Several handsome acolytes boarded the Pequod….

Ffolkes,
The gloves are coming off today; I can feel it already…. My curmudgeonly side is awake and eager to dive into today’s Pearl with a vengeance, and my radical side is right behind, goading him on.  Throw in my current lack of anything to lose, other than my life and dignity, and a dash of outrage, and it makes for a quite volatile package.  It promises to get interesting, for sure….

That being said, in fair warning, let us warm up with a bit of phantasm, eh?…..

As he moved up the steps from the street to the door of home, Samuel Beck could only feel relief and fatigue. Visions of a warm fire, a comfortable chair, and a bracing snifter of Napoleon’s finest merged happily in the forefront of his mind as he fit his key into the lock. Comforting visions vanished away, instantly, as the door slowly swung open before he turned the key, revealing a scene of such horror, of such vicious terror, that it would never fade completely from his memory.

A body, of a mid-sized man in all-over black clothing, lay about 10 feet from the door, obviously dead as a result of the neat bullet hole in his forehead. Whoever he was, he had not died easily, for furniture lay all around the foyer, and into the visible parlor, smashed and strewn about, just as if two or more men had fought a pitched battle in the rooms, destroying many of the less sturdy pieces. In the parlor, there was evidence of further mayhem, as blood was visible in several areas on the floor, enough to show that more than one person had been bleeding there.  Reddish-brown stains also showed in several places on the walls. Though apparent that more than one person had been there, only the one body remained…..

Not as shocked as might have been assumed, Samuel gazed at the destruction, both of his house, and of his daydreams of a comforting welcome home from what had been a very difficult journey. With a sigh of resignation, he stepped into the foyer, and remarked to himself, “Well, it looks as though they didn’t break the brandy bottle, anyway. I wonder if any of the glasses have survived.” On that note, he closed the door behind him, and prepared to deal with whatever had taken place while he was gone…. He was beginning to regret ever becoming an assassin…..

Aha! So, that’s where the assassin came from! Now we know his name, and that he likes Napoleon brandy…. I wonder where he stashed the little girl?  Ah well, no matter, we have other fish to fry, so to speak…. let us Pearl, shall we?….
___________________________________

“It is the final proof of God’s omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us.” — Peter De Vries

“It is certain because it is impossible.” — Tertullias

The above two statements, each of which reflects the other, are commonly used as arguments in favor of the existence of God. Though tautological by nature, people seem to accept this type of argument readily, and clasp it tightly to their mental bosom, never to let go. I suppose this is a factor of that part of human nature that prefers to be lazy, and not have to think overmuch about anything, much less about such subtle, convoluted treatises on the existence of their chosen deity.

It has always seemed to me, since the age of 14 or so, when I first began to examine what I had been taught in a critical light, that the religious beliefs of most people are based on this factor. I noted as well, when one has accepted the premise of God’s omnipotence, then one’s own sense of responsibility becomes a moot point. No matter how egregiously immoral, no matter how unethical one’s actions may be, these folks have the ultimate get out of Hell card; divine forgiveness by the Son of God….  It is a quite convenient way to justify even the most insane, cruel, and viciously antisocial acts, when committed in the name of the Lord, or for the glory of the State.

Even the most immoral of acts of a personal nature, such as theft, infidelity, or casual cruelty to those weaker, are forgiven. Though all the Christian sects have some form of forgiveness in place, Catholics seem to have the most efficient system for relieving any possible guilt over such acts. They are given the opportunity each week, or even daily, to confess these “sins” and receive absolution that guarantees there will be no lasting or important consequences for their acts, other than having to recite some canonical platitudes they were made to memorize as a child, to help speed the process along…..

Ah, but I forget! Religion, along with almost every other subject of a complex nature that requires an expenditure of mental energy to comprehend, is not based on logical reason, or even structured thought of any kind… it is based on fear. Fear of the great unknown, Death. The folks who become preachers & priests are those who, in different circumstances, would be salesmen and shop clerks, selling their goods for the greatest amount of profit they could squeeze from an unsuspecting public, while maintaining that their shoddily made goods are of the finest cloth.

Instead, they offer relief from the ever present fear of Death, with a poorly constructed, but flashily dressed system of beliefs that offers not only (illogical) proof of victory over Death, but takes away all responsibility for one’s actions here on Earth. With an attractive hook like that, how else could people choose?….. They make it very easy to jump on the wagon, and only those who can think, and prefer to do so, can see the fallacies in what they are offering, and that the wheels of the wagon are about to fall off….

“It is possible to pray hard enough that water will run uphill. How hard? Why, hard enough to make water run uphill, of course!” — Lazarus Long (Robert Heinlein)
___________________________________

“…I am opposed to all attempts to license or restrict the arming of individuals…I consider such laws a violation of civil liberty, subversive of democratic political institutions, and self-defeating in their purpose.” — Robert A. Heinlein, in a 1949 letter concerning “Red Planet”

“You cannot conquer a free man, the most you can do is kill him.” — Lazarus Long (Robert Heinlein)

“An armed society is a polite society.” — Robert A. Heinlein, ‘The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress’ (Think about it….)

