Dead Babies and The Ivanka Trump Venue

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Suffocated babies and Ivanka with a darling live baby

THE IVANKA TRUMP VENUE

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

The televised news feature of a weeping woman being handed her baby, after it had suffocated to death in its incubator because the hospital had been bombed by Russian and Syrian planes, was especially depressing.

I turned to my Facebook news feed and the first thing I saw was an unsolicited advertisement from the “Editorial Team @IVANKATRUMPHQ” with a pretty picture of Ivanka Trump holding a baby. Ivanka Trump informed the public that “as of today, Ivanka Trump is becoming my personal feed. Follow Ivanka Trump HQ to keep up with $TeamIVanka….”

Well, everyone knew that Ivanka was on her dad’s transition team and that she was sitting in on important conferences with political leaders. Naturally there were many questions about mixing politics with business. Her business is about women and children. Although the Russians are bombing women and children in Syria, her dad said he likes Vladimir Putin, and apparently wants America to be friendly with Russia. Her dad loves to communicate on social media. And now the juxtaposition of a healthy live baby with a dead baby on social media moved me to pose a question to Ivanka on her Facebook post, where I identified myself as a member of the press.

“I just saw the tape of the bombing of an Aleppo hospital. Babies were being taken from incubators and handed to their mothers to die. Other babies not in incubators were left behind. Is it true that your father supports the Russians who support and participate in bombings in Syria? If so, do you agree with him?” It turned out that the baby was already dead.

“There’s probably a different venue to ask this,” responded one gentleman. “Write her father a letter, not her.”

“This is her personal business website. It is not a Donald J. Trump website. It is not a Republican Party website. It is not a White House or any other government website. I don’t know how you got on this beautiful, pink, feminine website which sells products for women, but it’s time for you to open the war room window and climb out!” responded a woman.

Hypocrisy, or the underlying crisis of our kind, the gap between our ideals and reality, cannot be resolved by simply changing hats for pretty bonnets.

Chris Isadore @CNNMoney on Nov. 23, 2016, referring to a blog posted by Ivanka’s company, reported that “Ivanka Trump is trying to put a little space between her company and her father,” and that the “company” said, “Our company’s mission is not political – it never was and it never will be, and that Ivanka now as “an increased opportunity to advocate for women and be a positive force for change.” Chris reported that “Ivanka Trump is on her father’s White House transition team and helped craft his policy on child care and maternity leave. She also sat in on Donald Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his first with a foreign head of state as president-elect.” Some unidentified person at the Ivanka Trump company, simply named Ivanka Trump, said that, “As a private citizen, with full awareness of her heightened visibility, she will broaden her efforts to take a stance on issues of critical importance to American women and families,” meanwhile, the company will keep working to “inspire and empower women to create the lives they want to live.”

“Don’t waste your time,” advised a self-styled brand ambassador to Ivanka’s sycophants in response to my question to Ivanka. “David wishes Ivanka knew he existed.”

Well, I do not fawn on celebrities or suck up to powerful people, so I considered that comment to be his self-portrait.

And there was more. To which I answered that I figured the venue was appropriate given the circumstances, and that my intention was not to start a forum on the issue, but to get a direct response from Ivanka.

I am not by any means hostile to Ivanka, because I do not know much about her. I do have reports from New York City that many New Yorkers despise the whole family, and curse family members on the streets. And I heard about the man who got himself seated on an airplane close to Ivanka and her kids so he could publicly admonish her. In my opinion, streets and airplanes are not proper venues to insult people, because I have been so insulted in public that I was glad I do not carry a gun.

My question was certainly not loaded with an insult. I simply wanted an answer, and I expected it to be a sincere denial, which I would report. I do not believe that Ivanka or her dad condones war crimes howsoever defined, or appreciates the death of civilians.

Millions of women and children are killed in wars and as a result of related sanctions. The killers on both sides who invariably believe they are on the right side do not consider such killings to be murders or war crimes. The civilian casualties are called “collateral damage.” The brutal criterion of “civilization” is power. The more powerful one side is, the more the civilizing effect, and the more the collateral damage, by far exceeding the number of military casualties. Another argument we see is that people deserve the leaders they have, and the deadly consequences of that leadership.

Neither “Ivanka Trump” responded by deadline; that is, neither she nor her company with the same name answered. Maybe she needs a new brand consultant.

If she had responded with a denial as expected, I would have had an open door to follow up with questions as to what she and her dad intended to do to help save women and children from horrors such as those perpetrated in Syria.

Perhaps I shall have a reply after she puts the baby down, changes hats, and looks at the dead babies.

XYX

babies-dead

DIaCrItiCal ReMaRkS by Kawika “Dumb” Haole

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DIaCrItiCal ReMaRkS

By

Kawika “Dumb” Haole

Aloha people of Hawaii, this is Kawika Haole here on the Mainland, dumber than ever for leaving Hawaii nei.

I was thinking about diacritical marks before I got up this morning, and want to remark on them, but first I have a two or three criticals about who really owns the Hawaii motto, which the haoles say means “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness of the people.”

What people? Who is right? Am I dumb or what? Okay, I admit it. I am dumber than dumb to ask these questions. I hope native Hawaiians will not be offended and will forgive me because I am so dumb.

The motto is on the seal of the State of Hawaii, but the saying has been around before Hawaii became a state, before Hawaii was annexed, and even before haoles overthrew the Kingdom of Hawaii and ran it as a temporary republic pending annexation in 1898. So what’s up with that?

The sacred Hawaiian motto was adopted by the Kingdom 1843 and appears on his coat of arms. It was spoken by King Kamehameha III in an address celebrating the return of the Kingdom of Hawaii to its people after a British captain named Lord George Paulet took it upon himself to cede it to Great Britain because British citizens were complaining they were being abused. The king surrendered under protest and complained to London, and Admiral Richard Darton Thomas sailed in and gave sovereignty back to the king, mentioning that he would, nevertheless, protect British citizens whenever necessary.

