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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Ursula K. Le Guinn – Author, Hero

 It has been three years since this great woman and thinker moved on to the next world; she was a hero of mine.

 

The first book of hers I read was a novella titled The Lathe of Heaven, a science fiction book, but it was so much more. Through this short piece she spoke to me about the nature of reality, the function of consciousness, of what it means to be a human being.

 

She took the title from the writings of the Taoist, Chuang Tzu (book 23, paragraph 7):

 

To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do so will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven ~

 

Her book, which both dramatized this sentiment and recapitulated this warning took me outside of myself and allowed me to see the whole-world in a different way.

 

I was fifteen years old at the time, and without realizing it I found that I had been introduced to Taoism (the esoteric tradition), which provided me with a perspective that would subsequently shape the future course of my life.

 

I read many other books and articles written by this great lady. When I was in the Navy I found great comfort in the Earth Sea Chronicles, a series of four books in which she introduced a hero whose greatest enemy was himself, but not himself exactly; his enemy was the specter and shadow of guilt that most, if not all, human beings carry with them, because we are unable to ask for and accept forgiveness for the things we have done that have hurt or harmed those near to us, even their adversaries, because we are not able to forgive ourselves.

 

These books were so simple and brief that they could really be seen as fairytales for children to read, and indeed they can be read on that level, but her stories were so masterfully crafted that adults will find them even more engaging for the depth that is present right below the surface.   

 

Three years ago this great luminaries departed from our world, leaving a legacy of literature to light the way for us.

 

We need this light more than ever; if we liken our civilization to a garden the garden we live in has been long under shadow. The fruit of our progress has been drying on the vine, fellowship and common purpose have suffered accordingly. We need these heroes, women and men like Ursula Le Guinn to light the way, to bring us to the edge of the cloud of unknowing, to usher us into the mysteries that are hidden in the mist.




Friday, January 22, 2021

The End is the Beginning - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

01.22.2021

 

The End is the Beginning

 

It was with a great sense of relief that I watched Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take their oaths of office, watching in real time as the powers of the executive branch were taken up by a team of people who appear to be genuinely interested in helping our country through the multiple crises that have manifested themselves over the past year.

 

I was delighted to watch Donald Trump leave the White House and Leave Washington D.C. in keeping with his utter lack of respect for the office he held, and the traditions we hold so dear. I am glad that he didn’t try to pull some last-minute Trumpery to salvage his dignity…he has none.

 

There is not much more to say about the orange menace, now the toothless tiger except to express my desire to see him wither up and fade away. His legions of fanatics have already begun to turn on him, as well they should, he never deserved their loyalty, he never believed in their causes (not that their causes are worthy of believe and not that their loyalty was anything to covet), the man believes in nothing…not even in himself.

 

I would like to believe that we have learned a lesson from the past four years, but the election proved otherwise, the enemies of our republic, the foes of democracy have actually been empowered by Trump’s loss. The Trump presidency has given them a blue print, a tested set of tactics and stratagems to use against the American people in the next round…and they have already begun.

 

There are millions and millions more of us who look to the future of the country with hopeful eyes, and desire to participate in a plan that has us all working together for a better future, but there are still tens of millions of people who are lost in the fever swamps of conspiracy theories and alternative facts, people who get juiced when they participate in the big lie as they walk around in their fantasy world.

 

Most of us have the instinct to treat these lost souls with some degree of empathy, to feel sorry for them and even try to help them, and that is a good thing we should not stop feeling that way; we should hope for the best but prepare for the worst, because those Proud Boys, and boogaloos Q-publicans see the world in starkly different terms. They see their opponents as demonic, and themselves as the heroes of some kind of apocalyptic conflict, they are willingly being fleeced by a host of conmen and politicians who do not give a jot, not one tittle for their well-being.

 

The end is the beginning.

 

We have thrown out the trash but the landfill has become a superfund site and the waste is a toxic mess.

 

We have to stick together, all people of good conscience, we cannot let our guard down or allow ourselves to be caught up in petty squabbles that divide us from one another.

 

We have to rebuild America, turn the American dream into an American reality, fulfill the promise this grand experiment…we must.

 

A successful Biden administration, beginning with a successful first two years are essential to this prospect. If two years from now we have stymied ourselves with internal bickering, allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good, if we let the opposition stalemate us and frustrate our progress, we will lose the argument, the momentum and the opportunity to realize our goals.

 

We need the people to embrace a new mythology for the twenty-first century, a triumphal mythology of progress and liberty and justice for all, a mythology that denounces fear and embraces opportunity, a mythology that looks toward the infinite horizon with hope and purpose, a mythology that is built on a firm foundation of accomplishment, and the American people must be the focus of this work.




Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Observation - January 6th, 2021, Wednesday

It is cloudy in Minneapolis, a gray day in America

 

The capital is occupied by terrorists, insurrectionists

 

A coup de etat is being attempted in America

 

Shots fired at the capital

 

A woman rolls past the cameras on a gurney

 

Her face bloodied, gravely injured

 

Terrorists have occupied the floor of the House

 

The Senate chamber is under their control

 

Trump supporters flying Trump flags wearing Trump hats

 

A bunch of brown shirts, chickens come home to roost

 

The mob is fighting the capital police

 

Reports of flash bang grenades

 

The final process of ratifying the presidential election has been upended

 

The clock is ticking, they have five days to complete their work