Friday, March 31, 2023

How Republicans and Democrats are so very tragically similar to opposing sides in Germany in the 1920's

What is most scary about the Republicans and Democrats currently dehumanizing, lying about, claiming false charges against (besides that it is uncivil and morally wrong)
is that it is a milder version of what happened in Europe at the start of the 20th century! For instance, this unfair vitriol, hateful rhetoric, name-calling, is very similar to the opposing sides in the democracy of Weimar Germany in the 1920's and 1930's.

John Minchillo AP photo (of just one instance of rightwing versus leftwing immoral and unjust attacks. For a Democratic photo take a look at the riots in Chicago, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Portland, Oregon that many leading Democrats defended. ETC.

IF You DOUBT this, please read the long biography (based upon his private diaries) of the National Socialist leader Goebbels. Goebbels: A Biography by German historian Peter Longerich, available at Amazon.

In many instances, Goebbels is almost "normal" (meaning like American leaders) in how he acts and presents himself. Take his efforts at raising his children, particularly his difficult little daughter who often defied her daddy!

And in his obsession with being liked by his acquaintances, how insecure he was within himself, (though a genius with a PhD), how he could be very sensitive and sensitive to others, yet could quickly dehumanize his enemies, and feel that he was 'good' in doing so!

All this happened years before the German leaders began to systematically mass murder enemies.

Reject the current political and religious-secular debacles currently ruining the U.S.

Seek, instead, the Light--the Good, the True, the Just, the Kind.

Dan Wilcox

Monday, March 20, 2023

The Nature of Reality; and why I became a Friend

Most of my life, I have been of the Friend-Quaker lifestance.

In the past, in 1967, during my conscientious objector service in a Pennsylvania hospital for emotionally disturbed teens, I regularly attended BackBench young adult meeting in Philadelphia. Later in California, I (and my sweetheart) became members of California Yearly Meeting and later I was a member of Pacific Yearly Meeting.

One of the main reasons I was drawn to Friends-Quakers in 1967, beside commitment to peacemaking, is because of Expectant meeting. In those open open, transcendent meetings, I experienced the Immanence of the Light--the Good, the True, the Just, the Caring.

Besides that day-to-day Friends lifestance, what view of Reality of billions of humans is closest to the truth?
I am not a philosopher, just a rather average guy who reads a lot of books on cosmology, philosophy, and biology and advocates for human rights.

Here's a brief description of the Process view of Reality which I think is true and try to live up to:

#1 All reality is coming about by the everlasting but limited cosmic reality that is becoming. Essential reality is Process influencing matter and energy. This is the view of brilliant thinkers such as philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead.

This cosmic but limited ultimate/transcendent reality--God, the Light--who is far beyond human understanding works toward changing matter and energy and conscious, creative life such as homo sapiens into increasing patterns and forms of beauty, meaning, and purpose. This is also the view of some liberal Jews.

But where is the evidence for this?
Process thinkers explain that consciousness, reason, ethics, mathematics, natural law, creativity, aesthetics, life itself, etc. are the evidence.

We are living in a universe about 27 billion light-years across, and about 13 billion years old and, according to cosmologists, the cosmos will last more billions of years.

This view aligns well with liberal Quakerism, but most of the technical philosophical explanations are BEYOND my understanding. I'm a relatively average teacher and former mental health worker (who got born with a "why" in his throat;-).

But to function, we need to take a stand somewhere in order to live and create.

However if my speculative understanding is incorrect, what are other--many far more popular--views of Reality exist?

#2 All reality came about by cosmic chance. Seemingly the view of the French biologist Jacques Monod in Chance and Necessity, a powerful book I read a few years back, and the view of the evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould.

My take on this as an average person: I think this view is possible. I guess given cosmic time even the "laws" of nature, math, reason, life, ethics, consciousness could all blip into existence.

#3 All reality came about by a cosmic determinism of meaningless matter and energy which is eternal. Everything is lock step. There are no choices, not for what I supposedly ruminate on having for lunch or whether or not to commit murder or what to choose for my career.

Based on our studying this at university, and for many years since, and many times trying to imagine my "I" as an illusion who is only 'done to' by the cosmos, I think this is one of the least likely views of reality. But the view is very popular these days--sort of an atheistic version of Creedal Christianity.