Queen Liliuokalani likewise surrendered sovereignty in protest, in 1893, to a so-called Committee of Safety, thirteen whites representing major property interests, especially the sugar industry, who claimed that American lives and property were threatened by the Queen’s intention to promulgate a new constitution taking power away from the House of Nobles controlled by the whites. Her brother King Kalakaua had that control taken away when he signed the Bayonet Constitution under coercion.

The U.S. foreign minister, John L. Stevens, without prior authorization from Washington, took it upon himself to recognize the revolutionaries as the government in fact. Marines had been landed from the U.S.S. Boston; whether that was a gun to the head of the Queen is still debatable. She expected she would get the sovereignty back, and President Cleveland figured that should be done, but he had to hand off the issue to Congress, where conflicting stories were told, and the outbreak of the Spanish-American conflict made complete control over Hawaii, where the U.S. had possession of Pearl Harbor thanks to a reciprocity treaty made with King David Kalakaua, Liliuokalani’s brother, that was convenient to imperialist aims.

Poor Queen Liliuokalani did not get sovereignty back. There was a sincere but feeble counter-revolution. Some guns were found buried in her garden. She was arrested and confined, then put on probation, and, when the coast was clear, her civil rights as a private citizen of the new Republic were bestowed upon her after she signed an abdication of no effect, because she signed it as a private person with her married name, and then she left to Washington to protest annexation, there being a petition of protest signed by over half her native Hawaiian people.  Nice try, she was one smart lady; forget about it: that was, and what is is is, at least according to President Clinton, right?

So what does “The life of the land is perpetuated in the righteousness of the people” mean to this dumb haole? Well, excuse me for being so dumb, which is the fault of Western libraries, but I think it means that whatever group of people can get possession of the land by any means whatsoever including force governs it as long as the people on it do not revolt and overthrow that government.  The principle is, sad to say, might makes right.

But try wait! Something is strange about “life of the land.” Since when does the thing we call the “land” actually “live,” as if it were animated? How superstitious can we be? Madam Pele is alive, of course, but not her creation, not unless we are pantheists who wish to burn in the forever volcano.  The missionaries like to say, while they scoop up property, that all is vanity because the world passes, but it looks like we pass and the real estate stays. What’s up with that, anyway?

I think what the King meant when he pronounced the motto in Hawaiian was that the life of his people as an identifiable people was rooted in the land, that the land was their birthright, and therefore their kingdom, or whatever form of government they prefer, is their right in the island lands perpetuated for all time.

Surely he spoke in the context of how it was seized by the British captain, but was given back to the right people, the Hawaiians, and surely that is exactly what Queen Liliuokalani expected to happen again. But history will not repeat itself here, that is, unless there is some apocalypse resulting in the restoration of the Kingdom of Hawaii to its natives having some blood from back then.

Okay then, until then, the people of Hawaii of all races can mix and make love and babies and money together, but make sure all the time that the virtues of the traditional Hawaiian culture are cultivated in homes and schools and maintained, right? And make sure all people with native blood receive a guaranteed minimum income for life, amounting to a proportion of 150% of the local poverty level, that portion to be determined according to the percentage of native blood running in their veins, from the time that they learn to speak Hawaiian fluently.

Okay, I wanted to say something dumb, as far as native Hawaiians are concerned, about diacritical marks, with apologies here that I have not used them for Hawaiian words written phonetically because I definitely have technical issues. I suppose that one can be certified in diacritalism somewhere if he has the latest word processing program and guidebook.

The state seal that I have a picture of needs to be updated because the motto it bears, “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono,” does not have diacritical marks! All such seals need to be somehow destroyed and replaced with the right ones, eh? The absence of diacritical marks goes to show just how dumb if not disrespectful haoles are, so what they say should be ignored.

For instance, I came across a review of a novel, entitled The Last Aloha, about the “mercenaries” who overthrew the monarchs of Kingdom of Hawaii. Celeste Noelani, who has native Hawaiian blood, said she took it out from the library, read some of it, thought the author was pretty accomplished, but put it down and would not buy a copy, although she usually loves everything about Hawaii, because the author, Gaellen Quinn, did not use proper diacritical markings. How critical is that?

“The detail that made me return this book to the library rather than renew it or purchase it to add to my collection was the absence of two critical parts of Olelo Hawaii (Hawaiian language). The kahako (macron) is placed above vowels to lengthen the sound of the vowel, which can completely change the meaning of a word. The okina is a Hawaiian language consonant that looks like a backwards apostrophe (sort of) and indicates a glottal stop. This also completely changed the pronunciation, and there the meaning, of a word.” (kahakos and okinas omitted)

Forgive me for being so critical, like the insecure haole that I am, but “diacritical” is not a Hawaiian word; it is the English version, using the Roman alphabet introduced by Christian missionaries, of the Greek word “diacritikos,” meaning “to separate one thing from another,” derived from “diskrinein,” meaning “to judge.” The Greeks, of course, use the Greek alphabet, which comes from the Phoenician alphabet the Greeks adopted in the 8th century before the missionaries’ Christ.

The ancient Greeks, by the way, did not need punctuation, sentences and paragraphs, and wrote in one case:

IAMADUMBHAOLEYOUAREHAWAIIAN

“Celeste,” by the way, which is derived from the Latin caelestis, meaning “heavenly,” is also not a Hawaiian word. The French version is “Celeste,” with a diacritical mark over the “e” i.e. Céleste. The diacritical marks indicate how words are pronounced, other than according to the manner of pronunciation of the normal Latin alphabet. I am pretty dumb, and I do not want to offend Italians, but I think the Italians have a different way or pronouncing “Celeste” than the English and French, but diacritical marks are not used.

The Hawaiian language was traditionally oral, and was not written down until Protestant missionaries, most of them from New England, arrived, shortly after Kamehameha the Great died, and used the Latin alphabet to transcribe the language.

