Sunday, January 31, 2010
The Illustrated Man is a 1951 book of eighteen science fiction short stories by Ray Bradbury that explores the nature of mankind. While none of the stories has a plot or character connection with the next, a recurring theme is the conflict of the cold mechanics of technology and the psychology of people.
The unrelated stories are tied together by the frame device of "the Illustrated Man", a vagrant with a tattooed body whom the unnamed narrator meets. The man's tattoos, allegedly created by a woman from the future, are animated and each tell a different tale.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The historian and devout activist Howard Zinn passed away earlier today from a heart attack. This saddens me greatly because he was a man whom I respected greatly and learned a lot from. I first heard of Zinn via Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting” where he mentions to Robin Williams that he was reading the wrong books, he should instead read “A People’s History of the United States” he claims that “it will knock your fucking socks off!” Now some claim that the only reason he said this is because they were neighbors when he was a young lad (Damon that is). I think this may be true to an extent but it is clear that Matt Damon has great respect for him. He narrated his biography and helped with Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.” I have only read about half of one of his books, but learned a great deal from “The People Speak” and have read bits and pieces of him online. His thoughts are very important but what I respected is that Zinn practiced what he preached. For example “On his last day at BU, Dr. Zinn ended class 30 minutes early so he could join a picket line and urged the 500 students attending his lecture to come along. A hundred did so.” (taken from one of his obituaries, most of the quotes are taken from various obituaries except for the one's near the end)
Zinn was greatly respected by many people “His writings have changed the consciousness of a generation, and helped open new paths to understanding and its crucial meaning for our lives,” Noam Chomsky, the left-wing activist and MIT professor, once wrote of Dr. Zinn. “When action has been called for, one could always be confident that he would be on the front lines, an example and trustworthy guide.” Even Alice Walker said he was “the best teacher I ever had.”
I will end this post with some of Zinn’s very own words, if anyone is reading this you will find comfort in knowing that Zinn lived a full life and that he did his best to make reforms and inspire people, and that makes him an extraordinary man.
“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
“What matters most is not who is sitting in the White House, but “who is sitting in” — and who is marching outside the White House, pushing for change.”
“If those in charge of our society - politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television - can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves”
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism”
“I suggest that if you know history, then you might not be so easily fooled by the government when it tells you you must go to war for this or that reason -that history is a protective armor against being misled”
“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we … do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back”
He will be missed, but his dream of a better world may one day be actualized if we all work together toward it. Zinn did his part now it is our turn.
"Terrorism" is a tactic...not an enemy
It's just a matter of time before "terrorists"
will be able to kill us all, maybe it is time we
begin to address the root cause of "terrorism"
"Terrorism is the war of the poor
and war is the terrorism of the rich"
Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov, CBE
(April 16, 1921 – March 18, 2004)
Operation Northwoods is especially notable in that it included proposals for hijackings and bombings followed by the introduction of phony evidence that would implicate a foreign government, namely Cuba.
The plan stated:
"The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere."
Several other proposals were included within the Operation Northwoods plan, including real or simulated actions against various U.S military and civilian targets.
Operation Northwoods was drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Northwoods was signed by Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer and sent to the Secretary of Defense.
Journalist James Bamford summarized Operation Northwoods in his April 24, 2001 book Body of Secrets:
"Operation Northwoods, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war". (read more)
The following photographs are of various airline crash sites. This is what real crash sites look like.
Now take a look at the Shanksville "crash site".
2,973 people were murdered on 9/11
More are dying from WTC "dust"
The recent decision by the Supreme Court has further exacerbated this essential inequality between individuals and powerful corporate structures by affording "free speech" rights to corporations. Furthermore, this right to free speech has been equated to monetary donations to political causes. This decision has effectively swept away any constraints upon the ability of the powerful to exert enormous influence in the determination of public policy through the use of the vast financial resources available to them. On account of the enormous discrepancy between the economic resources available to living and breathing individuals and corporations, it represents a further consolidation of power into the hands of the very few, and is yet another nail in the coffin of our nearly moribund democracy. I believe that the five ultra-conservative members of the Supreme Court, concerned about the rising tide of populism, knew exactly what they were doing.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
In the United States, movie production is known to be dominated by major studios since the early 20th Century; before that, there was a period in which Edison's Trust monopolized the industry. The music and television industries recently witnessed cases of media consolidation, with Sony Music Entertainment's parent company merging their music division with Bertelsmann AG's BMG to form Sony BMG and TimeWarner's The WB and CBS Corp.'s UPN merging to form The CW. In the case of Sony BMG, there existed a "Big Five" (now "Big Four") of major record companies, while The CW's creation was an attempt to consolidate ratings and stand up to the "Big Four" of American network (terrestrial) television.
