Friday, January 27, 2017

Women's March 2017

This past weekend I drove 200+ miles from mid-Florida to Atlanta Georgia and back again, for the privilege of taking part in the Women’s March of 2017.

The initial plan for this event was to protest the election of Donald Trump—who for many reasons is seen to be the wrong person to lead our country—it grew to become the awakened voice of women around the world calling for peace and justice.  It was a phenomenon of epic proportions: an estimated five million people from around the world took to the streets on all seven continents in peaceful demonstrations of solidarity for human rights, women’s rights and justice—such had never happened before.

For centuries the voice of women has been silenced and the world order has been held firmly in the hands of strong aggressive males—which had led us here and now to the brink of possible world annihilation.  Trump’s hyperbolic male approach that dictates winning at any cost through force and aggression, using crude and malicious insults, divisive dark threats and lies, continuous self-aggrandizement . . . women rose up to say with their presence, “wait a minute, this is wrong, Trump wants to lead the nation and world in a direction we don’t want to go”.

This was not a march just of women, not only for women, but a show of solidarity among women, men and children of all races and creeds to insist that our leaders make choices for a better, more sustainable and peaceful world for all people. 

In 2017 women found their voice on the world stage, “it is time to acknowledge we ARE One World!”

Friday, January 13, 2017

Unfair and Unjust

In a week the transfer of political power in the U.S. will have occurred and I hope to return my attention to the other serious thoughts that concern me.  This election has disquieted me at a fundamental level, not because a Republican won, but because Donald Trump won unfairly and unjustly.  From the Primary’s very beginning his major tactic was to use lies, insults, and libelous innuendoes and threats.  Because those outbursts were sensational, he got much more than a fair share of media attention.  His bombastic approach unleashed the simmering anger and discontent bubbling below the surface in some segments of our society since the financial meltdown of 2008.  (That Obama’s administration saved us from that near disaster was forgotten.)

Trump shouted that our system of government was “broken” and “rigged” and only he could “fix it”.  He made the outlandish claim that he knows more than the generals.  Toward the end of the campaigning the public learned that our information systems had been hacked by the Russians, secrets stolen and misinformation fed in to discredit Hillary and aid Trump.  Despite all that, Hillary won the popular vote by millions but the presidency went to Trump because of the Electoral College system.  When all intelligence agencies agreed that Russia was responsible for the hacking, Trump publically criticized the agencies, defaming them as unworthy of our trust . . . and thus playing into Putin’s efforts to undermine our Democracy.

The man slated to become our next president I believe to be a disastrous choice for this country, which is founded on such high principles and ideals.  With the change in power there will be a dramatic shift of the central focus: from humanitarian concerns for the health and well being of people and our planet to power, appearances, and profit.

* * *

I sometimes like to explore the Psalms and re-write contemporary versions of the thoughts they contain—on seeking something appropriate for here, my attention was drawn to Psalm 10, which I took directly without modernizing but condensed using two translations, NIV and GNB.
Psalm 10: 1-7, 11, 14

1          Why are you so far away, O Lord?
            Why do you hide yourself when we are in trouble?

2          In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak
                 who are caught in the schemes he devises.
3          He is proud of his evil desires
                  he blesses the covetous and rejects the Lord.
4          In their pride the wicked do not seek the Lord,
                  in all their thoughts there is no room for God.
5          The wicked man succeeds in everything
                  he is haughty and Your laws are far from him
                  he sneers at all his enemies.
6          He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me,
                  I will never fail or have trouble”.
7          His speech is filled with curses, lies and threats
                  he is quick to speak hateful evil words.

11       He says to himself “God doesn’t care, he has closed his eyes”.

14       But you, O God, do see—and will call him to account.

* * *

On a more hopeful note I turn to a few verses from
Psalm 27:13

13       I am still confident of this:
                  I will see the goodness of the Lord
                  in the land of the living.
14       Wait for the Lord;
                  be strong and take heart
                  and wait for the Lord.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Post of September 11, 2015

Teilhard Series  -  6th

I apologize for my previous posting; my error was to re-post the 5th rather than the 6th (missing from the archives) of my series on the concepts introduced by Teilhard de Chardin.  His ideas challenge us to think holistically rather than compartmentally.   Underlying his body of work is the conviction of interconnectedness of all being, with a purposeful direction inherent in the evolutionary process.

As a paleontologist Teilhard traced evolutionary development back to its most distant origins, then followed its path forward to the present.  He discovered a pattern at work that he called complexity-consciousness.

The slow development of life on earth has proceeded from simple to complex.  In our first biology class we learned that life gradually emerged from the simple one-celled ameba to the indescribably complex human form, not just by changing in size and shape, but also by the increasing complexity of interacting systems.  On the one hand this kind of progression can simply be accepted as the way it should be, but on the other hand it suggests a profound intentionality with direction and purpose.  Teilhard saw its significance—life gradually unfolding by increasing in complexity and moving toward self-awareness. 
from Google/Wikipedia: “The law of Complexity-Consciousness is the postulated tendency to become more complex over time and at the same time to become more conscious . . . The law was first formulated by Teilhard de Chardin in his 1955 work The Phenomenon of Man.”

Before we look further at complexity-consciousness it is necessary to consider another of Teilhard’s concepts—that of the ‘without’ and the ‘within’.  Life (or existence) displays two dimensions.  The ‘without’ is the stuff of the universe.  The things we can see and touch, can experience as material solid objects, the so-called ‘real’ that we know and that to which science gives attention.  The ‘within’ is the non-material, what is called the subjective dimension . . . it is that to which religion, mysticism and psychology gives attention; it includes emotions and the elusive—still not clearly defined—consciousness.

The ‘complexity part of the law is more readily understood and accepted as science has long traced that aspect of the pattern—simple organisms evolve to more complex ones.  Yet there is another aspect of this law to understand.  In complexifying, there is a flow between the lower and higher state—potential for the higher state pre-exists.  In the evolutionary process nothing can come to be in an advanced state that did not pre-exist in some rudimentary form.  The new emerges from the potential carried in the earlier state  (think of butterflies, or oak trees).  Yet the new is a different entity.
Teilhard states, “In the world, nothing could ever burst forth as final across the different thresholds successively traversed by evolution (however critical they be) which has not already existed in an obscure and primordial way.”

It is important to realize both the ‘without’ and ‘within’ are equally bound to the principle that ‘for every synthesis . . . its end is already implied in the beginning’  (T)

Since the focus of science is on the ‘without’ it is easy for scientists to be dismissive of the appearance of consciousness in the human as a ‘fluke’ or an anomaly or an epiphenomenon and simply ignore it.  Teilhard makes the point that consciousness pre-existed in a rudimentary state in even the lowest life forms and came to flower in the human and is yet continuing to evolve.  Consciousness is THE crowning phenomenon that has revolutionized the earth.  Its evolving development as it appeared in the human can be charted: from cave-men just beginning to use tools and fire, to the inventors of modern technology; from a world of landscapes without indications of human habitation, to networks of highways and bridges crisscrossing the globe; from markings on cave walls, to countless books and elaborate communication systems, etc.  The human is much more than ‘just another animal’—a random product of blind chance . . . the human, endowed with consciousness, has emerged from the long complex evolutionary process armed with reflective awareness that enables the species to make of this world whatever they would have it be.  May the consciousness in the species continue to evolve to enable it to reach the potential intended.

As we see a pattern emerging and can trace order in development, it belies creation by random chance.