In The Jury Box;
By David Eide
"....when you decide a case you bring in all your experience, knowledge, and common sense...you are not a robot."
Instruction of a judge to a jury.
Miscellanies from the Disturbed Universe
The perfect liberal, democratic citizen who believed himself free would be a mix
of the secular, profane world and the spiritual, sacred world or worlds. These would not
clash so much as resolve and conciliate.
"Secularism" has nothing to do with "meaning." It has to do with "success." It is a technique
that brackets out everything but the raw object and then applies other techniques to find
out about that object and how it relates to other objects etc. The results are then given
freely to the society which does what it wants with them. A person who has a problem can
use these to try and solve the specific problem.
It's true that out of this comes a meaningless lifestyle of sorts or can. Just as the full immersion
in the sacred can lead to fanaticism
If you remove the sacred from the universe you are left with objects. The language to discover what
these objects are come from mathematics and physics, chemistry and so on. It should never
be forgotten that it is a bracketing technique to simply discover "what's there." It uses methods
of objectifying and is not a religion.
Even though science can pull a star apart and describe it quite well nothing it does has meaning
except as the evidence it finds allows for something to happen here on Earth. Or, for the purist,
knowledge is its own justification. This pulling apart and descriptions of nature under
this powerful but finite technique has produced an overwhelming world; too overwhelming in
some cases, too successful in many cases. It is the prime fact-finder.
The sacred has its pathologies without question because it is a compound of "what we are," as we
experience ourselves to be. We apply the profane to ourselves at the risk of making ourselves
absurd, meaningless and so objects for a kind of slow annihilation. The sacred is the relation we
have to God, death, nature, all the human emotions, eternity, "what we are here," and so on.
It can only solve the problem of morale within the self.
The happy person is he or she who knows these two realms intimately and has nurtured them with
The world will continue to be built through secular technique but the individual needs the ballast of
the sacred otherwise he becomes a shadow of the secular, a violent defender of it, or a poor sap
caught in its powerful trap knowing he is only trying to get some satisfying morsel out of it and
deciding that life is "but a joke." A short joke that passes in a moment.
We would rather live in a world where the mind is free to address all phenomena, including the
origin of the universe with openness and whatever technique can do the job. Whatever
challenges it throws down at belief or "our place," is worth taking on. It could very well be that
science and its mathematics is only one of many steps to finding the core of knowledge of what
the universe is or what potentials we can salvage from it.
The spiritual teaches courage at the basic level. It teaches the spirit to push back the envelope to
creativity because there is nothing really to lose. It too employs techniques and its facts result in
human behavior. And just as science has created a very destructive world, religions have destroyed
and continue to do so. Which tells me that Power is at the center of the universe.
The density we must travel today! It has a finite point and gives us a hearty laugh when we are through.
The creative says this, "we are at the beginning of something yet we know all that has gone before. It
is never a contest, an either/or. It is a simple act of intelligence."
December 8, 2010
If you try and sincerely understand the world all-at-once you’ll end up nuts or under the protection of some nut-group. Understand as much as you can, make it substantial but let it mature and then let a window open, with a filter on it, to bring in new information and perception that increases the substantial and/or enriches. You bring understanding up to a nice round limit, admit it, be humbled by it and allow for new things to filter in.
The abstract view of the world always plays into the wrong hands. Keep to the experienced view. Let experience test out the abstract idea.
If I know geopolitics and have the ability to move a ship from one ocean to another then the form of knowledge is set and I must act on that knowledge. But if I know geopolitics, as I have learned it from professionals and experts and crackpots of every stripe, and have no ability to move an ant let alone a ship with a mere word from me then my imagination owns that knowledge and transforms it in the direction of my strongest suit.
The material world is never as playful as the ideal world.
The American is privileged in that all dualities are part of him and he can develop them all if he’s patient and not ground down by the zero-sum material world. Politics divides, money divides, religion can divide, ideas divide. But a person who took on the dualities would not be divided since he would know that the other polarity was as much in the person carrying it as in the person not carrying it. Perhaps that is what freedom truly is. The material world shows us the fault lines but then our incredible freedom allows us to take on all the dualities and resolve them, at least to our satisfaction, so that we are released from the burdens of the conflicted world.
* * * * * * * *
When the comedians rule then the serious and profound are always going to be seen as toxic. The serious is always going to seem on the side of power, supporting it and so on. The comedians rule when the people no longer believe in anything or are willing to learn anything. When the dust settles the comedians have simply prepared the way for their agonal doppelgangers, the “serious” entertainers like Reagan and Clinton.
But then the entertainers are the gods these days aren’t they? With such a vast kingdom of gods the people feel secure because they get to choose the ones to follow.
The “culture wars” are often an entertaining Punch and Judy show between scary clowns.
I would vote the comedians over the generals, even the priests, if it came to a vote. After all, the comedians just want the people to laugh. And there is a time for laughter. Does the laughter come after great change or to precipitate it?
* * * * * * * *
America will lead for a long time. Something is occurring that is of moment. The escaped slaves and historically colonized peoples will rule for awhile. America was the first and, no doubt, will be the last. It will be a time of fulfillment.
Wealth will be seen, for a time, as suspect and a disease that needs to be cured of itself.