There may also be some large-scale owners in an industry that are not the causes of monopoly or oligopoly. Clear Channel Communications, especially since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, acquired many radio stations across the United States, and came to own more than 1,200 stations. However, the radio broadcasting industry in the United States and elsewhere can be regarded as oligopolistic regardless of the existence of such a player. Because radio stations are local in reach, each licensed a specific part of airwave by the FCC in a specific local area, any local market is served by a limited number of stations. In most countries, this system of licensing makes many markets local oligopolies. The similar market structure exists for television broadcasting, cable systems and newspaper industries, all of which are characterized by the existence of large-scale owners. Concentration of ownership is often found in these industries.
In the United States, data on ownership and market share of media companies is not held in the public domain. Academics, for example at MIT Media Lab and NYU, have struggled to find data that show reliably the concentration of media ownership.
On June 2, 2003, FCC, in a 3-2 vote under Chairman Michael Powell, approved new media ownership laws that removed many of the restrictions previously imposed to limit ownership of media within a local area. The changes were not, as is customarily done, made available to the public for a comment period.
Single-company ownership of media in a given market is now permitted up to 45% (formerly 35%, up from 25% in 1985) of that market.
Restrictions on newspaper and TV station ownership in the same market were removed.
All TV channels, magazines, newspapers, cable, and Internet services are now counted, weighted based on people's average tendency to find news on that medium. At the same time, whether a channel actually contains news is no longer considered in counting the percentage of a medium owned by one owner.
Previous requirements for periodic review of license have been changed. Licenses are no longer reviewed for "public-interest" considerations.
(read more) (read more)
Sunday, January 24, 2010
An early photo of the first MOL crew, the "Magnificent Seven".
They were the "Magnificent Seven" of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program, some of the best pilots the U.S. military had to offer the officials who were making the first MOL crew selection in 1965. Two more crews would follow, including that of Bob Lawrence, the first African-American astronaut. These men, 17 in all, were set to make history in space as the first military astronauts, performing covert reconnaissance from orbit. Yet while NASA's astronauts were gracing magazine covers and signing autographs, the MOL teams were sworn to secrecy; most of the program's details remain classified even today. And MOL was canceled in 1969, before any of its astronauts went into space. To learn more about some of these secret astronauts and their subsequent career achievements,
The Manned Orbital Laboratory (MOL) was part of the United States Air Force's manned spaceflight program, a successor to the cancelled X-20 Dyna-Soar project. It was announced to the public on the same day that the Dyna-Soar program was cancelled, December 10, 1963. The program was supposedly intended to prove the utility of man in space for military missions. However, this was just a cover story for the Russians and the public.
The program was developed as a space station used for reconnaissance purposes (KH-10). The space station used the Gemini B spacecraft that was derived from NASA's Gemini program. The contractor for the MOL was the Douglas Aircraft Company. The Gemini B/MOL craft was externally similar to NASA's Gemini spacecraft although it underwent several modifications. The most obvious was the addition of a circular hatch through the heat shield to allow passage between the spacecraft and the laboratory.
Do you really think there are no more "secret astronauts?" (link)
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Despite these kinds of disturbing data, there still exists a strong and irrational response to this pervasive reality. Underlying this behavior is a fear of the change in our collective behavior that would be required to protect the future health and safety of the human species. As a result, true human progress is constantly stymied by this fear, for fear impairs reasoned analysis and fruitful discussion. It is this fear that holds science suspect in a feeble and misguided attempt to kill the messenger.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
We are constantly being manipulated not by the news of events, but rather by the way we are expected to interpret what is happening. The fundamental problems that lie at the core of the current dilemma are to be avoided at all cost. Instead, we are encouraged to throw ourselves headlong into the vortex of empty-headed logic and overblown conclusions.