Excuse me for being judgmental, but Celeste, who thinks of herself as a kanaka maoli, or proud, indigenous Polynesian, is, like so many of us including moi, having identity issues. Like, who am I anyway? Am not part of you and you part of me? Did we not start out in Africa? Did not some get to the Caucasus and go on from there to Asia and then to the Pacific Islands? Don’t worry, be happy. Celeste was moved to Seattle, which is understandably depressing given the weather and the number of annual suicides, so, like many writers, she writes to belay the gloom, and wishes she was that little hula girl back in Hawaii. I recommend she visit Rosario Resort on Orcas Island. As for me, I wish I was a dumb haole back in Hawaii.

By the way, Celeste does not provide a diacritical mark over the first “a” in “kanaka.” What’s up with that? Isn’t it supposed to have one there?

“I am Kanaka Maoli and grew up in Hawaii. I learned a lot about the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and some of my family members are active in the Sovereignty movement. What I am trying to say is that I wanted so much to love this book and am disappointed that I did not.” (sic)

No problem.  People identify with their languages, and when they speak the same language, they are jealous of their regional pronunciations and inflections.

Hawaiian natives, of course, just like haoles, know how a word is pronounced to have the meaning within the context in which it appears. Like some English words, a Hawaiian word with the same Roman spelling may have different meanings depending on context. Those words, called homographs, may be pronounced differently although they are spelled the same way. They are really different words when spoken, and native Hawaiians, unlike the English, may like to indicate that with diacritical marks, which in effect produces a different spelling. After all, the haoles at one time banished their language from schools, so for many natives it lost its second nature, and these diacritical marks are more than helpful, and only two are used, but who really owns them?

Celeste said she “rolled” with laughter yet also impatiently “rolled” her eyeballs because the author of The Last Aloha gave the protagonist the name Malolo without using a diacritical mark, which can have the meaning “flying fish,” or maybe a “low tide” or a dirty person who does not take baths, and so on. I always thought it meant “crazy mama” who smoked to much pakalolo. I recall some such distinctions with my favorite word in Hawaii, “pau.”

Okay, Celeste, I am not rolling my eyeballs at you, really, because I know what you mean. Like some words in the Hawaiian language, you have a hidden meaning that only you can know, so Aloha to you. The blacks in my New York City neighborhood called me “gray boy,” and said I could never fully understand anything they said because I am not black.

Anyway, since my word processor does not have a backwards (“sort of”) apostrophe, I sometimes use a regular apostrophe simply make the spelling of words with double vowels easier for me, although that way of indicating glottal stops is not recommended by the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

I practically lived on the UH campus for a few years while I resided in a neighborhood on its edge called Moiliili. My eyes are bad. That is too many small “i”s for this Big I to easily distinguish, and writing it as Mo’ili’ili, meaning “lizard,” which is the shape of the mountain I looked at every day, made the writing and pronunciation much easier. Yet, using that apostrophe proved to the kanaka maoli people that I was just a dumb haole.

Now I am sure that the kanaka maoli are wondering where all this is going to lead since it is going over like a lead balloon because I am a dumb haole, meaning a foreigner who is ignorant of their culture. They may believe I am so dumb that I do not know the difference between flour and a flower. If they are homophonic, they may pray that I do not prey on them like my ancestors from Scotland. That is okay, because if I were a smart okole, they would hate me.

Now I do not mean to be too diacritical, but there is one thing I do know: Hawaii and Hawai’i are two different places if you put the right okina in Hawaii.

ALOHA

The Mainland 2016

Quranic Retaliation and the Frankenstein Monster

QURANIC RETALIATION

BY
 
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
 
 

The Quranic position on retaliation is natural to humankind and traditional to most existing cultures although their sacred doctrines might be ambigous or self-contradictory on the issue. To wit: an individual or a people should retaliate if attacked, but they should not start a fight.One might reasonably presume that retaliation includes immediate self-defense. Self-defense abrogates guilt for murder and mayhem; as for organized, mass murder, theories of just war are based on the principle of self defense.

Proponents of war may argue that life not worth fighting for is not worth living, and that the end result of war is the moral progress of the human race, particularly when it is waged in the name of God. The regulation of murder and the division of spoils is at the foundation of many religious intuitions. Religion worships absolute power, while politics divides the spoils.

“Believers, retaliation is decreed for you in bloodshed; a free man for a free man, a slave for a slave, and a female for a female…. Men of understanding! In retaliation you have a safeguard for your lives; perchance you will guard yourselves against evil.” (Quran, 2:178)

“Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. God does not love the aggressors.”  (2:190)

There lived among the ancients certain persons who professed love for all humankind and who life one must kill for is not worth living. Hence they were foolish for love’s sake and sacrificed their lives instead of defending them. They were roundly condemned by the warlords and their ministers, who often justified their own seemingly absurd logic by reference to “God’s mysteries.”

“Fighting is obligatory to you, much as you dislike it. But you may hate a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is bad for you. God knows, but you do  not.”  (2:216)

Woe on the pacifists who will not fight for Islam’s one-god; are they not traitors hence infidels?

“Believers, do not follow the example of the infidels, who say of their brothers when they meet death abroad or in battle: ‘Had they stayed with us they would not have died nor would they have been killed.’ God will cause them to regret their words…. If you should die or be slain in the cause of God, His forgiveness and His mercy would surely be better than all the riches they amass….” (3:156)

Furthermore, “Never think that those who were slain in the cause of God are dead. They are alive, and well provided for by their Lord.”

The impious infidels – “God bears no love for the impious and sinful.” (2:276) – however, shall have no reward in paradise:

“He that chooses a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and in the world to come he will be one of the lost.” (5:84)

Of course seeking revenge for the sake of God is tantamount to following God’s good example:

“Those that deny God’s revelations shall be sternly punished; God is mighty and capable of revenge.” (3:4)

Infidels can only hope that the principle of self-defense by retaliation is based on actual physical attacks and not on the usual trifles indignant human beings are all too willing to stake their lives on. St. Louis warned men not to kill people over words; of course, if they are infidels, he said, they should be run through with a sword.

