The Excellent Usefulness of the Horse and Honors Students

(based on Dr. More)

And now a word about our surely excellent children:

Since I always urge my students not to start their papers with such low-brow devices as referring to dictionary definitions, and since I despise following my own advice, I want to alert you to the fact that the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines “excellent” as something “that excels in some respect (either good or bad).” In other words, “Celebration of Something Either Good or Bad,” could turn out to be risky business. Excellence, like leadership, can then signify being outstanding as good or bad. In other words, honors students are no less above suspicion than students of leadership. Both should be treated with skepticism, a habit that I have always tried to nurture.

In the 17th century, the Cambridge philosopher, Dr. Henry More, wrote an “Appeal to the Naturall Faculties of the Minde of Man” which included chapters such as “Of those that are as yet untamed” and “The excellent Usefulness of the Horse.

The heavens prefer tamed minds

The heavens prefer tamed minds

We prefer leaders who claim to like us

We prefer leaders who claim to like us

 

 

 

 

 

 

One may reasonably ask whether the untamed faculties of our minds are capable of greater excellence than that of the usefulness of the horse (or the tamed spirit of honors students).

The same entry in the OED also refers to philosopher David Hume’s description of Queen Elisabeth I as “an excellent hypocrite.” Let’s look at that for a moment.

  1. Was the Queen first and foremost a member of the class “hypocrites,” with the distinction of being one of the few hypocrites who are also excellent in their life and profession?
  2. Or was she especially outstanding as a hypocrite and therefore deserving of Hume’s praise?
  3. Or are excellence and being hypocritical so intrinsically linked, that one cannot have excellence without hypocrisy and that true hypocrisy is always in pursuit of excelling, even in Presidential elections?

Does this mean that we may be celebrating the advance of excellent hypocrisy here today, that those of us who have learned the royal art of being a hypocrite should receive applause (and that they, perhaps, should advance to the modern equivalent of royal positions?)

Royally hypocritical?

Royally hypocritical?

Presidential Material

Presidential Material

We all know that at universities, honors students, as well as student leaders are in great demand not only in the University President’s Office, but also for such illustrious positions as serving the Chancellor, the Deans and as Laboratory Rats. Is it because of their tamed equine qualities or because of their willingness to suffer incoherence without qualms about possible hypocrisy?

Excellence means erecting walls, mostly against yourself?

Excellence means erecting walls, mostly against yourself?

Do we post-moderns actually still know what we mean by “Excellence”? Or is it another case of “I know it when I see it” (just like pornography)? If you know the most excellent of all languages, German, you would not have this problem, because the German translation of “excellent” is “ausgezeichnet,” which simply indicates that you have been given an award and have been recognized as what you are now declared to be. In other words, only by Celebrating Excellence will we ever know what or who is excellent, just as we obviously only know that someone has Presidential Qualities after they have been declared President.

One of The Chosen Few

One of The Chosen Few

I therefore suggest to you that we are gathered here today to recognize what is excellent (be it good or bad, as long as it is tamed and useful) by declaring first that it exists and then philosophizing about its essence afterwards. After all, is that not the very root of genuine hypocrisy, royal or academic?

No wonder that some honors students are wondering quietly, “so – you people think I am excellent”?

If we believe Dr. More, we should respond with “yes, we think you excellent because you may be useful.” Usefulness itself being a concept in transition, we can look at Karl Marx, who even here seems to have gotten things upside down.

False Alternative: Useless people or useless things

False Alternative: Useless people or useless things

At least in our times, we have begun to recognize that creating too many useful people results in too many useless things. Bureaucracies, technology companies, and global capitalism are run by ever increasing numbers of people who try to prove their usefulness by producing endless streams of useless things, from red tape, to gadgets, to power structures, to laws. And higher education is no exception. Our number of useful and therefore excellent Vice Chancellors, for example, has risen from two to ten, all outstanding, all with support staff, surrounded by innumerable gadgets and rules, and producing prodigiously…

May our excellent graduates soon become productive Vice Chancellors or multi-millionaires, as well? If they do, then we will know, finally with certainty, that they have always been excellent, deserving celebration of their productivity, even if with hypocrisy on our part.

in the service of excellence and therefore useful

in the service of excellence and therefore useful

It would seem that equating excellence with productivity is no more viable in the long-run, than relying on certificates, acclamation or fame. Those who produce may all too often destroy our environment and those who measure their worth by official awards (or financial incentives) may have lost touch with what being human can be about: as Kant put it, “to be human is to be of incomparable value.” – In other words, if you rely on comparing yourself, you may have lost your humanity. Simple, but in our world of carefully planned inequality, of often outrageous proportions, it is not an idea all that difficult to contemplate.

