Sunday, July 22, 2018
Of late, with so many destructive, intolerant, oppressive movements, leaders, events--and the lying nature of it all--humans are reacting (understandably, but wrongly).
We as humans need to stand up in the torrential storm of now--and ACT, not react.
BEGIN WITH THANKFULNESS
1. Begin this new journey through hell, in the midst of torrential hurricanes, by starting with choosing despite all that is horrific.
Choose to find the little positives even in the midst of so much bad.
Choose thankfulness, not negativity.
Various others ways of rising up, include:
2. Act in nonviolence in thought and speech, as well as behavior.
3. Care by active, compassionate listening to others, especially our enemies, trying to see and understand their views and feelings.
4. Be meticulously honest in all that we say and do.
5. Give to those who suffer, who are oppressed, who feel hopeless.
BUT HOW IN THE WORLD CAN ONE BECOME THANKFUL WHEN SUFFERING SO?!
By remembering what the famous psychologist Victor Frankyl (neurologist and psychiatrist, a Holocaust survivor) said:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
Focus on CHOOSING in the midst of trauma.
And by seeking to help others who are suffering even worse.
To paraphrase the famous poet, Maya Angelou:
Act as a caring rainbow--a guiding light--in the midst of others' torrential storms.
Create through hope. Start by sharing thankfulness.
In the Light,
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Introductory Note: As mentioned before, this is my second movement toward vegetarianism. The first one occurred in 1967, but then I jumped from an American diet to veganism, lost 45 pounds, and became malnourished. This time I am taking the very slow, balanced approach. First, about 20 years ago, I stopped eating all beef. Then, 10 years ago, pork.
Since pigs are smarter than dogs and cats, it’s unclear to me why I didn’t stop eating ham, etc. long ago. Seeking the truth, living the truth is very difficult. But it seems obvious that no humans ought to eat conscious, aware, intelligent animals such as pigs.
At present, I seldom have fish, though for years, salmon, cod, catfish, and halibut were favorites.
I’m working my way down the food chain until, I will stop eating anything that has a face, certainly not sentient creatures.
FAVES of Food
1. Potatoes--French fries, fried potatoes, baked, hashbrowns
5. European blend salad
6. Jalapeno peppers
1. Cajun shrimp, especially large shrimp
2. Baseball-sized Hushpuppy with its insides of crab and in the center with sauce, a large shrimp, at Cajun Tex restaurant in Marshall, Texas
3. Delicious Shrimp and Grits, The Conch House in St. Augustine, Florida
4. Crab chowder, best at The Conch House
5. Gourmet Shrimp Taco at Rubios, Huntington Beach, California
5. Jalapeno string cheese, such as Great Value brand
5. Cheese and potato Chalupa at Taco Bell
6. Quesadilla, especially Del Taco’s Spicy Jack Quesadilla
7. Cheese Enchilada
8. 10-grain bread
1. Mountain Dew Types: LiveWire, Ice (Lennon-Lime), Regular, PitchBlack, Code Red
2. Hurricanes at Joe's Crab Shack
3. Margaritas at Flanigans, Pompano Beach, Florida
4. Siesta Key Spiced Rum, Sarasota, Florida
6. Milk and shakes
Favorite Restaurants and Cafes:
1. The Conch House, St. Augustine Florida
2. Flanigan's Seafood Bar & Grill, Pompano Beach Florida
3. Cajun Tex, Marshall Texas
4. Jonahs Fish & Grits, Thomasville Georgia
5. Rubio's Coastal Grill, Huntington Beach California
Enjoy the gusto and deliciousness of good non-meat food and drink in moderation,
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
All through my Christian life—for 55 years—so many Christians emphasized that the only way for all humans to have peace is for humans to accept Jesus as their Savior, to become a Christian.
Then they will change, peace will come in their lives, and they will act in peace, and eventually—at least by the time Jesus returns—peace will come to all of the world.
Here’s one famous phrase—“The Prince of Peace is the only one who can change it [stop war, stop hatred, stop injustice, etc.] by changing one heart at a time.”
BUT the EXACT opposite has happened. For generations.
