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    Saturday
    Jun062015

    Alan Watts Commencement Speech: The School-Work-Retirement Hoax

           The following section of the Alan Watts lecture transcribed below pertains to the school-work-retirement hoax that many members of first-world societies find themselves trapped in.  I have a good job at a hospital, and I say to myself, “I like my job,” but once when I was camping in the mountains I ran into an accountant who was hiking with a free-lance artist and I had to revise my views on how great I had it as a result of interacting with them.  The free-lance artist was traveling the world and going camping whenever she pleased, whereas the accountant said to me that these were the only four weekdays that he was able to take off all year.  I replied, “Yeah, it’s crazy that we can’t manage to find the time to take off and to…”  He finished by sentence by saying, “To actually live.”  I was pretty much in the same boat as him.

             I still am in that same boat.  I work with several people in their 50s and 60s whom are never happy at work but endure the grind for money.  I tell myself that I will never be like them because I vow to build now a means of support that will prevent me from being 50 and 60 years-old and having to work at a job that I dislike.  I think a huge problem is that older people have not cultivated a passion throughout their life, and after retirement they feel lost because they don’t know how to spend their time.  Furthermore, too many people let their health deteriorate and thus are unable to fulfill their dreams due to their own physical limitations.  Currently, I sometimes work side jobs, and I’ve realized that this whole working for others thing on my free days is a way of taking the easy way out.  Instead of doing the hard thing, which is to sit down and produce creative work, I choose to go work for someone who has in fact build something of their own and is a manifestation of their dreams, I and rationalize working for them because I need money when I fact I could just as easily make the same amount of money in the same time by doing something like drawing a piece of art and selling it.  What I am describing and what Alan Watts mostly talks about can be interpreted as “first-world problems,” but he communicates a critical point:  that if we are tricked into valuing the wrongs things – the things that separate us from nature, each other, and the mental and physical places that help us forge a spiritual connection with the cosmos – then we increase the chances of collective self-destruction and decrease the chances of living together or alone as happy, independent, and intelligent people.

    Alan Watts:

              Now, I’m particularly interested in what Dr. Weaver said about the attitude of the family to children because we have an absolutely extraordinary attitude in our culture and in various other cultures – high civilizations – to the new member of human society.  Instead of saying, “Thank you,” to children, “How do you do? Welcome to the human race; we are playing a game, and we are playing by the following rules… We want to tell you what the rules are so that you’ll know your way around, and when you’ve understood what rules we’re playing by, when you get older you may be able to invent better ones.”  But instead of that we still retain an attitude to the child that he is on probation; he’s not really a human being, he’s a candidate for humanity.  And therefore to preserve the role of parent or to preserve the role of teacher, you have to do what they do in the Arthur Murray School of Dancing, which is that they string you out; they don’t tell you all the story about dancing because if they tell you you’ll learn in a few weeks and go away, and you’ll know it, but instead they want to keep you on.  And in just this way we have a whole system of preparation of the child for life, which always is preparation and never actually gets there.

    File:Brueghel-tower-of-babel.jpg
    Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Tower of Babel

               In other words, we have a system of schooling which starts with grades.  And we get this little creature into the thing with a kind of, “come on kitty, kitty, kitty,” and we get it always preparing for something that’s going to happen.  So you go into nursery school as preparation for kindergarten, you go to kindergarten as preparation for first grade, and then, you see, you go up the grades until you get to high school, and then comes a time when maybe if we can get you fascinated enough with this system you go to college, and then when you go to college if you’re smart you go to graduate school and stay a perpetual student and go to be a professor and go round and round the system.  But in the ordinary way they don’t encourage quite that, they want you after graduate school, or after graduation – “commencement” as it’s called, beginning to get out into the World with a capital W – and so, you know, you’ve been trained for this and now you’ve arrived.  But when you get out into the world at your first sales meeting they’ve got the same thing going again, because they want you to make that quota, and if you do make it they give you a higher quota.  And come along about forty-five years of age, maybe you’re vice president, and suddenly it dawns on you that you’ve arrived, with a certain sense of having been cheated because life feels the same as it always felt and you are conditioned to be in desperate need of a future.


    Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

               So the final goal that this culture prepares for us is called retirement.  When you will be a senior citizen and you will have the wealth and the leisure to do what you’ve always wanted, but you will at the same time have impotence, a rotten prostrate, and false teeth, and no energy.  So all…the whole thing, from beginning to end is a hoax.  And furthermore, some other aspects of the hoax, just for kicks:  you are involved, by in large, in a very strange business system which divides your day into work and play.  Work is something that everybody does, and you get paid to do it because nobody could care less about doing it – in other words, it is so abominable and boring that you can get paid for doing it.  And the object of doing this is to make money, and the object of making money is to go home and enjoy the money that you’ve made.  When you’ve go it, you see, you can buy pleasure.  And this is a complete fallacy; money never can buy pleasures because all pleasures depend upon not putting down a symbol of power – money – but upon disciplines.  In other words now in Sausalito, where I live, we have pier after pier full of fine boats – motor cruisers, sailing boats, all sorts of things – which nobody ever uses because they’ve been bought on the falling for the ad line that “if you buy this thing you will have pleasure, you will have status, you will have something or other.”  But then they suddenly discover that having a boat requires the art of seamanship, which is difficult but rewarding, therefore nobody has time for it and all they do with the boats is have cocktail parties on them on the weekend.  And in myriads of ways, you see, you go home – we’re the wealthiest people in the world – and you would think having earned your money and go home you would have and orgy and great banquet and so on, but nobody does, they eat at T.V dinner, which is just warmed-over airline food, and then they spend they spend the evening looking at a electronic reproduction of life which is divided from you by a glass screen – you can’t touch it, you can’t smell it, it has no color, except maybe if you’re very wealthy it has color, but by and large it doesn’t – and you look at this thing, and you have a strange feeling, you see, that the whole procession of grades that was leading to something in the future, to that goodie, to that gorgeous, voluptuous goodie that was lying at the end of the line, it never quite turns up.  And this is because from the beginning we condition our children to a defective sense of identity.  And this I think is the most important feature in the whole thing: that a child grows into our culture – and I repeat, this is not only in western culture, it is equally true in Japan… We condition the child in a way that sets the child a life problem which is insoluble, and therefore attended by constant frustration.  And as a result of this problem being insoluble, it is perpetually postponed to the future so that one lives – one is educated – to live in the future, and one is not ever educated to live today.

    Die Elster auf dem Galgen.jpg
    Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Magpie on the Gallows

               Now I’m not saying that the philosophy of carpe diem – let us drink for today for tomorrow we die, and not make any plans… what I am saying is that making plans for the future is of use only to people who are capable of living completely in the present.  Because when you make plans for the future and the mature, if you can’t live in the present you are not able to enjoy the future for which you have planned because you will have in you a kind of syndrome whereby happiness consists in promises, and not in direct and immediate realizations.  So long as you feel that tomorrow it will come… as we say in common speech, “tomorrow never comes.”   But everything is based on the idea that you will get it tomorrow, and you can enjoy yourself today, so long as tomorrow looks bright.  But Confucius once said, “A man who understands the Tao in the morning can die contently in the evening.”  That is to say that if you have ever lived one complete moment you can be ready to die, you can say, “Well, that was it, that was the good, that… I’ve had it,” you see?  But if you’ve never lived that complete moment, death is always a guy who like comes into a bar at two-o-clock in the morning and says, “Time gentlemen, please.”   And you say, “Oh please, one more drink, not yet.”  Because you haven’t really had the feeling that you ever had it, that you ever got there.

    Thetriumphofdeath.jpg
    Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Triumph of Death


    Here’s a short animation, done by the South Park guys, paraphrasing some of the points transcribed above:

     

    Sunday
    Apr262015

    We Stand to Lose Everything

    We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.

