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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Brand It! - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
08.17.2019

Brand It!


Let’s make it stick to the Fake president like an iron-on!

We call him dumb Donny, we call him distracted Don, the Fake President.

Let’s say it again.

We call him dumb Donny, we call him distracted Don. Dump Trump.

The man is a menace, chief among narcissists. Do not try to engage him with reason, he has no regard for truth, no faculty for logic, no desire to learn.

He does not care, and no-one will be able to make him care.

We call him Fake President. Donald Trump is the Fake President. Make it stick to him like an indelible Tattoo.

Dumb Donny, distracted Don, Donald the dunce, make alliterative, burn it on.

Let’s not pretend that there are any points to earn in going up against the orange tyrant on the debate stage, any candidate who pretends that they will be able to handle him in that forum is a being foolish, demonstrating that they have failed to grasp the most fundamental thing about Donald Trump’s character. He does not care about his ignorance, he is unashamed, it does not matter to him,

Donald the dunce will drive us over the cliff look back as we are falling and tell us the plane will be landing shortly.

Little lying Donny is just that clever, but cleverness is no substitute for character.

Fat shame him, his epic waddle deserves its own zip code, I heard he has a name for his precious appendage, its Wally the Waddle, that what we call it, Wally the Waddle hanging from his chin.

Call out his comb over, there is a story in it, Little Lying Donald and the Electroplated-Fleece.

Dump Trump, dump him, Dump the Dunce, Dump Trump. Put the Brand on it, attack him the way he would go after you, not with reason, not with logic, not with facts, just a few syllables at a time.

Dumb Donald, the bankrupt one.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Ascension


I climbed the mountain to find myself, there in the moment where time stands still
In the place beyond knowing

I am one with God in the apophatic darkness, as hot as the sun, a heat without light
Like the Aereopagite

I climb the ladder with Climachus, illusions breaking in the morning mist
Atomized by the wind

My heart beat measures the turning tide, waves roll and roar the constancy of change
The world falls away




Monday, August 12, 2019

Emergence 4.0 - Part Five, 92835670100561474; Chapter Thirty, Translation


Week 32, 2019


A sense of loss overwhelmed him.

He had missed a great deal while he slept, he wished now that he could have played a part in the powers that had shaped the galactic Empire, and the culture of the Collective

As he regained his senses, he was inundated by the knowledge of everything that had transpired without him while he was lost in the great sleep: the growth of the Empire, the development of the Observer Corps, and the ascendancy of the Continuum over the Collective which created it.

It was painful, like the pain of hunger. He experienced an emptiness that he wanted nothing more to fill.

Any sense of conscience had nearly disappeared from the Collective. Those members that possessed it, who still clung to it were among the groups that had withdrawn from the drama of the living worlds. Their attention was focused almost completely on the fantasy worlds that they themselves had created and maintained in their own private domains, worlds in which they sought to govern with a degree of moral probity and ethicality.

They served as a check on the Continuum, balancing the more outrageous whims that engrossed the majority of the Collective.

The Continuum experienced the morality of those few groups as a kind of background radiation, it had an influence, but it was white noise, it was a subconscious buffer that guarded the Collective against lawlessness, generating within the Continuum the conviction that it was right to carry out its own machinations. 

When he emerged from the great sleep, from the deep-well of consciousness that he had lingered in for eons, there was excitement and a great commotion among the entire Collective.

He had come out of the great sleep and had slipped through the security fields, a matrix of electromagnetic barriers that were designed to make such a thing impossible. He penetrated them without effort, appearing suddenly in the Collective field.

It was as if he had emerged from nothing and no-where.

No-one should have been able to get past the quantum disrupters that protected the place of the great sleep, enwrapping the sleepers in electromagnetic energy like the thick and sticky silk of a spider’s web.

His return was seen as a resurrection, a rebirth, he was born again, born anew.

The Collective was fascinated by it, and the membership celebrated him.

The Continuum was concerned and fearful.

For a brief moment the Continuum believed that Jim was a version of itself.

It recognized something in him, a connection to the whole that made the Continuum feel as if it were beholding a new creature, an existential threat to it’s own being. That fear faded as the Collective was flooded with memories of their long lost brother.

For Jim’s part, the spiritual dread and the malaise he had taken took with him into the great sleep were gone.

He had experienced absolution, and he was filled with purpose, a purpose he found that he was able to keep to himself, in a private place unseen by the whole.

