Wednesday, August 17, 2022

In my much younger unusual days, an intriguing true tale from the late 60's

Here’s the old mutant in my much younger unusual days, an intriguing true tale from the late 60’s in Trevose, Pennsylvania, just a skip, hop, and jump over the river at Washington’s Crossing, next to Trenton, New Jersey.

This is late December 1967, a few months before I began living on an island near New Hope, crossing the shallow stream to the highway to get to my job as a mental health worker in a mental hospital for emotionally disturbed teens and children.

But that’s getting a head of a number of unusual stories. Only a brief one today. How did I get such short hair, the only time in my life that I had a crew cut?

How did I end up in a mental hospital in PA, on the opposite coast? Why wasn’t I still at university, at Long Beach State, and before that at the University of Nebraska? Blah, blah, blah:-)

Start at the beginning:-) I grew up, a very fervent Christian, in a moderate fundamentalist family in southeast Nebraska, in Adams, a little town of 250 about 100 miles to Iowa and Kansas. My dad was a Baptist minister; and we were a promilitary very conservative Republican family, against Kennedy for president in 1960 (‘NO, we don’t want to be ruled by the Pope’ fallacious beliefs).

In 1964, when at a Youth for Christ rally in Lincoln, Nebraska, I happened to get in a life-changing discussion with a girl at the rally (imagine that;-). However, I got shocked when I stated my family had been for Goldwater, that we ought to bomb the Vietnamese, she became very serious and said that a Christian shouldn’t want to do that! Why not?! In a number of long discussions, she explained how I ought to study the Sermon on the Mount, etc.

So, I did for over a year, as well as talk in depth to many Christians. Thus came a drastic change—me who earlier that year had had out various military recruiters to our house to decide which branch of the service I would choose after graduation (though, of course, I would probably go Navy like my dad and 2 of my uncles) made a drastic life change, convinced that as a follower of Christ, I ought to oppose the war in Vietnam!

I applied to my Selective Service Board, was interviewed, etc. and classified I-O (conscientious objector). I also had a student deferment as a college student. But, being the fervent believer that I was, I saw the huge hypocrisy of the fact that many students I knew who were safe in their student deferments actually were strongly for the war!

Thus, it was mostly non-college students who were getting shipped to Vietnam to kill. This upset me so much that I wrote my draft board that student deferment ought to be ended! And I refused my own deferment, left Long Beach State for a semester.

The Nebraska draft board promptly drafted me:-) As a conscientious objector I was ordered to do my service at a mental hospital in Pennsylvania beginning in September 1967. I drove my hippie van across country; I was a spiritual hippie, had never tasted even beer when I was 18.

My hair was about Beatles' length; only since it was naturally curly, I looked like a honky Jimi Hendrix;-)

In December, working at the mental hospital, I decided on a lark to cut it off. Voila! The girl I happened to be casually dating, responded when she saw me next—“What did you do to your hair?!”

There you have it.

Well, what about, the Cody fringe jacket? That true tale will have to wait until my next story, including how I was a missions worker on the Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana in 1966:-).

Dan Wilcox 8/17/22

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Are Humans what they deeply feel they are or what the facts of biology show?

HELP me out here, IF you are interested in controversial topics.

For a number of years, I have studied a particular controversy--that is HUGE these days.


Let's say that I deeply feel I am Native American, Navajo, even though my DNA test shows that I am not.

I have read both totally opposite sides of the controversy, and some in the middle, etc. Studied what medical doctors and biologists have to say about the facts, etc.

And I am frustrated that both opposite extremes--like so much of politics--exaggerates, distorts, lacks empathy, and misuses language (George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm) changing the common definition of words into their opposite meanings.

I will try and be silent, and will LISTEN to what you think and have to say on this topic if you are willing to jump off the cliff with your hang-glider;-)
I am going to use the real situation of ancestry so as to avoid censorship issues.

TRUE STORY of MY YOUTH: For most of my teen years, for many reasons, I very deeply wanted to be a Native American. I suppose this fascination, almost
obsession began from studying Native Americans as a young Boy Scout and buying authentic moccasins on a trip when young, and from later studying American history.

Then recently came the huge controversy related to one politician stating she was of Native American heritage (because her family had told her so).
Many of the opposite political party claimed she was lying. ETC.
Later it was proven by DNA testing that she actually does have partial Native American ancestry. But that didn't solve the controversy because then it became a question of other things!

HOWEVER, what IF the DNA test has shownn that she doesn't have Native American ancestry?

Can she still be Native American?!

