~~ Plutarch ~~
— Alexander —
Above the most excellent face of the brooding owl**, you see the root origin of the modern phrase, and society-wide, commonly held, basic life philosophy, which is now stated, “My way, or the highway.”….. This simple concept has been the primary philosophical model for every dictator, conqueror, king, CEO, pope, shogun, emperor, capo, cardinal, prime minister, “reclusive billionaire”, drug kingpin, arms dealer, etc. that has lived since Alexander’s time….
Most likely, events that would lead historical philosophers, such as Plutarch, to make the observation he made about Alexander, happened well before that time, albeit, perhaps, with a lesser degree of cooperation, and acceptance of this concept as the norm for society, from such large numbers of the mundane members of society, the proletariat,the bourgeois, the little people of society who are now alive in such improbable numbers, exceeding seven billion individuals…. In short, Alexander’s example made it okay for all the other petty conquerors and those of a predatory nature toward their peers to entertain the idea of conquest and control with much greater enthusiasm, along with the approbation of most of society….
Since the advent of effective brainwashing techniques, that go by such average, unsuspecting names as religion, politics, public relations, advertising, and large sporting events (an institution to sublimate war, and the individual’s predilection for violence, evolved from the ancient Roman circus, as an excellent method of keeping society distracted by its own impulses), huge portions of humanity have been trained to passively go along with whatever they are told, quite docilely, even believing they are making up their own minds about how they live, and even what they think…
These unfortunate people never know, throughout their entire lives, that they are the victims of a historical force (farce?) that has dictated the structure and make-up of society for many thousands of years, all without most people even knowing they were being fooled into basing their entire existence on a set of delusions, taught to them by someone they trusted, before they had any chance to defend their mind from the lies…..
Whew…. Now, I’m out of breath, and haven’t even gotten to the pearls, or begun what might resemble an introduction….. SIGH…. I guess it’ll be alright…. No harm, no foul, right? Or, is that an offshoot of the brainwashing? Hmm, I’ll have to think about that one….
For now, let’s try something else, maybe even new…. I don’t know what that might be, and it will require using the Tardis, but, I’m not afraid…. Are you? Well, sorry, but, it’s too late now to do anything about it; we’ve been past Earth’s orbit for about five minutes now, and will just have to do the entire Great Circle of the Entire Universe, to get home again…. and that won’t happen until AFTER the pearls are done… I guess we’d best get to that, eh?
Shall we Pearl?….
“But groundless hope, like unconditional love, is the only kind worth having.” — EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow, “Cynthia Horner’s Eulogy”, Apr. 1994
** The picture is from the London Daily Telegraph from a week ago; it came from a series they run each week, The Week in Animal Pictures….
“Confronted with the choice, the American people would choose the policeman’s truncheon over the anarchist’s bomb.” — Spiro T. Agnew
Sure they would; you keep thinking that, Spiro…. Oh, right, you’re dead. Just as well, I would say; you didn’t help much when you were alive…. Sorry, but, Spiro’s comment was one of the first signs in this country of where the mindset of public policy was heading. In spite of the advances in other areas of society and culture, in terms of the humanizing effects of social changes that were prompted by the increasingly obvious ill effects of centuries of various types of oppression.
Vast social unrest spawned social revolution, starting rather abruptly in the late 1950’s to the early 1960’s…. “Movements” swept through the entire nation, ignited by the ideas coming out of the nation’s universities, movements such as the women’s right’s movement, the Free Speech movement, Free Love….. Black Panthers, Grey Panthers, Gay Pride, and all the other new ideas caused changes to society, and law, all caming out of the unrest in the last fifty years of the twentieth century, but had building during the entire first half….All of which is now seeing even more fruition, as LGBT rights, immigrant’s rights, health care reform, etc. are all undergoing vast changes in social importance….
As is clear by now, though I can’t spend a long time at one sitting, there are several news subjects which will keep me at the computer, sometimes too long… but, mental activity is often sufficient distraction from pain to become the primary focus of attention, so I end up sitting until I get stiff & sore, & have to move for a while…. One of those subjects is the increasingly disturbing behavior of the police, in not just this country, but all over the world.
The issue is one I consider a weather vane of societal issues; what one sees in the news about it gives an overall idea of what is being said in many areas of concern, as well as providing clues, and obvious tells, that indicate what is being held back, by the media, by the police themselves, and by those who allegedly give them their orders, i.e., politicians… All of it, taken together, provides information regarding the overall health of the society…. I hate to say it, but, the prognosis doesn’t look good….