“An hour’s perusal of our national charter makes it hard to understand what the argle-bargle is about. The First Amendment forbids infringements of the freedom of speech “except for commercials on children’s television” or “unless somebody says ‘****’ in a rap song or ‘chick’ on a college campus.”  The Second Amendment states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be  infringed,” period. There is no mention of magazine size, rate of fire, or to what extent those arms may resemble assault rifles.” — P. J. O’Rourke

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” — James Madison

I’m sensing a theme here… I’m sure I could find and include a great many more such quotes from famous historical Americans, but there seems to be a consensus, so we’ll leave it at five for now. I’m also not going to discuss this further, at this time, as I believe I’ve already made my feelings and thoughts on this matter quite clear. These folks have all said it at least as well as I can, and in most cases, better. So, I will only ask you to consider what they say, and think about it….. if you have any thoughts to contribute, well, I am a firm believer in the power of dialogue, so please feel free to comment where appropriate….
___________________________________

“An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.” — Simon Cameron (1799-1889)

The mere presence of this quote in the literature of Man is disheartening, to say the least, for it implies that the condition it describes is so prevalent that it requires statement, and acknowledgment of its truth. It is sort of like all those strange laws one finds in the old archives of some of the states, like “There will be no sheep allowed to wear makeup”, or other such nonsense. The scary part is that one knows that the law was written because somebody was actually DOING that….. so we know, by deduction, that the statement about politicians exists only because it is already true…..

It is not only the mere existence of this concept that is annoying to me, and to all of society; it is the truth it proclaims that is so hard to accept. We, as a society, know this to be true, yet we continue to act as if it were not. We vote for the fools who parade their ignorance in front of the crowds who, for some reason unfathomable to me, flock to hear and see these sociopathic liars in person, to hear their outrageous claims and idiotic platforms straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

I sometimes wonder if they expect that the pundits and talking heads will tell the truth, if what they say is uttered right in front of them. Of course, there is no evidence that will support such belief, but, people believe all sorts of things that aren’t true, that is for sure…. As a matter of fact, I often feel as if people don’t WANT to hear the truth, because they never, ever make any attempt to ascertain whether or not they have. In fact, the more outrageous and false the claim, the quicker and more deeply it is believed, so it seems. I guess we should chalk that up to human perversity…. nothing else explains it, as it is a completely useless state of mind, from a survival standpoint….

I’m not sure that a solution to this issue is possible. There doesn’t seem to be any way to convince the general public to make any effort to rein in their elected officials.  Hell, sometimes the American people act as if they are enjoying their increasing slavery…. they certainly are making very little effort to stop any of its advances upon their rights and privileges as a free society.

But, that, I suppose, is just desserts, in a way…. and they will deserve whatever happens to them…. Unfortunately, it will happen to the rest of us as well, and that is unacceptable to me…. so I’ll just keep my powder dry, my head down, and my ears wide open to hear the sound of approaching tyranny…..

“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.” — Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals

“The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.” — Henry L. Mencken
___________________________________

“It was a saying of the ancients, “Truth lies in a well;” and to carry on this metaphor, we may justly say that logic does supply us with steps, whereby we may go down to reach the water.” — Dr. I. Watts

That is to say, logic does do so, if it is used by a competent mind. In the hands of someone less perceptive, logic can be a WMD, in the vernacular of the 1990’s.  ‘Tis also unfortunate that the folks who fit the latter category tend to use it all too often, and having done so, look about them at the destruction they have wrought with a smug, self-satisfied air, totally ignorant of the increase in entropy they have engendered with their blundering about…..

On the other hand, when used well, logic can be a very powerful tool for finding Truth, even if buried at the bottom of a well. The trick is to use logic like a scalpel, to cut away extraneous facts to reveal Truth, not as a cudgel, to beat Truth into submission. If more of mankind were competent in the use of logic, and not of its abuse, perhaps we would not be facing quite so many difficulties as now exist…. It’s worth a try, in my opinion…. unfortunately, it is also my opinion that it’s never going to happen, because using logic takes mental effort, something the average American will avoid to the best of their ability…..

“Do not speak of what men deserve.   For we each of us deserve everything, every luxury that was ever piled in the tombs of the dead Kings, and we each  of us deserve nothing, not a mouthful of bread in hunger.   Have we not eaten while another starved?  Will you punish us for that?  Will you reward us for the virtue of starving while others ate?  No man earns punishment, no man earns reward.  Free your mind of the idea of *deserving*, of *earning*, and you will begin to be able to think.” — Odo, The Prison Letters (Ursula LeGuin, _The Dispossessed_)
___________________________________

Look back on time with kindly eyes,
He doubtless did his best;
How softly sinks his trembling son
In human nature’s west!
— Emily Dickinson

Emily is included here for the intellectual version of comic relief. Compared to religion, politics, the Second Amendment, and the search for Truth, a discussion of time, or poetry, could be considered a bit tame. But, the power of Emily’s mad little rhymes can, in my estimation, stand up next to any subject and look them right in the eye.

This particular verse is one I’ve never seen before, and completely lives up to my expressed opinion. In four lines she expresses ideas and concepts that an hour-long lesson in a university classroom would be needed to cover if discussed in prose. Time, human nature, even compassion, all in such a compact little vessel; it makes one wonder what Emily would have done, had she ever applied her hand to Haiku…. Sheer beauty, incredible power, and deeply meaningful thoughts given in 17 syllables, would be my guess as to results. Ah well, what she did leave us is more than could be hoped for anyway….

And, if nothing else, reading this will banish most of the darkness that may have covered our eyes after reading and considering the previous sections…. so, enjoy!…..
___________________________________

Well….. though serious enough, I suppose the gloves never came all the way off… My knuckles aren’t bloody and scraped up, so the blows I threw struck soft tissue, for the most part. But, a shot is a shot, and I got a few good licks in, so I am content for the nonce….. and I always enjoy having a chance to use the word “nonce” in a sentence… Such a fine word, and so seldom used I like to give it as much exposure as possible, lest it pass completely out of usage…. Now that you are completely convinced of my oddity, if not insanity, I will bring this to a close…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.

gigoid

Kowabunga!