We are a people extremely out of balance; we seem to be unable to do what is best for our future generations. Our economic and political systems are essentially bankrupt - based on the premise that the individual is supreme and that profit is the essential guiding principle for behavior. Without major overhaul on our perceptions and worldview, we can only expect that our prospects will worsen. Are we prepared to live in a society where a majority of our people will have inadequate health care, education, nutrition and meaningful employment? Can such a culture thrive and prosper? I suppose history will be the ultimate judge.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Has Google seen the Light?
Hooray for Google, here's their official comments...
"Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a significant one--was something quite different.
First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses--including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors--have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities." (read more)
Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China is conducted under a wide variety of laws and administrative regulations. In accordance with these laws, more than sixty Internet regulations have been made by the People's Republic of China (PRC) government, and censorship systems are vigorously implemented by provincial branches of state-owned ISPs, business companies, and organizations.
Most national laws of the People's Republic of China do not apply to the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong or Macau. There are no known cases of the Chinese authorities censoring critical political or religious content in those areas.
The escalation of the government's effort to neutralize critical online opinion comes after a series of large anti-Japanese, anti-pollution and anti-corruption protests, many of which were organized or publicized using instant messaging services, chat rooms, and text messages. The size of the Internet police is estimated at more than 30,000. Critical comments appearing on Internet forums, blogs, and major portals such as Sohu and Sina usually are erased within minutes.
The apparatus of the PRC's Internet repression is considered more extensive and more advanced than in any other country in the world. The regime not only blocks website content but also monitors the internet access of individuals. Amnesty International notes that "China has the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world." The offences of which they are accused include communicating with groups abroad, opposing the persecution of the Falun Gong, signing online petitions, and calling for reform and an end to corruption. (read more)
Official Google Blog
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
I like smoking...
I know it's bad for me...
and I know I should quit...
but I don't want to give it up...
it's like losing an old friend...
maybe I could find another friend...
I don't know what I'm going to do.
besieged by grinding and relentless poverty,
forever reminded of race,
children of sorrow
descendents of slaves
hounded, discredited, ridiculed
by those who have watched
with indifference your
descent into the abyss,
children of catastrophe
forsaken by the very earth
that rumbles beneath your feet,
people of Haiti
fragile is the fabric that
ties the human family to the
illusive specter of civilization.
I once read a book about a shaman who taught that humans could control their surroundings with the use of their will, which manifests itself as tentacles emerging from the torso.
I once heard the story of a woman curing her own lymphoma cancer by utilizing the Law of Attraction and employing positive thinking.
I once learned about a man who believed in nonviolent noncooperation; he stopped eating and then they abolished apartheid.
Every day of my life, I am told that magic is really an illusion; we have to play along with society's rules. The people who tell me these things consider themselves realists and label me a dreamer, a hippie, unrealistic, and even lazy.
Who do you believe?
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Andrew Warhola (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987), more commonly known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became famous worldwide for his work as a painter, avant-garde filmmaker, record producer, author, and public figure known for his membership in wildly diverse social circles that included bohemian street people, distinguished intellectuals, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy aristocrats.
Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. He coined the widely used expression "15 minutes of fame." In his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, The Andy Warhol Museum exists in memory of his life and artwork.
The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is $100 million for a 1963 canvas titled Eight Elvises. The private transaction was reported in an article in The Economist, which described Warhol as the "bellwether of the art market." $100 million is a benchmark price that only Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, Gustav Klimt and Willem De Kooning have achieved.
On June 3, 1968, Valerie Solanas shot Warhol and art critic and curator Mario Amaya at Warhol's studio.
Before the shooting, Solanas had been a marginal figure in the Factory scene. She founded a "group" called S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting Up Men) and authored the S.C.U.M. Manifesto, a separatist feminist attack on patriarchy. Earlier on the day of the attack, Solanas had been turned away from the Factory after asking for the return of a script she had given to Warhol. The script, apparently, had been misplaced.