Of course, even that statement shows how society’s idea of what police SHOULD be, has changed, now colored by reality, which has evolved to show us how the very WORST human characteristics are, all-too-often, those qualities held to be what public officers of safety should have, in order to do the job well…. Large, aggressive, individuals who get a sense of self-satisfaction at controlling others, combined with a willingness to consider themselves not subject to those laws they are to uphold, have become the personality type that gravitates to police work, and we, the people of the world who are not interested in controlling anything but our own destiny, suffer the consequences of this process, i.e., the ongoing militarization of the entire public safety sector….
“Safety” is the key word, and another word whose meaning has altered, in terms of what is implied about WHOSE safety is being protected…. What the public police forces now work so hard to protect is not the set of individual rights, and the safety of the common citizen, but, rather, the protection of the property, (first), and rights, and safety, of the corporate interests who control the political process….
Protecting the rights of American citizens to protest has become secondary to “keeping the public peace”, a simple yet effective euphemism, which translates into reality as protecting property; police in this country now view the public as the enemy, from whom protection is needed, to keep property secure, to keep business operating, so the profit margin of the corporate snakeheads never falls below what is considered acceptable to them…. no matter who suffers in the process….
That’s enough ranting for one session, I think…. I’m going to let the news speak for itself, to show you whereof I speak…. I’ve grouped the articles I’ve been reading, with the occasional excerpt to highlight the appropriate key information in each one so treated, in groups of three, each group from different news outlets, to show two things…. One, how different parts of the world view the same issues, and two, how the reporting of the issues, no matter which outlet is reporting, is lacking in certain areas, areas that the people who control the news don’t want discussed. I find those absences to be just as telling as what is actually noted in the articles…. Any who, without further ramble or blather, here is a raft of evidence, of the sadly ubiquitous corruption of one of our most critical public institutions, taking place right in front of our eyes…..
“It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man’s shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too.” — Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
From SFGATE, 8/23/2014:
“Nelson said Holtzclaw’s colleagues were upset at the allegations against a police officer.” “Most of us see it as a black eye to our profession and our department,” he said.
I hadn’t planned on reading all of the last one, but, ended up doing so; good thing, as the most telling words in the article came at the very end… these are the last two lines…. All I could think was, “Oh, poor babies! One of them is caught at a criminal act, and THEY feel like victims! What a world!
From the UK Guardian, 8/23/2014:
“John Moore, a radio presenter and fellow Vietnam veteran who said he had been friends with Page for 26 years, told the Guardian on Friday Page had served in the St Louis police for “more than 20 years” and had remained a military reservist until recently.” …. “He’s been up to his eyeballs in a riot for about two weeks, dealing with rioters in 100 degree humidity. It’s rough. It’s a warzone,” said Moore”
The italic and bold highlight is my own, to, well, highlight…. Again, my immediate thought was, “Oh, poor baby! His job is harder than he thought it was, or, perhaps merely harder than he thinks it should be; the response? Go to war with the protesters, automatically classifying, and objectifying them as the enemy in their attitude/mindset, thus, justifying, in their minds, at least, their illegal/immoral behavior….
“After what happened here I think it’s up to either our generation or our kids to step up and run for office. If none of us care to be on that council board then it’s always going to be a board full of white folks. It took something like this to happen to make people realise that,” he said.” ….”But Howard added that it may take a while and he is not confident the political reality will change. He said the protests of recent days have done more to draw attention to the situation in Ferguson than political campaigning.”…. “Without the looting, without the burning down stuff, without the tear gassing, nobody would even be interested. We tried it the old way and the old way didn’t work. The Martin Luther King way didn’t work. Being non-violent didn’t work. Once you bring a little violence, they pay attention,” he said.
Notice how, at the end, the man being quoted, a member of the public now at war, by police decree, has reached the point where the only remaining choice they leave themselves has to be some kind of revolution…. a word that means just means “change”, if one leaves out the connotation it suffers…. The public is beginning to see the futility of causing that change within the system, which only leaves change imposed on the system from without…. a euphemism for the application of physical force…. and, the harsher, more violent connotation of the word…. revolution….. If it happens, it won’t be a surprise; rather, it will be an example of the inevitability of violence begetting violence….
What also bothers me, a lot, is how the British news site has so much more coverage, and more thorough coverage, of the issue at hand, than does the American outlet, in spite of all of the seminal events happening smack in the middle of the American continent. I chose three from each venue, for balance, but, the choice was very much different; in the American site, I left out two articles I saw, the total being five in one day on this subject, i.e, police criminality and militarization.