“We will put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers. They serve other deities besides God for whom He has revealed no sanction. The Fire shall be their home; dismal indeed is the dwelling of the unbelievers.” (3:147)

We find similar rhetoric repeated by Christian fundamentalists; but of course, for both faiths are rooted in Judaism, and the conservative fundamentalists of both persuasions are naturally frustrated Jews; or, rather, Hebrews, for Judaism is far more liberal than the tribe that practices lex taliones. Islam, however, is far more monotheistic than Christianity, and even more so than Judaism itself. A word from the wise: religious uniforms are not to blame for the strife.

We might wonder where the retaliation will end – only God knows when. No doubt it will forever cease in paradise. In which paradise, we cannot say for sure, at least not until the fat lady sings her last aria, or until Dr. Frankenstein’s  monster takes up exile on his ice floe.

Hell frozen over

“Farewell!  I leave you, and in you the last of humankind whom these eyes will ever behold. Farewell, Frankenstein! If thou wert yet alive and yet cherished a desire of revenge against me, it would be better satiated in my life than in my destruction. But it was not so; thou didst seek my extinction, that I might not cause greater wretchedness; and if yet, in some mode unknown to me, thou hadst not ceased to think and feel, thou wouldst not desire against me a vengeance greater than that which I feel. Blasted as thou wert, my agony was still superior to thine, for the bitter sting of remorse will not cease to rankle in my wounds until death shall close them forever.

“But soon,” he cried with sad and solemn enthusiasm, “I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt.  Soon these burning miseries will be extinct.  I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames. The light of that conflagration will fade away; my ashes will be swept into the sea by the winds.  My spirit will sleep in peace, or if it thinks, it will not surely think thus.
Farewell.”

He sprang from the cabin window as he said this, upon the ice raft which lay close to the vessel.  He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.
(1)

 

XYX

(1) Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley.

General Peace and Happy Hats

David Arthur Walters

HAPPY HATS

Return of Reason by Darwin Leon

GENERAL PEACE AND HAPPY HATS

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

“Madame Huong, my name is Walter Davidson, and this is my good friend, Helene Hartmann.”

“Pleased to meet you,” Madame Huong said, her face beaming. “Thank you for coming to our peace exhibit. Would you like some Russian tea?”

“That would be nice,” Helene accepted.

“Mary, bring some tea for our guests,” Madame Huong directed a member of her staff. “Are you here for the peace meeting?”

“Well, no, we are appreciating your art,” declared Helene.

“We must appreciate peace.”

“It’s very sad, really.”

“And beautiful,” Helene added.

“Art happens when your tears connect with my tears.”

“I was recommended to you by Martin Berdinger,” I explained. “He said to mention general peace and happy hats, so I thought I would drop by your opening.”

“Martin! He is a good lawyer – he helped me…

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Shall Be SoBe – The Future of South Beach

David Arthur Walters

Leaning Towers

SHALL BE SOBE

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

Prophets in the good old days foresaw corrupt cities leveled to rubble, but now that everyday corruption has been highly organized and mostly legalized, and now that the laws of probability are understood, prophets declare the good old either-or moral issues to be irrelevant or merely relative. Instead of doom they call for the continuance of the dominant trend, albeit somewhat reformed for the sake of progress. In any case where very large numbers are at stake, it is much safer for a prophet today to bet on the probable continuance of business as usual, perchance “upgraded” into novel guises by technology, than to proclaim the imminent doom of the world as we know it.

It is in that positive vein that I prophesy the future of my own neighborhood: the Living End of the City of Miami Beach, also known as South…

View original post 1,472 more words

The Kiss & Grab Protocol

 

THE KISS & GRAB PROTOCOL
 
BY
 
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
 
 
 
The Kiss & Grab Protocol for seducing a prospective sexual partner seems to have become universally deplorable given the comments I have read since Donald Trump’s vulgar confession to his escapades, captured on a hot mic back in 2005. To kiss and grab a girl is apparently an assault today no matter when it occurred.
 
I think he was just bragging about conquests that may have not happened, as mentally arrested men are wont to do in private, but perhaps one-hundred women will soon come forward to have their picture taken together as his victims. I believe he thought his comments were private, so there is the possibility that Billy Bush committed a civil and criminal violation of wiretap law.
 
But that is beside the point. The point is, What protocol is proper for advancing our sexual cause?
 
I am an old man now so maybe things have changed since I was in the Fifth Grade, when Kiss & Grab was the primitive boyhood ritual for want of a different education for getting serious with girls.
 
I fell in love with Anne, and kissed her in they alley on the way home from school. That was the greatest thrill of my life up to that moment, and I did not think of grabbing her.
 
A week later, Karen was hanging upside down in the schoolyard from a jungle gym bar, and I unwittingly grabbed her, in the wrong place, I learned, for I got a dozen whacks with the heavy paddle with holes in it. I figured that a kiss should precede a grab to make sure the object of affection is willing.
 
Well, that was the beginning of my career with the Kiss & Grab Protocol. I did not believe that “No” meant “Yes” with one or the other move. I did discovered that the negative could be changed into an affirmative with some gentle persuasion. If not, I backed off.
 
Some ladies even took the initiative, especially in the District of Columbia. Some employed the Kiss & Grab Protocol, while others used a different approach.
 
By the way, I never laid a hand on an English woman because I was told that the protocol involved nine steps in a certain order.
 
Now I wonder, What is the best procedure for initiating the propagation of the species?
 
Should not that procedure be demonstrated and lectured on in all grammar schools, perhaps by way of films?
 