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Lying to Liars

We grow up being taught that if lying is the lesser of two evils, then lies should become part of our faith, as we rally around the flag.

St. Trump-and-the-angels-at-war-with-the-devil

St. Trump-and-the-angels-at-war-with-the-devil

A Washington Post article, today (“Trump’s week reveals bleak view, dubious statements in ‘alternative universe”), quoted a Trump supporter as saying “I am definitely voting for the lesser of two evils. I’m not 100 percent for Trump, but I’m 200 percent against Hillary. I don’t know what’s true and what’s not.”

Question could be whether it is true that Trump is less evil than Clinton or if it is only true that he is definitely voting for Trump. According to the Trumpists own admission (true or false?), he does not know.

article-2614359-1d67aed600000578-180_636x382 Ah! But he raised the question of “evil,” and that should make us all stand up and salute, or kneel down and pray (“…and deliver us from evil…”) – by drone or Twitter, if not  through the mindless rotations of a prayer mill or the clicking of rosary beads, all so as to appease the wrathful, apparently somewhat simple-minded gods, out there, in la-la-land.

If you don’t know the answer, shout SOMETHING, and ye shall know the truth forthwith.

According to one data collection site, Adherents.com, “The precise number of religions in the world is not known, but available estimates show the number to be about 4,300.” That translates into “5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, representing 84 percent of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion,” (Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2012).

Gods: Supply never has exceeded demand

Gods: Supply never has exceeded demand

To make God or the gods even more insecure about the voters: among Christians alone there are “34,000 separate Christian groups in the world. “Over half of them are independent churches that are not interested in linking with the big denominations.” (http://www.religioustolerance.org/worldrel.htm) Never mind all the separate groups in each of the other 4,300 religions.

And behold: all of these speak the truth when they say who God is or who the gods are and what these unelected dictators want from us today, and when we vote.

Gods idly waiting to serve

Gods idly waiting to serve

What is a child to do when told that not believing is the greater of two evils?

Dying for the Truth, according to the community of liars, should never mean being so eager to know the truth that one can hardly contain one’s rational enthusiasm; it should always mean being willing to die for the Cause, or patriotically letting one’s country go to hell by playing “follow the leader.”

Since nobody has as yet proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that one religion is more true than any other, we could safely propose that 84% of the worlds adults and children are voting for what they do not know to be true. That is a hell of a lot less than Donald Trump would ever need in order to become the next leader of “One nation under God.”

creepyunclesLet’s look at this lying-to-liars thing from a perhaps irrelevant, historical perspective. In an obituary, in today’s NY Times, about Karl Dietrich Bracher (author of “The German Dictatorship,” and no, he is not talking about how Volkswagen or Deutsche Bank rose to world dominance through global webs of lies), Bracher is quoted as lamenting that Germany is “a country where dictatorship had horrifically failed, but where postwar democracy had not yet been secured.”

However, a few lines later Bracher is also described as “having largely blamed the conscious popular will [of the German people] for sweeping the Nazi Party into power.” But isn’t popular will the very essence of democracy? Was the rise of “Hitlerism” then not any less the will of the people than the quite possible rise of “Trumpism” would be the will of the people?

If the vast majority of the people, world wide, have always been brought up to believe that believing the lie is the lesser of two evils, then why do “good people” seem so surprised?

How many people do we personally know, who actually are willing to take responsibility for getting beyond “I don’t know what’s true and what’s not… but I know that the others are evil”?

Lies are of course not the eminent domain of politics and religion. Education, including university research, is full of them (for an example, see recent reports about sugar research at Harvard having been sweetened by the sugar industry).

