The Brothers Karamazov

"Actually, people sometimes talk about man's 'bestial' cruelty, but that is being terribly unjust and offensive to the beasts..."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Becoming Over Being. Becoming Over Being. Om! (repeat)

America's Mantra (with obeisance): Becoming Over Being. Becoming Over Being. Becoming Over Being. Om!

This is the American shibboleth that proscribes the reality of here and now as never sufficient unto itself. Always the future; seldom the present, never ever,right now. And accordingly we invariably equate our becoming to the elixer, the grail, the greener-grass promise of growth. Perpetual growth, as in the state of forever growing but never being quite being grown(up?).

Other cultures, it is true, predicate the future in terms suggestive of our idea of growth but we seem to have a lot more invested in the very essence of growth. Wall Street and it's coterie of talking heads use the word as a verb, a noun, an adjective, almost as benediction. As does official Washington. No president would consider a State of the Union address without growth this, growth that and then more of the same. Nor should we expect any absence of this utterance to go unnoticed. Markets would surely crash, panic and woe would abound; we'd have an unknown future to behold without the soothing balm of growth.

Maybe it's in our genes; our very RNA as Americans. A look at the past reminds one why 'Go West Young Man', Eminent Domain and 'Westward Ho'! are so us. Always a new place to go if the old place grows stale or the soil goes sour or if the sheriff proves troublesome without realizing a pathology, perhaps fugue, is manifesting itself. These frontier behaviors of ours may well be ancestor to our contemporary mania for unlimited growth and our low esteem for present reality.

Other, older, more settled cultures don't exhibit this pathology, but instead have a provincial predisposition to be suspicious of all beyond the shire or county of residence. In fact, in our insistence on modernity and progress we unwittingly reveal our own nature as "provincials" in that we also fail to look beyond the moment. The great bastion of our provincialism is our Mecca, the Big Apple, Gotham,a.k.a. New York City. Its minions regard the five boros as the known world and Manhattan Island from the Nineties to the Battery as the shining City on the Hill. "Beyond this place, there be dragons!".

Unfortunately, our homely provincialism casts a worldwide shadow. Cloistered in their towers monkish growth mongers in finance and academe cobble-together and promulgate a world that is always in the act of becoming and never just is. Sort of ironic that United Nations Headquarters was established in such a village.
Unlimited growth makes perfect sense if you are a metastasizing cancer cell but not for a viable nation.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Technology: The Last Refuge of Scoundrels

Patriotism, has long been, as Samuel Johnson notably opined, the traditional last refuge of scoundrels. Nowadays, a new refuge for the breed has become extremely popular: Technology.
Having about exhausted the hectoring effect of the old standby, **patriotism**, this new kid has been brought up from the minors and groomed for stardom.

And what a brilliant choice it has turned out to be! Look here, doesn't everybody just love technology; Bigscreen,wideangled,
megapixel,supersized,hybrid,jetpropelled,catscanned and defibrillated? Give us more of it! And they will; for a price. And the price may well be dehumanization, not bargained for but hidden in the fine print.

The latest candidate for the Bollix Prize in desperation technology is in itself a clone of a bad idea. This tidbit describes the twisted grandfather of today's horror show. Note:

" the war went on the Germans put more and more faith in technology, launching rocket bombs at a time when they could serve no purpose but the creation of a spirit of vengeance, illustrating how blind to total reality one may become...
Ideas Have Consequences by Richard M. Weaver

Nazi Buzz Bomb

Seven decades later another desperate state reaches for a technology fix that will only serve to guarantee undying animosity throughout a strategically sensitive region.

Drone Plane
Much as the Nazis did earlier, we station civilians in remote outposts who attack targets by guess, hunch or rumor and are as likely to kill innocents as not. Monitoring unmanned drone planes by remote control removes the operator from reality and responsibility. Reports come to us from former bomber pilots expressing remorse over the impersonal aspect of their efforts in regard to civilian casualties. At least these airmen were usually in harms way during the sorties they flew. Not so our minions in air-conditioned comfort in Las Vegas, blithely blasting whole families to oblivion, concerned mainly with promotions, chicks and off duty casino play.

