my goodness, what will we do?
It is not all that amusing. But for the life of me, I see no logic in voting for a big-mouthed whiner who isn’t particularly bright or talented. He is a beast of ego, one that the press finds solace in because they always appeal to the lowest common denominator. Trump feeds the press a steady diet of bullshit, and they come buzzing about. They made him, and with every extreme utterance he feeds them. Ain’t reciprocity grand?
And now we have Bloomberg spewing up verbiage–and once again the flies are buzzing. I wonder if we are to become a nation of oligarchs, one wherein vested rich pricks run the show? Some will say we always have been “managed” by the elite. Zombie voters in NH don’t seem to think it matters all that much, if they can think at all. And some are indeed my friends, and they will be pissed off when they read this. I can live with their angst, but I cannot live with Trumpism.
To me, New Hampshire has cast this nation adrift, and into the coming tempest we shall all go. It will be no fun at all. And come the eventual revolution, New Hampshire will most definitely not be given the right of primacy in the electoral process. That right will shift from state to state, with New Hampshire always voting dead last. We deserve nothing more, and a whole lot less. As for me, I voted for Sanders–who may be able to defeat the dreaded Trump. Yeah, when pigs can fly. But it’s possible. After all pigs already vote, at least in the Granite State!
A SENCE OF HUMOR
Dr. George H. Elder 1/19/2016
I know the voting has not even started. But the battle is already over, at least for the Republicans. All too many have surrendered to the worst of what resides within–that pent up anger, frustration, intolerance, and hatred that defiles countless souls. It has been given a palpable presence in a form that any fool could see is nothing but an illusion, yet that matters naught. Donald Trump is as far away from being a conservative Republican as anyone could possibly get, but he clearly recognizes right wing frailties and the ease to which many people of that ilk can be manipulated and controlled. And so he will ride the wave of outrage he creates all the way to the convention, wherein he will be anointed a national leader. Yes, Donald’s apotheosis is at hand, the ultimate verification that this horribly weak, praise-yearning, bullshitter actually matters.
Oh, the Republican party elders are all a dither. Some are brighter than the average Tea Bagger who worships at the alter of Donald. They can see through the smoke and mirrors, and recognize this demagogue for what it is, a soulless opportunist who shares little in common with them by way of ideology, history, or even faith. They view him as Satan incarnate coming to steal their thrown, and so it will come to pass. And should they ever look for blame, a simple glance in the mirror will suffice. The party elite have dug this hole by never developing a means of placating their own extreme right. Yet given its rabidity, such a feat might not have been possible. Now, the wolves howl freely and en masse, all 20-25% of the national population. They at last have a champion, one of their own! He is someone who stands above the GOP’s leadership, their anointed, and even party politics. Yes, the Donald has become the angry white guys’ Pied Piper, and they will follow his raucous tunes and bombastic self-promotion all the way to Armageddon.
An fiery old man from Vermont might possibly stop this mess, a socialist Jew who is about as far from the Beast in some ways as one could possibly get. Or is he? Of course, Sanders will be painted as a radical, a dangerous extremist, an outsider–the very same traits said to be part of Donald’s persona. Indeed, he certainly shares some traits with the Beast, albeit to a lesser degree. Sanders didn’t mean it when he made one marriage vow vs. Donald’s three. And he also did his share of self-indulgent bed-hopping and the like. Yet many personal foibles no longer matter because most have become part of the accepted norm. Well, that isn’t quite true for Hillary, a very bright lady who is so very hard to love. She is unlike Trump or Sanders, and is a consummate insider. Yes, she wears the skin of a populist, yet not with the same convincing sincerity as Bernie.
As I look at how this election will come down, I find it indicative of God’s sense of humor. Here, we supposedly have a stark battle of left and right, good and evil, rich and poor, all the sensationalistic opposites that we could ever hope for! Yet much of this battle is the stuff of illusion, marketing, and banal hype. In truth, American politics has descended into becoming a petty reality TV show that is stoked by a puerile and mendacious press and mindlessly devoured by shouting, angry, and unthinking masses. All we need is Gary Springer as a debate monitor and a hooting audience. The spectacle might even amuse the Deity for a bit, although there will be no winners who emerge from the fray. The country shall become more polarized than ever, and whoever prevails will inherit nothing but wormwood and vinegar. And so it goes.
by Dr. George H. Elder 12/30/2015
It does not matter if Trump lies or not. Neither will his disparaging honored warriors bother his followers, nor the concomitant fact that Trump happily dodged active service. Trump simply makes it up as he goes along, telling tall tales about thousands of wild-eyed American Muslims cheering while the towers fell, the nasty Mexican government sending hoards of gangsters into the US, and the persistent use of mystery statistics that have no basis in fact. To be sure, PolitiFact contends that roughly 76% of Trump’s statements are “Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire” lies. The man is a professional bullshitter, which he freely admits. He tells us, “People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts.” Yes, here we have a person who lives and breathes bullshit, not that this is of any consequence to his followers.
One of the reasons Trump supporters don’t care if he lies is because they have ample reason to assume all politicians do. Of far more importance is that they perceive Trump as strong and able, a shinning example of the best CEO imaginable for the nation. After all, he amassed $10 billion… or was it $4.5 billion, or maybe just a tad shy of $3 billion? With Trump, one never knows. But his obvious mendacity doesn’t mean a blessed thing to the “norms” who support him. They see strength and wealth, and not the prattling, mealy-mouthed pabulum that spews from our illustrious politicos. Indeed, the inane behavior of our leaders has so antagonized the average voter that the gaping-mawed Trump has become a refreshing change for many of the alienated–which is a large majority of the population. Yes, Trump could easily become our next President.
The talking heads and educated elite are all beside themselves, both on the left and right. They have never truly understood the norms who make up the vast majority of this country. By definition, they have average numbers. Their IQ is about 98 and their yearly income is a bit under $30,000. About 90% of American norms graduate from High School or earn a GED, and 30% obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. On an international level, norms rate poorly in math, and average in science and reading literacy. Alas, the norms knowledge of civics and history, including our own, is appalling–with most failing even simple test questions (e.g., Which came first, WWII or the Korean War?). In terms of confidence, about 30% trust the President, 10-12% trust Congress, and just 9-10% have confidence in the press.
So our norm is not exceptionally bright, is pressed financially, has little or no faith in government, and has very poor historical insights. Trump is ideal for such a population. He expresses simplistic ideas in stark terms, which equates well with the target audience’s general capacities and existing views. He appeals to prejudice and fear, which have become nearly inherent aspects of most norms given their distrust of government. His lies do not matter much because many find the hyperbole attractive, much like tinsel on an Xmas tree that draws the interest of a cat. All the duff he spews is simply translated into, “Strong, successful, good leader.” Nothing else matters to norms, so the elite chattering classes can hold onto their hats.
Of course, Trump is a demagogue, a clear and present danger to the country. He appeals to base desires and wanton prejudices, which do not invite debate or rational argument. Trump has employed many of Hitler’s tactics, and they work well enough on norms–especially during times of despair and alienation. The problem is, Trump has no experience in government. He is not a policy wonk, let alone someone who understands the least bit about the military, government agencies, international affairs, or much of anything else that keeps this country running. He will act as an ignorant butcher when enthroned, and oversee policies that will lay waste to much of what ALL of us have come to depend on (e.g., Social Security).