Healthcare also is built on shifty foundations, as sometimes revealed, for a few split seconds, by sudden mudslides, such as the recent confessions by the British Medical journal and Martin Makary, professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United states, amounting to 251,000 deaths per year. Do we really want to know that truth or do we rather trust our medical Trump emulators, our true “real estate” speculators with human life and the vast profits to be made from human suffering and ignorance, something religious leaders have understood for millennia?

We safe lives

We save lives

We may want to modify, bring up to date, Bertrand Russell’s famous pronouncement: “The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.” – Perhaps we should now say “Lying with a good conscience is a delight to all faithful. That is why they invented evil,” and never mind if the evil are the Muslim faithful, Mexican believers in Capitalism Without Borders (CWB) or the confessing followers of politicians.

We will never rebuild, or build of the first time, genuinely democratic societies until lying to liars stops being the foundation of our pledges of allegiance.

Possible? Probably not, as long as we prefer mud-wrestling and the inane shouting of blinded masses, uninterested in a world of truthful, mutual respect, in which we have stopped lying to each other, our children, and most of all to ourselves.

One of the stories in Aesop’s Fables comes to mind:

According to Greek mythology (was that a religion? Were the Greek gods the true gods? Of course not: they are no longer a viable business model, as the current Greek economy proves only to0 well), Dolos, the god or daemon of deception was paired with a female goddess Apate (no question about divine status of her). To us, the similarity of Apate to “apathy” seems rather tempting.

statue_of_zeus“Prometheus, that potter who gave shape to our new generation, decided one day to sculpt the form of Truth, using all his skill so that She would be able to regulate people’s behavior. As he was working, an unexpected summons from mighty Zeus called him away. Prometheus left cunning Dolos (the god or trickery, cunning deception, craftiness, guile, and treachery) in charge of his workshop. Dolos had recently become one of the gods’ apprentices. Fired by ambition, Dolos used the time at his disposal to fashion with his sly fingers a figure of the same size and appearance as Truth with identical features. When he had almost completed the piece, which was truly remarkable, he ran out of clay to use for her feet. The master returned, so Dolos quickly sat down in his seat, quaking with fear. Prometheus was amazed at the similarity of the two statues and wanted it to seem as if all the credit were due to his own skill. Therefore, he put both statues in the kiln and when they had been thoroughly baked, he infused them both with life: sacred Veritas (Truth) walked with measured steps, while her unfinished twin stood stuck in her tracks.”

In these days of the internet and the reign of advertising-as-truth, we seem to have come to accept that deception has learned to travel faster than anything grounded in veracity.

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Pilgrims

Ancient Football Commissioner

Ancient Football Commissioner

Sex scandals not to the contrary, the Commissioner of the NFL was confirmed by the NFL bishops for the song and prayer of $34 million per year. In the meantime, over a million people congregated in Denver, this year’s national football champion, to trod along in a parade that would have made the saints, if they were marching in, blush for its utter mindlessness and clumsy stupidity.

When the Catholic Pope came to Denver, sex scandals not to the contrary, he could only muster 75o thousand, from all over the world. The football vs. the cross. No contest.

Action, where the crowds are

Action, where the crowds are

And yet the Catholic Church of America has an annual budget of $17o billion, while the NFL confesses to only $9 billion. Clearly the arousal created by a few gladiators, most of them not from Denver, and a considerable number of them belonging to a racial group usually shunned by the powers that finance such spectacles, the ecstasy caused by these muscle machines is far greater than anything the Vatican can generate with its always aging magicians.

not much action, but nice uniforms

not much action, but nice uniforms

Ah yes, and there is the tax stuff: the NFL makes much of its income through indirect taxation without representation. (Everybody, rich and poor, pays the surcharge for advertising in their grocery bill, including their toilet paper that otherwise surely would not sell, etc., without any representation (where is the Tea Party when we need it?)). Since advertising dollars are tax-deductible, paying $5 million for thirty seconds of selling more trash can only be compared, for its sheer insanity, to the tax-free church budget (of the American Catholic Church) of $170 billion. But then religious teams are known to kill each other and stupefy their members, while football teams only break bones and inflict damage on each other’s physical brains. Surely, in this respect religion is more newsworthy.