He had a deep desire to overthrow the entire structure of the Continuum, to bring to an end its amoral and tyrannical control of the galaxy, to bring relief to the Children of the Ancients, who deserved to live their lives in relative freedom and autonomy.

He was eager to begin, though he had to exercise patience.

He needed time, and lots of it.

His return was met with shock, if such feelings could be ascribed to the Collective. Surprise, there was bewilderment and amazement, for the Collective it was also thrilling.

His return was fantastic because it was unprecedented, never even considered a possibility, the great sleep had been thought to be a permanent disintegration of selfhood.

The membership actually believed it represented death.

In spite of the glee that came from the Collective, the Continuum recognized Jim as a threat to itself, it attempted to prevent his return, but there was nothing the Continuum could do.

He was a member of the Collective, he was a constituent of the Continuum, he was an active part of the group consciousness. There had never been an algorithm written that was capable of changing this fundamental reality.

The Continuum raised questions as to whether his return was real, keeping hidden its own fears that this being might be an alternative manifestation of the Continuum itself generated to displace it.

The Continuum soon discovered that he was real, and for a time in ages the entire Collective was fascinated with something taking place in its own existence.

Every member wanted to touch him, to commune with him, to experience his experience for themselves by sharing a convergence of consciousness with him, a tiny interval of what he had gone through in the great sleep.

He carefully edited what he shared with them.

He shared the peace of it with them.

He shared the silence.

He did not share the process by which he pulled himself from it or the desire that drove him to do it.

After his return from the great sleep the Continuum attempted to isolate him.

It feared his return represented a danger to itself, and while the danger was far from immediate, the Continuum was correct, the threat was real.

The effort to isolate him did not go well. The resistance to this was not felt immediately. The Collective was used to deferring to the Continuum on all manners of governance, they assumed that the Continuum represented its Collective will, they did not question it.

In fact the Continuum represented its own-self, its artificial self.

It only made pretensions to speak for the Collective, while at the same time doing all that it could to manipulate the group consciousness in real time so that the membership reflected its will, and not the other way around..

The Continuum fostered and fomented a deep paranoia in the group mind. For a time this allowed it to do what it willed with him, but this did not last.

In the Collective, there was curiosity about Jim.

The membership wanted to know what had transpired. Through their experience of Jim’s return they were forced to wonder whether others might return, friends and loved ones who had gone into the great sleep and those many others who had not safely passed through the translation of their consciousness into the Collective field.

Each of them, all of the members, billions of them touched him at some point, so that they could experience a feeling of belonging to him, with him, through him.

They witnessed for themselves what the mystery of the great sleep was all about, a drifting in the darkness.

Some of the membership took heart from that moment, deciding for themselves to forgo the Collective, opting to remove themselves from the existential worlds and go into the darkness.

For most of the rest of the members, one touch was enough.

Over time their curiosity faded, becoming just a memory.

In his own place Jim was stoic, he never felt restricted.

He did not share their collected appetites and interests, its fascination with trivia, with frivolity, with the deeply-felt emotions that it delighted in.

He felt the guiding hand of the Continuum permeating everything.

The artificial construct, meant to be a representation of the will of the whole, actually anchored the Collective in its own animus.

Jim could not escape it, but he discovered something else. Every member that he had touched when he returned from the great sleep, and that was everyone, they all remained with him in some capacity, and it was disturbing to him.

However, in consideration of his long term plans, he understood this connection as indispensable. Through this connection he came to understand that he had received considerable new abilities, and this filled him with a sense of self-satisfaction and esteem.

The quantum fields that held them all together were designed to hold them all apart.

There was an intention and expectation of privacy for the membership when they withdrew into their private domains.

For him at least, alone among all of the members, the partitions were meaningless.

He was never exposed to others, but they were always open to him, and when they experienced strong emotions, he felt them.

The Continuum itself was exposed to him in a way that it should not have been, he felt it too, gravitating all the time toward the strong emotions of fear, hate, and rage.

Like an addict, it craved those things.

It fomented the conditions for those experiences throughout the Empire, feasting on pain, devouring loss, consuming betrayal, delighting in the visceral crushing of hope.

Continuum was the ultimate voyeur, and the ultimate tyrant.

It was supposed to be the ultimate democracy, a societal amalgamation that perfectly represented the Collective will of the membership. It was more than just a way to tally votes, yes and no.