What IF I claim that I am really Indigenous, Navajo, because I deeply feel that I am Native American, even though DNA shows that I am actually Scottish and
Northwestern European?

In the Light,
Dan Wilcox

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Travelin' Real Within

Allegedly, I’m mildly bipolar

but I spend all my days dream-widened by

the center-meridian at the equator,
jungled warm in the lush verdancy.

Super-sized with earnest emotion,

my every thought and act
floods with fervent intensity;

compassion sunburns my inner skin.

No arctic cold hardens this human clay,
no iceberg of a harsh snowy brow,

neither frozen north or south within.

At the wide equator,
I weep shards of scalding pain.

The endless sweat of warm mercy wellsprings

in this tropical brain;
morally real earnest,

My temperament’s compass directs
me sweltering true east toward the Light.

-Dan Wilcox
1st pub. in The Camel Saloon

Sunday, July 3, 2022

The Negativity and Untruthfulness of Buddhist Philosophy

Several of the central claims of Buddhism:

1. Desire is bad.
2. There are no selves.
3. Extinction is the goal.

1. “desire” isn’t bad. On the contrary, desire is good—is the basis of survival, life, hope, creativity, and achievement. What is wrong is inordinate desire, desire that is selfish and destructive.

2. There are, indeed, selves—billions of them, dolphins, whales, bears, cats, dogs, pigs, and human primates. The more complex ‘selves’ such as humans not only are really alive, but consciously aware of themselves, and a sense of moral ought, and transcendent reality—the Good, the True, the Just, the Beautiful.

If there are no ‘selves,’ then, of course, there would be no Good, no moral truths. Nothing would be wrong. But real human selves exist that can be harmed by immoral actions.

What Buddhism gets wrong is to assume that a ‘self’ must be eternally permanent to be real.
But on the contrary, temporary, finite selves are VERY REAL!
They just aren’t endless.

Instead, temporary humans are finite conscious processes that come to life, exist, become self-aware, learn to think, create, read, write, make
inventions, study atoms, DNA of life, the geological history of the earth, and some of the billions of stars in the cosmos, etc.
And finally die.

3. Extinction isn’t a worthy, good goal for humans. The opposite is true.
What is the worthy, good goal is to experience transcendence beyond matter and energy in our finite time of living.

Some Buddhists recognize that their philosophy needed correction such as Thich Nhat Hanh who helped bring about Engaged Buddhism, where each individual is of real inherent value, where life is Good.

In the LIGHT,
Dan Wilcox

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Getting Back to the vegetarian Garden:-) with a little humor

I got only 2.
I won't eat--pork and beef/liver.

How about you?

In the Light of Care and Good Eating,

Dan Wilcox

Friday, June 3, 2022

The Nature of Human Sexuality, Orientation, and Truth

Currently in the news, the huge focus this month is on:

What is true and good about sexuality, male and female, and marriage?
June has been titled PRIDE MONTH.

On nearly every topic at present, it seems Americans strongly disagree.
Consider other ones beside the sexuality controversy:

What is true of politics, elections, and our democracy?
What is true about pregnancy and abortion?
What is true about refugees and building walls?
What is true about mass murders, guns, and the Bill of Rights?
What is true about slavery and racism of the past and this generation?

However, the central focus today is on sexuality because it is being called PRIDE Month. Even Niagara Falls has allegedly been colored to support same sexuality and one sees the gay pride image everywhere.

Not a day goes by but central news stories are reporting for or against same sexuality. Two Christian denominations are even splitting over the issue, (the huge United Methodist Church and the smaller Mennonite Church U.S.A.) Some others have divided in the last 20 years.
What is true and good about sexuality, male and female, and marriage?

What do you think of the following 4 life stances on sexuality held by millions of Americans?

1. Sexual orientation is morally neutral just as some humans are naturally right-handed and some are naturally left-handed. In the
historic past (even still believed by some humans) left-handedness was considered morally wrong.
But now most Americans accept both right-handedness and left-handedness as natural and good. The same ought to true of how we view sexuality as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled legalizing ‘gay marriage’.

What ought to be opposed by everyone instead are clearly destructive immoral actions including promiscuity, adultery, sexual harassment, prostitution, rape, etc.

2. A partially accepting view within some conservative Christians and others is that “same sexuality is problematic, not the ideal, but not inherently morally wrong.”* This view is similar to a local school here on the central coast of California that emphasizes elementary school students ought to write with their right hand (even if they are left-handed).

3. A more negative view of many creedal Christians, orthodox Muslims, orthodox Jews, etc. is that same sexuality is somewhat like the
tendency of some humans toward alcoholism—an orientation that is innate in some humans, but only wrong if one gives into it and drinks alcohol.