Better than Religion

Better than Religion

And yet the masses keep coming and keep paying and keep sacrificing their minds to their manipulators. For example: just what do these football players have to do with the “Denver community?” They are bought and payed for from other localities all over the country, payed for by people who have extracted more than their fair share from the average citizen. Do the passive consumers of these spectacles, the marchers in the parades, do anything themselves to move that ill-shaped little ball across the field? On the contrary, they sit, get drunk and give up their last bit of sanity for the sake of becoming part of organized mass hysteria.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Church of the Future

Ah, the sports arenas of demagogues! From Billy Graham to Il Duce, from high school cheer leaders to becoming a favorite place for mass arrests, a place of pilgrimage that is apparently impossible to resist. Now crowds gathering to watch mass hysteria are too large to fit into one colosseum, one structure to give shape to what lacks all substance. So they congregate around sacramental beer cans to pray to television sets, with religious fervor. And often the television set hears their prayer, rewarding the truly faithful in Denver, rather than the heathens from elsewhere.

220px-Petersdom_von_Engelsburg_gesehen

Perhaps, if we started to hold sports events in some of our cathedrals, mosques, temples: a win-win for two methods of duping the masses for which winning is everything, and achieving human progress is the real enemy. That would mean again bigger cathedrals, because the last time the Pope did come to Denver, he used the sports stadium, rather a sad concession to a more successful competitor.

Pope in Center Field

Pope in Center Field

 

 

 

 

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National Recycling Advocates (NRA)

Size Matters

Size Matters

There are apparently multiple ways in which “spent bullet casings” (feeling spent from too much penetration) and shotgun cartridges can be recycled. One advice is that one can even reload them many times, unless the original discharge was too hot. The additional environmental benefit is of course the over 30,000  fewer Americans, creating each 20 tons of CO2-eq each year, a proud total of  600,000 tons of CO2-eq saved by the other NRA. And never mind the virtues of re-arousing spent casings. If you add to that the Calvinist and Neo-Con doctrine that those who are killed are part of God’s trash, anyway, the purity of the flat world is surely in the best of hands, as they gratify themselves.

The New York Times, today, has an interesting though rather self-serving commentary on “The Reign of Recycling,” which purports to drive home the point that much of recycling is actually a waste and itself should not be recycled. What is strangely missing from the sermon is any hint at the fact that recycling is the opium for the consumerist society (as Lenin claimed that religion is the opium for the masses), very much promoted by the high priests of consumption. The message is that we don’t have to stop consuming ever more, as long as we recycle – or not recycle as the NY Times article seems to reassuringly imply. It is rather like the Pope claiming to be for the environment, while at the same time being one of the main forces behind the rampant population explosion, obviously the greatest contributor to environmental destruction.

The Pleasures of Discharging

The Pleasures of Discharging

Given all this wonderful mythology about how to save the earth, including the positive effect of reusing bullet casings after the sinner is dead, one might wonder what would happen if the members of the other NRA would turn their guns not on reluctant others, but on themselves. If shooting people is so much fun and such a sacred right, then why not play with oneself (immoral though that may be), instead of being a jerk toward others? According to the above numbers and the report that there are 4.5 million active members of the other NRA (never mind the 10 million supporters), the total amount of benefit would be 90 million tons of CO2-eq saved. In addition, we no longer would have to recycle spent bullet casings nor shotgun cartridges, thereby avoiding the debate if recycling is wasteful.

Right to Bear Arms

Right to Bear Arms

And if human life is so cheap that over 30,000 Americans are killed over the spurious right to play with boy-toys, then 4.5 million sacrificed is surely more American then a mere 30,000, and all for a better tomorrow.

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West of Babel: IT

400px-Confusion_of_TonguesAccording to Genesis 11, in the Judaeo-Christian texts, “Now the whole world had one language and a common speech the people moved eastward… ‘The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

That was then. Thousands of years later, the ever-so benign God had another revelation:

IT Refugees“Since they now think that nothing is impossible for them, having Google Translator, let us have them go westward and think that they are speaking the same language: then they will kill each other more effectively than any great flood could ever do.” And so the Lord sent down his new prophets, the IT-Prophets, and everyone moved west, knowing that they would become like Americans or Germans. And the Germans and Americans, having sold them one-language-fits-all weapons and IT, knew that they could remake everyone in their own image.