In every generation, the vast majority of those ‘changed-one-heart-at-a-time,’ born-again-devout Christians are the very humans who are most pro-war, even strongly supporting the slaughter of civilians, and often emphasizing nationalism!
They even now are claiming that everyone ought to put “America First”!
Arrest a 12-year-old disabled girl at the hospital where she just had surgery because she isn't a native citizen, even though she has lived in the U.S. since she was 3 months old.
Send her to a border station internment place by herself.
Forcibly separate thousands of children, including over 100 under 5, from their refugee parents, and move them to facilities far away from their parents in other states!
Utter selfishness, injustice, and no peace.
Now if that isn’t an irony.
Seek the Light of justice, reconciliation, compassion, human rights, equality, and so much more.
Act today for those who are impoverished, those who are suffering, those who are oppressed.
Sunday, July 8, 2018
FROM AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL:
"On 21 June, Egyptian authorities upheld the decision to release woman human rights defender Amal Fathy on bail in one of the two cases against her. However, she remains detained in the second case for 15 more days. The prosecutor has two weeks to decide whether to renew Amal’s detention on the second case or release her.
"1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
"Immediately and unconditionally release Amal Fathy as she is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for peacefully expressing her opinions;
Recognize the legitimacy of the work of human rights defenders, like Amal Fathy, and in particular the right to carry out their activities without any restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
Contact these two officials by 7 August, 2018:
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax +202 2391 1441
Salutation: Dear President
Ambassador Yasser Reda, Embassy of Egypt
3521 International Ct NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 895 5400
Fax: 202 244 4319 -OR- 202 244 5131
Contact Form: http://www.egyptembassy.net/the-embassy/ambassadors-corner/
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
In the Light of the Enlightenment, stand up for the oppressed, the suffering, the impoverished,
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
From an Introduction to Literature book [with my own responding commentary and reflections in brackets]:
"Water boils at 212° F." True or false? It depends. In Denver, a mile high, the statement is false; at sea level, it is true, provided we all agree what F stands for, what the superscript means, and what the rest of the words in the statement denote.
“But facts - a kind of truth-are slippery. The fact that water flows downhill can be verified to most people's satisfaction by pouring water down a number of hills, but what practical test is there to verify that the square root of nine is three?
[Or that induction is to be trusted?
The philosopher David Hume stated that there is no proof for induction.
Or perception is real?
Or that all of existence is real, not illusion as Asian religions and some philosophers claim?]
“It is a truth about human life -has been and no doubt always will be - that a young man [or young woman] of great gifts must sooner or later make a choice, and in doing so he [she] closes the door on alternative choices.
“He may devote all his talent to becoming, say, a great soldier, and with diligence he may enjoy success. Or he may devote his talent to becoming a politician, and assuming he is willing to make the necessary sacrifices of time and energy, he may very well succeed there.
“Or he may concentrate all his gifts on becoming a playboy and bon vivant, and no doubt he will have success there too, always of course at the cost of realizing his potential in other areas of endeavor. Most of us can do only so much in one lifetime, and to do anything extremely well takes something close to total commitment.
“Insight into this truth is expressed in one of the great myths of classical antiquity. At a feast of the gods on Mount Olympus, the uninvited goddess of discord, Eris, mischievously threw onto the table an apple labeled "For the Fairest."
“Three feminine hands reached for it...To decide, the handsomest of mortals, Paris, was brought to the feast, where each of the three goddesses promised rewards to him if he would give the apple to her.
“...Paris...gave the apple to Aphrodite, and from that choice reaped the reward of Helen, most beautiful of women, with all the consequences-including the fall of Troy and the destruction of his family...
“Whether or not there was ever a man named Paris, there is truth in the myth that is as valid as fact, and more affecting.
“Myth, then, collects the diverse experience of the race of man and fashions it into memorable and enduring form.
[But is the literature textbook correct, that non-factual stories are as valid as facts?
Since the term, myth, has come to almost always mean falsehood, delusion, etc., a better word would be “life-stance story.” In such stories, there may be ethical truth, philosophical observation, even a lucid understanding of one aspect of Life or the Cosmos.
