Justice Matters My Ass

Justice Matters My Ass

by James L. Secor, Ph.D. & Minna vander Pfaltz

“If we consider the purity of the Christian religion, the sanctity of its moral precepts, and the innocent as well as austere lives of the greater number of those who during the first ages embraced the faith of the Gospel, we should naturally suppose that so benevolent a doctrine” would have filled and comforted us with due reverence and that its works would shine, strengthening the imperative of justice, thus making a city where such justice “rolls down like a mighty river”–and what better place than the arrogant little town of Lawrence, Kansas, albeit in the name of the world.[1]

And so it is that Justice Matters, a conglomerate of myriad Christian denominations purporting psychological knowledge, has set about solving the mental health crisis in, first, Lawrence and Douglas County, and then purportedly the nation. Justice Matters believes that the Christian way knows the right way to solve psychological suffering. Indeed, Christianity believes it has the answer to every sort of suffering. A befitting arrogance, as Justice Matters considers itself a Nehemiah action.

Nehemiah was a builder–a re-builder. It is believed that he rebuilt the walls of Israel but, in fact, he only rebuilt the walls of the southern Hebrew kingdom of Judea (capital at Jerusalem). Apparently, the northern kingdom of Israel was somehow not worthy of consideration.

A great man? Perhaps. But he was arrogant and boastful: “I beseech thee, O Lord, let thy ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant. . .and give him mercy. . . .” The Book of Nehemias I:ii. “The hand of my god was good with me,” II:18. “Remember me, O my God, for good according to all I have done for this people,” III:19. “Remember me, O my God. . .and wipe not out my kindnesses, which I have done. . .,” XIII:14.[2]

The more so arrogant because he was eunochus and not oinochoos (cup-bearer). A later re-interpretation saw eunuch as not so highly thought of? Within the text itself we have proof he was, though: 1) he appeared in the presence of the Queen, not to be done if he’d been a “real” man; and 2) he would not, without great rationalizations–especially to his heroic status–cross over the temple threshold which, as eunuch, he could not cross over. A taboo that even the possibility of death could not override.

Ergo, the Justice Matters leaders fit their Nehemiah namesake for arrogance: religious leaders expecting God to praise them for their doings. But Justice Matters’ arrogance is worse, for while Nehemiah knew what he was doing, Justice Matters is pretending to knowledge it does not have. The religious organizers know not the psychology of mental illness but pretend to. And they pretend to help while they are not the least interested in admitting to their number, much less listening to, the mentally ill or the social activist. Why? Justice Matters knows better, that’s why. Über-arrogance.

But the situation is considerably more tarnished and twisted. For this, the Justice Matters people are in denial, denial of their Janus-faced behavior, in denial that they do not know psychiatry and mental illness and organic brain disease and in denial that the mentally ill are not helpless and do not know themselves. The Justice Matters people believe they have the answer while propagating the old and conventional belief in hospitalization, belief in isolation and separation–and medication. They even use the nomenclature of incurable illness that is, in fact, old hat and, in the rest of the western world, has been found to be inappropriate.

This attitude is unsupported by science and empirical evidence, unsupported by the Hearing Voices Networks and the alternative methods so popular and successful in Europe; unsupported by the personal testimony of the “sufferers” themselves. “Sufferers”? Only in that psychiatry and society has made them suffer in their ignorance, for neither listen.

Justice Matters is correct–by jumping on the bandwagon–that jail/prison is not the best or appropriate place for the mentally aberrant; aside from lack of knowledge and treatment, criminalizing “mental illness” equals no treatment outside of abuse. Something more and better is, indeed, needed.

Otherwise, Justice Matters is not the least bit interested in making their professed belief in what needs to be done happen. There is no plan of action. For, with their very successful fundraising drives, nothing has been done with the money raised. Nothing at all. As the money raised by donation to a religious organization, there is no accounting. No taxation. Where is it going? Certainly not to the realization of their vision.