Amaya received only minor injuries and was released from the hospital later the same day. Warhol however, was seriously wounded by the attack and barely survived (surgeons opened his chest and massaged his heart to help stimulate its movement again). He suffered physical effects for the rest of his life. The shooting had a profound effect on Warhol's life and art.
The shooting was mostly overshadowed in the media due to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy two days later.
Warhol had this to say about the attack: "Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there – I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in movies is unreal, but actually it's the way things happen in life that's unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it's like watching television – you don't feel anything. Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it's all television."
Andy Warhol's scars, New York City 1969
Photograph by Richard Avedon
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The Simpsons is an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a working class American lifestyle epitomized by its eponymous family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional city of Springfield, and lampoons American culture, society, television and many aspects of the human condition.
The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a pitch for a series of animated shorts with the producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after members of his own family, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime time show and was an early hit for Fox, becoming the first Fox series to land in the Top 30 ratings in a season (1989–1990).
Since its debut on December 17, 1989 the show has broadcast 451 episodes and the twenty-first season began airing on September 27, 2009. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 26 and July 27, 2007, and grossed US$527 million worldwide.
The Simpsons has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 25 Primetime Emmy Awards, 26 Annie Awards and a Peabody Award. Time magazine's December 31, 1999 issue named it the 20th century's best television series, and on January 14, 2000 the Simpson family was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Simpsons is the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program, and in 2009 it surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest running American primetime entertainment series. Homer's exclamatory catchphrase "D'oh!" has been adopted into the English lexicon, while The Simpsons has influenced many adult-oriented animated sitcoms.
Monday, January 11, 2010
We are a nation out of balance. As a people, we have allowed our intrinsic understanding of our place within the human community and the natural world to be supplanted by the artificial requirements imposed on individual lives by the demands of purely commercial interests.
There are millions of unemployed people who have lost their livelihoods as a direct result of the manipulation of the financial markets by those who remain untouched by the crisis that has gripped so many lives. We have engineered a social order that operates on the premise of the exploitation of need and the manufacture of desire. The majority of those who are employed spend their working hours performing tasks that fail to satisfy the fundamental need to do meaningful work.
We are a population so out of touch with our essential connection with the natural world that we still do not recognize our role in the inexorable deterioration of the natural environment to the degree required to make the changes that could avert future catastrophe.
The manufacture of armaments and weapons of mass destruction have become a fundamental part of the national economy. War and the accepted use of violence to resolve human conflict on the national and individual level has become a seemingly permanent aspect of our world view.
Our President, members of Congress, corporate leadership and others who are relied upon for formulating public policy cannot help but reflect the hallmarks of our culture. We are a nation and people dramatically out of balance with the fundamental realities that are a necessary part of a sustainable future.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Saturday, January 9, 2010
When the people fear their government, there is tyranny.......when the government fears the people, there is liberty.......Thomas Jefferson.
Oh God, oh God......I get in trouble every time I open my mouth......I just can't shut up.
Thank you......Father, God, Allah, Yahweh, Elohim, Jehovah, Krishna.......thank you for my life.
Religion should embrace science.......to know God's Truth is our greatest challenge.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.......but I have promises to keep.....and miles to go before I sleep.......and miles to go before I sleep......Robert Frost.
There's a war coming.......though they try to dumb us down, we slowly learn......and in the learning we finally see.......we are slaves......slaves to our fear, our ignorance, our hate......and in learning this......we begin the battle that leads us to true liberty.
In a forest of lies......it's hard to see the truth.
Smart money says......there's money to be made in prisons.......just ask investors who have seen their stakes in the private jailer more than triple in value in the past year......the prison business is booming.......yes indeed.......the profiteering prison-industrial complex has many government incentives to maintain a high prison population.......now we can profit from the poor and retarded......and mental patients.......and homeless.................I know some people need to be incarcerated but.............should this be a business?
Hunger.......makes a thief of any man........Pearl S. Buck.
Every person deserves respect.......as a person......an image of ourselves.......what we do to another can be done to us.......what example will you also endure?
I'm guilty......guilty as hell.......I've done things.......bad things.......I wish I could do it all over again......I'd change a million things........and nothing.