Aristotle could not fix and probably not understand the political environment today. He would design as rational a politics one could imagine. He would require a full-bodied understanding of all the systems and functions of government. He would raise the level of mind to the level of power. But it would be irrelvent because he would only persuade a small percentage of citizens. The rest would be the wild apes and laughing hyenas they appear to be.
Aristotle would not quit his efforts but he would know, in his gut, that the people can not sustain a healthy republic and will lose it, blaming everything and everyone but themselves.
October 30, 2010
Diddling Before the Screen
In a democracy the people always get what they deserve. If they don’t it’s too late anyway.
* * * * * * * *
Politics usually imitates dementia in that you can not confront it directly where it has the advantage of madness to chase away every reasonable argument. Rather, you need to understand that it is demented and then assuage it from its madness to your more rational point of view.
There is something mystical about American Simpletons. Their nuttiness is a very stubborn thing.
“I’ll defend their right to be simpletons with the last breath I take!”
Statesmen don’t rise to the surface in a culture of guinea pigs.
* * * * * * * *
You can always tell the times you live in by whether politics has made the people better or has destroyed them. From here it looks like the latter.
The politics has destroyed the people because they’ve been turned inside out by the fast pace of life, its complexity, and their stubborn ignorance that refuses to look at facts. “Kill all the fact-finders!”
The rational can not fight madness. It has to be hard until madness transforms itself. And, of course, in a polity such as this that is impossible.
Democracy must always challenge itself; the people have to challenge themselves. That is the first rung of self-rule. Without it democracy is a fraud. It is a machinery of dead parts marking time until it collapses in a heap.
The most depressing, demoralizing thing I have witnessed thus far is the celebration of and belief in one’s ignorance. The pride of ignorance. Rather than the courage of openness, tolerance, and facts.
At this late stage of the democracy “leadership,” therefore, “power” belongs to those who can manage “pluralities,” because they have an intrinsic knowledge of the way the culture has developed over time and a clear understanding that one self-interest implies all the other interests. The war of one “self-interest” against the other self-interests exhausts itself pretty quickly. Therefore those who are scurrying around because they feel the blowtorch on their ass are neither “leaders” nor should gain any power.
An intelligent manager of democracy will encourage “politics as a war,” because he will then be able to deftly create alliances among the warring parties.
“Cultural war,” “political war,” whatever one names it is a marshmallow fight between angry people who are unhappy in the context of a life unprecedented in the history of the world. Any person who truly believes in the vibrant future of democracy says, "bring it on."
September 17, 2010
The Simple Task of Being a Citizen
When people drive on the freeway most are contented with the pleasure of the drive and, even, historic memory that men and women have come a long way. With an old mountain in the foreground it is even more stark, especially when history has climbed the mountain and those who explored it could hardly have guessed the machines that would rove to and from the mountain in a few centuries. That is most of the people driving the freeway. They are the consumers and voters for the most part, the mainstream, the good people.
A writer looks at the freeway and he sees people wanting to get somewhere as quickly as possible. And he removes the cars. And says (to himself of course) “now how do the people get somewhere as quickly as possible?”
And even the good people have to admit that for all the freedom of the car it has stuck them in a peculiar spot, pinned them in where they can not escape. Not only that but they are ignorant of the consequences of the car and driving it through the kind brown valleys. The wars, the cost, the warming gasses, the killings, the Gulf of Mexico and more.
We live in these polarities and why not?
A dynamic civilization happily lives in those polarities.
It can not be perfect but if the consequences are huge how can we call ourselves free citizens and pretend we are ignorant of the costs? When we do that we have undermined our ability to be the freest of the free. Our visions are as twisted and dark as those in tyrannies.
The polarities exist to stimulate inventive imagination and creativity.
* * * * * * * *
The Dreadful Future
The writer always looks at the worst case scenario. He can’t stand complacency. He takes values and “ideals” seriously. He views America not as the empire but as the newly discovered colony. If liberal democracy fails in America, much in America would remain the same but America as an idea would cease. And so the two things one looks at are the quality of the people at any given time and the corruption of the system of governance. “Politics” is an after thought; it is the fashionable manipulations of the people at any given time.
We look at it now, at this point, because America is at the weakest it's been for many decades. It went from the strongest to the most vulnerable very quickly. The might that could defeat Nazi's, Japanese militarists, and even communists can't subdue rag-tags in Afghanistan and Iraq. The vaunted economy was a massive pyramid scheme. This signals to the pessimist in me a very foreboding cycle as new tyrants and wannabe Napoleons and Hitlers begin to emerge. It means that once again the future will be determined by a huge conflagration in the 21st century and the winner will begin a new epoch in human history.
And there is no predicting who that winner will be.
* * * * * * * *
- Any effective grass roots reform movement, to sweep through the manure filled stables of the Beltway, has to cross over a lot of pluralities. The Tea Party has no credibility because it is very transparent they are angry because a black man is President. And the left is an aging silliness that has the same slogans, same people, same old paper maiche masks.
- President Obama needs to find his leadership mojo before it's too late. He needs to inspire a critical mass of people to insert themselves between himself and the Beltway. As it stands Obama is walking the plank because of the fear he is a one-trick pony. He is sincere, bright, hard-working, trustworthy but he lacks a certain personable nature that connects him to the people ala Clinton and Reagan. And it was the people who saved those two presidents.
- A person on his or her way to power is an angel. But that same person holding on to power is a devil.
June 5, 2010
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