“We’d like to get concrete expectations on where we’re moving,” says Ben MacConnell, an organizer for Justice Matters. Doesn’t he already know? This is akin to a general going into battle without any plans to fight.

“Our scriptures speak of a powerful, loving God when matters of justice arise. So, let us go upstream–as one body–and trust in God to help along the way” (Justice Matters website). So, they really have no plan, only God. And. . .if God’s away on business? Then what? “St. Peter don’t call me ’cause I can’t go, I owe my soul to the company store”?

There seems to be no innocence of motive here. Moral precepts are sidelined in the push to appear great in the eyes of their God and the world. Look at me! Look at me! So very Nehemiahan: remember me and bless me for I am good, full of good intention. Halleluiah! The humanity necessary to support and succor the poor and homeless, the disabled and mentally ill has all but been squeezed out of existence leaving an empty, rotting shell.

You miss the garden,
because you want a small fig from a random tree.
You don’t meet the beautiful woman.
You’re joking with an old crone.
It makes me want to cry how she detains you,
stinking mouthed, with a hundred talons,
putting her head over the roof edge to call down,
tasteless fig, fold over fold, empty
as dry-rotten garlic.
She has you right by the belt,
even though there’s no flower and no milk
inside her body.
Death will open your eyes
to what her face is: leather spine
of a black lizard. No more advice.

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull of what you really love.[3]

There is no more purity and benevolence left in religion. The truth of this assertion billows into a black and boggy Garden of clinging choking vines nursed by Christians’ practice of intolerance and hatred and a love of war and their demand to discriminate and refuse to serve those who don’t fit their brand of righteousness, of their social Darwinian precepts. So much cruelty and violence–abuse–is meted out these days, rationalized by citation to the holy book, rationalizations that are, in fact, not there. The Christians are lying to themselves as they lie about the world and lie to the world in order to get. . .what? What is the pay-off? Simply to get ahead? To earn indulgences so to sit on the right hand of God? Nehemiah arrogance to be sure.

Theocracies are ever of this ilk.

In an abusive society, no one is truly interested in helping (Cf. R.D. Laing). Abusers have lost all sense of proportion and all innocence; there is no austerity to their lives, which would give them some sort of compassion. As others in need are found wanting, so the religionists themselves are wanting. Better to talk and paint exquisite pictures than to engage in practicing the espoused higher virtue of their way, The Way, while they wonder, loudly, how it is the world has become such a horrible, gruesome place; for with people of such worthiness as themselves abounding, it is inconceivable that we are living in the end times.

Since Christians are doing nothing and, of course, since nothing is happening, everyone must pray. A pray festival–with donation–is the answer, a vital need. Cry out unto the Lord!

Praying is too slow. And Portugal is too small and too far away. . .and not American.

Justice no longer means or involves transformation. It is now all about feelings of satisfaction of a job well done. Nothing profound. No transcendence. Just me and my ideas. Me and my survival. Legally, any more, justice means vengeance with laws built around someone’s disgust and shaming. It is also about hiding facets of civilization that are disturbing to have around for their evidence of society’s inhumanity to man.

Before continuing let us remember a few things:

  1. He who can name the way does not know the way; and
  2. Beware the do-gooder; and perhaps
  3. The way to success is to correct oneself.

One could, at this point, add, “alas and alack.” For wisdom does not seem to be part of the Christian canon. Not to be wondered at as none of the wisdom writings of Christianity were included in their New Testament. None. That is to say, they–the Wisdom Writings–are non-existent but in the Old Testament where we find a warning of the self-proclaimed wise: “Let us therefore wait for the just, because he is not for our turn, and he is contrary to our doings, and upbraideth us with transgressions of the law, and devulgeth against us the sins of our way of life” (Wisdom II:xii, in which the self-proclaimed wise are upbraided). And “He boasteth that he hath knowledge” (Wisdom II:xiii). Ignorance is vain reckoning. And yet again, “He that rejecteth wisdom. . .their hope is vain, and their labours without fruit, and their works unprofitable” (Wisdom III:ii, in which the truly wise are extolled).

