Categories
Diversity & CommUnity Ideas Verse

A GEOGRAPHICAL STATE OF MIND

People who live on water know that voices carry, they can distinguish the sound of the lark from the wren, and know when to venture further out, or come closer to shore and pull back in. They live a life that ebbs and flows.

Mountain people have secrets they hold close and keep deep inside, you have to dig to get to know them. Dark woods swallow sound, pulling everything in and down. They live a life that is close to the ground.

Plains people see far and wide, they can calculate the distance to the horizon. They were the first to fly and the future know. They live life in the open and reap what they sow.

Like a fish out of water Thadeus—Tadd—passed his time on the plains flopping around and gasping for air. Used to a fluid environment, he felt parched and anchored. His ocean-blue eyes—deep and changing—constantly sought focus in the expanded vista but found only a slight color shift, an inconsequential blurring between earth and sky, leaving one indistinguishable from the other. And with nothing for his eyes to grab onto between here and there except Mary, that is where his eyes stayed, and happily so, as Mary was lovely and her voice melodic.

Categories
Diversity & CommUnity Ideas

A CINDERELLA STORY

THE ENDURANCE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE’S JANE EYRE

“We do not separate into distinct causes this great and never-ending cause of the ignorant and the poor.”

This story is old. Perhaps originating in the 1st century, telling the tale of a young Greek slave girl who overcomes her miserable existence and becomes an Egyptian queen. Retold many times with the protagonist having many nationalities, the 17th-century version, Cendrillon (The Little Glass Slipper, 1697) by Charles Perrault is probably best known as it was the basis for the Disney movie, Cinderella. Perrault and Disney describe a young orphaned girl forced to serve her stepmother and stepsisters, but eventually rescued by a prince. 

Similarly at the mercy of a powerful woman (an aunt instead of stepmother) Bronte’s Jane Eyer describes an impotent protagonist, an underdog, who navigates a world of obstacles with only her wits and strength of character to guide and protect her.

In the presentation of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855) walks a fine line between offensiveness, and what would have been viewed as fantasy or fairy tale. Certain expectations of the reading public require the author’s considerations in any time period. Bronte’s ideas, influenced as they were by the prejudices of 19th century England, had to be presented in such a way as to ensure the credibility of her characters, as well as skirt the controversy to which her depictions (particularly of Jane’s headstrong nature) might give rise.

Categories
Diversity & CommUnity Ideas

privileged

ARE YOU PRIVILEGED?

Does success or failure depend on effort, energy, talent and skill? Can someone have all of these things and still not “make it?” What kinds of barriers keep people from attaining their goals?

Some say that the U.S. is a meritocracy – that folks do “make it” or not based on their own effort, energy, talent and skills, and maybe a little luck. Some believe that just about anybody has the opportunity to be successful in the U.S. today, it’s the American dream with our immigrant past, after all! But is it true, or are some people privileged?

Do some folks just have the advantage no matter how you slice it?

ARE YOU PRIVILEGED QUIZ

Categories
Diversity & CommUnity Ideas

Time-Out for the 1% #BetsyDeVosShouldCleanSchoolLatrines

People are/should be up in arms! The actions of the 1% have led to the “late, great United States” and also systematic pillaging of the world. They are against nature – but no they are nature run rampant, as in a swarm of locusts set upon the land in numbers that decimate.

There. Now that I’ve said that, who are “they” and what should “we” do about “them?” (#BetsyDeVosShouldCleanSchoolLatrines.)

Right now we are experiencing the dichotomy of the struggle for freedom and the repression of freedom occurring simultaneously. But why would it be otherwise? We are at the Tipping Point.

There is a long history of corporate personhood — the bestowing by our judiciary of 1st and other constitutional (amendment) rights upon corporations.

And there is a long history of peoples’ struggle for freedom and rights in the US beginning with our Revolutionary War. The two are now pitted squarely against each other. Corporations currently are asserting their power. They want more. Of course, a corporation can’t speak (then how can it have rights and privileges like the ability to contribute to political parties!?) If a corporation can’t speak then WHO is behind what is going on?

Well, the Koch Bros and others, have together or separately, by orchestration or accident of greed, conspired to rid the people of the US of their power once and for all.

The 1st election since the Citizens United Supreme Court case gave a sweeping victory to Republicans supporting the corporate agenda. This agenda has been rolled out across the US since in various state legislations, including Kansas (K.S.A. 72-5413), preventing any “labor organization or professional employee organization or public employee organization to use dues, fees or any kind of deduction from a member’s paycheck for the purpose of engaging in political activities.”

Categories
Diversity & CommUnity Ideas Verse

Fluffy White Powder

Snow blanketed the town in quiet isolation. It covered the roadways and rooftops and treetops, even the magnificent climbing tree that shaded the Carroll’s tiny well-maintained home across from the grade school. Everything was covered with feet of fluffy white powder. Borne by the wicked winter wind, it had curled around corners to layer unevenly on window ledges, lapped over porch screens to create rippling patterns, and drifted into mounds that covered bushes and bicycles, burying whole cars under its weight. It covered Myrtle’s flowerbeds leaving only some tall stalks visible, outlined in glistening ice.