 

XYX

The Low Brow Race Appears

low-brow 

THE LOW BROW RACE APPEARS

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

 

News Analysis: Neoconservative Regressives insist Americans are getting what they deserve

The pseudo-Darwinian notion of the neoconservative regressive faction, that if the strongest are allowed to struggle for their existence freed from governmental regulation, then the human race will naturally if not religiously progress to higher levels of civilization, is exposed as patently false by the very existence of civilization itself, for the historical progress of civilization has been in the protection of the weakest from the strongest, an advance associated with the progress of liberty—liberty happens to be Lady Liberty when personified.

For instance, it is often remarked that the progress of a civilization can be measured by the relative status of the physically weaker sex. Morals matter more than might wherever Lady Liberty presides. Yet the neoconservatives fall back upon the irrational premise that might is right, a premise that wrought havoc on the world when taken up with a vengeance by the paranoid neoconservative leaders of the Second and Third Reichs.

Likewise, today’s neoconservative prejudice is based upon related delusions of persecution and grandeur, a feeling of superiority and a related fear that the superior status felt or wanted will be lost to the moral regulation of the hated liberals, who look to the duly constituted democratic state instead of to blind instinct or blind faith for the progress of humanity. Ironically, the neoconservatives, if given enough rope to hang themselves, wind up with a much larger and more expensive and repressive government than the liberal government they hated so much.

It is only human to believe that we are superior when we are in comfortable circumstances. Affluent Americans have been led to believe, even contrary to their professedly universal faith, that they as individuals deserve their wealth and comforts, while the impoverished deserve their poverty and miseries. When the Great Asian Tsunami left a million people homeless in its wake, affluent Americans were quick to come to their aid, yet they still maintained, in respect to the homeless on their own streets, that homeless people want to be homeless – that is why so many of them have chosen to be addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Social disaster is neither a natural disaster nor a matter of chance – or so the neoconservative reasoning goes. Unfortunate people have chosen poverty, homelessness, addiction, disease and insanity because they are, unfortunately, morally inferior people. They are most likely morally inferior because they were born that way. Their weakness should not be reinforced by coming to their aid by means of involuntary taxation of the society of selfishness. Individuals should get what they deserve and the government should get off of the backs of the few “economically active” people, those economically higher people who should prevail if the race is to progress instead of degenerate. Since truly “economically active” people are big producers who produce much more than they consume, the income tax should be replaced by a consumption tax so that those who consume a greater share of their smaller income will pay the highest proportion of taxes.

At least we no longer hear proposals that women with unnaturally narrow hips be left to die in childbirth and that premature babies be sacrificed to uphold the progress of the superior portion of the human race. Still, we have due cause to believe that, if the neoconservatives were allowed to struggle for their existence without government interference, the race would be left with a very low brow.

The Great Atheism Controversy in Germany

ATHEISM resurrection of reasoning.JPG
The Resurrection of Greek Reason by Darwin Leon

 

THE GREAT ATHEISM CONTROVERSY IN GERMANY

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

 

German philosopher, religious thinker, and political radical, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, was accused of atheism. After being appointed professor of philosophy at Jena in 1794, he had begun a series of public lectures on Sundays, from ten to eleven o’clock, much to the consternation of the clerics. A local journal declaimed on Fichte’s revolutionary politics, accusing him of subversively substituting the worship of Reason for the worship of God.

That was a very serious charge in view of the situation over in Paris, where images of the savior and saints had been pulled down in churches renamed “Temples of Truth” and replaced with effigies of Reason and Liberty and paintings of natural objects such as flowers. Atheism was in vogue there to the extent that, if a priest bothered to even mention god in church, people openly guffawed.

Fichte, however, had no such mummery or cynicism in mind, although he was enthusiastic about some of the French Revolution’s basic principles, and he had written such tracts as “Reclamation of the Freedom of Thought from the Princes of Europe and Contributions Designed to Correct the Judgement of the Public on the French Revolution.”

The formal charge brought against Fichte, for worshiping Reason on Sunday, was resolved in his favor by the university senate of the Weimar government, with the proviso that any future lectures be given at three o’clock on Sunday afternoons instead of in the mornings. No such compromise was available however, in the matter of Atheismusstreit, the great Atheism Controversy which arose out of the publication of his 1798 essay on divine governance, “On the Basis of Our Belief in the Divine Governance of the World.”

The grand duke of Weimar had a liberal respect for scholarship, yet he wanted the whole thing hushed up; nevertheless, Fichte insisted on raising a vigorous public response to the anonymous charges against him, because, he said, the matter at hand was a vital public issue concerning the most fundamental of all freedoms. After all, a public airing of both sides of the atheism controversy would expose the stupidity of the authoritarian morons. Fichte had promised that he would resign if censured by the governing authority. As it were, he was mildly rebuked, but his offer to resign was accepted and he was dismissed from his university post. His dismissal was followed by anonymous public attacks on his character. The political authorities of various regions in Germany were embarrassed by the scandal, and they, in turn, ordered the journal publishing Fichte’s purportedly atheistic views confiscated, and they forbade students from their precincts to enroll at the university in Weimar.

What did Fichte say that outraged the anonymous religious authorities? In fine, he averred that god is the “World Moral Order.” That sufficed to outrage the theists.

Fichte thought that a person truly believes in god if he does his duty “gaily and without concern,” without fear or doubts about the consequences. A true believer is not afraid of the hateful hypocrites who go about casting anonymous aspersions on someone else’s version of faith.

As for the atheist, Fichte claimed that “the true atheist… raises his own counsel above god and thus raises himself to god’s position” by concerning himself with the consequences of doing his duty. The real atheist is a religious hypocrite who is concerned with what he can get out of his religion, the selfish person who does his duty concerned only with what is in it for him. As far as Fichte was concerned, doing one’s duty is imperative and not categorical, for duties by definition must be done regardless of the consequences. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about moral imperatives; for instance, the imperative not to lie: “You must not lie,” Fichte said, “even if the world were to go to pieces as a consequence.” So one should be willing to sign his own name to his beliefs and suffer the consequences therefor.