                                                                                                                      -Carl Sagan

             As the 100th anniversary of World War I rolls around, dignitaries and diplomats are commemorating the costly victories and tragic losses of that brutal and gaseous four-year melee which resulted in the deaths of somewhere between ten to sixteen million people.  World War I set the stage for its horrific sequel, World War II, which showcased another four years of cataclysmic and agonizing destructive mayhem, replicated genocides, the ghastly human penchant for mass murder, and the creation of a Hell on Earth in which millions of people died on battlefields, in death camps, and of disease, starvation, and lack of sanitation in galactic pits of unfathomable misery and suffering.  World War II then set the stage for the Cold War, in which the United States, the Soviet Union, and eventually other jingoistic nuclear powers held humanity hostage by means of threatening the aggressive use of apocalyptic warheads capable of annihilating human life on Earth.  In the Cold War, the U.S and the U.S.S.R sparked numerous conflicts fought vicariously through various third-world states in a series of proxy wars that galvanized and stimulated the lethal weapons industry which then, as in now, fed off the manufacturing of bombs, tanks, war planes, guns, landmines, and bullets, and has killed millions of innocent men, women, children, and other beautiful forest and sea-dwelling creatures that had nothing to do with the insane quarrel between the bipolar megalomaniacal superpowers and the psychopaths who dragged the world the brink of thermonuclear oblivion.  Due largely to these three conflicts (WWI, WWII, and the Cold War) and the implementation of economic policies stemming from flawed ideological bulwarks (Capitalism and Communism), as well as the flat-out neglect and heartlessness exhibited by the haves and projected upon the have-nots constituting the bulk of the global community (in 1945, the global population stood at 2.5 billion; by 1970 it was 3.5 billion; today, it is 7.2 billion, with 220,000 people added each day), the 20th century is calculated to be the bloodiest in human history where upwards of a hundred-million people are estimated to have died violent deaths.  Enter the 21st century.   Despite the ostensible end of these major conflicts, and within the context of a temporary, albeit mercurial, equilibrium of geopolitical power in the international arena, nine countries are currently stockpiling and maintaining an arsenal of over 16,000 nuclear weapons which can obliterate civilization on Earth instantaneously.   

            Today, as conflicts rage and tensions flare between nuclear powers (the United States, Russia, Pakistan, Israel, India, China, North Korea, the UK, and France), humanity stands the same distance from the edge of a nuclear holocaust as it stood during the height the Cold War, when weapons were being tested, developed, and shuffled around the world in planes, trains, and submarines by crazy men wearing suits and uniforms who perceived all those that appeared different from them as subhuman enemies, and treated the world as giant game of Risk.  If the current course of international political affairs is maintained – with all these senseless and devastating wars, these inhumane conflicts that bring out the very worst in our species and see us reduced to cold-blooded barbarians on the battlefield and apathetic, desensitized, tax-paying automatons who do not see the indirect consequences of our decisions and actions at home – we will bear witness to the aggressive detonation of nuclear weapons between nations and it will likely set back the advancements made by our species by a thousand years.  It is an absolute miracle that since August, 1945 a state has not yet again dropped a nuclear weapon on another state, but the laws of probability dictate that an eventual outcome of the deadly formula operating within the international arena will be nuclear war, it is only a question of when and where.  Once this happens and humanity spirals into its darkest hour, we may realize what we have lost.

     


    Image from: http://imgbuddy.com/earth-from-space-high-resolution-nasa.asp

            We will have lost the greatest thing that we have ever known and that is the balance of life on this miraculous planet.  We will have lost our chance to amend for our mistakes and restore the ecosystems that we have destroyed, to treat nature with respect and explore this rare and beautiful world in awe of the glorious wonders and fascinating creatures that exist and flourish upon it.  We will have lost our humanity – the chance to work out our differences, to help others, to pick them up when they fall down, to learn from each other, to create art, to travel, to make friends, to make love, to have children and raise them so that they may live to realize their full potential.  We will have lost the chance to discover the universe, to last long enough as a species to see if there are organisms living beyond our solar system and to have our minds blown by the contents of the worlds that revolve around other suns and distant stars.  After a full-scale nuclear war, we will have lost everything. 

            Due to our high intelligence, humans often feel entitled to do with the Earth as they wish, to take what we want and partition it up as we please.  Yet when the missiles fly over the surface of Earth there are no borders or nation-states mapped out below, there is just land and water and ecosystems and creatures.  When a bomb detonates it detonates on Earth, destroying a part of the system of life that the party whom launched the weapon depends on for survival.  As with environmental destruction, weapons also destroy innocent animals that have an interest to live out their time on Earth, but have no say or significant means of resistance as we slaughter the natural habitats of this planet wholesale.  In a grand historical context, the human species has not been around for very long.  If the age of the universe is represented by a 400-sheet roll of toilet paper, with the dinosaurs coming in on the 19th sheet from the end and going extinct at the 5th sheet from the end, then on this toilet paper timeline human beings appeared only on the last millimeter of the last roll. 