Operative Unit

As the cost of our overseas adventures increases dramatically, pressure also increases to get whatever new technology is available that will give the best return for the (borrowed?) money. As a result our guys begin to resemble Star Wars Troopers and present about as much of the human aspect as their cinematic predecessors.

Alas, the enemy they encounter operates at about as low-tech level as is humanly possible, and is exceedingly hard to detect despite the GeeWhiz gadgets abounding. I mean, a twenty year old local girl jihadist wearing a cummerbund stuffed with C-4 explosive; what chance does a Star Warrior have? They won't fight fair.

And why do they hate us?


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Maybe it's Crazy Glue: Redux

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."

John F. Kennedy

We are slowly coming to the realization that the glue that holds it all together is drying up and losing it's grip. For over two hundred anxious years we have told ourselves that we, among nations, are unique. That elsewhere lies the "old-country",the great unwashed, those "lesser breeds without the law", and the hopelessly out-of-date

.This glue helped us to tame a wilderness, destroy one people and enslave another, fight our innumerable wars for property and/or money and made us rich. But it seems to be drying up folks, starting to let go and peel away at the edges...slowly, now faster.

The American Myth is the glue that binds us when all else is failing. But if we no longer believe the stories and legends, the sensed rightness of all that we are and do, does that mean they delaminate and fail? Or will new myths pop up to replace the old? Happened elsewhere, lots of time. Early Japanese Shinto v. Buddhist traditions, Fourth Century Rome, Berlin 1930's, come to mind. Got to keep those stories coming because, alas, No Myth...No Nation.

Now it's been a hundred years of ever improving propaganda from print, to radio, to movies,-TV and lately the web that have provided generations of slick liars and earnest boosters a high podium to dissemble and reinforce the American mythology. All terribly effective; sell soap, and sell the stories of nationhood with the same voice.But they oversold it, folks, big time. Got caught up in their own success and went over the top. And now, finally, people are slowly, ever so slowly, waking up to the Big Lie.

We are not unique, never were. We are not all good and wise and noble. Too many pictures, too many reports have surfaced of too many nasty deeds done in our name all over the place for too, damn long. Too much money sticking to the hands of too few of us and too many lies about why that is. Folks are not as ready as they once were to drink the cool-aid or believe the half-truths and absolute fictions ever so slyly promulgated; about why things need to be this way.

On some level, mostly subconscious at this point in time, Americans know the game is up. That the powers that be are not leveling with us. The information sneaks in stealthily that everything is different from what we are told. That things will not be returning to what we've known in the past... ever. All sorts are wild and bizarre statements and actions will be the new norm for the nonce.

Without information free from spin and slant people will thrash around for guidance and direction. A lot of this will be frightening for many, certainly unpleasant, but not unexpected after several generations of disinformation serving as truth. Anything we are told these days, particularly on the very best authority, best forget it and keep digging around. Somewhere beyond the noise is the truth.

So suck it up, friends, a new day is here and what hope there is will come from our own wise instincts of what's best for us.

" Nothing will see us through the age we're entering but high consciousness, and that comes hard. We don't have a good, modern myth yet, and we need one.
"Robert Johnson

Quoth the Raving



Julius Caesar

Veni,Vedi,Vici...Sidi ( I stuck around )

Uncle Sam


....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

All I know, all any of us know, is what we're told.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

If it walks like a depression, talks like a depression, and looks like a depression; it's a recovery.

...Zero Gravitas

Nice paint job

Nice paint job
Watch your step!

Quoth the Raving

Full scale War in Korea; we called it a Police Action
Police Action in Iraq; we call it a War.

...Zero Gravitas


Gene Pool?

Gene Pool?

Quoth the Raving

Ecology is an impending Black Swan quagmire therefore incorporation is anathema to Economists.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

An incoming US President who does not immediately resign his office after having received eyes-only briefings of what's really going on is hopelessly co-opted or delusional.
....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

We are now a nation of middlemen. What becomes of us if the center cannot hold?

....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving


Why not use some of the red ink to make things Green?

....Zero Gravitas

"Ashes to Ashes"

"Ashes to Ashes"