"The fact is, milk lacks some important nutrients needed for infant development"......this is the copy on the side of an infant formula box......that obfuscates the fact that.......breast milk.......is in fact recommended over any formula.......deception at the expense of a baby.
Every crime......................is a hate crime.
Now let's get down to the business of sucking every loose penny out of Mr. and Mrs. Average Knucklehead........Robots.
I can buy a kidney in India........for 20,000-30,000 bucks.......the poor sap that parts with it gets a thousand or so.......if they don't stiff 'em while he's still under.
Why is it okay for Google and Yahoo and Microsoft........to enable the Chinese to censor the internet?
Father................the sleeper has awakened!.......Muad'Dib.
Since 1950, an estimated 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese........cultural genocide can be overlooked.......when you offer cheap labor.
If those bible thumpin' moralists were so intent on preventing abortions........they'd be on every street corner passing out condoms........ya think?
Read "A Culture of Corruption"......by Bill Moyers.
If those gays want to get married.......I think we should let 'em.........they have the right to be as miserable as the rest of us..........hee hee.
You ever seen a UFO?........I have........ask Travis Walton about it.
Money, money, money.......got to have it......really need it......O'Jays.
Friday, January 8, 2010
When I was 5 I learned what patience was
When I was 10 I thought I knew what patience was
When I was 20 I thought I knew what patience was
When I was 30 I thought I knew what patience was
When I was 40 I thought I knew what patience was
When I was 50 I thought I knew what patience was
Now I know what patience is
Patience is never-ending
Thursday, January 7, 2010
An overwhelming body of scientific evidence demonstrates that climate change poses a real threat to the planet; that it is a direct result of human activity and that an increase of 1.5C in average world temperature is assured regardless of what is done to mitigate the severity of the outcome.
The Copenhagen Accord was essentially brokered by President Obama with representatives of the developing countries of China, India, Brazil and South Africa. Most countries gave the accord their support, but Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba were opposed. It should be remembered that the United States and China collectively produce 41% of the world’s greenhouse gases. In that sense, the Copenhagen Accord achieved what the Kyoto Protocol failed to do.
In many ways, however, it was a missed opportunity. None of the conclusions that were reached are legally binding, nor is there any commitment to come to one in the future. There has been no global target set for emission reductions by the year 2050, as anticipated. A goal was envisioned in which the developed countries would contribute to a fund to be used to aid the developing countries in the quest to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The amount stated was 100 billion dollars a year, yet no mechanism was suggested to reach this ambitious goal. In essence, a gentleman’s agreement was reached with the aim of holding the increase in global temperature to under 2C with the added goal of reaching a peak level of international and national emissions as soon as possible.
One could argue that this accord is a significant first step in the process of addressing a serious global issue with the participation of those countries that contribute significantly to the problem. The failure to take more decisive action, however, suggests a lack of real commitment to deal with a reality that can have such a destabilizing impact on world climate and ultimately on human civilization. A fundamental change in human behavior is required that we are apparently not yet willing to accept.
Re-post if you don’t believe in an authoritative collective dictating what love and passion between two human beings should mean.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
His 1687 publication of the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (usually called the Principia) is considered to be among the most influential books in the history of science, laying the groundwork for most of classical mechanics. In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries.
Newton showed that the motions of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies are governed by the same set of natural laws by demonstrating the consistency between Kepler's laws of planetary motion and his theory of gravitation, thus removing the last doubts about heliocentrism and advancing the scientific revolution.
"I do not know what I may appear to the world,
but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy
playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself
in now and then finding a smoother pebble
or a prettier shell than ordinary,
whilst the great ocean of truth
lay all undiscovered before me."