Scherl; An der Sowjetfront: Auf dem Wege ins Fl¸chtlingslager - Mit dem ihnen verbliebenem Panjewagen bringt eine Familie ihre gerettete habe auf einer der groflen Ausfallstraflen Stalingrads in Sicherheit. PK-Aufnahme: Kriegsberichter Gehrmann (Sch) 5870-42, Oktober 1942

Thus, with the goodness of the Lord in their heart, the IT priests sent the message over the internet: “Let the children come unto me, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” And the Lord’s smile brimmed with satisfaction.

Even the millions of refugees, migrants, and the Lord’s terrorists got the message and made smartphones their most treasure possession, often even before food and shelter.

Boat_People_from_HaitiWhatever happened to the idea that we should not interfere in each other’s cultures? Could it be that letting each culture grow, suffer its own sicknesses and enjoy well-being on its own terms, is what we need to get back or forward to? Is it really too late to realize that globalism in the name of religion, capitalism, power and military supremacy, is a curse sent from an evil force up high in our own minds? Is it really too late to stop SELLING? Is the European or American or Chinese, etc., way of destroying the planet really the answer to everything?

“Let thy people go”… their own way. At home, yes, often failing in a small way, but certainly not as part of a global conflagration in which everyone pretends to understand everyone else, because nobody nurtures their unique cultural roots any longer in the soil out of which they grew.

Treaty_of_Penn_with_Indians_by_Benjamin_WestIt is a strange irony that America, the land of migration, has such strong laws at home to protect the unique cultural heritage of the few left-over “Native American” Indians, on “Reservations,” now so often also havens of gambling casinos, the poor man’s version of the global stock market, trusting in the one and only Lord’s goodness, rather than in organically growing culture.

header_583x254_ITS_1Is capitalist expansionism perhaps the real devil behind the scene, as humans swarm aimlessly, east and west, north and south, to escape from (or sell) the violence and environmental destruction created and imposed, with the force of the Almighty, by the very cultures to which they are fleeing?

 

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On Being Right when Nothing Else is Left

Fear of Seeing

Fear of Seeing

(There’s a yellow streak in Texas, that you’ve got to see,
and nothing else can cure her, but guns for you and me…)

The media once again have astonishing news from Texas. Apparently a curious hysteria has taken over more of the state than is usual, even for the fastest guns in the West. Because of a very small-scale training exercise by the US military (Jade Helm 15), Texans have hoarded guns and amunition to defend themselves against their own government. In the NY Times, Bill Ford, a commissioner in Tom Green County,  is quoted as saying: “If the government has an idea they can come in and take over, and take guns away, the stupidest place they could come is West Texas. There’s more guns and ammo here and more people willing to use them than any combat area they’ve fought in.”

In the same article, a hairdresser, Ms. Miller is quoted as saying “They’re worried that they’re going to come in and take their firearms away. I try not to listen to all these conspiracy-theory-type people. All they’re worried about is their beer and their guns.”

According to Robert A. Burton, M.D., “Given what we now know about the biology of schizophrenia, we recognize that the patient’s brain chemistry has gone amok, resulting in wildly implausible thoughts that can’t be talked away with logic and contrary evidence.” (from “On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not.”) That tens of thousands of Americans are killed every year by gun owners is a fact that one should not look at, for fear of having to face all kinds of other facts.

Are the Texans are coming?

The Texans are coming!

When I worked on my uncle’s farm, as a young boy outside Berlin, the strongest plow horse in the stable (not unlike Texas in basic strength) would go hysterical when it so much as saw the outline of a double-decker bus across the farm fields. We would try everything possible to prevent it seeing one of those public vehicles, but the horse seemed to have an uncanny sense of one coming over the horizon, even before we could. Probably a genetic phobia of government-funded transportation unfairly competing with horse and buggy.

a yellow rose...

a yellow rose of Texas…

Men and women on the Right often try to portray themselves as being especially macho when they unzip their gun cases. But is not a far more plausible interpretation of such constant calls to arms an inordinate Angst, a fear of ever unknown eventualities, nightmares probably induced by too much red meat before bedtime? Which is more courageous, a society in which guns and other weapons are simply banned as insane killing machines or a society which is so fearful that it rather sees tens of thousands of its own members killed every year than forgo a spurious “right to bear arms”? – Should we have more compassion with our fearful, neurotic Texans?