It may appear to the reader that, if the same good works are done, then the practical effects of selfish atheism and dutiful theism are the same, leaving the question of a person’s faith in god, which is really nobody else’s business. As long as the outward observances are dutifully observed, whether or not someone believes in god or not is between her and god. As for lying, the biggest lie of all is told by those who profess the existence of god but do not really believe god exists. If only people would start telling the truth about god, nation, party, family, and person, we would embrace our common humanity, in which pessimists believe a world war might break out.

Do not worry, advised Fichte, the truth will not cause the world go to pieces. If the truth is good for anything at all, surely it will keep the world intact. “The plan of its preservation could not possibly be based on a lie,” quoth he. Obviously, if god does exist, god is not a liar. Wherefore for Fichte, the moral world order that is god does not have to be proved; rather, it is the objective ground or presumed hypostasis necessary for certitude.

Fichte was not an atheist at all in the learned opinion of many great theologians who happened to be influenced by him. He was, one might say, an ethical pantheist who believed that god’s moral order or logos was present in every individual and available to each conscientious individual. That perspective naturally led bigoted dogmatists to charge Fichte with the mortal sin of deism, for intolerant bigots insist that deists are atheists. Deism affirms the existence of god and of rewards and punishments after death, and posits that each person aided by reason can discover the few simple truths of religion. Since god gives all normal humans reason, god’s doctrines are no secret; there are no specially anointed authorities who alone are able to understand and interpret god’s word. Conscience is a private matter. The deity winds up the universe like a clock and leaves us to do our duty or not. Finally, as to the form of worship, the deist worships god with good works. Deism, incidentally, was not unique to Europe; several founding fathers of the United States of America were democratically oriented deists.

The professors of stupidity charged Fichte with “making himself God” because of his reliance on reasoning rather than their irrational objective dogma. Fichte’s moral world order, however, was not the mundane mores of the mob or crowd, but was the real moral order of a supersensible realm where duty is not done for pleasure’s sake but for its own sake. His concept of Absolute Transcendental Idealism and the Absolute Ego or “I” smacked of heresy to bigots who wanted some godly object to idolize, a god of self-hate projected somewhere out there opposed to man and nature.

An object-god, say an imagined father-god who is out there somewhere, say in an imagined heaven, and who is opposed to man and to nature, is more of devil than a god. And it is for that reason that we should also be wary of Fichte’s absolute idealism, his apparent divorce of the subject (god and man) from the object (world and society). Furthermore, his idealistic con-fusion of god and man on the subjective side is dangerous, for an idealist who thinks his personal ideals are the one and only reality may dutifully be as intolerant as the religious bigot.

Indeed, an examination elsewhere of Fichte’s patriotic German utopia reveals a totalitarian dystopia. If he had known what we now know about the consequences of that line of thinking in World War instead of World Moral Order, he would not have been so enthusiastic about his German nationalism.

On the other hand, the wild, anarchistic hand as opposed to the totalitarian, heavy hand, we might admire Fichte for his assertion of the freedom of the will, the absolute freedom of thought and expression associated with the subjective nature of individualism.

In any event, Fichte was viciously and anonymously slandered by the professors of faith for expressing his conscience. The cowardice of the professors in remaining anonymous indicts their religion of ignorance, fear and hate. A profoundly faithful person rests secure in her faith; she is not pressed to prove the existence of her god; she certainly feels no need to make anonymous personal attacks on others. Naturally those who are insecure in forced faith fear that someone else’s reasoning might pull the rug called faith from beneath them, a rug laid on the shaky ground or shifting sands of their irrational fear, hence they respond anonymously unless they have a supporting mob; they answer with hate instead of love and would disallow any song except their own, desperately strident one.

College students conducting a recent study of hate-mongering cults were surprised by the loving friendliness the hate-cult members showed towards each other and towards new recruits. They love not the god of neighborly love piety raves about, for they condemn all to hell who do not agree with them. Surely this is not the worship of the god of love so many man-hating magpies chatter about in their assemblies, in churches, in neo-fascist meeting-places, but is rather the worship of hate itself. It is in effect hate-others-based group-love, a love based on fear.

Whether or not we like Fichte’s philosophy, the Great Atheism Controversy he was involved in, even though the atheism issue has grown increasingly moot since then, raises questions pertinent to our own time.

For instance, why would someone hide their name when expressing an opinion on an abstract subject unless they are terribly ashamed of their own existence expressed in words? Why are they so ashamed of themselves? Why do so many people hide behind false identities simply to insult people? And why do so many “religious people,” anonymously or not, resort to slander and libel, just as their forbears did about Fichte’s private life and sexual philosophy? Why, indeed, does their real god seem to be Satan, slander personified?

 

