Friday, January 27, 2023

Toward A Better World

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.

                                                          Click here to buy on Amazon


Wednesday, August 3, 2022

of Serious Thoughts: End of an Era

of Serious Thoughts: End of an Era:   I began writing ‘Of Serious Thoughts’ in August 2013.     August 2022 marks the completion of 9 years of regular writing, first twice a mo...

Monday, July 25, 2022

End of an Era

 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: 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

of Serious Thoughts: Abortion, "Yes" or "No"?

of Serious Thoughts: Abortion, "Yes" or "No"?:  As the Supreme Court considers the abortion issue, people are protesting from both sides . . . there is too much shouting and polarization ...

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Abortion, "Yes" or "No"?

 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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Is God A Non-Issue?

 We are encouraged to seek ‘The Good’.


Take a slow and thoughtful look at our world:


            --Nations under siege

                        or collapsing without leadership

                                    the world awash with refugees.


            --a measurable increase in violence:


                        the violence of war

                        mass killing in schools

                                    and the marketplace

                        increasing violence in the streets

                        violence as our prime entertainment source

                                    in movies, on TV, in video games . . .


            --loss of restraint and civility:


                        fist-fighting on airplanes

                        at school board meetings

                        children’s soccer games

                        threats and insults on social media


            --a news headline:


                        ‘Billionaires’ wealth surged during pandemic’

                                    Half the world’s wealth belongs to the top 1% 


In our world in the 21st century, God has become a non-issue, something to perhaps give a nod to one day of the week—or once a year; but otherwise not actually having an effect on lives.  God is ignored.

Whatever you consider to be God’s name or how ‘he’ should be worshiped, it is understood that ‘a god’ represents to humanity all that is good.  Losing awareness of our God (by whatever name) brings with it, the loss of focus on ‘the good’ . . . and little by little evil creeps in until it becomes overwhelming.

God doesn’t need us, but we need God in order to remember ‘The Good’.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Malhuman Acts

 Day after day, as I watch the news of Ukraine, tears roll down my cheeks.  I don’t invite them and I can’t stop them.  I feel a measure of guilt for having a comfortable world with an inability to render any aid.  (A few dollars? Even hundreds—but what is that in the face of such need?)  My tears come because I have learned empathy and compassion—it is what is required of us to be human.  It sensitizes us to feel others’ pain.


Those who lack those qualities commit malhuman acts.  Putin’s troops are trained to slaughter innocent people; children, women, old people as well as men in uniform.  He orders the bombing of hospitals, schools, living quarters, buildings marked ‘CHILDREN’.  In areas which they invade but cannot hold, they stealthily plant booby traps where people will walk and shoot captives with hands tied behind their backs.  They rape and torture women before killing them, and some when they don’t kill, wish they had.  It is total depravity, equal to the Nazi horrors of WWII.  Russia had no particular enmity against Ukrainian culture, Putin simply wanted the territory and moved in with his armies.  This man is evil!  It was blasphemy for him to be pictured blessing himself for the cameras in a church at Orthodox Easter.


I borrow a paragraph from my earlier blog of September 13, 2014 titled ‘Malhuman’. . . “we search for words with which to describe them and their deeds—all our strongest words seem inadequate”; they have transgressed the boundaries of civilization.  It is inaccurate to call their actions ‘beastly’ or ‘inhuman’.  Beasts instinctively kill for survival but don’t commit these horrors; humans act through conscious choice.  They can’t rightly be called inhuman (lacking human identity) or unhuman (not resembling or having qualities of human beings) for these are heinous actions consciously chosen by humans. . . choices arising out of pure evil.  


I’ve searched dictionaries for the word malhuman, and I get ‘no match found’.  I can’t understand why it is not in our lexicon.  I offer it as the word which best describes what we are witnessing.