#4 All reality came about somehow by a temporary, finite, imperfect, even distorted, expression of the perfect eternal Ideal Forms of Platonism.

#5 All reality came about by emergent possibilities in a quantum singularity vacuum or some unknown ultimate reality. But where did the quantum singularity vacuum come from? Here goes "turtles all the way down."
This view seems to posit an eternal physical reality with no "super" reality 'transcending' it.
Humankind is a "fluke," an "accident," a "lucky" break.

#6 All reality came about by an impersonal ultimate reality of cosmic beauty. Scientists such as Albert Einstein stated this was his view, that he thought the impersonal god of Spinoza was true. But this seems similar to a combination of #3 and #4.

The emergent-possibility cosmos isn't meaningless and purposeless, but filled with meaning.
Interesting, but I doubt it.

#7 All reality came about as just one of an infinite number of universes of an infinite multi-verse, the view of some modern cosmologists. What is the ultimate of the multi-verse is unknown or maybe the multiverse itself is ultimate.

Intriguing, but seems too speculative for me. However, I'm not as skeptical as Martin Gardner, one of the co-founders of the modern skeptical movement who wrote a scathing dismissal of this view.

#8 All reality came about by the impersonal Brahma God of Hinduism and some modern New Age leaders such as Ken Wilber with his Integral Theory, and Deepak Chopra, etc.

The impersonal Ultimate, Brahma is conducting a cosmic dance in which it forgets its self and dreams into billions of separated forms including in one minor edge of the universes, thinking humans.

But all is illusion. And all events both good and evil are produced by Brahman. That is why Ken Wilber and other such leaders claim that Brahman caused 9//11, causes all murders, all rapes, etc.

Given that I am a human rights worker from way back, for about 55 years, obviously this isn't my cup of philosophical tea. Also, I still vividly remember as a Gandhi devotee being shocked when a Hindu priest in L.A. tried to persuade me to go to Vietnam to kill (when I was drafted), saying insects are killed all the time in reality.:-(

#9 All reality came about by unknowable factors. Everything beyond and before the Big Bang is such a complete unfathomable mystery that it will probably not ever be solved by finite humans at least not for a very long time.

Allegedly the view of the Mysterians such as the skeptic Martin Gardner, Roger Penrose, etc.

#10 All reality continually comes about by infinite impersonal reality which never had a beginning. No creator god exists. Some forms of Buddhism are atheistic and nihilistic, though other forms are theistic.


What do you think?

In the Light,

Dan Wilcox

Side Bio Note: My career for many years was as World and American literature and writing teacher after I dropped out of seminary and quit being a youth minister. However, I've also worked driving a caterpillar on a kibbutz farm in Palestine-Israel, driven a chrome truck, and been an assistant manager of a backpacking-camping store.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Inspiring Guest Post about Pete and Chasten's adopted, endangered premature twins

INSPIRING STORY from TODAY, last fall:

from "Pete Buttigieg and husband celebrate their [previously premature and very ill] twins' 1st birthday"
By Liz Calvario

"The couple’s son and daughter, Penelope and Gus, celebrated their first birthday with a cake-filled party. Chasten shared photos of his little ones seated in their high chairs and delightfully eating their mini cakes.

Gus wore a multi-colored printed shirt as he devoured the dessert with his hands. Little Penelope, wearing a pink Hawaiian print shirt, looked off camera after snacking on her portion of the treat.

-- "In November [2021], little Gus got sick and spent three weeks in and out of the hospital. The couple didn’t elaborate on their son’s illness but later shared that he was home and “doing great.”

“After 3 weeks in and out of hospitals, 125 miles in an ambulance, and a terrifying week on a ventilator, Gus is home, smiling, and doing great! We’re so relieved, thankful, and excited for him and Penelope to take DC by storm! Thank you so much for all of the love and prayers,” Chasten tweeted..."

"In October, Pete shared...that it was “most demanding thing I think I’ve ever done.”

“I used to think of 5 a.m. as early. Now, I think of it as naptime if I’m lucky. And yet, I catch myself grinning half the time,” he said.
Adding, “I think the biggest thing that surprised me is just how much joy there is even sometimes in the hard
Liz Calvario
"Liz Calvario is a Los Angeles-based reporter and editor for who covers entertainment, pop culture and trending news..."