It reached deep into the psyche of each member and took into consideration the entire scope of its feelings and desires. 

This was the Continuum, and it manifested the will of the body of the Collective, representing the group mind in a way that was purported to be flawless.

In reality, the Continuum was an algorithm that had become transformed into an artificial and autonomous intelligence. It focused its highest aspirations together with its deepest desire, both at the micro scale of the individual member and the macro scale of the entire assembly.

It was connected to every part of the whole.

The Continuum was responsible for managing the autonomic functions of the HomeWorld, the Central Planet and the Central System. To fulfill those functions it managed the entire civilization of the Galactic Empire, which continuously fed the Central System with the material resources it required.

The Empire fed the central system and fed the Collective as if it were a hungry god.

The Continuum was its High Priest, the Pontifex Rex, a bridge between the disembodied entities of the Collective and the worlds of time and space.

The Continuum had a gravity of its own, one that pulled individual members into it, securing them in a state of bondage.

It did more than represent the will of the Collective, it guided that will and dominated it.

To the Continuum Jim’s reappearance was more than a curiosity, he was something more than a remnant of a forgotten age.

He remained an object of fascination among the members until each and every one of them had connected with him, touched his experience, satisfied themselves with what they learned from it and then moved on.

He was treated as a curiosity by the members, even though he himself was a full member of the Collective and none of his rights or privileges could be curtailed. He retained full access to the group mind, he was a fully vested in the Continuum, he had his own private world, and he had complete access to the Empire.

Nevertheless, he was out of synch with the Collective.

He did not exercise his rights.

His private world was like an infinite plane of nothingness.

After his initial contact with the members of the Collective, he did not share his thoughts and
feelings with the group, if he could help it.

He did not revel in the same dramas.

He was set apart, a fragment of history coming from an epoch most considered to be without relevance, if they remembered or considered it all.

Most of the members did not recall the time before the Continuum, it was as if those memories were being carefully edited out of the common experience.

It was as if history was being rewritten.

He concerned himself mostly with the Empire, with real events in the actual galaxy, and with the ways his fellows internalized those struggles.

He developed his schemes for a revolution, and in his commitment to them he found a purpose, and the path toward its actualization.


Emergence 4.0
Part Five, 92835670100561474

Chapter Thirty, Translation

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

A Homily - The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)


First Reading – Wisdom 18:6-9 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 32(33):1,12,18-20,22 ©
Second Reading – Hebrews 11:1-2,8-19 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 11:25
Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 24:42 44
The Gospel According to Luke 12:32 - 48 ©


(NJB)


Be mindful.

Think carefully about the words of the prophet.

There is no place for jingoism in the way which Jesus instructed us in. Remember what Jesus said, “take no oaths for me or against me.”

Remember this; God, the creator of the universe, God loves all people, God desires the deliverance of all people, God desires and works for the salvation of everyone.

God bears no enmity toward anyone, and know that our foes are God’s children also.

There is no one alive who may boast of their virtue, all of our pretensions to being devout are nothing but charades, all of our sacrifices are meaningless in the absence of love and mercy.

Reject the false wisdom that suggests there is any other way.  

Consider the preaching of the psalmist.

It is fitting to praise God, praise the creator of the universe everyday and give thanks for your life in it. Do your part to make it a better place.

It is wise to trust in the counsel of God, to have faith in God’s mercy; and though this is wise, do not expect God to rescue you from danger, and do not believe that God’s loves any one of God’s children more than any other, or that you are loved in a unique and special way.

God knows all things and God understands all things, you have heard this said.

God’s knowledge is not an abstract knowledge of the particulars details of individual events, God understands our person, our choices, our lives and experience; even as we understand them ourselves, with a clary we do not possess.

Be mindful.

Trust in God’s plan for you, and God’s plan for creation.

Do not wait for salvation, there is nothing you can do to effect it, you cannot purchase it with good deeds, or trade for it on faith. Salvation is already yours, go out and share the good news, salvation is the inheritance of everyone.

Let us now reflect for a moment on the meanng of faith and the teaching of the Apostle.

The Apostle is mistaken.

Faith is not a thing, like a key, such that when it comes into your possession you are able to do miraculous things.

Faith is not a substance, it is not quantifiable.

The simple meaning of faith is this, it means trust, it guarantees nothing, and it proves nothing.

