Saturday, January 27, 2024
Friday, May 5, 2023
This morning as I walked in the drizzling rain looking at the beauty of Spring . . . trees in bloom, fresh green grass and the last two daffodils, my mind was once again presented with the question, ‘Who or what is God?’ Of course that is beyond my knowing or understanding, but it’s a question that often presents itself, and my consciousness wrestles with the question. I was praying. I don’t do a good job of staying focused but the effect is to stimulate thoughts . . . Who or what is God. . . IS God? I must answer that last question in the affirmative for the world IS, the Universe IS, Life IS, humanity IS . . . it is all ordered and in balance and harmony . . . until MAN, with the gift of reason and free will set about choosing without adhering to God’s advice . . . ‘I lay before you life a death, choose life that your children might live’. . . and God gave us the outline of what was meant by ‘choose life’. Life flourishes in following the directive ‘Do unto others what you would have done unto you’. Some version of that showed up in every civilized religion and was expanded in more detail by what came to be called ‘The Ten Commandments’, once again showing up a bit less clearly defined, in every religion. Those were God’s directives . . . having given humanity reason and free will, God did not command and demand but rather left ‘choice’ to man.
Man invented religion, which became religions. Early on, humanity was yet without having communications and transportation well defined. Each group was vastly separated from others so each group structured guidelines for living differently. Oh yes, and also having evolved from brute ancestors wherein the law of the jungle was ‘might means right’ humanity carried that law forward which came to be interpreted as ‘man’—the one with the ‘might’ had the voice of ‘right’ and silenced the ‘weaker sex’, thereby women had no voice in leadership (leaving out things like compassion, kindness, love etc.) and power became disproportionately important. Religions (the aspect of keeping-in-touch-with God) also developed with power and control as an important element, and even here, the voice of half of humanity was left out.
With eons of time, man became more and more aware, skills and knowledge expanded, communications and transportation grew to include hitherto unimagined possibilities and then by the 19th century the ‘whole world’ became available to individuals who had the means to pursue it.
As humanity gained more and more knowledge over time, it became narcissistic (in love with its own reflection) and God became less and less important. Man ‘stood alone’ in his power which he protected with weapons. As humanity became more in control of all aspects of existence, different conclusions and points of view set up clashes. The fear that ‘his power or point of view might overpower mine’ grew. Fears escalated, it was necessary to build walls of protection and greater means to resist. Finally in the 20th century, the power man held was literally the ability to destroy all life on earth!
Meanwhile, the feminine voice began to emerge as mankind evolved in its humanity and made room for compassion, kindness, love, etc. (Ending slavery, caring for the unenfranchised, etc.) That is not to say ‘feminine voice’ refers to only and to all women, it is to say the feminine ‘voice’ which exists in both genders as does the masculine voice exist in both genders’ but each gender is more prominently associated with the one than the other. As both the feminine voice as well as women take a place in governance the future may change. Civilization developed with the masculine voice in control, allowing for a disproportionate emphasis on power and control.
So let’s bring God back into the picture. We cannot know nor comprehend the vastness of creation, the Universe, or God; we can only be in awe of it. But now, in the 21st century, as we face the danger we have brought upon ourselves and this planet we need to face what is said to be God’s directive. It doesn’t matter so much how you envision or deny ‘A God’, what matters is the wisdom of: ‘choose life over death’, ’do unto to others’ and ‘moral guidelines’ . . . be they from God or very wise men long ago, they are our only hope for continuation of the species.
Friday, January 27, 2023
After a six month pause from my blog, I return to report of the 2nd edition of my fiction book, ‘The Conflagration’. It does not fit available genres—it is a cautionary tale for the 21st Century. A fire-bird, a Phoenix, graces the cover, a symbol of new possibilities rising. It is now in a second edition which carries a new sub-title: ‘Toward a Better World’. When I began writing the book about a decade ago, ‘conflagration’ was, perhaps, a less familiar word. It can now be found in music and as at least one other book title. It has also struck me that my use of the word on its own may be a bit misleading as it brings to mind images of widespread destruction. The addition of the subtitle helps set up the more positive post-destruction story that takes place in a world that has learned to live in peace.
The story opens 300+ years into the future in a world without war when a plane from the 21st Century is found in the Antarctic containing an intact cryonic capsule with a mature young woman inside. There is controversy about what to do as that world does not practice cryonics.
She is revitalized and slowly learns of her fate. She is angry, unbelieving and resistive to what she is told. Her resistance gradually thaws under the gentle care of her rehabilitation team. The team recognizes her intelligence and a plan is made to educate her to this world and hopefully enable her to find a career.
Once Sydney accepts the truth of the destruction of her world at the end of the 21st Century, she falls into a deep depression. Next, recovering from the depression, as new information piles on, she becomes overwhelmed by what she must absorb and she goes to the desert on a long retreat. In that soul search she becomes obsessed with the question, ‘Did the Conflagration have to happen? Was it inevitable?’