BUT on the other hand, there may be only illusion and dysfunction.
Because of his deep sense of fate, and his belief in the belief of an inseparable Union, Lincoln caused the death of almost 1 million humans, untold wounding of millions more, the destruction of cities and farms, and an ambivalent legacy that is still with us, etc.]
“...Is it not true that men often do evil with the best of intentions?”
[For Lincoln’s nemesis—strangely the very military leader who before Lincoln’s war attack into the Confederacy, he had asked to lead all Union troops!--
Robert E. Lee, also, had life-changing beliefs, a strong Christian belief in predestination (not significantly different from Lincoln’s belief in fate), but which led to a completely opposite response in life—which also was involved in causing much of the death and destruction that President Lincoln instituted.
Strangely, Lee as a dedicated Christian said that we ought to love our enemies, but that didn't stop him from causing the death of hundreds of thousands of humans, some of whom he used to work with! Lee killed them in duty, honor, and justice:-(
Indeed, most of the 20th century, and now the 21st century has seen political and religious leaders, with the “best of intentions”
cause more untold evil—the slaughter of millions of civilians, hundreds of millions of humans--beginning with the Great War down to the current slaughters in the Middle East and invasion by the United States who currently fights in at least 7 separate wars among the many on-going Islamic fratricides.]
Or consider the famous life-stance story of Jews, Christians, and Muslims:
“the Garden of Eden and the events we are told took place there...
“Some people read the account in Genesis as factual truth, but it is hardly necessary to insist on literal accuracy to appreciate the profound…truths of the story told simply in Genesis…
“The temptation to rise above one's place in the universe…is a universal human experience...their effort to convince themselves that what they have done is right despite all evidence to the contrary. We can recognize these and other truths in the story, although we have never known a world literally like that of Adam and Eve.
“Perhaps the most profound aspect of the story lies in God's commandment that man not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge and man's breaking of that commandment. We assume the value of knowledge, but many of the most able observers of man's progress wonder, as they ponder the future, whether what lies before us is ultimately good or evil.”
[The famous psychologist and professor Steven Pinker has written 2 lucid, heavily fact-based books, Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now, showing that despite nearly constant gloomy media news, tremendous moral and flourishing life progress has actually been made by humans in the last 50 years.]
“Has our knowledge outgrown our ability to use it wisely? As we learn how to destroy the inhabitants of the earth, and as we hover on the brink of discovering how to create life itself, we might find more significance in the ancient story of the fall of man than we had realized.”
[Many nations, currently, are turning to ‘strongmen’ to lead their nations. The U.S.—which already has many thousands of nuclear bombs, enough to destroy the world many times—is committed to building new ones and the current president, too, now wants to militarize Space!
Plus, President Trump has taken thousands of children away from refugee parents and claims that Americans ought to be “first” yet at the same time is strongly supported by over 81% of conservative Christians who claim he is “pro-life"!]
"I only have time for facts," the innocent often say. "No time for make-believe." But fiction-the best of it-isn't make-believe.
It is often the more enduring reality, and because it contains truth, it goes beyond personal and national boundaries. Thus, one need not be a Greek to recognize truth in Oedipus the King, or a Roman Catholic to be astonished by the accuracy of vision in The Divine Comedy.
“Nor does one have to insist on a literal interpretation of Christian doctrine in order to find profound truths about man and his fate in, Paradise Lost.
“1. Although facts are not the only form of truth, they are extremely important.
What is a fact?
What is the importance of facts in your everyday life?
What is the relationship between facts and ideas?
Between facts and opinions?
"2. Is man essentially good?
“Or is he essentially evil?
--from a literature textbook
[OR is the human primate not capable of good or evil?
IS the human species ONLY--
“You, your joys and your sorrow, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”
-Francis Crick, the famous Scientist and Atheistic Naturalist
OR HOW can any of the life-stance stories possibly be true in the sense that the literary author means (ethically and philosophically, not factually)
since so many contradict each other.
To be continued—
In the Light,
Daniel Eugene Wilcox