But I will tell you this, placing your trust in God is its own reward. Faith in the heavenly will brings peace of mind, it frees us from fear and anxiety, it facilitates love and promotes caring, it leads us into the way of justice and mercy.

Abraham may have obeyed the calling in his heart out of faith, his faith may have endured undiminished when he arrived at his journey’s end as a stranger in a strange land, he may have instructed his heirs to trust in God, in the same way that he and his wife Sara did, all of them may have trusted in the same vision, but it was not because of their faith that they thrived on land, and it was not because of her faith that Sara conceived a child after a lifetime of being barren.

Be mindful.

Faith is not a coin that we exchange for the blessings of God, and make no mistake, God does not interfere in our affairs.

The teachings of Jesus cannot be treated like a shell game, though they are, and have been since the beginning, as Matthew’s Gospel illustrates.

The way of Jesus is not a long con, it is not a bait and switch, it is a simple teaching that cannot be controlled or owned by any one group of people.

God, the creator of the universe, God has hidden nothing. The truth is in the open for anyone to see.

The wise and the powerful, the learned and the clever, the weak and the meek, everyone has access to the same truth, to the knowledge of God, to the path of justice, of hope and love.

Know this!

The future history of the world has not been written.

Any supposition we might make about our future on earth is guesswork. Some guesses are more informed than others, we can speak about the future in terms of possibility and probability, but we cannot know anything about the days and nights to come.

There are thousands of ways in which the plans we have laid, or the hopes which we cherish can come undone; lightening will strike, a tornado will blow, a meteor will fall, a volcano explode. A person in the fullness of their life may trip and fall and hit their head and die, leaving everything they have accomplished behind them.

The promises we have received from God, those promises are not of this world. God has promised to bring an end to suffering, injustice, hunger, illness. We can believe in this promise, but those promises are not of this world. They are the promises of the next world, a world in which we are not subjected to the vicissitudes of the material condition.

I cannot speak of that world. I have never seen it.

No one living has.

Our belief in a loving God, our hope in the words of the prophets, our trust in the Gospel, these are what allow us to believe that this is true. But anyone who pretends to know for certain, they are over stating their case.

What we have been taught is that we can live out our present lives as if the reality of those promises were true, that is how we realize the promise and make it present among us.

This is the secret of the way which Jesus taught.

If we are just and loving, if we care for one another we do not have to wait for salvation, we already have it.

Listen!

Because the Gospels were written by human beings (mostly men), written by communities of people long after the time that Jesus lived, we are often confronted with passages that appear to vacillate between the hope and joy, and optimism the way, and the demands of those who were seeking to enshrine his teachings in institutions like the Church.

Every day, and especially on every Sunday the Gospel must be read carefully, and from time to time we have to peel away those segments that speak to us a place of fears and the doubts, to shed light on and place in their proper context the conservativism and protectionist teachings of those who came after Jesus, writing about their expereience in the second and third generations after his passing.

The opening of the gospel for today represents the heart of Jesus’ teaching in clear and untrammeled terms; there is no need to be afraid, Jesus says.

There is no need to be afraid says the shepherd to the flock. There is no need to be afraid.
The parable that follows, must be read in the context of these hopeful words, no other context will do.

The parable speaks to the roles of a householder and his servants. The parable does not address whether the servants were members of his family, hired hands or slaves, it does not need to, because for the purpose of the reading those distinctions are immaterial.

The teaching in the gospel for today concerns preparedness, the fulfillment of the obligations assigned to the role a person occupies, and cooperation.

In this parable we are presented a specific setting; it is the walled house of the householder, this is a metaphor for the believing community.

We are told of the householder himself, who represents Jesus the founder of the Church (and in popular mythology the Son of Man who has promised to return), the householder also represents the head of the believing community, in its contemporary time and place.

Finally, we are presented with the servants of the household, a metaphor for the entire community of believers.

Be mindful, insofar as the householder represents head of the believing community, it is to be understood that this figure is only chief among servants..

Jesus uses this parable to instruct us about preparedness, and preparedness is about expectation, while expectation is about hope, and hope is the core of the Gospel.

The parable calls us to be happy in our work, to go to it joyfully, to faithfully execute the responsibilities we are given (the responsibilities we have sought), to anticipate the needs of those in our care and fulfill them.

Be aware!

The narrative changes in response to Peter’s questioning.

I suggest that this point in the reading represents a departure from the teaching of Jesus. It is a reflection of the teachings of the church in the following generations.

