On Why We All Need Help – And a Friend

“The abilities of man must fall short on one side or the other, like too scanty a blanket when you are abed. If you pull it upon your shoulders, your feet are left bare; if you thrust it down to your feet, your shoulders are uncovered.”
-Thomas Paine

We’re a social animal, more or less. It is through collective effort the we survive and thrive; a selection of evolution that helped us to spread across the planet and populate it with six-and-a-half billion people.

Almost every one of those billions of people depend on at least one other to survive. No man is an island, and when he pulls the cloak of solitude and sufficiency around him, a chill wind still blows.

Through the cooperation and assistance of others, we can build a fire against the cold night and survive another day.

On the Ongoing Saga of Alberto Gonzales and the Department of Justice

“It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry”

Alberto Gonzales doesn’t recall doing much of anything; Monica Goodling, a lawyer, confesses to “crossing the line” but can’t say whether she broke any laws; five million emails turn up “missing”…

It is a story that continues to linger only because the gross error that is the Justice Department under the leadership of Alberto Gonzales continues to conceal the truth.

Whether Gonzales and his team are simply stunningly incompetent, motivated only by loyalty to political dogma, or simply don’t care, it makes a mockery of the Department of Justice.


On Why We Dream

“I am apt to think that the wisest men dream the most inconsistently. For as the judgment has nothing or very little to do in regulating the circumstances of a dream, it necessarily follows that the more powerful and creative the imagination is, the wilder it runs in that state of unrestrained invention; while those who are unable to wander out of the track of common thinking when awake, never exceed the boundaries of common nature when asleep.”

A mysterious, yet essential, aspect of life; whose meaning is at all times open to the widest interpretation.

We dream to allow the inner life free reign to explore the world, unfettered by the constraints of the physical world. It is the imagination at play.

And it is those that allow for a playful imagination that will probably save the world.


On Learning and Living

“Every person of learning is finally his own teacher, the reason of which is that principles, being a distinct quality to circumstances, cannot be impressed upon the memory; their place of mental residence is the understanding and they are never so lasting as when they begin by conception.”

Others can only show the way toward true knowledge; present concepts, facts and figures, perhaps inspire the imagination and encourage the soul, if we’re lucky.

But the real lessons in life and true knowledge must come from within, an internal understanding; for then it takes root and becomes a part of us, even as a hand or a heart.


On Fear as a Tactic

“When an objection cannot be made formidable, there is some policy in trying to make it frightful; and to substitute the yell and the war-whoop, in the place of reason, argument and good order”

At the start of the World War ll Franklin Roosevelt told the nation that all we need fear is fear itself.

Today it seems that fear is to be embraced. To insure that the wrong vote is not cast, the spectre of a mushroom cloud is invoked; to justify an ill-conceived foreign policy, it is said that wild-eyed fundamentalists will find and kill us if we don’t continue to prosecute the very same war that helps to bring forth a new generation of wild-eyed fundamentalists – fear playing into fear, and engendering more fear.

Fear as a tactic to hold power and manipulate people is one used by tyrants, fools, and bad presidents. It does not serve the good of the people.

All we need fear is fear itself – and those that use fear to gain advantage or cling to power.


On Spin, Politics, and Human Nature

“The action of spinning upholds a top.”

It is not a particular domain of any one party; “spin” is the modus operandi of all politics. The art of the possible through manipulation of language, distortion of meaning, and manipulation of opinion.

Sometimes it is called leadership; other times nothing more than a falsehood foisted upon the Body Politic

It is not new, but it seems at can always be taken to new heights. And the larger the top the faster the spin in order to keep the whole thing from toppling over.

Such is the nature of governments and human affairs.


On Respecting Your Elders

“Wisdom is not the purchase of a day”

When we are young and full of vigor and life – sharp as a tack – the excitement of all that is laid before us lull us into thinking that we actually have a clue about any of it.

The years grind at our bodies and wither our innocence. And from that we embark on whatever chance we have toward wisdom.

Wisdom takes time; there is much to learn from those that go before us.