In any of the Guardian articles, from the British outlet, just look at the page of any of the three articles, compared to the American page; there are a very large number of articles from today, as well as a number from their previous coverage, all of which delve more deeply into the issue than their counterpart’s efforts. And, I didn’t pick ANY commentary articles, op-eds, so to speak, from columnists or members of the reading public, from either site. But, there are none at the American site, anyway, except one of the two I didn’t include…. there are several to choose from on the Guardian…
I was going to go to another site, from somewhere else in the world, to see what kind of coverage could be found there, but, this is already long enough, and you still will have to read the articles, to decide for yourself how to feel about it all… Myself, I feel ragged out, pissed off, and a little nervous…. I’ve been ranting for an hour now on this (you can’t see the breaks I take….), hence ragged out. Pissed off, of course, at how things have deteriorated in this country I love….And, a little nervous….
I’m not afraid of much of anything, physically speaking. I’ve dealt with violence all of my life, having been raised from birth to age ten mostly on US Army bases around the US and the world. I’ve studied martial arts for many years, and know that I am capable of dealing with 99% of whatever violence happens in my immediate vicinity, as long as I am alert, and armed as usual (I carry several weapons, not visible to most people, and a couple that aren’t at all visible to the naked eye, unless one is equally skilled at martial arts, and has learned to observe the pertinent tell-tale signs, in the eyes, the stance, and, the general demeanor….).
Having personally been through over 800 altercations with persons in the throes of mental anguish, over the course of my career with the State of California, I can state unequivocally that fear is not an issue for me in such instances…. not any longer anyway…. My fear receptors got pretty well burned out there over those 11 years…. It taught me how to use my head to avoid such situations, though with the caveat that life can always surprise us, and usually when we least expect it, so, it’s a good policy to keep one’s hands free at all times…. and, to stay alert….
However, I am nervous now, because none of those weapons I carry is a gun….. but, I can foresee a future where I may be confronted with people in police uniforms who have one, and have no compunction about using it to force me to do something I really would rather not do…. When one adds a gun to any physical confrontation, the rules change, and the level of seriousness takes an immediate jump into the red zone…. Been there, done that, don’t want to go back….
But, if things go on the way they are, it may be necessary to start carrying at least the minimum firepower to meet any such confrontation without having to worry about disarming them; I’m not as fast as I used to be. Any such confrontational police officers are liable to be much younger than me, and trained, at least minimally, so, speed and power would be required to disarm them before using their superior weaponry. Since to do so would cause me to make a large payment to the gods of pain, I’d much rather think ahead, and start carrying adequate protection against such idiots….
Most likely though, I’ll just go on as I have, gunless, and use my head even more to stay away from potentially confrontational situations where the police might wish to intervene…. It’s fairly easy most of the time, because one of the glaring failures of every police hiring system in existence is the fact the candidates for the job never take a basic intelligence test, or any sort of psychological testing to determine their ability to think and act in acceptable patterns…. I’d think, for a job where the most critical factor is how the candidate will deal with the stress of the work, those would be some rather important basic things to know about any potential public servants…. but, then, I’m not a bureaucrat any more….
Here is one final article, to put a close to the discussion today…. It’s a good breakdown of the issues, and again, is from a British source, rather than an American…. It’s a good summary, and a good analysis… Naturally, there will be an appropriate pearl of virtual wisdom to bring a dignified close to such an epic discussion, of such serious nature, I’m not even going to apologize for becoming either pompous, nor for subjecting you to my pedantic tendencies…. I will, however, hope you will think about it, if only to add your own thoughts to the national dialogue in some fashion….
“It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Just how normal are we? Just who are the people we nod our hellos to as we pass on the street? A rather good question to ask–particularly in the Twilight Zone.” — Rod Serling
Oops…. that doesn’t quite hit the right spot, though, it does have some points of congruency…. We’ll try again….
“Will the third world war keep “Bosom Buddies” off the air?” — Zippy the Pinhead
Oh, Zippy…. such a fine touch at finding the most irrelevant aspect of the big picture, & focusing right in on that! Tres chic, but, not quite what I’m looking for…. That means I get just one more try at this, or I give up, & take my lumps at embarrassment….
“To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks.” — Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne
Hmm…. It’s a bit “nice” for my usual taste, but, it does work, and it does sort of fit, with the proper loosening of standards…. It will do, well enough to go on…. Looking back, I’m guessing there a huge sigh of relief passing around the cabin just now….. Oh, well, I got carried away, what can I say?…. Don’t worry, I won’t start again, by answering that question….
