Shovels and Manure: Part 2

Posted on November 26, 2015. Filed under: Politics, Psychology, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

(continued from previous post, Shovels and Manure: Part 1)

In the previous article, I got born, got my newbie starter kit installed, then discovered glitches in the applications phase.  New input was playing havoc with the resident databases causing angst as I realized I would have to troubleshoot my programming at the root level.  Simply put, I had to start thinking for myself, which meant I had to retroactively confirm the veracity of my previous data sources.  Zeroing in on accepted authority (experts) and accepted knowledge (expert assertions), I realized that self-aggrandizing, ordinary people who had been born naked and clueless like the whole of human kind were setting themselves up as the lords of all knowledge.

Wallowing in their unacknowledged ignorance, those expert authorities told us for decades…

  • The expert-designed Food Pyramid was the answer to proper nutrition and long life…   until they came out with a new one (twice) that didn’t kill us prematurely.
  • That teachers are the most valuable servants in society…   then we find out that these guys and gals are behaving like pedophile priests chaperoning teens and pre-adolescents on church-sponsored retreats or tutoring in one-on-one sessions away from school.
  • Expose your kids to chicken pox early so they won’t have to deal with it in later life…   had your shingles shot yet?
  • Plastic food packaging materials are safe for human use…   except now that is only “true” if the label says “BHP free.”

They told us for centuries...

  • The Constitution of the United States of America could only be changed if 3/4 of the states agreed to it…   unless the Supreme Court changes it by a 5-4 vote of biased experts who can’t be thrown out for biased judiciating…   or when a sitting president decides to MAKE laws instead of obeying them.
  • The Bill of Rights to that Constitution guaranteed certain rights to its citizens (such as no laws regarding an establishment of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to be secure in your property, freedom from being forced to give evidence against yourself…   stuff like that) unless changed by that 3/4 vote of the states.  Now, the Supreme Court says you gotta ask for your constitutional right to be entitled to it.
  • The world is flat, go too far you fall off its edge…   today we can take advantage of AROUND THE WORLD cruises.  The only falling hazard here is a bad plunge from your budget floor…   or is that “budget ceiling?”
  • The Earth is the center of the universe…   Galileo paid for this little indiscretion.  When not molesting children, them religionists banish free-thinking that shows up their ignorance.
  • Children can only be born to married couples…   or harems.  How, then, do we now have the terms “bastards” and “unwed mothers?”
  • Only humans can use tools…   and apes, simians, pro-simians, numerous birds, quite a few insects
  • Only humans can speak…   and apes, simians, pro-simians, numerous birds, quite a few insects
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away…   but, only if you hit him square in the forehead with it when he tries to approach you.  People don’t say proverbs like that anymore for fear that litigators will hit them square in the pocket book with a class-action lawsuit for practicing medicine without a license.
  • The world is only 6,000 years old…   can you spell b-i-l-l-i-o-n-s?
  • Good always triumphs over evil…   but how many good people have to suffer before the evil goes away?
  • We are in the latter days;  the end is near…   get your programs here, folks;  all the generations since Guttenberg’s quick-copy machine have left scads of them…   just change that date right there, change the identity of your generation’s 666, and go on lamenting…   and self-flagellate if that is your thing.

More recently, we have been told that only humans are smart enough to create stuff that can annihilate all life on Earth in one fell swoop…   they WOULD have to get that one right.  But, hey!  In an existence honed by responses to innate ignorance, one out of 200,000,000 to the 10th power ain’t so bad.

I understand that my own journey through EXISTENCE is a trial and error thing, and, that I can benefit from the information of others who have already waded through its dark water’s of uncertainty.  My problem is not that everything with which we work has to be teased from Nature bit by bit or that what was learned long ago may not be true today;  rather, my irritation comes from the knowledge that so much of that database is tainted by the personal goals of the “expert” information providers, who then proclaim — in speech or implied assertion — “I, a really super-smart guy, thought up this explanation and you, an embarrassment to the word intellect, can be assured that you can get it right only by accepting without question MY truth of reality.”  

My gullibility node has become unbearably distended, no doubt due to the vast quantity of bull sh…   uh, male bovine droppings being rained down on me from all directions.