XYX

Most Elusive Butterfly

From Carsten Witte’s ‘Psyche’ Butterfly Series
 
 
MOST ELUSIVE BUTTERFLY
BY
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS



The Greeks likened the human soul to a butterfly and called her Psyche and made her the beloved of Eros. He took her as wife under the condition that she would not look at his face during his nightly visits. But Psyche, prompted by her sisters to suspect that he was an ugly monster, was persuaded by them to light a candle one night, wherefore she beheld a most beautiful being.
Alas, Eros, awakened by a splash of molten candle wax, discovered that his command had been disobeyed. He vanished, leaving Psyche to suffer many trials and tribulations until she, thus purified by suffering, is reunited with him forever.
The metamorphosis of distrustful Psyche from blind Lust to enlightened Agape (the ultimate union in loving friendship) has its apt analogy in the metamorphosis from lowly cocoon to the angelic butterfly. Therefore the struggling soul or fleeting mind is referred to as an “elusive butterfly.”
That old Greek myth, derived from an even older folktale, survived the centuries because it expresses the truth of the existential contradiction between “reality” and “imagination” which moves life expectantly forward to the wedding of mind and body in passionate embrace. Along the way there are many high peaks and low valleys for the “over-sensitive” soul who rises from depression to mania, where she is relieved of her burden at the glistening peak for a brief moment, but then the Stone rolls back down into the dark pit where she must, like Sisyphus, follow the Stone to take up the Stone yet again. Sisyphus, who cheated Death and was therefore sentenced by the gods to the repetitious Task which he performs willingly to spite the vigilant gods, is the model prisoner. The Stone he rolls up and down is the Sun, therefore the performance of his Task enlightens all who are free of his most onerous burden.  But Sisyphus has hardened to the Task over the eons. We mere mortals rarely enjoy his resolve, nor do we in our habitual rounds illuminate many of our fellow creatures.
Now everyone has experienced the ups and downs of life; but a few people, driven to extremes, feel them even more, as if the gods were angry at their defiance of gravity and exaggerated the heights and pitfalls in these ecstatic/melancholy souls for man’s own damned good. Most of us have some sanctuary in massive normality where we are allowed the comfort of the middling road; a few others are given a roller coaster ride and made to suffer even more for human willfulness; the wax affixing their wings is melted by the Sun during their grand imaginative flights, plunging them into the abyss of despair. Whether all this is by material accident or divine design or both, we shall leave the doctors of science and divinity to decide in their laboratories and oratories.
In fact, the nosological doctors have long been doing their best to sort out the different species of elusive butterflies in their respective precincts. Learned men have always noticed a marked propensity for gifted prophets and poets to be quite mad at times; even uneducated laymen have noticed mental abnormalities in many of our most gifted artists.
 I prefer my artists a little mad, don’t you? For their inspired art has more feeling and originality, something refreshingly sincere and insanely novel about it, as if it were inspired by the gods who are quite arbitrarily mad themselves, or at least not quite rational when we merely moral mortals reason on them and their immortal immorality.
I think many artists are enthused or “god-possessed” men or women who need to practice their art to overcome their high flying contempt for mundane reality and their grave depression. Art hopefully allows them to level off their flights of imagination and curb their steep declines by being somewhat “normal.”
By normal I mean engaged and employed, being at least creatively useful in order to participate as “productive members of society.” I believe art keeps many artists out of mental hospitals, prisons, and morgues, and otherwise serves the community well by providing a vicarious life to those engaged by other occupations. Indeed, the spirit of art is the inspiration for all human endeavor. Therefore it disturbs me when I see talented artists unable to develop or pursue their novelties for lack of real social support. Grants are all too few and too little, and there are too many fortunates who look to the costs rather than to the benefits of supporting artists with what they require the most: ample time to appropriately respond to their respective muses.
Now I do not speak of every Tom, Dick and Harry who fancies himself a painter or writer. Tom, Dick and Harry are content to dabble in the arts as hobbies, thus they are blessed with a well-balanced life. I speak of those who are possessed by the Urgent Idea, those whose psyches have been fatally struck with the abiding urge to create yet who suffer imprisonment in regular jobs that do not afford them with the time they need to pursue their higher calling to the end it demands. To add to their woes, many of them despise the normal, bourgeois pursuit of money and curse the hands that clutch it, so they never get the wherewithal from business or appanage from patrons to buy their freedom. I recently found such an artist, a young American writer who happened to be sorting pig semen files for a prestigious Iowa law firm.
I speak of none other than Amy Hillgren Peterson, an author whose first published book is Elusive Butterfly.
Amy received her BA cum laude in English. She has worked as a public affairs specialist, Spanish translator, private investigator, legal assistant and freelance journalist. In 1999, the law firm where she worked as a high-level paralegal assigned her to a case involving a dispute over techniques for artificial insemination of pigs with genetically engineered swine semen. Her task was to create a filing system and to organize swine semen charts, a clerical task far beneath her skill-level. Although there were several people handling hundreds of boxes of files, Amy was accused of losing or misplacing crucial semen charts, whereupon she flew into a rage and was fired.
Amy threw herself into her book. I encountered a sample chapter on the Internet. I was charmed by her passionate intelligence. She is obviously a “street-wise” intellectual, a rare butterfly nowadays, just the sort of author I emulated when I was a young man with high hopes for a creative writing career. I was a bit surprised to see such sensational yet idealistic work from Generation X. Amy is, according to her bio, “sensitive, arrogant, kind, bipolar, intelligent, passionate, resourceful and cool.” I believe she is right on all counts, with one reservation regarding cool, when she loses her cool.
Elusive Butterfly is Amy’s novelized memoir. It has not gotten the attention it deserves. It has received much favorable criticism, although several complaints were voiced about production and editing quality. Only one critic, an anonymous Internet identity using ‘The-Doc’ as his handle, trashed it, and in such a rude manner that his virtual reputation as both medical doctor and literary critic was utterly ruined. He castigated the author in lewd terms for the revelation of her college escapades and for her romantic characterization of bipolarity. He took umbrage with and quoted the following excerpt from Elusive Butterfly, one which I personally find to be a beautiful expression of the Eros and Psyche dialectic:
“(We) make love at midnight and again at dawn. I know, even as I lay beneath him, that I’m letting sex masquerade as love, but inside the parenthesis of the moment, I make them one and the same. In the half-light of early morning with adorations whispered in my ear, I can convince myself that when two bodies merge together in an act to produce a third, if only his can sink far enough into mine, we can create a perfect whole: me.”
To that, ‘The-Doc’ said: “It is this insipid romanticism of casual sex and idiotic female neediness that really disgusted me about this book!”
Then he went on a rampage of disparagement to which the Internet writing community responded vigorously in defense of Amy.
A commentator who identified himself as Leonard Marks, PhD., castigated the bad critic as follows:
“Your obvious obsession with ‘slutiness‘ defines you as a monogamous misogynist, and begs for a therapeutic deconstruction of your social conditioning. The possession of one woman as private property is a crime against modern humanity. Not until women are factually loved regardless of their superficial characteristics will the monogamous misogynist (who is in his self-deprivation; i.e., self-hate, really a misanthropist) be freed in LOVE. In fact, calling this marvelous woman a ‘slut’ works against your vile intent, as it makes her even more attractive to true men of genius. I suggest that you approach as many ‘sluts’ as you can with a repentant heart and engage in promiscuous discourse with them. As for Peterson’s writing abilities, judging from what I have seen she is the best author around, with exception perhaps of the Bald Guy.”
In his review of Elusive Butterfly, ‘The-Doc’ also took Amy to task for her saying, “…bipolar disorder provides a mixture of the transcendent and the trashy in one soul. It has been described as a cycling from kaleidoscope to pitch darkness and back again. But within even a manic episode there is the experience that pushes the limits of the soul…”
From cocoon to butterfly: so what is the hostile critic’s problem?
He says it is because “Amy makes bipolar disorder look like fun.”
As if those who are bipolar do not know what it is; as if those who are bipolar have a choice, as if those who are not bipolar will want to be bipolar and have the chemist make it so!
We all have our butterflies which are at once abilities and disabilities. Amy has her butterfly. I have my kite. You have your own contraptions. So let us use our wires and waxed wings, levers and pulleys and strings and other things to fly anon. Writers, pick up your pen and write.
But just as Amy was really beginning to rock and roll with her writing, she ran out of money and had to take a job. She wrote a pained article as a consequence, entitled ‘Failure: The Gravesite of Dreams.’ It was not a masterpiece by any estimation, but it pierced the heart of all obsessed artists who have experienced or who fear the experience of a brutal, time-stealing, soul-crushing day job.
“I had to do this (take a job). I’m no longer a writer. Sure, it’s seared into my soul and as I cry into my keyboard I miss it like a dear friend, or a twin. ‘You can still write for fun,’ they say. ‘Do some writing on the side.’ ‘Writing can be your hobby.’ Oh, sure, okay, I could do that right after I request a public flogging. Or I could slice out my heart with a spoon. It would be less painful.
“I have failed as a writer, and since it once defined everything I am, I don’t know anything anymore and certainly have no purpose in further prevarication. Rest in Peace, soul of mine.”
XYX
2004 Heart of America