Like it or not, a country is nothing like a business, and woe be unto us if it is made to operate as one. Useless eaters like the disabled will be cast aside, as will non-productive elderly people. Treaties will be abrogated on a whim, and deals will be made that threaten our long-term security. After all, a man who does not know what the Triad is, can hardly be said to understand even a small aspect of the military. One could go on and on pointing out the myriad things Trump does not know, but that means nothing to norms. Norm will smile broadly and press the voting lever for Trump–never quite understanding the lever is connected to a massive pile-driver that is directed right up his/her ass. Ah, the dangers of democracy.
by Dr. George H. Elder 12/24/2015
So here it is, December 24, 2015, and I find myself writing this essay to the future because many folks from my time seem oblivious to the obvious. It’s not that we don’t notice our record 64 degree temperature when the norm for this day in New Hampshire is 35. And some might even realize that at present the top ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998, a span of some 17 years. Moreover, 2015 looks like it’ll be the warmest year ever recorded. One might think a few alarm bells would be going off regarding global warming, but all we do is debate, hold international talks, and sign meaningless pieces of paper–an endless array of agreements and treaties that are seldom acted upon. Truth is, we’re numb as boards and hardly react to a blessed thing. This seems to be part of the human condition, and I pray that time adds a bit to our collective wisdom and capacity to react.
Now, I know you folks in the future have inherited the heat and pollution we left behind, and the situation is probably vastly worse than it was during my era. But to you, the world is perfectly normal because you were born into an environmental morass. The flora, fauna, weather, and nature in general all seem to be as they should. Jokes on you guys. Yes, as of the last few million years the earth shifts weather patterns, going through ice ages and warm periods. But folks during my time created this current shift, and kept it going even when we knew the weather patterns were changing at an alarming rate. Hell, most of us here like the weather on this Xmas eve, but we all know something isn’t right. Late December does not bring 60 degree days in New Hampshire and tornadoes in the South. The signs are clear, yet we do nothing.
Oh, self-serving economics and do-nothing ideology has much to do with our lassitude. And the energy parasites made oodles of money pumping crap into the air, water, and land–not that we poor folk didn’t contribute by buying gas guzzling vehicles and the like. We were a greedy, myopic, and irresponsible lot, much preferring our personal pleasures and creature comforts vs. anything akin to self-control. In short, we really didn’t give Jack Shit about the world you inherited. Yeah, some of us paid lip service to the environment by writing lines such as these, but we sat by while countless species were laid waste and vast stretches on land became uninhabitable.
Maybe we took what we had for granted. And let me tell you, there was a time when nature was stunningly beautiful. When I was a boy, the skies were deep blue with billowing white clouds floating above. One could drink cool water directly from a seeping spring and watch fish laze in the shallows of crystal clear brooks and rivers. The water’s sound was like a melody, with the cheerful chorus being provided by colorful song birds. Occasionally, a deer, turkey, or other animal would scamper by, enjoying what fodder the fields and forests offered. That was rural life in the 1950s and early 1960s, though changes were already underway and very obvious.
Alas, you people are stuck with the land, air, and water we defiled, and a simple apology seems meaningless. I am sure most of humanity will have adapted to nature’s transformation, as will a few hearty animals and plants. I know the deserts have expanded, arable land has declined markedly, and the overall temperatures must be cooking by the time these words are read. Numerous species have died off, and getting adequate food has become a serious problem for most. Perhaps measures are at long last underway to make life more tolerable on Earth, which probably has been through a few local and regional die-offs as sea levels rise and living conditions decline. Gosh, we left you one hell of a legacy.
One might wonder why we caused such mayhem. Lord knows we have ample excuses–though few reasons. To us, having big, powerful vehicles made us feel special and virile, although very few who owned these gas-guzzlers ever needed a truck that could haul a thousand pounds or an automobile that could top 150 mph. These expensive toys made boys feel like men and women feel like goddesses, and so it also went with numerous creature comforts. We made bigger and better, and then consumed everything in sight. We created a “must-have-it” culture, the plaything of wealthy merchants and advertisers. And although a good parent should consider his or her kids’ futures above all else, we certainly did not. We screwed you guys big time, and left you in one hell of a mess.
Worst of all, some of us knew the situation demanded immediate attention. Yet we did nothing. Oh, we spewed out a few words like these, but not many were militant or involved enough to stop those vested and mendacious few who were most responsible for devastating your world. Instead, we passively plodded along with our kindred, offering up an occasional plaintive bleat, but generally going wherever the herd went. Hardly a one of us bucked the trend. Your Christmas present from all of us in this era of greed and irresponsibility is the world you inhabit. Nice present, huh?
If you can, please try to make this world right. If the die-offs have not been too disrupting, odds are that the technical prowess needed can be mustered to return the planet to some semblance of stability. But please, never forgive us. Curse our names for what we have done, and recognize that no ancestor who loved their progeny would have ever left such a wounded world. Be better than us, and love your kids with a hell of a lot more care and insight than we loved ours. Learn from our lesson, and never walk the path we did while ruining the garden. Well, I am sure this winter will “normalize,” at least for a bit, but I am so very sorry that all I offered the future was a few pitiful words.
by Dr. George H. Elder 12/17/2015
Recently, I had the dubious pleasure of reading about how a group of Dartmouth students gathered in Baker Library to protest racial issues–which are certainly not pressing in the Upper Valley. In any event, the reports indicate some young men and women were intimidated and even pushed around by the protestors, which must have made focusing on finals problematic. This turmoil was largely wrought by the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been stimulated by ample and very public cases of police brutality and outright murder. Such incidents run rampant in places like Chicago and New Orleans, although many smaller cities also provide examples of policing perfidy. Moreover, few deny that there are times when some cops behave with unjustifiable zeal, as we have seen on many cruiser-cam views.
Yet I am wondering if this justifies students setting upon their kith, communities, and others with mal-intent, the very trait they often accuse the police of having. For heaven’s sake, we have students taking down school presidents who don’t dance to their tune, demanding that teachers and administrators agree with their positions, and taking other actions that paint themselves as entitled despots—politically correct Hitler youth in training. They seldom seem to recognize their own fascist rectitude, or the fact that many of us perceive them as entitled, whiney bitches. Of course, stating this view in an academic community would instantly lead to the firing of any professor or bureaucrat who dared offer such disparaging words, such are the strictures of political correctness. The very thought of the injustices wrought by these parading punks sickens me. Freedom is largely defined by the right to disagree, and here we see a markedly militant group that is completely intolerant of dissenting views.
Two things are needed to make any meaningful changes in an existing order. The first is a profoundly deep knowledge concerning the issues involved, and the second is a detailed plan of action that can help to achieve a positive outcome. To this end, I wish these protestors would do more social science work, and come up with viable reasons why there is so much violence and crime in some communities. Clearly, violence begets violence, and thus one can partially understand why some police officers tend to act warlike in areas that have become war zones. Simply put, within some contexts martial reactions are often more a matter of survival than desire. And the crime rates are staggering in certain cities and neighborhoods, making one wonder why anyone would want to be a cop in such places. This is not to say that we can ever justify excessive and deadly police force in situations that don’t call for it. Nothing can excuse that, and I am pleased to see various perpetrators being brought before the courts.