Other than “become not unwise” (Ephesians V:xvii), look to the Nag Hammadi and you shall see the wisdom books, considerably more “books” (45) than make up the New Testament.

“Desire without knowledge is not good. . .to have desire is fine; but to have desire and act upon that desire without knowledge about it is ignorance” (Proverbs XIX:2) because “I would not have you ignorant” (Romans I:xiii). Perhaps Justice Matters should heed the question put to Job: “Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words?” (Job XXXVIII:ii).

Why do I say Justice Matters is ignorant? Again, they do not wish the so-called mentally ill in their organization; nor do they read anything other than the accepted status quo diagnoses and treatments and, therefore, have no knowledge that hospitalization and drugging are not the best or most productive of treatment methods. Justice Matters is stuck in 19th century mode. Perhaps they should read history and the horrors of 20th century hospitals. Perhaps they should heed the words of the knowledgeable, the “mentally ill.” Willful ignorance is a sin against God.

Romans I:xiii, “We would not have you ignorant.”

Thus it is that these people with a belief system and their leaders with degrees in Divinity–a devilish conundrum–have no knowledge of psychology or of mental illness yet believe they do because God is on their side and they have a desire to do good. I wonder. . .does this mean their belief is that people are mentally ill due to disbelief in their creed? And that, as of old, the heathen, pagan disbelievers who are (obviously) mentally ill must be isolated from the rest of Mankind and drugged into the oblivion all non-Christians are deserving of for fear of contamination?

Most telling–and without damning commentary–is Justice Matters’ lack of knowledge of modern, more humane approaches being applied outside the US, including a non-illness approach; after all, the organic brain disease approach was a diagnosis of Emil Kraepelin, from the late 19th century; and it is known that a major component of mental illness is socio-cultural: quite simply, if you take away the anxieties, you ameliorate many of the symptoms. Then, one must deal with handling the problem, which is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Peer-to-peer gives more applicable and useful options. Perhaps, though, reading is not a thing the Justice Matters ministers do, despite their religion’s reliance on humanity and human rights.

These more humane and more successful means of treating “the mentally ill” are not obscure or hard to find. In fact, as research goes, discovering this information is all but effortless: it’s on the Internet, to begin with.

The oldest involves the people of Geel, Belgium, from the Middle Ages where the mentally ill were given a home and work and the mental illness symptomology decreased, even disappeared.

There is the vast–except in the US–Hearing Voices Network, one of several peer-run approaches that are accepted in the health insurance industry of other countries. Peers: no doctors, no nurses, no social workers, no family or friends. By, for and of the people who hear voices. Or, for that, matter any other “mental illness” sufferer–including those who have liberated themselves from the system to find a real life. How many artists have ended their lives secondary to in-hospital treatment, especially that horror known as ECT (Electro-convulsive Therapy, aka Electro-shock Therapy). For more on artists see Kaye Redfield Jamison’s Touched With Fire.

But, again, reading about mental illness does not appear to be high on the list of Justice Matters’ things to do. Perhaps I ask too much (Cf. Romans I-xiii). “We” In this moment means the mentally ill. To not listen to these people is to continue the practice of modern-day psychiatrists who also do not listen, just hand out drugs like good pushers. “God damn the pusherman,” sings a popular rock band. Why? Because the pusherman doesn’t give a damn what the drugs do to you, as long as he gets his money. Are not these psychiatrists akin to the money changers in the temple? The temple of the mind.