            Take care of this planet; stop abusing it and each other, rise up against injustice, remove those from power who would see that this world be carved up and sold off and humanity enslaved.  Once different cultures realize the multitude of values that they share in common, including an appreciation for nature and humanity, we will see how we’re getting played against each other and will begin to dismantle the structure of power which threatens life on Earth, and we will begin to build a different structure which respects and preserves life.   So let’s get our act together and clean this planet up, before the aliens arrive.   

            The conventional bombs of World War II were called ‘blockbusters.’  Filled with 20 tons of TNT they could destroy a city block. All the bombs dropped on all the cities during World War II amounted to some two million tons of TNT, two megatons. Coventry, Rotterdam, Dresden and Tokyo – all the death that rained from the skies between 1939 and 1945 – hundred thousand blockbusters, two megatons. Today, two megatons is the equivalent of a single thermonuclear bomb, one bomb with the destructive force of the second world war. But there are tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. The missile and bomber forces in the Soviet Union and United States have warheads aimed at over 15,000 designated targets. No place on the planet is safe.

            The energy contained in these weapons – genies of death, patiently awaiting the rubbing of the lamps – totals far more than 10,000 megatons, but with the destruction concentrated efficiently, not over six years but over a few hours. A blockbuster for every family on the planet.  A World War II every second for the length of a lazy afternoon.

            The bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed 70,000 people. In a full nuclear exchange, in the paroxysm of global death, the equivalent of a million Hiroshimas would be dropped all over the world. And, in such an exchange not everyone would be killed by the blast and the fire storm and the immediate radiation. There would be other agonies. The loss of loved ones; the legions of the burned and blinded and mutilated; disease; plague; long-lived radiation poisoning the soil and the water; the threat of stillbirths and malformed children; and, the hopeless sense of a civilization destroyed for nothing. The knowledge that we could have prevented it and did nothing.

     

                                                                                                                                                                              -Carl Sagan, Cosmos

    Tuesday
    Mar032015

    Carl Sagan, Alan Watts, and Martin Luther King, Jr. MP3s

                     In periods of historic enlightenment and revolution, a key factor for successful progress was spreading the word of those who proposed solutions to the most severe problems afflicting humanity and the world.  Carl Sagan, Alan Watts, and Martin Luther King, Jr. are three men who did exactly that, and I believe that is important for one to listen to what they had to say in order to galvanize a process of brainstorming and action amongst those who care to make the world a better place.  Divided Core is finally doing something useful by embarking on a project to distribute the word of these three wise men (and others, including women, to come) via MP3 discs.  The discs are audio files of Martin Luther King (Speeches and Sermons), Alan Watts (a series of lectures entitled Out of Your Mind), and Carl Sagan (the Cosmos series). If you want them, please let me know and I’ll send them to you (I can’t promise soon, but eventually, I will do it.  Contact: aarondames84@gmail.com).  I’ll also try to figure out how to post these files as downloadable files on my blog.  Thanks. 

     

    How it's done:

    Sunday
    Dec212014

    Martin Luther King - Loving Your Enemies

            In times of human rage and dangerous political brinkmanship, I can think of no wiser head to turn to than Martin Luther King, Jr.  Throughout volumes of speeches and sermons, Martin Luther King offers practical solutions to some of the most pressing issues of his time – war, poverty, tyranny, nuclear proliferation, and racism.  Though his assassination took place forty-six years ago, many of the problems he spoke of persist today.  Thus, his messages are just as valuable as they were during the Civil Rights Movement, and his diagnoses of former problems, as well as his proscribed solutions can be applied to society’s current maladies.  Below are some great excerpts from a 1957 MLK sermon titled, Loving Your Enemies.   Click here to listen to an audio recording of the speech.

     

    Democracy is the greatest form of government to my mind that man has ever conceived, but the weakness is that we have never touched it. Isn’t it true that we have often taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes? Isn’t it true that we have often in our democracy trampled over individuals and races with the iron feet of oppression? Isn’t it true that through our Western powers we have perpetuated colonialism and imperialism? And all of these things must be taken under consideration as we look at Russia. We must face the fact that the rhythmic beat of the deep rumblings of discontent from Asia and Africa is at bottom a revolt against the imperialism and colonialism perpetuated by Western civilization all these many years. The success of communism in the world today is due to the failure of democracy to live up to the noble ideals and principles inherent in its system.