Yet watching some of these young zealots protest and yammer sickens me. I suppose many see themselves as holy warriors, latter day descendants of Martin Luther King. But I don’t see them as they perceive themselves–at least in the case of Dartmouth students. I see kids who were consistently told how bright, good, and talented they are. They won gilded trophies and awards for nearly everything, including the mere act of participating. Oh yeah, these are gold-star kids, children who were preened and coddled by parents and school systems alike. The darling wunderkinds were told they were special from their nascent years on, and some eventually came to believe the hype. Then they made themselves judges and juries, deft little furors who can discern the one and proper path for all societies to walk. This school president must go, this football team must strike, this teacher has no right to express a differing view–the dreary demands of foolish youths who have few deep insights but lots of angry opinions.
There is a part of me that wants to put these entitled prates in police cruisers during hot pursuits or on the streets when a crime is going down. Rip them out of their ivy-covered dorms and classrooms, though some might have had a fleeting taste of the harsh realities of street life. Better yet, put these supposedly Herculean minds to work finding answers in lieu of puerile bitching. Why is homicide the number one killer of young Black men? Why are so many mass murderers plaguing our communities? Why do certain areas have such tremendous crimes rates? Until one knows both the reasons for and viable answers to pressing social ills, what good does protesting do? It is one thing to note the obvious, but quite another to figure out causes and solution.
Soon enough, ALL these ardent dictators will have to leave their comfy cloisters and go forth. That is when reality will come home to roost. It is fine and dandy to protest safely, if not stridently—but quite another to explain to an employer why you were late for work, or didn’t file a needed report, or otherwise failed to perform an expected duty. There are no participation trophies in real life, and most bosses could care less about young and tender sensibilities. Pity the fool who doesn’t know that she or he doesn’t know. Better yet, open those closed little minds a bit, and perhaps some insights will filter through. But if you entitled sots keep pushing people around and stifling dissent, you’ve become part of the problem–not the solution. Should Dartmouth educators truly want to teach these myopic students a good life lesson, suspend their sorry asses for assaulting and demeaning their peers. Oh, but that would be politically incorrect. And so it goes.
Tears for Paris
by Dr. George H. Elder 11/13/2015
Over 150 dead in Paris tonight, and the tears flow far and wide. There is a war raging between radical Islam and the world, as we all know. We try to ignore the grim reality, and like to pretend this war won’t influence us directly–as it did during 9/11. After all, we won the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our armed forces are bombing ISIS on a daily basis. Well, the war always finds a way into our lives. Blood will be matched with blood, and I do not know how we can get out of this endless cycle. We are dealing with an implacable existential threat, much like the WWII Kamikazes. But these suicide attackers are largely stateless, so all we can do is kill the killers en masse. There is no government or nation to defeat, so there will be no surrender, treaty, or reconciliation. The Germans have taken in thousands of potential killers, and so chaos will reign in Europe for many years. It is so damn disheartening because many of the refugees are running from the likes of what has happened in Paris. As the news reports come in, I find myself rearranging my model ships–trying to ignore a stark reality. ISIS will surely reap a terrible whirlwind, but will it matter? How does one kill an idea that embraces killing? Even after we eliminate all the radical leadership and thousands of their followers, the idea will linger… Will it eventually become a war of extermination? That is how ISIS sees it. How does one respond to that perspective? So very sad.
by Dr. George H. Elder 10/18/2015
My kin came to New England in 1638, whereupon we were given a land grant in Hartford, Connecticut. Now mind you, I am fairly sure the original inhabitants of the area were not consulted as to how their seized lands were being distributed, but our forefathers had firearms, heavy artillery, cavalry, ample numbers, and very good military organization. Indeed, we had a more developed lethal technology, and thus the natives didn’t stand much of a chance. Oh, “The People” fought mightily against our incursions, especially when my ancestors began to migrate into northern New England. In fact, the natives killed two of my kin in separate engagements, but the flow of blood definitely went against The People.
It strikes me that we had no legal claim to the land, other than what was granted by others who had no legal claim to the land. We took because we had the power to take, and their territory became “our” territory through force of arms and ruthless policies of ethnic cleansing and extermination. It is the typical Western way of things, although other cultures are equally piratical. As a result, many of our ancestral histories are linked to those who slaughtered people who called this land home for at least 600 generations. It thus seems peculiar that a multitude of my kindred are so ardently against “illegal immigrants.” For heaven’s sake, nearly ALL Americans are the sons and daughters of illegal immigrants, even those whose families settled here over 400 years ago. It is as if we have no sense of history, no inherent culpability for what unfolded on this land that we now call the United States. Then again, perhaps we fear getting the same treatment we served up to so many others.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love my country deeply, despite our various flaws, inconsistencies, and moral lapses. This brief essay is a perfect example of why I love the US, for where else would one be allowed to so critically examine our own past? That gift of freedom is precious, rare, and can form the basis for countless great things. But against this we must weigh our myopia concerning history and our incessant rapaciousness. There is no doubt we are possessed by a vanity and arrogance that is common to many conquerors, and thus we wallow in our ancestry and form organizations that celebrate our glorious past. We laud our families’ great accomplishments, works, and deeds, and hardly pay any heed to those we displaced and annihilated. Then we troop off to our churches and thank God for our bounty, as if God hears the invocations of those who steal and murder.
And now we want to protect our booty from those damn Hispanics–even though amongst our blood-soaked prizes were Texas, California, and the entire southwest. Yeah, we kicked Mexico’s ass in a few wars to secure all that land. The way I look at it, the Hispanics are merely coming back to settle on the turf they took from the natives. Of course, many Hispanics have a very high percentage of Native American blood, and thus their claim to the land may be more morally sound than those who are “real” Americans. So I have no problems whatsoever with the Hispanics coming back to settle in what we call the United States. I consider the vast majority of those who oppose them as ignorant, red-neck, sons-of-bitches who have no sense of history, justice, or morality. We have met the real enemies, and they are us.
My family has roots that stretch way back, but I am also a child of more recent Italian immigrants who settled here in the 1910-1920 era. They worked hard, endured privations, and built a legacy that includes the likes of me. So I see the old and the new sides of the immigration debate, and will be damned if I laud the singularly stupid ideas of closing “our” borders or building great walls and fences. Yeah, ask the Chinese how well that approach worked out. Moreover, the real strength of America is its diversity, and ongoing influxes into the gene pool are not a bad thing. Indeed, new blood can be very beneficial, as the success of this country amply demonstrates. But rather than fight about all this, I say we let the Native Americans decide what kind of immigration policy the collective we should employ. Let the true owners of this land decide how it is to be shared, or if it is to be shared at all. They might have a far better sense of perspective than any of the illegal immigrants who currently call themselves Americans.
GUNS, GUNS, EVERYWHERE A GUN
by Dr. George. H. Elder – 9/29/2015
I have no right to be safe from gun violence, at least in this land that I love. It has been ordained that owning guns is a personal right in the US, and this trumps my right to be secure from them. I cannot be safe in my home, on the streets, in school, or even in a church. In fact, there are about 89 guns for every 100 people in the US, making us the most armed society in the world. Gun owners tell me to get a pistol or shotgun if I feel threatened, and thus to make my personal safety predicated upon the willingness to harm another. This type of “freedom” is not the way I want to live, but personal choices are limited in this land of the free.