4. The most negative and traditional view for thousands of years among monotheists is that same sexuality is an immoral and evil choice that no human ought to make. Sexual orientation doesn’t exist.

-- * These points are presented very well and in depth by the Mennonite theologian Ted Grimsrud in his lecture on same-sexuality.
"The Bible and same-sex marriage"
Ted Grimsrud Lecture presented at Oak Grove Mennonite Church (Smithville, Ohio)

In the Light of the Good, the True, and the Just,

Dan Wilcox

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Reflecting on the Awe and Wonder of Reality

If we as humans reject the horrific unethical beliefs of many Muslims, Christians, and Hindus such as their claims that a god plans all evils, natural disasters, plagues, famines, murders, rapes, and human slaughters...
And we already have rejected delusions and fanciful mythological stories of religions in general as various thoughtful theists have done since Plato...

do we limited human primates go about thinking about “Ultimate Reality”
(usually and traditionally termed “God”)?

Ah, the God question.


Nothing like trying to solve the nature of existence, multi-billions of years of cosmic history, why the Big Bang happened, and why is it possible (to paraphrase Einstein) that mere primates came to self-aware consciousness
and the ability for creativity, reason,
science, technology, aesthetics, music,
moral realism including justics, human rights, and compassion.

The how is often answered by cosmologists speculating about multi-verses and quantum events. Fascinating stuff. As for humanity’s sometime actions of altruism, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins speculates that ethical ideals might have come about by a “misfiring” of evolution.

However open agnostics such as the astronomer Chris Impey of the University of Arizona-Tucson raise very good questions about the unusual anomaly of Homo
sapiens in the midst of what appears to be an unconscious, thoughtless, amoral cosmos.

Astronomer Impey: “If the universe contained nothing more than forces operating on inanimate matter, it would not
be very interesting."

"The presence of sentient life-forms like us
(and perhaps unlike us) is the zest, or
the special ingredient, that gives cosmic
history dramatic tension."

"We’re made
of tiny subatomic particles and are part
of a vast space-time arena, yet
we hold both extremes
in our heads.”
How It Began By Chris Impey

Yes, the amazing ability of conscious primates to hold the concept of the macrocosm to the microcosm within each of our heads, to create new things which never existed, to have a sense of ought which often thwarts what is biologically advantageous...

So, if we humans want to move beyond our personal feelings and inner intuition in regard to Ultimate Reality, we need to look to brilliant scientists and philosophical thinkers.

While atheist thinkers have posited that everything is due to cosmic
Chance (Jacques Monad, Stephen Jay Gould)
Necessity/Determinism (Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne),
in striking contrast
astrophysicists such as George Ellis,
thinkers such as mathematician/philosopher
Alfred Lord Whitehead
and philosopher Charles Hartshorne
think that Meaning and Creativity and the Good
are at the center
and beginning of

Consciousness, creativity, reason, morality, aesthetics are somehow inherent
in the essential essence of the cosmos,
not meaningless anomalies like atheists claim.

Since Charles Hartshorne comes from a Quaker background, attended Haverford Quaker College
and is the most recent brilliant theistic thinker,
let’s first take a look at him
and his concepts and philosophy
which he terms,

Earliest Spiral Galaxy

For Hartshorne, the future is OPEN. Creativity, possibility are there. God and all conscious life have real alternative choices to create.

"A hallmark of Hartshorne’s neoclassical theism is that the universe is a joint creative product of (a) the lesser creators that are the creatures, localized in space and time, and (b) the eminent creator which is God whose influence extends to every creature that ever has or that ever will exist."
--Donald Wayne Viney, Pittsburg State University

"Charles Hartshorne, (born June 5, 1897, Kittanning, Pennsylvania, U.S.—died October 10, 2000, Austin, Texas), American philosopher, theologian, and educator known as the most influential proponent of a “process philosophy,” which considers God a participant in cosmic evolution."

"The descendant of Quakers and son of an Episcopalian minister, Hartshorne attended Haverford College before serving as a medical orderly in World War I. He completed his undergraduate education at Harvard University...earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1923. Hartshorne studied in Germany (1923–25), where he met Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl."

"He returned to lecture at Harvard (1925–28), after which he taught philosophy at the University of Chicago (1928–55) and at Emory University in Atlanta,
Georgia (1955–62). He then taught...philosophy at the University of Texas--Austin...He also served as president of the American Philosophical Association and the Metaphysical Society of America."

In the LIGHT,

Dan Wilcox