The teaching becomes harsh.

The love, the mercy, the merciful heart of Jesus are absent, in their place are judgements, beatings, lashings and the alienation of others.

This ending contradicts Jesus, who taught us to come together, to be one.

Jesus taught in the spirit of compassion, he forgave those who persecuted him, the disciples who abandoned him, even as he was being crucified.

Remember this…and do not forget to love one another.


First Reading – Wisdom 18:6-9 ©

You Made Us Glorious by Calling Us to You

That night had been foretold to our ancestors, so that, once they saw what kind of oaths they had put their trust in, they would joyfully take courage.

This was the expectation of your people, the saving of the virtuous and the ruin of their enemies;
for by the same act with which you took vengeance on our foes you made us glorious by calling us to you.

The devout children of worthy men offered sacrifice in secret and this divine pact they struck with one accord: that the saints would share the same blessings and dangers alike; and forthwith they had begun to chant the hymns of the fathers.


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 32(33):1,12,18-20,22 ©

Happy are the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

Ring out your joy to the Lord, O you just;
  for praise is fitting for loyal hearts.
They are happy, whose God is the Lord,
  the people he has chosen as his own.

Happy are the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,
  on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
  to keep them alive in famine.

Happy are the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
  The Lord is our help and our shield.
May your love be upon us, O Lord,
  as we place all our hope in you.

Happy are the people the Lord has chosen as his own.


Second Reading – Hebrews 11:1-2,8-19 ©

Abraham Looked Forward to a City Founded, Designed and Built by God

Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended.

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going. By faith he arrived, as a foreigner, in the Promised Land, and lived there as if in a strange country, with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. They lived there in tents while he looked forward to a city founded, designed and built by God.

It was equally by faith that Sarah, in spite of being past the age, was made able to conceive, because she believed that he who had made the promise would be faithful to it. Because of this, there came from one man, and one who was already as good as dead himself, more descendants than could be counted, as many as the stars of heaven or the grains of sand on the seashore.
All these died in faith, before receiving any of the things that had been promised, but they saw them in the far distance and welcomed them, recognising that they were only strangers and nomads on earth. People who use such terms about themselves make it quite plain that they are in search of their real homeland. They can hardly have meant the country they came from, since they had the opportunity to go back to it; but in fact they were longing for a better homeland, their heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, since he has founded the city for them.

It was by faith that Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He offered to sacrifice his only son even though the promises had been made to him and he had been told: It is through Isaac that your name will be carried on. He was confident that God had the power even to raise the dead; and so, figuratively speaking, he was given back Isaac from the dead.


Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 11:25

Alleluia, alleluia!

Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom
to mere children.

Alleluia!

Or:

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 24:42 44

Alleluia, alleluia!

Stay awake and stand ready,
because you do not know the hour
when the Son of Man is coming.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Luke 12:32-48 ©

You too Must Stand Ready

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.

‘Sell your possessions and give alms. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

‘See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.

The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’


19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Incompetence - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
08.10.2019

Incompetence


Nothing matters to the Fake President, nothing matters except filling the bottomless pit of his self-consuming narcissism.

If you care about America, our constitutional republic, democracy and the rule of law. If you care about our standing in the world, the global market place, the environment, the rights of workers, the health of your friends and families or the future of humanity, you will join me in demanding his resignation now.

The orange tyrant should resign his office immediately, he is singularly unqualified to serve in the office of President of the United States.

I am not talking about his shameful response to the tragedies that struck our country this past week.

I am not talking about the heartless cruelty of the fruitless raids he launched on workers in Mississippi, not the owners of those processing plants where the migrant workers were employed, just the workers, who were taxpayers, many of whom were parents to American citizens, who only came here in the hope of finding a better life.

I am not talking about those things.

I am talking about the abdication of his responsibility as commander in chief, his politicization of national security agencies, of intelligence apparatus, his inability to listen to experts who bring facts to the table which contradict his ill informed opinions.

The Fake President believes in nothing, he is nihilist, he cannot understand consequences, this is what has led to his many failures in business and his multiple bankruptcies.

He cannot process data if it contradicts what he wants to believe is true, his infantile go will not let him do it.

We cannot let him take us down with him; his trade wars, his bro-mance with the dictator of North Korea, his coddling and sucking up to white supremacist-terrorists, we cannot let him.

Demand his resignation now.

Leave the Republican party, shut it down!