Upon her return, she decides to write her Master’s thesis on some version of that question by delving into what information was available to her former world that could have helped avert WWIII, The Conflagration.
In the story, this is Sydney’s question . . . Our 21st Century world is in crisis; we are on the wrong path; Sydney’s question is the book’s question.
*all references to the 20th and 21st Centuries are factual.
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
Monday, July 25, 2022
I began writing ‘Of Serious Thoughts’ in August 2013. August 2022 marks the completion of 9 years of regular writing, first twice a month then after 5 years it became once a month. This will be my final entry as I intend to cease writing regular blogs. Will I add another one now and then? I’m unsure, time will tell. I want to thank my many readers for the 180000 reads over the years.
I chose to begin with a long prose poem, ‘Un-Named God’ from my poem collection. I chose it as it seemed to incorporate all that I think of and care about. I’ve just reread the poem and find it to still be true. Some time ago a priest read it and suggested it seemed blasphemous; I recommended he go back and read Psalm 2 . . . he relented.
My blog is of a serious nature as its title says. It covers situations of concern in our contemporary world as well as basic human issues and humanity’s struggles with God. I have frequently mentioned Teilhard de Chardin and did a 7-part series on his works from June to October 2015. (Part 6 was somehow deleted so I re-added it on January 2, 2017.) I believe him to be the Galileo of our time. He has opened our eyes to a new way of seeing. By leaving the static world behind and focusing on our dynamic evolving world, he sees Science and Religion as two sides of the same coin—the search for Truth.
Presently my focus is heavily on my latest work of fiction, ‘The Conflagration’. It is an unusual story, not easily fitting any genre. It arose from my belief that our world is on the wrong path and we are actively choosing our ultimate destruction, be it by the Climate Crisis, atomic warfare, or the obscene imbalance in wealth distribution—1% of the population (the billionaires) hold ½ of the world’s wealth, while the rest is distributed to the other 99% in way that leaves much of the human population starving. There is increasing polarization in both politics and the general populous, making compromises on any issue virtually impossible. We presently hold the tools needed to create a peaceful and prosperous world—scientific understanding of climate and the climate change, numerous international organizations such as the UN, UNESCO, and The World Health Organization, economic organizations such as The World Economic Forum, etc.—if we would but acknowledge the present danger.
The story is set in the future after WWIII, known as the Conflagration, had nearly destroyed planet earth, and caused the survivors to vow to never war again. Some 300+ years later when the planet has recovered and is again thriving, a cryonically preserved young woman from the 21st Century is found and revitalized. She struggles to adapt to this new world of peace and is obsessed with the question, ‘Was The Conflagration inevitable’?
I invite those who have enjoyed my writing to check out: www.theconflagration.com
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
As the Supreme Court considers the abortion issue, people are protesting from both sides . . . there is too much shouting and polarization to allow for reasonable points to be made. The abortion issue is not easily easily settled with a 'Yes' or 'No' law. It is complex and multi-faceted.
The first point to consider is that conception is the first step to the transmission of life and the protection of human life is our highest value. That makes it a moral issue--but does not automatically give us the answer.
The next point to consider is that a moral choice in always the responsibility of the individual affected by it. When a moral decision is called for, it involves a dilemma . . . a forced choice between equally undesirable alternatives.
Laws are general guidelines, but laws cannot encompass all moral issues that arise. For example, the 6th Commandment is 'Thou shalt not kill' . . . and yet we recognizethere are times when the law ceases to apply as when an innocent life is threatened, that seemingly absolutist position is modified.
In the abortion debate the Pro-Life stand is taken from an absolutist position that it is NEVER right to take a life, even (and perhaps especially) a potential one. This fails to take into consideration the moral dilemma of the pregnant woman.
The Pro-Abortion side takes the absolutist position that argues for NO restriction on abortion, thus failing to give credence to the moral value of protecting human life.
It is unfortunate that when the Roe v Wade debate was settled into law it did not include a limited time frame for undertaking the procedure; that would have avoided its becoming the intractable situation we now have. Society has been appalled at seeing piles of aborted babies in different stages of development and stories of babies aborted within days of delivery.
The coming-to-be of a human life is an evolution. The new life goes through stages of development. Within 24 hours after fertilization the egg rapidly divides into many cells, within 3 weeks it becomes an embryo, gradually becoming more complex as systems develop. Between the 8th and 9th weeks it is called a fetus as it takes on the recognizable form and functions of a baby.
Conception begins the life process and various religions argue about when a fetus becomes 'human' (heart beat? soul enters? viability?), but from a non-sectarian standpoint most would agree that if a pregnency is to be terminated, the earlier the interruption, the more humane.
There is another issue that permeates this debate and that is "Who has the right to decide?" It is within the rights of government to put limits on the timing of the procedure, but it is not the role of a government to make moral decisions. It is the responsibility of each woman seeking the procedure to come to the decision within her own conscience.