I know many responsible gun owners, people who are not a threat to anyone. I also know nut-cases who own all sorts of weapons, and they are a clear and present danger to anyone who happens to be near. But unlike cars or other dangerous tools, one doesn’t need any test or set of criteria to own a gun. If you’re not yet a convicted felon, that’s good enough. Thus Mad Tony has several guns. He’s half crazy when he’s drunk, which is over half the time. The walls of his trailer are pockmarked with bullet holes. Yeah, he’s out there, just waiting to cook off. But it’s all legal.
This is an odd country, a land wherein one personal freedom impedes one of the most fundamental rights we should all share–Freedom from fear. There is a bar down the way, and late at night the drunks stagger by. I sometimes wonder if Mad Tony will be one of them. His seething rage may become the death knell for some poor soul, or a cop, or a classroom full of kids. But this is how freedom works in America. There are no easy answers here. Most countries address firearm issues far differently than does the US, but the collective we are being forced to suffer the dreadful malevolence of Mad Tony and his cohorts. Every day the blood spills on our streets, in our homes, and even in churches. And so it goes in this land of the free.
by Dr. George H. Elder
Friday, September 18, 2015 – 3:11 AM
Another strange dream, but brutal in its theme and meaning. There were several wild animals chained to tree trunks that lined the far side of an open field. There was a doe, ferret, very large wildcat, goose, tubby woodchuck, raccoon, squirrel, and others, all of which were securely tethered to their respective posts. Every so often, a particular animal would lurch out and attack one of the others–but their arrangement was so contrived that it put one creature or the other at a great advantage or disadvantage. For example, the doe was built for speed and agility, a God-given ability to avoid attackers. Well, this was all taken away by the chains, and thus even the ground-hugging woodchuck could nip the doe’s legs if so inclined.
This greatly amused those watching, who hooted and howled with each inflicted wound. But I found the odd blood sport cruel and barbaric–the kind of stuff that went out with the middle ages. The wild cat really took it hard, being repeatedly set upon by creatures it could normally easily avoid or kill. The cat had by far the fiercest bite, and inflicted deep, bloody wounds on several of its compatriots. But the chains insured that it could not flee far, not that it tried to. Indeed, the feline was savagely attacked. The raccoon got a hold of its upper left arm and shattered the bone, leaving the wildcat limping on a mangled and disgustingly deformed appendage. But the worst damage was inflicted by the ferret. At one point, the fierce little beast tore a piece of the wildcat’s upper jaw off, a truly gruesome injury. I turned away in disgust.
Even during the dream, I knew what the theme was about–as in debate politics CNN style. The rating beasts were all tethered to their respective podiums, and ardent picadors asked each school-yard gibes designed to bring out conflict, the role of lancers in many blood sports. “Donald says your face looks real bad… just butt-ass ugly.” And so it went, with some monitoring the audience response to each and every word. Of course, Donald, the wildcat (?), supposedly got pretty ripped up–much to amusement of many. I found it much ado about ratings more than anything else, the press’ incessant need to make news rather than to report it. To be perfectly honest, I did not watch the debate, for I do not feed feral pigs if avoidable. My imagination took care of “real” content issues during this dream, albeit via a very disturbing and bloody metaphor.
As I reflect on the dream and debate, I find myself thinking of Alice and the Cheshire Cat. One day, the only thing left of Donald will be the fading image of those glaring eyes, that mocking mouth, and his famously-quaffed hair. The press is on the hunt, and such a tethered target has no chance. As for others, the best we can hope for is a wounded animal to crawl out of the bloody carnage, one of the few who managed to survive the press’ cull. As for me, I’ll have none of it. What is being conducted in neither debate nor news. It is puerile entertainment, an appeal to all that is vulgar and violent–those lowest possible denominators. Well, maybe I can get back to bed. Much to do today, and I am very tired.
by Dr. George H. Elder, 9/16/2015
Given all the Texans who have died in the name of the United States in the last 100 years or so, I am sickened by those treacherous “Texicans” who now want to secede. Yeah, they have this big old petition going, and hundreds of thousands of long-horn lamebrains are signing on. You know, a growing number of us want Texas to go. We see many Texans as whiny little bitches who lack the courage and fortitude to be Americans. If you folks want to bug out, so be it. By historical rights, Mexico ought to make a claim, but I cannot think of ANY country that would want a horde of turn-coat traitors. So by all means, take a hike–you damn bunch of ignorant, inbred wusses. Go! You Texicans are an unmitigated shame to your fallen ancestors, your neighbors, the country, and yourselves.
Lord of the Flies
by Dr. George H. Elder, 8/23/2015
Many of us are very close to nature in rural New England, with walks through cow fields occasionally providing wonderful analogies to the human condition. Of course, cows defecate, like all animals, with the freshest, smelliest, and juiciest cow pats attracting the most and largest flies. You can check it for yourself and find this is indeed the case, with some piles of poop attracting multitude flies. Now, it seems to me that American politics is strikingly similar in some ways. Take the ongoing Trump hysteria. Here is a guy who reminds me of the biggest manure pile possible, with every extreme claim and position being designed to generate the largest imaginable stink. So, McCain isn’t a hero, anchor babies is an acceptable term, Hispanic immigrants are criminals, and so it goes–spew, after oozy spew. Of course, the press is neither imaginative nor principled, being very much like flies in their knee-jerk stimulus/response behaviors. Thus, the press buzzes about smelly old Trump, leaving the lesser poopers to wither. Indeed, CNN and the others have an endless stream of special reports whenever Trump breaks wind and releases a mess, and the talking heads make the loudest buzz over each and every word. Hell, it’s so much easier to follow what gets ratings than to do anything akin to a public service, and so the drumbeat goes. Those eager beavers who love hyperbole and don’t reflect all that much on what is actually being said attend all the noise and hullabaloo. Some even like and admire the pungent fragrance of what is being served up, finding it a refreshing change from the bland odor they are accustomed to. “Yes, sir, it’s a great idea to put up a big fence to keep them damn Mexicans out. Get ‘er done! It don’t make no never mind how we pay for it.” And so the tea flows. I am amused by it all, cow-pat politics in the US. Yes, people are pissed off, but they don’t truly know why. They blame our collective ills on out-groups, politicians, foreigners, lawyers, and everyone but the person they see in the mirror. Truth is, America is dying of irresponsibility, as in looking towards others for faults that are clearly our own. It’s the teachers fault my kid is not doing well in school. It’s the cop’s fault I got busted for stealing. It’s the bosses fault my job sucks. We eat this crap up, such is our myopia. The fact that Trump’s dung has attracted so very many flies is ample proof that we are a lost people, for no thinking creatures could ever tolerate such a stench–let alone devour it. Ultimately, those who care about the country and this world have to save it by their own thoughts and deeds. One can only hope there are enough people to take up the slack and do the things needed for the species to survive, beginning with the person reading these words. As for those who prefer to buzz around piles of festering feces, there will always be hoards of those folks.
by George H. Elder – 8/4/2015
I have not gotten any writing done for four or five months, mostly due to medical issues. But tomorrow, I will go out and about on the mobility scooter and enjoy the day. Nancy and I got a lot done lately. For example, my final affairs are now all paid for, so that’s a big pain out of the way. I should begin working on the time capsule and finish a few book projects. Alas, I must confess that the writing hasn’t been going well since this MSA flare-up, but that’s a lame ass excuse. The inspirational aspect about living in Rogers House is that one is provided with daily examples of people who display great courage while living with devastating illnesses and injuries. The point is, we ALL strive to live fully no matter what we are facing! And I have not felt more alive than I do now for the last four or five years. Sure, walking can be a problem, falls happen, and staying awake isn’t easy at times. But none of that matters here. Lots of us are in the same boat. We shoot the breeze, care about one another, and try to help each other as best we can. We have pot-luck dinners, play cards, hang out, and generally enjoy life. We plan community trips and special events, which are all part of a life well lived. I have never been in a community like this, and it is the perfect place for someone like me. I feel blessed to have landed in this place, and am, at long last, content. Life is good.