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To Whom it May Concern

Future Subversives

Future Subversives

Finland, sporting one of the most frequently admired education systems in the world, is planning to abolish the teaching of handwriting in schools. “Fluent typing skills are an important national competence,” Minna Harmanen, from the Finish National Board of Education, is quoted as saying.

In the meantime, German Chancellor Merkel is making a renewed push to store all “communications data” of every German citizen, for the sake of national security. Given the most recent publication of documents about the intent of the NSA to gain complete control of the internet, Merkel must feel proud of how she is facilitating Big Uncle’s access to the privates of her children.

Weapon of Mass Destruction

Weapon of Mass Destruction

 

The justification? Was it that the tiny number of perpetrators of the Paris atrocities had escaped notice of the well-endowed security apparatus? Of course not. They were well known, at least one of them having been thrown into prison to learn more about terrorism, in this totally controlled, government training facility. Just as in the case of “9/11,” the international security agencies had all the information and all the tools they needed to prevent the few individuals from inflicting their violent outrages on society.

Merkel, being originally from communist East Germany, should know better than most that ever increasing amounts of spying by everyone on everyone only leads to the need to erect ever higher “Berlin Walls,” of every kind, around society, walls that ultimately will come tumbling down, in a jubilant celebration of freedom over government control.

Evading Digital Cloud Storage

Evading Digital Cloud Storage

The current reasoning of governments is a strange inversion of the already rather nasty utilitarian maxim “Greatest Good for the Greatest Number of People.” The new “national security” maxim seems to be “sacrifice the good of everyone in the name of controlling a few, known crazies.” In effect, it is the same as putting a nation, even our whole world under Marshall Law, simply because there are a few, easily identified, violent people in every society, always have been, apparently always will be.

Given that every “typed” and therefore digital communication is now connected to the internet, the children in Finland will soon be in the vanguard of a society that is incapable of communicating without exposing themselves at the same time to the leering eyes of Uncle Sam and Aunt Merkel. And yes, children are very susceptible to the nasty advances of adults. Already, they have fallen into the trap of passing even little love notes only through the shiny, digital voyeur mechanisms of the adult world.

Pen and ink in action

Pen and ink in action

I would therefore like to recommend that we all follow, as soon as possible, the patriotic example of Finland. Let us declare handwriting a threat to national security and the passing of personal, handwritten notes from one person to another an overt act of terrorism. Never mind the very personal elements of the specific form of the handwriting, the perhaps nervously formed letters, or the lovingly shaped special words. Never mind the special paper, for today’s note, or the little colored drawing on the side, mixed with handwritten lettering. All that is irrelevant: if you pass a personal note or letter to anyone or if you share such a non-digital threat to everyone, you obviously are a menace to society. Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” and Aldous Leonard Huxley’s “Brave New World” are no longer dystopia. They have become the utopia not only of Merkel and Uncle Sam, but even of supposedly freedom loving societies like Finland.

We should applaud all attempts to free our children from the burden of highly personal, unique, private self-expression and person to person, intimate conversations. Let’s start with burning all personal diaries, written with pen and paper, especially those with that “cute” little lock on top: a symbol of terrorist intentions.

You want to sign your name? Only a digital signature, already on file, is acceptable, unless you are a subversive.

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Martian Scientists Speculate about Signs of Intelligence on Earth

Martian Methane Machine

Martian Methane Machine

There have been reports in the media, recently, about signs on Mars of possible former life. The first indication is, of course, that there seem to be traces of methane. To put this into perspective, the negative effect of methane on the climate is said to be 23 times higher than that of mere CO2. So, any life form that rampantly produces more and more methane, through fracking or covering the earth with herds of mindless cattle, is likely to have as much intelligence as the Holy Cows in India. There are said to be 280 million Holy Cows in India and it only takes two of these goddesses and gods to produce as much CO2 per year as a car driving an average of 12,000 miles. Of course, the mindless increase of human overpopulation, with its own ethereal methane offerings to the gods, puts even belching cows into the shade.