The Norwegian approach that does not use drugs–unless the individual wants–and then at the level each person finds comfortable. (Cf. Robert Whitaker, The Door to a Revolution in Psychiatry Cracks Open.) This self-assessment is important, for the Big PHRMA-set therapeutic levels are often enough inappropriate. Often, the side-effects to anti-psychotics and anti-depressants are passed off as “just what you have to put up with.” Drooling, involuntary mouth and tongue movements, problems swallowing, dull affect, inability to think or speak, agitation that never abates and has, itself, a diagnosis (akathisia). And the therapeutic level can itself be an overdose, as with Lithium (LiCO3). Overdose of Lithium results in behavior and symptoms similar to those of a stroke, called encephalopathy–and occurs at “therapeutic level” in some people. The sooner caught and treated–cessation of Lithium–the better. Sometimes, these people go on to suffer TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack; colloquially, a small stroke). If a less than “therapeutic level” works to control symptoms, it’s good, Big-PHRMA be damned. But psychiatrists prefer the dogma.

Look, too, to the Finnish.

How much better if doctors listened to patients who say, “Oh, yes. This is enough.” But US psychiatrists–and Justice Matters, as already noted–don’t listen to the mentally ill; they simply administer drugs and then damn as non-compliant the imposed-upon individual who won’t take the drugs due to effects and/or side-effects. Some of these nut cases are told it’s all in their head. (Oh, the irony!) And hospitalization, wanted or not. This is the wrong way to deal with the problem. This is hiding it and attempting to make it go away, as with the homeless people, as embarrassment to the abuses of modern civilization.

Imposing isolation and drugs on people is unconstitutional: it is a restriction of freedom.[4] In the House of Representatives, there is a man who has attempted over several years to have a bill passed into law that would require forced hospitalization, drugging and other treatments for anyone with a mental illness diagnosis. His name is Murphy. The House has passed his bills; the Senate, the lawmakers, has not. If passed, there would be no artists of any kind on the streets, on the stage, in the movies. Truly a Murphy’s Law.[5] What a dull, second-rate society we’d live in. . .and one mirroring a Fascist state: utilitarian and intolerant.

Justice Matters utilizes diagnoses found in the DSM-V, a diagnosis by committee booklet that medicalizes everything that is not considered normal–even women who cannot achieve orgasm are mentally ill, according to this book. This book is the only way to get symptoms covered by the health insurance industry. It is extremely unpopular amongst practitioners: “In recent years, clinicians and researchers have started to question the very diagnostic paradigm that once gave them so much hope. Mounting scientific evidence has indicated that DSM– and ICD-based categories do not reflect patterns of mental distress found in both clinical and general populations.” Indeed, it is generally thought that there are “built-in assumptions of homogeneity within diagnoses, purported to occur as a singular, one-size-fits-all process [that] leave[s] no room for the heterogeneous reality of mental health experiences” and result in “the pathologizing of sociopolitical deviance.” This is what the DSM-V is all about.[6] (Aside from money.) The health insurance industry in the US is, “If you can’t afford it, you deserve to die” and mental illness is all but dis-included as unworthy even of the limited coverage given to the physically ill, despite the ties the mind has to the body.

Who, then, it seems to be right to ask, is the true mentally ill person?

The mental set of Justice Matters is old hat and not fully accepted within the psychiatric field. Justice Matters approaches the situation from one of disease, indeed, incurable disease. This is just not so, for there are times–often years–when symptoms are not present. The disease model sees this as “remission”; the human (humane?) model sees it as normalcy because the symptoms of mental illness are not continuous forever and ever diseases, aka organic brain disorders, or permanent and irreversible chemical imbalances. Nothing in the brain is static. Indeed, the mind, the mentality affect of the brain, is not the brain. Science doesn’t know where it is, much less what it is. Which would make mental illness an undefined unknown.

Mental hospitals were done away with because of their ineffectiveness, abuse and even worsening of the mental situation. The replacement was supposed to be local acute care clinics. Not one state in the US bothered to institute such clinics. The “mentally ill” were left to wander the streets; to be arrested and jailed. Though Justice Matters notes it is interested in acute care clinics, the organization has done nothing to help bring this about, despite the money collected in one fund raiser after another. Ergo, Justice Matters isn’t interested at all in the mentally ill other than as a means of enriching its “leaders” and making its constituents feel good about themselves for becoming involved in some kind of human interest do-gooding.