Life forms get it right (i.e., live longer) by replacing ignorance with knowledge as they grow.  Homo sapiens sapiens has the advantage of being able to amass a vast library of hard-won knowledge that most, if not all, of its members can access to enrich their individual survival.  Yet, regardless of how vast that knowledge base may be, our Universe — to all intents and purposes — is infinitely vast, and, the degree of human ignorance is just as vast.  So…

Since my personal existence is of major importance only to ME, why can’t I give credence to my own conclusions?  Why can’t I, born naked and clueless just like all those acknowledged experts, be just as arrogant about MY “truth” as they are toward theirs?

Sounds like a plan to me.  “Hey…   YOU…   Super-smart Dude!  Stop shoveling that pile of sh…   stuff…   this way.  I need a little time to analyze its contents.”

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Shovels and Manure: Part 1

Posted on November 23, 2015. Filed under: Psychology, Self-awareness | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Man the tool-maker!  Many would say that is what sets humans apart from all other life on Earth.  Others would pick out their favorite traits and build passionate arguments around them, but, I am sort of hung up on the shapes and uses of one particular tool — shovels.  These two ensuing articles express my misgivings toward their uses in cultural development.

“Sir!  Reporting as instructed, Sir!”  I would have saluted, except for 2 things:  I had not yet received any training in that militaristic ritual and, anyway, my hand was otherwise occupied.  I had shoved it into my mouth and was sucking on it vigorously because it just felt good…   well, maybe also because that and kicking my heels up every now and then were the only activities in my exercise regimen.  But, at least I had shown up at the water slide as instructed, albeit with a feeling of apprehension.  I had become aware that things were starting to close in on me, and I was not accustomed to this sort of treatment.  And, I think I may have been standing on my head at some point.

Then, it really started to get serious.  My arms were being pinned close to my body and something was pushing the top of my head.  Then my eyes hurt from such brightness I had not known existed.  It was getting cold and I got a tight feeling in my chest, but, a loud slap to my butt made my lungs fill with air for the very first time.  The tightness in my chest was relieved as long as I kept inhaling and exhaling, so I thought I would keep on doing this for at least a little while until things settled down.

In retrospect, that was when everything started going downhill, right there when I took that first breath, and, as it has turned out, I was right on the money by kicking up such a big fuss right away.

Thus begins my personal lamentation on the state of this thing called EXISTENCE.  It started out okay, there within that warm, safe cocoon, bathed in the serenity of ignorance about that which awaited without.  But that confining journey down the water slide, disorientation by bright lights, being grabbed by ruffians who slapped me around as their way of saying, “Hi!  Welcome to Earth!”…   was all of that really necessary?  And, how about a little warning of that stuff ahead of time, or a quick-start pamphlet with instructions to a least find the bathroom?  Is that too much to expect?

It was a good thing my parents were there to rescue me.  They filled me in on a lot of stuff, but, the world around me kept getting smaller…   like that dinner table.  I was used to running under it standing up but, then came the day when I didn’t fit under there…   it only took a couple of head bashings for that bit of information to sink in.  Yeah, my world was getting smaller, alright, and getting more complicated as well.

To become well-rounded in this EXISTENCE thing, I was told I would need experts who would show me the tools that would let me become a contributing member of society.  Thus when I could barely tie my shoe laces, I got dropped off — ALONE — at public school.  And the resident experts opened up my brain case and started shoveling in all the raw data I would need to become a compliant citizen.  Okay…   at first maybe it was just teaspoons they used, but, let’s face it, those things are just mini shovels.

Not evident to me at the time, what with my brain being a low-density zone in terms of knowledge, my basic tool kit for survival had been tampered with by all those “expert” mentors.  In addition to stuff like “3+4=7” and “See Spot run,” they shoveled in a lot of their personal biases on such non-tool items as evolution (pro and con), religion (pro and con), government and political ideology (pro and con) and lots of other pros and cons unrelated to math and reading.  To the degree that I favored the teacher, I accepted these offerings as fact and a basis for modeling my understanding of my own existence.  But, sometime around the age of 30 years, I had an epiphany…

SHOVELS COME IN A VARIETY OF SHAPES AND SIZES…

…each designed for a particular task, not the least of which is the efficient movement of manure.

Old things that I had been told did not mesh with the new things I was painfully learning.  In fact, under the heat from the spotlight of an emerging introspection, all that stuff was beginning to develop a decidedly unpleasant odor…   unpleasant, and reminiscent of a stock yard.  And this was happening just when I thought I had this EXISTENCE thing all figured out.  Well, at least I thought my “expert” mentors had it all figured out, and, I was a lucky beneficiary of all that above-my-head figuring.