THE LOGOS OF BEING
by George H. Elder – 5/30/2015
Let us assume the person reading these words rejects the concept of God altogether, along with the notion that there is an underlying order or logos that gave rise to and sustains all that was, is and ever could be. In fact, let us also assume that one believes that the only forces in play are wrought by chance, random possibility, and similar views. It strikes me that these beliefs and ideas have a metaphysical essence, an underlying ideational pattern of thought that is based on assumptions, associations, inferences, and observations. This metaphysical pattern can serve as a self-replicating and perpetuating “spark,” one that invites contemplation, memorization, and sharing. With time, this pattern can become part of the socio-cultural tapestry that helps define our thoughts, views, and behaviors, especially since it can be spread and nurtured via the tools of communication–as in words and symbols like these. Thus, what began as an idea, the stuff of the metaphysical, becomes an organized and expressed impetus that can influence the physical through our teaching, art, and actions. For example, the idea of slavery became a tangible reality for many generations, at least until it was subordinated to other marketplace concepts–as in emancipation and freedom. The ideas of rockets, splitting atoms, cell phones and much more all became realities whose underlying properties and validity could be quantified, predicted, and demonstrated. To be sure, numerous aspects of our shared reality that began as mere thoughts were provided with an ideational basis that is far from random in its nature and complexity. Indeed, the fundamental logos underlying nearly all ideas can be given a sharable rationalistic basis, be that logic as complex as Special Relativity or as simple as, “It is so because it is so.” It strikes me that if we extend this logos, perhaps it is thoughts that provided the impetus that gave rise to thinkers such as you, the person reading this line. If this possibility exists in the metaphysical sense, one wonders why we ‘need’ to reject the Divine as an existential impetus–as in a thought about thought. Perhaps it is more efficacious to contemplate the nature and relationships of the potential metaphysical essences that may have helped spark what we are and what we share than to content ourselves with the simple notion that all is born of happenstance. Contemplating the possible roles and relationships that the metaphysical, energetic and physical might share takes us into a close examination of imagination, epiphanies, knowledge, and discovery, the very cusps of where thought and being intersect. To me, these contemplations are a form of prayer, which is the very thing we are doing at present. It is all is about pondering thoughts on thought. But what the hell do I know?
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
by Dr. George H. Elder 2/9/2015
I listened to Merkle and Obama today. I am stunned by the weakness of the German and US positions with regard to preserving the Ukraine’s territorial integrity against Russian encroachment. One is reminded here of Neville Chamberlain’s infamous dealings with Herr Hitler, a show of weakness that led to WWII. The complete impotence of Germany’s position is partially due to their anemic armed forces, with a mere 225 main battle tanks making up the real power (or lack thereof) of the German armored divisions. Against this, we see roughly 20,000 Russian main battle tanks. One thus sees a major reason for Merkle selling the Ukraine out–and that is very much what she is doing. Obama is floundering for a position, for he too recognizes the relative weakness of the NATO ground forces. The US has considerable military power, but it has been cast hither and yon, with most of our Cold War European forces being withdrawn. Yes, everyone thought the Cold War was over, and few contemplated that a new Hitler would arise to threaten Europe’s borders. And make no mistake about it, Putin is already redrawing the map–a process that involves turning the Ukraine into a vassal and impotent semi-state. In some respects, the Ukraine is partially responsible for its current military situation. Graft and corruption laid waste to the military for many years, and now we see brave soldiers go into battle with antiquated equipment, very little training, and no real doctrinal knowledge about how to overcome the enemy they face. Some of this is the result of negligence by past regimes, and some of it is due to poor current planning. But the fact is, the Ukrainians must save themselves because the key players in NATO will not save them. The Germans and French won’t even offer equipment, which shows just how “scary” Putin must have been during the recent meetings. The German weakness is particularly stunning, and I confess to having utterly failed to comprehend how dreadful their military situation is. The German government has put its people at grave risk, as any review of their armed forces will quickly demonstrate. Germany has become Europe’s “weak sister.” Poland has significantly greater military forces than does Germany, but they also have a very long border to protect. In the meantime, NATO sends the Ukrainian troops blankets! That is slim comfort to those who are in the sights of Putin’s minions. The justification is that NATO doesn’t want to see a proxy war. Apparently, NATO would rather see a one-sided slaughter! The real lesson here is to trust only yourselves, and not those who you thought were friends. I feel compelled to apologize for my country’s lack of action, though as always–the US is “hinting” that we will supply defensive weapons. Please don’t hold your breath on that. I thought US weapons would have been flowing in three months ago, but given the current “Rebel” offensive–I see no evidence of any advanced anti-armor weapons. Of course, the Ukrainian forces are taking a toll on the Russian invaders, and lives are being exchanged for ground. Theoretically, the Ukraine should be able to defend itself from the current threat even with its dated military inventory, but theory and practice are two different things. Sadly, the Ukraine is on its own, and all I can do is hope and pray. Please understand that many of us are not like Andrea Merkle or Obama. We welcome the idea of our countries sending the means needed to help Ukrainians defend their country. But our voices run up against the fear and lethargy of our leaders, and thus the power of Putin grows by the day. The stand Ukraine is making may cost that demon enough men, money, and material to change his plans, and thus the fate of many resides in the hands of those Ukrainian soldiers who are fighting for their country. Clearly, if Putin prevails, he will move to the next target, and so it will go until the walls fall everywhere. Some of us in the US are writing letters like this and urging our leaders to act. I’m not sure we can shift current policies, but we are trying. Indeed, many of us stand with the Ukrainian people–and we will work to help you in any way we can. May God be with you.