Clearly, methane is not just a sign of life but of ancient spirituality. Perhaps the methane escaping on Mars comes from underground bovine temples? Just imagine what we could learn from such discoveries!

Intelligence Anywhere?

Intelligence anywhere?

According to the Scientific American and other news outlets, the “EPA Moves to Count Methane Emissions from Fracking.” Filled with the delight that there may have been methane producing organisms on Mars, we are making moves to prove that we are alive, as well, on earth, and counting what we together emit behind, in front, and from below.

Amidst all the exciting speculations about life and intelligence on other planets and in other universes, the real question is of course, what we would do, if some such methanic intelligence were to try to communicate with us.

NSA Extraterrestrial Intelligence Suppressing Methan Machine

NSA Extraterrestrial Intelligence Suppressing Methan Machine

Think of how alien any forms of rationality, intelligence, well-reasoned factual analysis already sound to the vast majority of our frackers, crackers, political crackpots and cowed worshippers. Why do we need to find extraterrestrial intelligence, when intelligence itself is nothing but a non-resident or illegal alien that keeps trying to sneak across our borders (at best to clean house and dirty laundry and empty the trash)?

Just imagine, if we did encounter life on another planet and it turned out to be billions of regurgitating, methane exhausting cows, looking past us with uncomprehending eyes, but big enough to flick us off like flies? What a wondrous confirmation it would be that the vast majority of our earthly leaders are indeed superior beings and therefore we also, like them.

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The Importance of What is Even Worse

While Oscar Wilde happily explored “The Importance of Being Earnest,” an even more poignant topic is the importance of “worse.” Whether we are talking about what our friends, family, lovers and colleagues have done to us or about our own newly embroidered afflictions, Nothing glides so smoothly across the palate as the opening phrase: “and you know what is even worse…”

Dramatic statements, about how bad others have turned out to be, are generated with lusty imagination, even by people who otherwise lack all creativity. Habitual liars usually don’t use their skills so much in order to regain lost virtues, rather they pile up tall tales of imagined vices of others – with the SOP story line (Standard Operating Procedure) “the worse others are, the better I am.”

In WWI, the British told stories about their German adversaries living in trees and eating children: that is the counterfactual version of “I am better because you are worse.” During the height of Christian missionary fervor, natives were told that anything other than the “missionary position” is a sin: that is the “I extend the range of what is bad, so I am better” version of the same slandering others for personal salvation.

We still have a long way to go on the path to ridding ourselves of the importance of what is worse. A gentle smile of mutual understanding might be a nice step in that direction.

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Prickly

everybody wants me

everybody wants me

Some people suffer from illusions of being so desirable, in the midst of barren landscapes, that they surround themselves with endless arrays of nasty defenses.
Like the prickly pear cactus, they end up
being consumed by packrats and skunk pigs, who couldn’t care less about such fearful projections.

Why not emulate the apple tree, instead,
and invite people to visit and feast on the gladly offered fruit?

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Self-Defining Journalism

pedigree

pedigree

Quaintly enough, the origin of “pedigree”
is “foot of the crane.”
Beyond obvious explanations, there is the pattern
that some people crane so much for recognition,
that they’d rather offer endless streams of “facts” from smelly origins than not be noticed.

References

References

What one continues to refer to as “news,” worthy of regurgitation, may serve as much as a reference for what one is, as any family tree or letters of reference.

(In such cases, a pedigree pedicure may make one noticeably less odorous,
but at the price of losing the attention of dull noses.)

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Bonsai!

Elegance: always unforced

Elegance:  unforced

Cranes glide peacefully
to new communal grounds,
no instructions needed.
They pair naturally, to call out in unison,
she sounding off twice
for every of his one.

not to be trusted

Not to be trusted

No standardized tests required.
nationally and internationally:
a common core of life
evolves in harmony,
without fear and trembling,
without tyrannical schools or
$1.7 billion private industries
dictating standards to hapless teachers.

We humans are not to be trusted,
role models of the active wise elders
not to be emulated
by eagerly observing participants:
where we can force our young,
why let them evolve
around a common cause
in joint communal activity?
Where we can brutalize,
why elegantly glide together?

Common core

Common core

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