________________

Continued in next article Shovels and Manure:  Part 2.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Coffee? 4 Cups A Day? You gonna die

Posted on September 2, 2013. Filed under: General Interest, Health Studies, Journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

…but, even if you DON’T drink coffee, you GONNA DIE anyway.

Your proverb for the day:  It ain’t poison unless it kills you within a week. Anything taking longer than that is just what floats your boat.

DIE, coffee drinker, DIE!  …Ooooooooooooooo!  Sounds like a vengeful spirit out of Hollywood, doesn’t it?  Relax.  It’s just one of your biennial “scientific study” publicity releases.  I guess those are okay, since most of us don’t have the time to take off from work and spend 5 or 10 years without pay asking people what they did before they died.  But, these unpaid researchers patiently tally, categorize, enter data into spreadsheets, divine what it all means, figure out which mathematical tact will “prove” what they set out to prove in the first place…   Yeah!  I didn’t buy it, either.

Your words for the day:

  • existence = (consider it) a sporting event
  • birth = “WAKE UP!  You’re at bat.”
  • life = going for extra bases
  • death = you got tagged (“You’re outta here!”)
  • the dugout = your basic hole in the ground

Source of today’s laugh:  an online article on August 15, 2013, by Jenny Hope, put up at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health on a blog called MailOnline.  (Aside to the author:  Usually, I refer to female journalists giving me a laugh like this as Jenny Stonebottom.  I will spare you, since your name is already “Jenny” and Jenny Hope sounds like a cutie.*)

The headline — the funny part.  “More than four cups of coffee a day puts you at risk of early death, claim experts.”

The big picture, if you have been too busy dealing with life to have noticed:  One gets BORN; one LIVES LIFE as events, circumstance, and personal whims permit; then, one DIES.  You have no control over your birth; you have less control over the progress of your life than you like to think; and — though some might fiddle with the “how” — one DIES.  No refunds.  You can’t avoid death.

You only go around once in life, so grab some gusto while you can(It’s not plagiarism!  It is — loosely — from a beer commercial a few years ago, but, I don’t remember which one.  Al Gore’s information highway can answer that for you…   my smart phone is on the fritz.)

You survived the first year of LIFE.  Consider yourself on base.  From here on, the name of the game is (1) don’t get tagged out, and, (2) try to have some fun.  (Yeah, I know, it’s kind of ironic — avoid getting tagged and sent to the dugout early while you round the bases, but, when you reach home, you get sent to the dugout anyway.  Don’t dwell on that.  Concentrate on enjoying that trip to second base.)

But, enjoyment comes with a price.  You enjoy scattering your toys while you play, but, come evening, there are the nagging voices of parents saying, “Clean up your mess before you go to bed.”  You enjoy hanging out at the mall with your buds after school scarfing down McDonald’s French fries, but, there is this other group that has figured out LIFE ACCORDING TO THEM and are now suing McDonald’s to prevent YOU from buying and enjoying what YOU enjoy.  You move on over-the-hill (you know…   your 30th birthday) and become health conscious, so you take your vitamins, eat balanced meals, exercise more, take them antioxidants, and wash all that down with a cup of hot coffee…   or four.  And, those do-gooder groups line up at your door to straighten out your act:  you have the wrong balanced diet; you are exercising wrong; vitamins just might not be so good for you; antioxidants are not what they are cracked up to be.   That line extends around the block and you can’t make out who they all are, but, they will announce themselves soon enough…

…Uh, that was your cue, Doc.  Tell them of your fabulous finding that 55-year-old young people can expect to die before they are 55 if they drink 4 cups of coffee a day…

Yeah, I know, right?

  • The over-the-hill 30 year-old can’t blow his birthday candles out because his sides are splitting from finding out that 55 year-olds are called “young” for this study.
  • The record number of over 60 year-olds, who have been drinking 4 cups a day since they were 30, were once part of the “early death” squad claimed by our fame-seeking researcher.  Oh!  Now isn’t that thoughtful.  They are all hoisting a coffee toast to all you doomed 54 and below drinkers.

This article engendered 3 pages of 11×17 paper in 8 point type.  And, 15 cups of coffee.  I had to cut out 2.5 pages just to get this.  So, YES!  You can bet I have more to say on this subject.  (Excuse me.  I gotta hit the head.)

______________

* Okay.  Okay!  That was chauvinistic, sexist, and un-called for.  But, it stays.