This is an older poem of mine, a sublimation of sorts, written after a rant I wrote in September of 2012, just prior to the election, when the GOP and Mitt, the Twit, Romney were not yet completely out of the race for the presidency; at that point, late in the race, it was still unclear if the GOP would be able to unseat the black man in the White House; fortunately for us all, they weren’t able to do so, although it was closer than even I had believed, when the incredibly scary number of 55 million voters voted for a man who would have sent us back to the dark ages….. This was the poem it drew out of me…. It’s a little pedantic, with a lot of obscure imagery and metaphor, but, also kind of powerful…. I like it, and, it rhymes, so it’s all good….
But what becomes of our deepest dangerous dreams?
Does fantasy rescue any part of life’s imperiled favor?
Reality becomes but silvery pairs of mismatched teams,
Dining with affable elegance, such diffident waste to savor.
Who decides what sorrows to carry bravely to term?
Will fragrant moments of sanity make hasty manifestation?
Only Time’s patient mutability sends messages so firm,
Yet salient impersonal vexation lends credence to ripe imagination.
Can folly bring out sadness and rampant visions of beauty?
What kindness can be found in distant open relations?
With countless faces the dead disturb with dire impunity,
From separate caches of wisdom come simple stylish privations.
Shall shallow emotion serve to provide such explanations?
When does avaricious intensity assume primary focus?
Plain answers slide softly through with multiple mitigations,
While conceptually indignant concepts engage a fatally personal locus.
~~ gigoid ~~
Either I’m spending too much time at this, or I’ve lost all sense of proportion…. The last few Pearls have been HUGE, as far word counts go…. This Pearl, being sufficiently long already, will now get truncated a small amount, by making this last section an old-school, random parameter quickie…. though time isn’t an issue at this point. Size is…. But, then, sometimes, it’s the five-star pearls that seem to be the most compelling….. Enjoy, ffolkes…
“Think on this doctrine,–that reasoning beings were created for one another’s sake; that to be patient is a branch of justice, and that men sin without intending it.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD) — Meditations, iv, 3
“In shallow waters, shrimps make fools of dragons.” — Chinese Proverb
“If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, “Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number?” No. “Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence?” No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.” — David Hume
“In the bigger scheme of things, the universe is not asking us to do something, the universe is asking us to be something. And that’s a whole different thing.” — Lucille Clifton
Someone else has the answer
Some other place will be better
Some other time it will all work out.
This is it.
No one else has the answer
No other place will be better
And it has already turned out.
At the center of your being
You have the answer;
You know who you are and what you want.
There is no need to turn outside
For better seeing.
Rather abide at the center of your being
For the more you leave it
The less you learn.
Search your own heart and see
the way to do is to be.
~~ Lao Tzu ~~
There…. see what I mean?…..
“What makes the universe so hard to comprehend is that there’s nothing to compare it with.” — Smart Bee
At 3:21 AM this morning, I was awakened from my dozing prior to getting up at 4, when a low rumble began to sound, growing in seconds to a loud roar, accompanied by the walls, floor, and world at large starting to shake, building up until several items fell to the floor from shelves around the house…. The earthquake lasted about 6-10 seconds, I’d say, which is confirmed by the first reports I saw online, which took a good 15 minutes to hit the news… I guess they were researching and checking sources to get details for a while before breaking it…
It was quite thrilling, all in all, though a bit worrying to wonder if the two-story house I live in would collapse, sending me and my bed into the garage below…. It didn’t, and from what I could tell, the 6.something quake didn’t move the building drastically enough to bust up any of the internal pipes, or crack the walls… The power stayed on, too, so, it seems the quake was far enough away to not damage anything in the immediate vicinity, at least, not badly enough to stop any services…. (okay, the latest report, as of 4:46 AM called it a 6.0, and much of the town I live in IS without power right now… guess I was far enough from the epicenter to avoid the darkness zone….)
It’s too bad it got me up this early; much of today’s Pearl was done yesterday, when the outrage was fresh for the ranting process, and I had the space from pain long enough to sit down to write…. It’s not yet 5, I’m wide awake, and almost done with this…. It will stretch my creativity to the max to come up with something distracting enough to help me keep from chewing on my hair until the rest of the world wakes up….
Oh, right, they’re probably up already, too! Yay! I’ll be able to find someone to harass talk to….. See y’all tomorrow, ffolkes, providing mother Gaia doesn’t decide to throw us another, much bigger quake, that slides this town right into the Bay….
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest Carole, Mark, and Theresa…
and everyone else, too…
When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.
Which is Why….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.
gigoid, the dubious
PLEASE STOP READING THIS MESSAGE NOW.