Sir Isaac Newton
There will have to be, at some stage in the tempestuous history of humankind, a line drawn in the sand where we, whatever faith we each may subscribe to, broaden our outlook and embrace the concept that all faiths are equal; all faiths are right and, by the same token, all faiths are flawed. A day must dawn when dogma and doctrine accepts that compromise is not necessarily a sacrilegious fracture but an unavoidable fact of life. For without compromise the only alternative is a tribal conflict, a constant clash of ideologies that can only in end in more innocent deaths with the only winners the lunatics who masquerade as religious zealots and lets face it, people who kill others are not in truth religious in any shape or form, they are nothing more than a collection of like minded individuals who tag their twisted insanity onto the back of well natured, goodly faiths so that they can best legitimise their base beliefs. This is not to say that violence should not be used in the defence of life but defence and offence are two markedly different principles and although I would be the first to advocate a strong self defence I can not abide extremist who by their very actions give credence to wanton acts of terror against innocent civilians
I know and have met a considerable amount of Christians and Muslims; not one of those I have encountered have been anything but kind, loving souls whose only desire is to live in peace with their neighbours while being allowed the generally accepted human right of living their lives according to their faith. Not every Christian subscribes to the view of the IRA and by the same token, not every Muslim is a member of Al Qaeda nor is every Afghanistan a member of the Taliban. These extreme groups with their self satisfying violent principles are nothing more than a sad, dark reflection of humanities more unpleasant side and there remains only one way to confront them and that is by communication. The organised religions of the world will have to, if not sooner then later, sit down with an agenda that proposes a way forward, a way out of the clash of religious titans, a way out of the impending Armageddon that is growing ever likely day by day as the world’s two largest faiths square up to each other with the only object being the single domination of world religion. The idea of having one faith dominate is a frightening thought as it leaves no room for any form of individuality at all, no room for tolerance, no room for acceptance, no room for compromise. There are those who have no particular faith to live by that have their own life codes; these too are good people who broadly speaking adopt and live by similar principles as those shared by Islam and Christianity. The principles of love and peace are not the exclusive remit of either of the two larger faiths but are ideals the majority of people share.
There are those among us who hold firm to the belief that organised faith, specifically Christianity and Islam are the causes of many of the world’s conflicts and without either mankind would be free of war and of secular division. This is not the case for as long as man has existed and for as long as he is spared men will continue to fight whilst they meet with unmovable dogma and doctrine. The only way to defeat both is by utilising communication and compromise for if we don’t then surely we all will continue to suffer.
Of course there are, and always will be, those who suggest that compromise is nothing but admitting defeat, giving in, but it is nothing of the sort. It is fine not to compromise ones principles when creating art as the object of creativity is to be unfettered and free of such limiting factors but when faced with human life compromise must be faced, embraced, utilised to heal the rift that exists and to act as balm to help heal the wounds of discord.
So much of the reluctance to accept compromise surely comes from the fragile male ego? So many strictures and foolhardy rules are placed upon us men from birth. To be free of such inane doctrines of gender would free and liberate not the only alpha male in us but would grant our weaker gender a potent, level headed, female ability to accept that in any community a degree of compromise has to be given.
This, of course, will prove to be the fatal flaw in my argument as the big three faiths are governed by the rules of men, certainly not of God as surely the supreme being would not be so shackled to the self same frail human logic, and they may find that adopting anything mildly viewed as of being female is not justification enough to allow a debate let alone adapt a doctrine to. Nonetheless, we have the evidence of ages, of our collective human history to review and revisit to see that it is our inability to even think of compromise that has caused so many problems.
One only has to look at the references made about women in the three major monotheist’s religious works to know that women and all things female are considered to be somehow weaker than the male variant. The natural physical differences are often employed to highlight the male’s superior physicality. This may be the general accepted view which in itself is only true in the majority of cases but not as a given fact as there are some individual women who are equally capable of defending themselves. The male physique is by and large more robust, more powerful but I strongly doubt that any man in his right mind would like to have the greater part of his life punctuated by blood or voluntarily go through childbirth. Men may be physically stronger but they are no tougher, no more resistant to pain than women, in fact I would be so bold as to suggest that women are as naturally resistant to pain as men are naturally larger and more able to lift heavy objects.
But I don’t want to dwell on what has been discussed to the point of tedium regarding equality, nor do I want to go over historically ‘old ground’. My point is this; the three big monotheist faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have doctrines that are founded on the fear of women rather than the respect of them. All three faiths, and I appreciate that all have somewhat evolved and during that evolution changed their opinions and practises but still the fact remains, as does the dogma passed down by countless years of tradition, that women are to be feared not followed.