_______________________________________

Next up:  lots more stuff about the hazards of coffee studies

Article references:  coffee, coffee study, coffee death, premature death, under 55, health risk, genetic coffee addition, antioxidant, Dr. Carl Lavie, Ochsner Medical Center, Dr. Euan Paul, Director of British Coffee Association.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Do Not Offend Tomorrow

Posted on August 16, 2013. Filed under: Philosophy, sociology | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Twice I got to see my tomorrow.  This is the first one.

Twice I got to see my tomorrow. This is the first one.

Today’s proverb:  As the twig is bent, so grows the tree

Your words for the day:

  • guile = deviousness; cunning; deceit
  • innocent = noun:  one devoid of guile

The reality of the world into which we are born results from the actions of previous generations coping with their own brand of realities.  By “reality,” I refer to the social and environmental conditions into which each is flung.  Neophytes all, that specific reality that cradles our early growth becomes the standard to which we expect our entire lives to adhere…   Talk about a pitcher of ice-water in the face.

Existence is a dynamo pumping out change with every passing instant.  The childhood reality that dresses us for the School of Life is but the first of a long list of nannies destined to take us aside and explain the way Life really is.

Thus the chorus of lamentations resulting from these icy dousings:

  • The end times are near (every generation seems to have a new crop of doom’s day prophets).
  • The world is going to hell in a hand basket.
  • What is the world coming to?
  • Repent!  The end is near…   again.
  • I just don’t know anymore.
  • What is this younger generation thinking?

Not to be outdone, the younger generation, dripping from its first icy baptism, points an accusing finger at that previous generation and says, “Don’t tell ME how to do things; look at the mess YOU’VE made of the world!”

Truth is, the social fabric that defines humankind is a complex weave, and, as populations increase, so does the complexity of that weave.  Life moves toward Tomorrow, and humankind will move with it for better or for worse.  The efforts of any one individual or group to change the overall pattern will be overshadowed by the sheer numbers of strands being woven in simultaneously.  TODAY is the culmination of eons upon eons of Yesterdays, yet, it is merely the single starting point for a still-theoretical Tomorrow.  On and on the march of change continues, in spite of the useless exercises of fist shaking and whines of self-pity.

Statistically speaking, most of us (say…   99.9999 and a whole bunch more 9’s %) will have no appreciable effect on the avalanche of Time’s passage that, at first, carries each of us along, then — and quite matter-of-factly — buries all of us beneath the ruble of Yesterday.  That very same percentage will not even rate a footnote in the pages of history.

All that we can expect to influence are those persons and things that physically surround us, and, we can only do that in the time we are ultimately allotted.  If we are to paint the Wind of Time in colors that scream “Me!  Me!  Me!” we have to work fast.  In spite of what our conscious state tells us, we do NOT have forever.  The wind is a fickle medium anyway.

If yours was not the voice of the horrified announcer at the Hindenburg disaster, it is not likely that it will disturb the airwaves much when you are under the topsoil.  If you were not videoed naked on the White House lawn during a presidential inauguration, it is not likely that your form will be seen by large audiences for very long after your funeral.  Being a hit in the future is awfully hard if you are not there to toot your horn or run naked in public.  “Now” is where it is at.

Humanity of Yesterday extended itself into uncounted Tomorrows, all of which constitute TODAY.  It will continue into unknown Tomorrows in only one way — in the impressionable minds and voices of TODAY’s children.  Most of us will accompany them for at least a short distance into the mystery of the future, but, the major part of that journey is theirs, and theirs alone, to make.  Humanity’s children are Humanity’s Tomorrow, and they will inherit what TODAY leaves them.

As a very small part of TODAY, I can’t really bequeath much to Tomorrow.  About all I can do is to make a favorable impression on TODAY’s messengers to Tomorrow.  If a child smiles at me, I smile back.  If it* speaks to me, I respond, whether with “goo, goo, goo,” or “What’s the name of the pet dinosaur you are holding?”  If it stares at me, I give it a wink.  I just do stuff to make them smile or giggle rather than shrink away, dubious of my intentions.  Neither ethnicity nor economic status is a factor in my offering of goodwill.  I try to connect favorably with all children I encounter.  It is the only way I can influence Tomorrow.

If I do not offend Tomorrow today, then Tomorrow may not have to look back at me and say, “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.”**

_____________

* it = he or she

** “Well…   into.”  A recurring line I remember from old Laurel and Hardy movies…   no, I did not attend the original screenings.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...