    File:Cole Thomas The Course of Empire The Savage State 1836.jpg
    Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire, The Savage State

    And this is what Jesus means when he said: "How is it that you can see the mote in your brother’s eye and not see the beam in your own eye?" Or to put it in Moffatt’s translation: "How is it that you see the splinter in your brother’s eye and fail to see the plank in your own eye?" And this is one of the tragedies of human nature. So we begin to love our enemies and love those persons that hate us whether in collective life or individual life by looking at ourselves.

    A second thing that an individual must do in seeking to love his enemy is to discover the element of good in his enemy, and everytime you begin to hate that person and think of hating that person, realize that there is some good there and look at those good points which will over-balance the bad points.

    I’ve said to you on many occasions that each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality. We’re split up and divided against ourselves. And there is something of a civil war going on within all of our lives. There is a recalcitrant South of our soul revolting against the North of our soul. And there is this continual struggle within the very structure of every individual life. There is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Ovid, the Latin poet, "I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do." There is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Plato that the human personality is like a charioteer with two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in different directions. There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Goethe, "There is enough stuff in me to make both a gentleman and a rogue." There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Apostle Paul, "I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do."

    File:Cole Thomas The Course of Empire The Arcadian or Pastoral State 1836.jpgThomas Cole, The Course of Empire, The Arcadian State

    So somehow the "isness" of our present nature is out of harmony with the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts us. And this simply means this: That within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls "the image of God," you begin to love him in spite of. No matter what he does, you see God’s image there. There is an element of goodness that he can never sluff off. Discover the element of good in your enemy. And as you seek to hate him, find the center of goodness and place your attention there and you will take a new attitude.

    File:Cole Thomas The Consummation The Course of the Empire 1836.jpgThomas Cole, The Course of Empire, The Consummation

    Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must do it. That is the meaning of love. In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.

    And this is what Jesus means, I think, in this very passage when he says, "Love your enemy." And it’s significant that he does not say, "Like your enemy." Like is a sentimental something, an affectionate something. There are a lot of people that I find it difficult to like. I don’t like what they do to me. I don’t like what they say about me and other people. I don’t like their attitudes. I don’t like some of the things they’re doing. I don’t like them. But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them. You refuse to do anything that will defeat an individual, because you have agape in your soul. And here you come to the point that you love the individual who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. This is what Jesus means when he says, "Love your enemy." This is the way to do it. When the opportunity presents itself when you can defeat your enemy, you must not do it.

    Now for the few moments left, let us move from the practical how to the theoretical why. It’s not only necessary to know how to go about loving your enemies, but also to go down into the question of why we should love our enemies. I think the first reason that we should love our enemies, and I think this was at the very center of Jesus’ thinking, is this: that hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. [tapping on pulpit] It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil. And that is the tragedy of hate, that it doesn’t cut it off. It only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love.

    I think I mentioned before that sometime ago my brother and I were driving one evening to Chattanooga, Tennessee, from Atlanta. He was driving the car. And for some reason the drivers were very discourteous that night. They didn’t dim their lights; hardly any driver that passed by dimmed his lights. And I remember very vividly, my brother A. D. looked over and in a tone of anger said: "I know what I’m going to do. The next car that comes along here and refuses to dim the lights, I’m going to fail to dim mine and pour them on in all of their power." And I looked at him right quick and said: "Oh no, don’t do that. There’d be too much light on this highway, and it will end up in mutual destruction for all. Somebody got to have some sense on this highway."

    Somebody must have sense enough to dim the lights, and that is the trouble, isn’t it? That as all of the civilizations of the world move up the highway of history, so many civilizations, having looked at other civilizations that refused to dim the lights, and they decided to refuse to dim theirs. And Toynbee tells that out of the twenty-two civilizations that have risen up, all but about seven have found themselves in the junkheap of destruction. It is because civilizations fail to have sense enough to dim the lights. And if somebody doesn’t have sense enough to turn on the dim and beautiful and powerful lights of love in this world, the whole of our civilization will be plunged into the abyss of destruction. And we will all end up destroyed because nobody had any sense on the highway of history. Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/64/Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_Destruction_1836.jpgThomas Cole, The Course of Empire, Destruction