Quoted: Peterson, Amy Hillgren, ‘Failure – The Gravesite of Dreams’, Australia: WrittenByMe, 2001

 

Paul and Helene and Narcissus

HELENE by Darwin
by Darwin Leon

PAUL AND HELENE
FROM
MY HELENE
BY
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

For Helene, mere appearances, which she judged good or evil according to her prejudices at the moment, were almost everything. For fear of feeling diminished, she could not afford to entertain her own contradictions to understand the underlying crisis or hypocrisy of humankind, that perfection is impossible, that her ideal of herself did not and could not exist, that it was not really her ideal in the first place, but was merely a conventional reaction imposed on her by society’s dissatisfaction with the human condition, that of being born into the sin of individuality contrary to society’s falsifying ideals.

Helene’s saving grace was her respect for intelligence and creativity in others as expressions of the absolute power everyone worships in different forms. She had for herself the creativity and intelligence of a wild creature, a thing that she feared and endeavored to discipline by playing a contrived role lest she go stark raving mad. In fine, she was no narcissist as popularly defined; she was histrionic. The world was for her a stage, and she perceived herself as an actress upon it although she complained that she could not perceive herself as she really was. And she was a fine actress thereupon, a natural born saleswoman as long as she managed to repress her duplicity with faith in her product, which she placed, above all, on a pedestal. The Product no matter what she was selling was none other than Helene, whosoever she might really be.

Paul, on the other hand, withdrew inward to his grandiosity, hence is another sort of narcissist himself, a self-stimulating narcissist, an introverted narcissist, a true narcissist in the sense of the myth of Narcissus, the Bewildered or Confounded One. The classical Narcissus did not desperately crave approval, he did not need others to worship him. Indeed, he spurned the water nymphs and the echoes that would have allured him with their charms were it not for their imperfections. He would know no other but himself, so the pleasures of sexuality born of the need to propagate the species were absolutely introverted in him, to his ultimate doom.

In truth one really loves his self in others, so Narcissus lives on in us all, but not to his full extent. Tragically, no other but Narcissus, divided as an in-dividual, could reflect Narcissus hence the insoluble problem for him was that no other, which he vainly sought in his reflection in the pool, was good enough for him, because he himself was flawed; whenever he touched his own image, the image was distorted before his eyes.

If only he had placed his hopes in others, Narcissus would have been a male Madame Bovary, falling in love with his high hopes projected unto one woman after another, none of which would satisfy him, but at least the command to go forth and multiply would be fulfilled.

In the final analysis, that of his dissolution in the reflecting pool, the prophesy of the blind seer came true, that he would live as long as he did not know himself, for he perished when he discovered he was nothing without another besides himself. That is, the self alone is nothing at all.

Wherefore Paul’s grand experiment in unconditional love, which he thought was an intentional, philosophical endeavor, was his last unwitting attempt to save himself from his own doom, that is to say, from knowledge of the essence of his being, which was nothing without any relationship at all with another. According to his hypothesis based on the Doctrine of Hypocrisy or the underlying crisis of human beings, any other, the first woman he encountered who was willing, would be good enough to that end in itself.

That other for him was destined to be Helene, whom he by chance or by the wiles of the three fates who reside behind the moon met on Miami’s People Mover. Helene was perfect for his purpose despite her superficial flaws. Every friend has flaws, and every friend is free to have them, for the root of “friend” is “free.”

She happened to be the light of his life, a reincarnation of the flame of the Western World, and it was his good fortune that she was the only one who would put up with him.

XYX