Sledding behind cars was prohibited, and so Bob, Art, Harold and others got out their skis. They gathered at the top of 14th Street hill, put their skis on and waited, throwing snowballs and shoving each other around to stay warm. They were waiting for the first likely, unsuspecting bumper to come their way.

Art pulled his cap down over his ears, rubbed gloved hands together, and grabbed onto the silver fender of a blue Oldsmobile sliding off on wobbly but confident skis. He guided his way nimbly along the edge of the road, slipping back behind the car to avoid heaps of snow, trash cans, and occasional pedestrians. The hill was considerably steeper than he’d expected. His scarf flapped in the wind like a kite tail as he shifted his weight expertly beside the Olds’. Art was fourteen and fast. But gaining speed wasn’t the hard part, slowing down was. At a T-intersection, he lost the car when it turned the sharp corner to the left and Art found himself continuing forward, flying.

Eisenhower museum photo WWII Paraskiiers
WWII Paraskiier

He winced a bit now as he stretched, still sore, but he was the first one up as he usually was on cold mornings, up before anyone scratched a match to the cast iron to light the wood stove, when fingers of ice still tickled at the spine, encouraging a shiver. This morning was no exception. He nursed the cut that was sure to turn into a scar and remembered the impossibility of being airborne and the pain of landing as he scuttled into his jeans.

Categories
Ideas Verse

Collision

When we collided

sparks flew

it was difficult to tell the difference

between me and you

so alike we two

we both burn hot and

we take our time to cool

now we are as one

a new sun

for a bright and shining moment

then undone.

Fractal art by Jack Cleveland

Categories
Diversity & CommUnity Ideas

Do Not Attend A Hate Rally!

Do not attend a hate rally! Instead, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 10 Ways to Fight Hate you should, “Hold a unity rally or parade to draw media attention away from hate.”

Rallies and marches held by the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups are protected under the First Amendment. If we are able to stop one group from gathering, then what groups would be prevented next? Rather than risk losing our rights under the First Amendment, “our efforts should focus on channeling people away from hate rallies.”

Categories
Diversity & CommUnity Ideas

Diagnosably Evil

Do you follow the trends, have the latest gadgets? Do you watch TV, follow the popular shows? Do you believe the things you read on facebook? Are you able to think for yourself? Are you able to reflect and consider, or do you react and follow along? Just how manipulatable are you?

These are important questions to ask yourself in a hot and volatile world that is only getting hotter and more volatile. Global warming and lies. Deception and gain. Greed and death. Ho hum. Change the channel, will you? Oh! You can’t.

49 years ago today the My Lai Massacre brutally took the lives of almost 400 unarmed people—including mothers and babies, and the old. More people were victimized than just those slaughtered that day. Innocence was lost all over the world as news of the atrocity—of the evil committed by good American solders—altered the way we look at ourselves. Group evil was acknowledged due to the My Lai Massacre, and rightly feared. But what has been done since to understand group evil and prevent its recurrence? Apparently, very little.

Categories
Considering Consciousness Ideas

Backward Time, Teleportating Cars, & Mirror Universes

Does time fly when you’re having fun? Have you wasted all your time? Are you losing time? Is it possible that you’ll never find the time again? Is time like sand in an hour-glass? Is time money?

It appears most of our expressions referring to time communicate that time is a commodity. But is this true? Is time anything at all? If we agree the clock is ticking, does it tick the same for you as it does for me? Are we all subject to the same time restrictions?

It turns out that the answer is “no.” Einstein’s theory of relativity explains how time passes more slowly for those moving at greater speeds, and more quickly at greater heights (people age faster living at the top story than the bottom. If there’s a message in any of this it is: move fast and stay low!)

What little we know about time raises some interesting questions.
Let’s say you carefully measure someone’s physiology—their breathing, heart rate, blood-pressure, etc.—and then ask them to view random photographs that might be expected to trigger a measurable emotional response. Dean Radin’s experiments demonstrate that people in fact responded in the expected emotional way—joy, sadness, fear—in response to certain images, but their response was documented prior to seeing the photographs!

Categories
Considering Consciousness Ideas

Zombies, Entangled Particles, & Free Will

Are you free to make your own decisions as a “conscious” being, or are you predisposed—fated—to think and act in certain ways? What part does chance or randomness play in your life?

Imagine you are a physics student and you’re about to fail a class in quantum mechanics. You’re scouring the depths of the library for something, anything, to help you write a good enough paper to get a passing grade. (It is 1967 so you can’t just Google it.) On a dark, lower shelf a small, dusty book calls to you and you pull it from its undisturbed resting place of several years. The dusty book was John Bell’s thesis on entangled particles and the struggling student was John Clauser. The rest is history.

John Clauser got his PhD in astrophysics and went on to contribute greatly to our understanding of quantum mechanics, in spite of his rough start. John Bell was rescued from obscurity. Bell had an idea for an experiment to test Einstein’s assertion that there was a hidden or unknown cause for the troubling behavior of entangled particles.

Entangled particles, like separated Siamese twins, remain interconnected even at great distances and with no identifiable means of connection or communication. Einstein was certain there must be some undiscovered “hidden” force behind the weirdness, or as Einstein put it, “spooky action at a distance.”

Is there something hidden behind the curtain—some unseen cause that makes sense of entangled particles? John Bell’s rediscovered experiments offered a way to test Einstein’s theory. The testing hasn’t stopped since.