by Dr. George H. Elder 2/4/2015
The pictures of captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned to death by ISIS are haunting and disturbing. I was amazed by the valor al-Kasasbeh showed while the burgeoning fire consumed him. There he stands as the fire envelops his lower body–defiantly glaring at his tormentors. Here was a man of consummate bravery who was incinerated by a group of demonic cowards. They wore masks to hide their identities, yet their was no hiding their perfidy and wickedness. I tend to be liberal-minded–but with each passing day I become more convinced that every member of ISIS needs to be annihilated. This extends to anyone who has given them comfort or support, wherever they be. If the devil has a face and presence on this earth, it is that of every wretched soul that is affiliated with ISIS. This group works against life, dwells in a realm of unfathomable ignorance, and brings death and misery wherever it goes. They are not Moslems. They are demons that are bent on unleashing unmitigated savagery under the guise of faith, an army composed of the worst dregs the world has to offer. It is the duty of all who believe in life, faith, and reason to effect their total annihilation, without mercy or recourse. Yes, we all know killing is wrong, but it is also wrong to tolerate mass murderers who rape, torture, and enslave en masse. Soon enough, ISIS will be here in the states, and many suspect it already is. After all, every society harbors the disillusioned, those angry and bitter people who so easily give up their souls to any dubious cause. They hear the fool’s call, shed their humanity, and give free reign to their darkest impulses. Thus life’s marginalized malcontents and castoffs bask in becoming “holy warriors,” with their bitterness justifying unimaginable cruelty. The only recourse we have is to give them the same kind of treatment they so willingly give onto others. There can be no rehabilitation for those who have freely shed their souls, nor should we entertain taking them as prisoners. Do unto them as they have done unto others. These mindless zealots are not an abstract threat. They are a terrible and growing reality that represents an existential danger. Given their efforts to secure chemical and biological weapons, does anyone doubt they’ll use these agents? ISIS has amply proven it is capable of boundless cruelty, and its leadership has publicly stated its goal is the destruction of our culture. If it takes boots on the ground to hunt these demons down, it is a misery that we have to endure. I know we have squandered much treasure and lives in fighting foolish and pointless wars, but ISIS is a peril we must face. They have given the world no choice, and have fully proven their depraved intent by way of beheadings, mass killings, and every imaginable type of torture. The fight will not be easy because ISIS is not a nation. It is a terrible set of nihilistic ideas that swirl around in the minds of zealots, criminals, and fools–the devil’s fodder. The folly of joining this group must be demonstrated, though death is not deterrent to those who are willing to die. To these demons, there is no answer but obliteration, brutal, sure, and final. To those on the cusp, the complete futility of fighting a losing battle must serve as a restraint, though this can only be partially effective. The real battle is for the soul of those on the cusp, and this is surely a matter of faith. Islam is being bastardized, and those who thrive off mutilating its ideals must be exposed, isolated, and sealed in iron cages. Yes, defeating ISIS will not be easy, yet there is not choice. The irony is that we must expend lives and take lives to save lives. That is the grim irony of this kind of war. There is no other way… http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/jordanian-pilot-reportedly-burned-death-new-isis-video-article-1.2101691
MUCH ADO ABOUT AIR!
by George H. Elder: 1/30/2015
The NFL is beneath our contempt in MANY ways. They’ve done all they possibly could to raise hell with the Pat’s, and it seems they never had a case to begin with concerning “deflate gate!” The hysterical press went wild, as they ALWAYS do, and we were bombarded with BS for several days. How can league sources, “experts,” or press-bought talking heads accuse anyone of deflating the Pat’s damn footballs when the officials never took the balls’ initial pressures? The whole story was crap from the get go–and the league knew it! There is NO damn way I’m watching the Super Bowl! Why the hell should I support the NFL in any way, shape, or form? The NFL is a corrupt organization as far as I am concerned, and is not worthy of our support. I know most will watch the game, but watching just pays the idiots who run the league. A cut in ratings hurts their bottom line, and I’m all for that. It is time for those at the top to go.
The Evil Pat’s
by George H. Elder : 1/22/2015
The evil Patriots are now the #1 story on national news, mostly because the press are mindless and unimaginative lemmings who habitually dwell on petty vulgarities. And this story is pure duff mixed with uninformed hysteria, the stuff reporters thrive off. Alas, I fear this BS is taking away from game prep. The Pat’s will play angry, but this is turning into a dreadful distraction. In fact, both Brady and Coach B were making their cases before the thought police today–which is crap. They should have been watching film and preparing. You know, I didn’t care all that much if the Pat’s won or lost in the Super Bowl, but now I want them to win. Like it or not, football is all about winning. And if anyone one thinks it is a “clean” game–watch closely what happens along the O and D lines. Each and every play could be called for something, not that this justifies deflated footballs. But I wonder if punching someone in the throat is worse than a deflated ball? What about kicking someone, or tripping him? Is that worse? Football is a violent game, and I have NEVER expected anything other than what we get. Did the Pat’s cheat? Maybe. Do other teams cheat? Maybe. Do players sometimes do cheap and illegal things to one another? Hell, yeah! Is it right? Probably not. But given a “war-game” setting wherein careers are at risk and millions of dollars change hands, what does one expect? To me, it’s simple. Yes, the Pat’s have a history of violating some rules, and they’ll pay the piper if that’s the case here. However, I don’t know if they’ve ever put out bounties, made policies about harming opponents, or done things of that nature. I can live with deflated footballs, though busted knees, injury “contracts,” and head-hunting bug me. Hell, a soft football isn’t going to harm anyone, and it doesn’t seem to have made ANY difference in the outcome of the game in question. A whip-block or high/low block combo can cripple a player, and that is a life-changing event. Given the nature of the game, this deflated football hullabaloo is much ado about absolutely nothing! So what does the press focus on–the things that can harm players or the stuff of sensationalism? What do the sports’ shows focus on–anything deep or cheap sensationalism? We are surrounded by a press that ALWAYS appeals to the lowest possible common denominator. That are as flies eating feces, and just as insightful.
The Power of the Moment
by George H. Elder
1/18/2015, 10:00 AM
Here I am, wearing a big old grin from ear to ear. Loud music filters through my ears, Mama Cass and company singing in perfect four-part harmony. What could be better than this? Life accords us instances of pure bliss, if we stop to notice them. That is when we are thankful for what is, and don’t dwell on what could be–the power of the moment. I sit here hapily banging on the keys and dwelling on the tunes alone… “dream a little dream of me.” Yeah, some very good moments indeed. I hope those reading this essay also find these moments, though I know it’s not always easy. Reality can be a harsh master–bills, family stuff, job crap, health woes, etc, etc. On occasion, we need a break from all that, so here I am, smiling broadly and enjoying loud rock music–albeit soft rock. I know the world is alight with unfathomable violence, the clashing of ideas and emotions that are punctuated by bombs, bullets, and bleating political phonies. Of course, there is also an endless parade of talking heads who tell us how we feel, what we think, and all the fears we ought to harbor. To be free of all that, just for a short while… now, that’s precious. So I took my mind for a walk this morning, and may do so for a few more hours. Rainey Days and Mondays, Baby, You’re No Good, Mama Mia, Feel Like Making Love… It’s very old rock music with a beginning, middle and end, usually telling a story that is wrapped around a melody. Don’t get that much of that with Rap, which seems to be something that many people without musical talent can master. Disco was irritating, but better than Rap. Country makes me want to chew my foot off at times, but it’s waayyy better than Rap. Yet there’s no need to go on and on about Rap. Let those who like it find precious moments of “Bliss” while listening to it. Ooohhh, Hotel