That fear manifests itself into being seen as a weakness, a sentimentality that prevents female emotion and the natural desire to protect offspring at any cost as lacking the steel reserve of men. This is a false ideology as in point of fact it is women who are tougher and whose nature given desire to provide security to those in their protectorate grants them the intellectual and emotional ability to see the logic in compromise. A man is more likely than a woman to violently protect his territory whereas a women is more likely to protect her offspring at any cost and with as equal a violence as that produced by any male but with the additional layer of emotion that so many males do not have; the vision to see that compromise will benefit the family, the herd, the tribe, the nation and therefore grant security to all.
Obviously, I am not suggesting that women are a paragon of peaceful virtue, that would be wantonly misleading of me to make such a suggestion. Women too can be equally cruel and violent, equally as barbaric as men in times of war. We only have to recall Boudica of the Iceni, that ancient British warrior queen who plagued the Roman forces to know what an angry woman can do. Then there was Queen Elizabeth the first who was born with a steel rod running through her. Both were capable of horrendous deeds but that is not the point I am making. Women, by nature and as a genearl rule, like to bring peace and stability where ever possible as this provides them with a sense of security. It is only after that security has been broken that they will open their claws to strike.
Something like 95 % of the world’s scientists now agree that Global Warming is going to bring cataclysmic changes to our globe. The majority agree that the human race has added to these natural changes and should now play their part in acting responsibly with the world’s resources. It is a situation that may see, ultimately, the greatest challenge we humans have yet faced but still, in the face of forces far greater than our selves we prevaricate and delay. This same evasion is evident in our disagreements. One side takes one point of view whilst the other side does the polar opposite. With war though, rather than nothing being done, a vile, unspeakable horror is unleashed and once initiated the juggernauts remorselessly roll on clashing against each other until one or other destructs or rusts.
This need not be the case. Communication is not acquiescence, compromise is not defeat.
Perhaps it is now time for more women to lead us as they have the courage to engage in communication with even the fiercest of foes and they also see compromise as a tool for peace and not as a state of concession.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Majel and Gene Roddenberry
Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an American screenwriter, producer and futurist. He created the American science-fiction series Star Trek, an accomplishment for which he was sometimes referred to as the "Great Bird of the Galaxy" due to the show's influence on popular culture. He was one of the first people to have his ashes "buried" in space. Gene Roddenberry has been inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He will be inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Hall of Fame in January 2010.
As early as 1960, Gene Roddenberry had drafted a proposal for the science fiction series which would become Star Trek. Although he publicly marketed it as a Western in outer space – a so-called "Wagon Train to the Stars" – he privately told friends that he was actually modeling it on Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, intending each episode to act on two levels: as a suspenseful adventure story and as a morality tale.
Star Trek stories usually depict the adventures of humans and aliens who serve in the Federation's Starfleet. The protagonists are essentially altruists whose ideals are sometimes only imperfectly applied to the dilemmas presented in the series. The conflicts and political dimensions of Star Trek sometimes represent allegories for contemporary cultural realities: Star Trek: The Original Series addressed issues of the 1960s, just as later spin-offs have reflected issues of their respective decades. Issues depicted in the various series include war and peace, the value of personal loyalty, authoritarianism, imperialism, class warfare, economics, racism, religion, human rights, sexism and feminism, and the role of technology. Roddenberry stated: "[By creating] a new world with new rules, I could make statements about sex, religion, Vietnam, politics, and intercontinental missiles. Indeed, we did make them on Star Trek: we were sending messages and fortunately they all got by the network."
Roddenberry intended the show to have a highly progressive political agenda reflective of the emerging counter-culture of the youth movement, though he was not fully forthcoming to the networks about this. He wanted Star Trek to show mankind what it might develop into, if only it would learn from the lessons of the past, most specifically by ending violence. An extreme example are the Vulcans, who had a very violent past but learned to control their emotions. His efforts were somewhat thwarted by the network's concerns over marketability. For example, they were opposed to Roddenberry's insistence on a racially diverse crew of the Enterprise, against the opposition of the studio.