    There’s another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates. You just begin hating somebody, and you will begin to do irrational things. You can’t see straight when you hate. You can’t walk straight when you hate. You can’t stand upright. Your vision is distorted. There is nothing more tragic than to see an individual whose heart is filled with hate. He comes to the point that he becomes a pathological case. For the person who hates, you can stand up and see a person and that person can be beautiful, and you will call them ugly. For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful. For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That’s what hate does. You can’t see right. The symbol of objectivity is lost. Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater. And this is why Jesus says hate [recording interrupted]

    . . . that you want to be integrated with yourself, and the way to be integrated with yourself is be sure that you meet every situation of life with an abounding love. Never hate, because it ends up in tragic, neurotic responses. Psychologists and psychiatrists are telling us today that the more we hate, the more we develop guilt feelings and we begin to subconsciously repress or consciously suppress certain emotions, and they all stack up in our subconscious selves and make for tragic, neurotic responses. And may this not be the neuroses of many individuals as they confront life that that is an element of hate there. And modern psychology is calling on us now to love. But long before modern psychology came into being, the world’s greatest psychologist who walked around the hills of Galilee told us to love. He looked at men and said: "Love your enemies; don’t hate anybody." It’s not enough for us to hate your friends because—to to love your friends—because when you start hating anybody, it destroys the very center of your creative response to life and the universe; so love everybody. Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life. So Jesus says love, because hate destroys the hater as well as the hated.

    History unfortunately leaves some people oppressed and some people oppressors. And there are three ways that individuals who are oppressed can deal with their oppression. One of them is to rise up against their oppressors with physical violence and corroding hatred. But oh this isn’t the way. For the danger and the weakness of this method is its futility. Violence creates many more social problems than it solves. And I’ve said, in so many instances, that as the Negro, in particular, and colored peoples all over the world struggle for freedom, if they succumb to the temptation of using violence in their struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. Violence isn’t the way.

    But there is another way. And that is to organize mass non-violent resistance based on the principle of love. It seems to me that this is the only way as our eyes look to the future. As we look out across the years and across the generations, let us develop and move right here. We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world. We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way. Jesus discovered that.

    File:Cole Thomas The Course of Empire Desolation 1836.jpgThomas Cole, The Course of Empire, Desolation

    Wednesday
    Sep172014

    The Fate of the Earth

    If you're looking for a wonderful and informative non-fiction book to read, I suggest you read The Fate of the Earth by Jonathan Schell (1943 - 2014); you'll learn more than you ever wanted to know about nuclear weapons (Although Terminator 2 is a good start).  Here's a excerpt:

            It is possible to picture a nuclear attack of any shape or size.  An attack might use all the weapons at the attacker’s disposal or any portion of them.  It might be aimed at military targets, at industry, at the population, or at all or some combination of these.  The attack might be mainly air-burst, and would increase the range of severe damage from the blast waves, or it might be mainly ground-burst, to destroy hard targets such as land-based nuclear missiles or command-and-control centers, or it might combine air bursts and ground bursts in any proportion.  It could be launched in the daytime or at night, in the summer or in winter, with warning or without warning.  The sequence of events once hostilities had begun also lies open.  For example, it seems quite possible that the leaders of a nation that had just suffered a nuclear attack would be sparing in their response, tailoring it to political objectives rather than to the vengeful aim of wiping out the society whose leaders had lunched the attack.  On the other hand, they night retaliate with all the forces at their disposal, as they say they will do.  Then again, the two sides might expend their forces gradually, in a series of ad-hoc “exchanges,” launched in an atmosphere of misinformation and intellectual and moral disorientation.  The state of mind of the decision-makers might be one of calm rationality, of hatred, of shock, of hysteria, or even of outright insanity.  They might follow coldly reasoned scenarios of destruction to the letter, and exterminate one another in that way.  Or, for all we are able to know now, having at first hardened their “resolve” to follow the scenarios through to the end, the might suddenly reverse themselves, and proceed to the negotiating table after only incompletely destroying one another.  Lacking any experience of what decisions human beings make under full-scale nuclear attack, we simply do know what they would do.

     
                                                                                                                                                       -Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth

    5 minutes to midnight
    The Doomsday Clock.  It is 5 minutes to midnight.



     

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