California! That brings me back. And now, House of the Rising Sun! Ah my mind just drifted back a bit. I’m living in a dilapidated apartment across from the post office in Durham, NH. Just beginning the transition to becoming a coach. From a burn-out to a coach, the only job I ever loved. Memories, hundreds of memories. That was when I was alive. All else was tinsel and duff. Life was the smell of sweat and the clanging of weights! Screams, yells, grunts and groans while heavy iron is hefted. And all the while, one kid or another manages to do something he or she never did before. The athlete yells, “Yeeaaahhhh!” and gets high fives from peers. And I’m happy as hell. That is another joy of the moment, and it is where these tunes have led. It’s a great series of memories to touch upon. And as the quanta meld into one another a concomitant flow of electrons activates old recollections–the reflection of stored sights, sounds and meanings. There is Grady popping 325 overhead, Paul doing a 465 bench, and Lance racking in a 315 clean. Worries about money, moving, and business fall further into the background as this mind-walk continues. Yeah, everyday affairs need attention, but for the time being…“nothing really matters to me.” Images of games pass by, now being replaced by thoughts of Plato’s metaphysical realm of perfect Forms. Now we hop to Aristotle–the source of our scientific approach to examining the nature of reality. That’s how memory works, associational activations between X and Y being the norm. Plato was the idealist, contending there was a special domain wherein perfect concepts exist as discrete entities. We can touch upon these “Forms” via the dialectic, but never fully realize their perfection in our ephemeral world of being. The Forms reside in a kind of an ideational heaven, one that participates with reality as a progenitor, yet is distinct from reality. Aristotle thought the concept was crap, and postulated, essentially, that ideas and possibilities are intertwined and scattered throughout being. Thus the potential for a chair resides in pieces of wood, with the thoughts of a carpenter forging a reality from an ideational possibility. These were the seas I swam at one time… And now there’s the image of Billy in the U Mass game. It was fourth and goal, and I could swear he was in! But the official disagreed, and thus went a truly great season. The wins and losses… how I hated that part of the job. In coach’s heaven, there are green fields as far as one can see. The air is crisp, a bit cool, and only a few fleeting clouds pass through an azure sky. The athletes are executing flawlessly, and come jaunting off the field as one situation leads to another. The opponent is very good, and its a clean, hard game. There is intense competition, one wherein coaches and athletes are tested to the maximum. But we’re happy. The success of the moment is all that counts, for no one knows the score–or even cares. Hell, there isn’t even a scoreboard! And I know that during this short time we’re sharing, your and my memories will fire–and our minds will walk far and wide. We’re linked via thought, despite the time and space that separates us. Ahhh, these moments harbor freedom, bliss compounded with time. Time is all we actually have, for it allows all other things–even the vibrations of those energy strings some bright lads believe support the fabric of this reality we share. Cat Stevens reminds me, “Its not time, to make a change…” This takes me to chicken and egg paradoxes. And so this web is spun over these moments. Your mind is linked with mine, and that is a special from of sharing. It is where the reader and writer become one. Oh, but enough of this. Please, go grab a few moments of peace and set your mind to flight! Leave the duff behind and ride on memory’s wings–however you opt to journey. As for me, lord knows where I’ll land next!
Bang, bang, Shoot ’em Up!
by George H. Elder – 12/31/2014
Many of the pro and con gun arguments are tedious. It is not a simple matter of giving up freedom for security, for MANY nations with very strict gun laws have more personal freedoms than do we in the US. Other nations with highly homogenous societies have more liberal gun laws than do we, albeit with more background controls than in the US. The fact is, the more guns that are readily available in a racially, ethnically, economically diverse, and essentially unjust society, the greater the odds of their being used for mendacious purposes. Odds are odds, and in a mixed population such as the US–one wherein inherent conflicts are built into our ethnic and racial backgrounds, well–bang, bang, shoot ’em up, one, two, three. Add in the fact that nearly all crazies in the US can own guns, and the problem gets magnified. For example, a person like me is far too volatile to own guns, and Lord knows how many people I might have shot if I owned one. But I’m hardly alone in being half-crazed. Some of you reading these words are the very same way! Today, what might have ended up as a fist-fight 40 years ago becomes a murder. The number of deadly tools available to ALL Americans is THE essential problem in the US, and I have yet to hear anything approaching a solution. We are not the USA of the founding fathers, an elite club that included some amazingly short-sighted sots. We are the US of today, one wherein desire, violence, and greed rule the day… We are as children playing with razor blades. Is it any wonder our streets sometimes run red? Oh, but what the hell do I know?
by Dr. George H. Elder 12/16/2014
Observing lily white middle class people striving to misapply stat’s and social science to explain racial problems is sad. This is the reason… That is the reason… They’re marginalized… They’re categorized… Yeah, right. It’s all elitist bullshit writ large. Live in an inner city community for a year, then open your mouths. Live in poverty, and then you might understand it. Live being surrounded by violence, and something might be learned. But until then, the vast majority of “us” have nothing meaningful to say. We’re fucking pitiful, lamebrains who do not know that experience should predicate opining. I’ve known poverty and violence, but not what it is like to live in an urban war-zone. I lived in Cooney Island for about three weeks when I was a kid, and that was enough for me. That place was nuts, and never once did I feel safe. Yeah, I had NO desire to live in the “hood” after that, and am quite content to dwell in Rural Vermont.
Oh, but we have die-ins right here in Vermont. Yeah, saw one on TV the other day, a group of mostly lily white Vermonters lying about of the floor of a building, pretending to be shot-down Black folks. It might have been more convincing if they died en masse out in the cold, and then stayed out there in their death-poses for an hour or so. Yeah, that would have a least earned them a few points for conviction. But as it is, I find the exercises empty, and sign of shallowness and a conspicuous lack of understanding. Yeah, Black folks have some reasons to be pissed off about they way SOME cops treat them. And to be sure, cops have some reasons to live in fear of SOME Black folks. That is the simple truth of things, though the lily white folks seldom consider why cops might live in fear.
The last thing I would want to be is a cop in an urban environment. Hell, I would be the “man,” and thus the music and talk and all the rest would be about what an evil son-of-a-bitch I was. Course, when trouble comes, 911 would demand I go hither and yon, and there I would see the mutilated bodies and blood-soaked streets. The crime tape would go up, and folks would gawk at the latest statistic. And here I would be, trying to get Juan to tell me what happened–but he didn’t see anything. Nor did anyone else. Oh, an AK was involved, but that’s our collective right–to pack the most powerful heat imaginable. Now, I’m not a dumb cop. I know that AK could have been pointed at me, and the fact is–it’s still out there. No one’s going to talk, and so it goes. Hose off the sidewalk. Wait for the next call. And all the while, that nasty AK and a whole lot of other big bang is waiting for me or my partner. It seems like a hell of a way to make a living.
It is easy to take sides in this, and don’t for a minute think I’m on the side of the cops. Some of them are brutal thugs, the very worst of what humanity has to offer. They get a power rush out of the badge, and use it in a way that discredits what the law is supposed to be about. However, the vast majority of cops are far from that. They have families, know love, and care about others. Truth is, most inner city folks are the same way. They love their kids, and all the rest. But a few are brutal thugs, capable of a level of violence that few lily white middle class mutton heads can understand. They kill for trivial reasons, and I would hate to be the people who have to confront them. Good Lord, a killer with an automatic weapon is someone I would not contemplate taking on. Heck, I’d call a cop… Of course, that cop might be all tied up at a demonstration, making sure some die-in folks don’t interrupt traffic flow or some such thing.
