New Soap Opera: As The World Burns

We’re calling the tune but it’s future generations and perhaps the species who will pay the piper.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we occupy ourselves with anything which can distract us from the harsh truths we are unwiling to face.

We seem to have our heads stuffed so far up our myths we can’t see daylight.
I never saw a better example of the cliche that “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”.

Chris Hedges at Truthdig.
Like most of his writing, this article is so tightly written I could not extract highlights.
Just read the whole thing. And weep.

Another damn shooting

Is there something in the water in Aurora?
Four dead, including the gunman.

I have generally avoided the brouhaha over gun control as being an issue of two sides preaching to their respective choirs. The discussions seem revolve around the choice of: on the one hand – militarize kindergardens; on the other hand – nothing more dangerous than a marshmallow.
If we could simply exclude the two extremes, we might have a fruitful discussion, but I don’t see that happening. In theory, this is a perfect instance of where political leadership should manifest itself, and it is a sharp indictment of our politicians that no such leadership is apparent.
It does not bode well for a sensible resolution to the problem.

Other Horizons

There are beauties I have seen
over the years and over the years
the beauties cling in memory
like cockleburs, persistent, tiny
and a little bit irritating.

For some, the turn of the year is a time to look back; for others, a time to look forward.
Wherever you look, pay attention.
Beauty is everywhere, often ephemeral, its only permanence our attention and memory.

Courtesy and permission Timothy Allen

Courtesy and permission Betty Gillis


Intertoobz (Vancouver freelance photographer Richard Lam?)


Courtesy and permission Timothy Allen


A Catholic view.

A person deprived of beauty is like a person deprived of love.

Cultures pursue beauty in their own ways knowing that without the experience of beauty, humanity remains sad and woefully incomplete.

Another view.

Beauty opens the door to creativity and wisdom.
…by attending to beauty and enlarging our sense of beauty, we are able to live with greater appreciation, engagement, wonder, and reverence.
Beauty connects us to what is holy.

Art and Beauty

It is through art that we create realities. In many African languages, there is no separate word for Beauty, although objects and artifacts are highly decorated. Beauty does holds the mirror up to who we are and opens the door to the only true escape, what Paul Tillich calls “the fullness of reality”: the escape to the present that we continually create. This is a deeper reality, a meeting of the essential and existential in the real. The distinction between subject and object blurs.

Share the things that bring beauty into your life.

What follows the non-apocalypse?

To the surprise of no one with a brain, the world did not instantly change directions on 12/21/12. That doesn’t mean the old order isn’t falling apart.
It just means most of us are unprepared for what will replace it.

The Archdruid Report has a thoughtful post today, as usual.

The one thing next to nobody wants to talk about is the one thing that distinguished the largely successful environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s from the largely futile environmental movement since that time, which is that activists in the earlier movement were willing to start the ball rolling by making the necessary changes in their own lives first. The difficulty, of course, is that making these changes is precisely what many of today’s green activists are desperately trying to avoid. That’s understandable, since transitioning to a lifestyle that’s actually sustainable involves giving up many of the comforts, perks, and privileges central to the psychology and identity of people in modern industrial societies.

Those of my readers who would like to see this last bit of irony focused to incandescence need only get some comfortably middle class eco-liberal to start waxing lyrical about life in the sustainable world of the future, when we’ll all have to get by on a small fraction of our current resource base. This is rarely difficult; I field such comments quite often, sketching out a rose-colored contrast between today’s comfortable but unsatisfying lifestyles and the more meaningful and fulfilling existence that will be ours in a future of honest hard work in harmony with nature. Wait until your target is in full spate, and then point out that he could embrace that more meaningful and fulfilling lifestyle right now by the simple expedient of discarding the comforts and privileges that stand in the way. You’ll get to watch backpedaling on a heroic scale, accompanied by a flurry of excuses meant to justify your target’s continued dependence on the very comforts and privileges he was belittling a few moments before.

Why are we not doing what we know needs to be done?

…what they lack, by and large, is the courage to act on that knowledge.

Somebody mention New Years Resolutions?

Contemplating anonymity

What Turned Jaron Lanier Against The Web?

Whole article is worth reading – and thinking about.

Lanier was one of the creators of our current digital reality and now he wants to subvert the “hive mind,” as the web world’s been called, before it engulfs us all, destroys political discourse, economic stability, the dignity of personhood and leads to social catastrophe.

if you say we’re creating the information economy, except that we’re making information free, then what we’re saying is we’re destroying the economy.

Continue reading

Another consequence of racism

Present day soldiers, who mutilate enemy corpses or take body-parts as trophies, are typically considered to be suffering from the extreme stresses of battle.

But, research [] shows that this sort of misconduct has most often been carried out by fighters who viewed the enemy as racially different from themselves and used images of the hunt to describe their actions.

“The roots of this behavour lie [] in a social history of racism and in military traditions that use hunting metaphors for war. Although this misconduct is very rare, it has persisted in predictable patterns since the European Enlightenment. This was the period when the first ideologies of race began to appear, classifying some human populations as closer to animals than others.”

Metaphors of ‘war-as-hunting’ that lie at the root of such misconduct are still strong in some armed forces in Europe and North America, not only in military training but in the media and in soldiers’ own self-perception.

Why soldiers mutilate the enemy.

No wonder the suicide rate among vets is so high

This is just beyond tears.

I’ve been reading the rare posts on this blog for a while – and they should all be read – but I seldom comment simply because words are insufficient.

I’m sure there are many more women and probably gays in similar circumstances.

All I can do is agitate for better VA funding and programs and speak up for tighter controls in the military.

And weep. Continue reading

The 4 companies that control the 147 companies that own everything.

Interesting article from Forbes.

Researchers at a desk in midtown Manhattan are the butterflies that cause the hurricanes in the markets. For instance, 37% of all index funds in stocks are in a S&P 500 index fund. That’s $370 billion directly buying and selling stocks based on when the S&P analysts decide to drop ITT from the S&P500 and replace it with just one of three ITT spin-off, Xylem, as announced on Monday. Then add on top of that all of the so-called active mutual funds aiming to beat the S&P 500 (but still reflect 95% of the S&P in their funds) who react to the change and then all of the hedge funds who trade ahead of time trying to guess what S&P may drop or add.
…when you discuss power in the world markets, the answer isn’t what you think it is.