I find it all very sad. I consider myself a liberal. I like the idea of occupying Wall Street. I like the idea of running down the miscreants who have polluted our political system with money. But I cannot be part of a movement that does not see both sides of a problem. The answers usually reside in the middle, a place that many do not care to go because it is the land of compromise. Hey, urban war-zones need cops, and cops need to come up with better means of dealing with threats. Man, I’ve seen some kick-ass non-lethal devices, and I ponder why more isn’t being done to develop these means. Then again, what the hell do I know? I am a lily white Vermonter, but one who is likely to step on someone who participates a in a damn die-in in front on me. Yeah, and then the cops would come and have to haul my fat ass away. Might need to thump me a few times. Oh, the horrors! No easy answers here…
Chapter 1 – Title Page ii-ii, G. H. Elder / Editors: Dr. Dale Cyphert, Kira McFadden & Sayward Ayre. 978-1-62948-621-5_ch1
Chapter 2 – Contents ix-x, G. H. Elder / Editors: Dr. Dale Cyphert, Kira McFadden & Sayward Ayre. 978-1-62948-621-5_ch2
Chapter 3 – Preface xi-xiv, G. H. Elder/ Editors: Dr. Dale Cyphert, Kira McFadden & Sayward Ayre. 978-1-62948-621-5_ch3
Chapter 5 – Prologue: The Power of Youthful Minds (pp. 5-8), G. H. Elder / Editors: Dr. Dale Cyphert, Kira McFadden & Sayward Ayre. 978-1-62948-621-5_ch5
Chapter 10 – Dream Control Experiments (pp. 29-34), G. H. Elder / Editors: Dr. Dale Cyphert, Kira McFadden & Sayward Ayre. 978-1-62948-621-5_ch10
Chapter 14 – Is There a God? Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign (pp. 57-62), G. H. Elder / Editors: Dr. Dale Cyphert, Kira McFadden & Sayward Ayre. 978-1-62948-621-5_ch14
Chapter 24 – Roman Dream Concepts (pp. 131-134), G. H. Elder / Editors: Dr. Dale Cyphert, Kira McFadden & Sayward Ayre. 978-1-62948-621-5_ch24
Chapter 36 – Schema/Template Theory Relationships to Dreaming (pp. 169-172), G. H. Elder / Editors: Dr. Dale Cyphert, Kira McFadden & Sayward Ayre. 978-1-62948-621-5_ch36
This is a book that addresses the history and science of dreams. The author uses his own dreams as examples, some of which are unique due to Elder’s personal and medical history. The dreams include typical experiences, such as flying, but also extend to intriguing astral events, prophecies, and messages on the nature of existence. The author employs the first-person present tense perspective when describing his dreams, which makes them exciting and fast-paced. The narrative sections follow the typical academic style, although Elder has endeavored to make the material accessible to the widest possible audience. Unlike many mass-market books on this subject, it also examines dream science and history in considerable depth, providing readers with a wealth of unique insights into what dreams are and why we have them. For example, Elder relates some forms of dream prophecy to the workings of our episodic memory system, finding a persuasive basis of support in modern schema theory and neuropsychological research. Other dreams, such as those concerning God, humanity’s future, and astral adventures occasionally defy the author’s tendency to find rationalistic explanations, a fact that he both dislikes and admits. The historical review stretches back to Gilgamesh, and runs up to modern findings in the neurosciences. Of course, the ideas of Freud, Jung, and others are discussed along the way, with the reader getting a great deal of information on what dreams were thought to mean over the ages. Indeed, there are over 380 sources scattered throughout the text, and a quick review of the bibliography will reveal that this is a manuscript of considerable research and substance. Readers from high school to post-graduate levels will find items of interest in this fast-moving text, which leaves a message that is as much spiritual and moral as it is scientific. (Imprint: Nova Biomedical)
BOOKS IN PREPARATION: Essays of a Mad Man.
CURRENT BOOKS IN PRINT:
REFLECTIONS: A DREAM QUEST (click for sample!)
Humanity’s longest day begins with a deep space observation satellite detecting a large“energy bubble” encompassing Penn State’s campus in State College, PA. No one knows what caused the mysterious event, including its creator, a graduate student named Alexander Barr. He has discovered how matter, energy, and thought are interrelated, with the critical information coming from ancient texts. Alexander’s efforts are making him into a being of incomprehensible power, but he carries the flaws we all harbor within. The powers that be try to stop Alexander’s development and end up wounding him. The resultant energy release devastates the northeast, destroying major cities and killing millions of people. Alexander slowly recovers and becomes ever stronger, with an outreach that can extend to the furthest reaches of the universe. All the while, efforts are made to contain the threat he is thought to represent and thus begin judgment errors that makes the apocalypse seem like a pleasant day’s outing. There are no rights and wrongs here, just well-intentioned actions and reactions that often go horribly wrong. Will the earth survive? Indeed, will existence itself continue? The stakes are huge, and you’ll have a front row seat.
Parts of the battered Serenade are formed into the scouting ship Ral’s Rake, and Ral takes on a robotic body. He begins a tempestuous relationship with Anita, which comes to a tragic end when the crew soon discovers the badly damaged Dragoonter. She is transporting thousands of Elesian children, but it strays too close to the Serenade and is decimated by the ship’s automated defense systems. A subsequent collision cripples the Rake, destroys the Serenade and Dragoonter, and tears Ral to pieces—thus crippling the mission.
Ral’s remains are salvaged, and Anita installs his AI modules in the capsule. However, Ral betrays the crew and turns the renovated Rake over the surviving Elesians. Anita removes Ral from the capsule and installs another AI system named Marcus. Thus begins a final attempt to reach Terra. The Terrans and Alcara continue their savage battle over the capsule, but the Seekers finally intervene. The crew members are given the choice of continuing the mission of pursuing whatever life-courses each selects. Will Kara and the others decide to go on? If so, will they survive the trip to Terra? Will the missing Seeker still exist, and if so, can he be awakened? Will the old adage be careful of what you wish for be the mission’s final epitaph? The Universe shifts as the battle draws near. The Alcara have used a mass transfer device to destabilize the Universe. As galaxies and star systems shift, the Confederation revives the long dormant Fulcan fleet in a bid to destroy the powerful and titanic weapon. Thousands of ships gather to confront the Alcara and their deadly device, and one question reverberates among those ready for battle… will the fleet get though? As the battle draws closer Kara meets the “Ancient One”, the lone surviving member of the earliest sentient species. Using her extensive powers, the Ancient One helps Kara awaken dormant abilities that could help in the impending battle. The key question remains…will Kara and the crew be able to make the jump to Terra and reach the legendary Seeker in time? The universe’s expansion is nearing its inevitable end and everything is being devoured by entropy. The key to having a future is a missing energy source, a legendary metaphysical being known only through ancient tales. The last hope of a dying universe is to awaken this dormant Seeker who possesses the capacity to link the entire universe in thought and deed. He alone may be able to rekindle the sparks of a new universal cycle. The remaining advanced species desperately want existence to continue, and send for missions to search for the Seeker. One such mission unexpectedly and inexplicably materializes on a primitive world that is inhabited by the Labateen, a Stone-Age warrior culture. Here they encounter Kara, an outcast Labateen noble woman and fierce warrior. Kara knows details about the Seeker’s litany that go well beyond coincidence, although to Kara they are simply the ways of God. Is Kara the key to locating the long lost Seeker? And what of the races who believe that existence should end in an entropic whimper and who will not sit by while others attempt to alter the end of the universe. Lofty ideals give way to brutal pragmatism as a confederation of races struggles to survive and save existence. For a view of the first few chapters, please click here.