Why?

If Justice Matters were serious about what it says it wants to do and if Justice Matters was in touch with what’s going on in the city, they’d know there is a place for establishment of an acute care clinic. But Justice Matters is out of touch with reality and more interested in face and money. That is, they chose a social action that turned out not to be easily attained nor easily understood. Justice Matters entered the fray in ignorance and has continued in ignorance, perhaps believing their God-given desire is all that’s necessary. Yet, Proverbs XIX:iii has it that “Desire without knowledge is not good. . .to have desire is fine; but to have desire and act upon that desire without knowledge about it is ignorance.”

[1] Quotes are from Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and the Justice Matters website.

[2] The Holy Bible, John Murry & Co., publisher, 1891.

[3] The Essential Rumi, trans. Coleman Barks.

[4] Cf. the Fourth Amendment. Quarantine is a different matter.

[5] Manic-depression occurs eight times as often in artists than in the general population. Indeed, it was once known as “the artist’s disease.” And it has a genetic component. Nowadays, under the rubric of Bipolar I or II, it is a diagnosis for anyone who has mood problems, including those with severe anxiety problems and borderline personality people, genetics be damned. But the confusion is good for the psychiatric pocket book.

[6] Although the quotes from this article, “Psychologists Push Back on Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual” can be found variously on the Internet, it first appeared in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology and alongside another article looking at alternatives in The Journal of Humanistic Psychology.

What Is This Bullshit!

What is this bullshit?!

The US radicalizes Muslims years into the future after they’ve come to the US?

This assumes that there is no radicalization in the Middle East to begin with. Let’s not even bother that these US radicalized Muslims were children when they arrived in the land of the free, home of the brave.

This assumes that these radicalized Muslims attack, in a terrorist manner, the US. Which does not–has not–happened. If they go elsewhere, who knows who the fuck they are or what the fuck they do? It all comes down to hearsay, oui dit.

What is this bullshit?!

The US radicalizes Muslims years into the future after they’ve come to the US?

This assumes that there is no radicalization in the Middle East to begin with. Let’s not even bother that these US radicalized Muslims were children when they arrived in the land of the free, home of the brave.

This assumes that these radicalized Muslims attack, in a terrorist manner, the US. Which does not–has not–happened. If they go elsewhere, who knows who the fuck they are or what the fuck they do? It all comes down to hearsay, oui dit. After all, this picture is not real but we believed it to be. This is not a partial picture of Saddam Hussein. And it is not part of the papers these children are retrieving. Even the shadow of its placement is wrong!

This assumes that there is something wrong with the US. No one in the media is seeing this. No one questions this radicalization, whatever the hell that is. No one questions the iniquities of the US that would lead to radical behavior. . .even though radical behavior has been around for many years. Shall we say, since the Suffragettes? That’s, like, a century, man.

What kind of bullshit is this?

Perhaps not. US citizens are, in fact, radicalized daily, though most of us are nonviolent; a few who have become radicalized in its present day sense–whatever the hell that is!–have become terribly violent, involving themselves in mass killing. The US tries to deny a sociocultural problem by blaming the mentally ill, despite evidence to the contrary. And, yet, there have been religious men–the Berrigans –and Indians and protesters since the 60s who have gone to jail for their radical ideas.

I would have to think that, even via denial, the media, especially the visual media, are in collusion to hide the fact that the US is a fucking sociocultural mess. Racist, classist, Social Darwinist, ideologicalist. . .how many more “ists”?

This, even in the face of fundamentalism and anti-government types crying out for the violation of our precious founding fathers’ ideas and beliefs, i.e. the Constitution.

In fact, we cannot radicalize anyone but our own.

To maintain that social programs and tolerance and togetherness will solve the problem is engaging in chasing the Heffalump. Bullshit. More bullshit. As if we only know bullshit. Bullshit denial. Cliché bullshit.

The problem is the socioculture of the US. We are fucking ourselves. And, since no one is doing diddly about it, we must enjoy it. Pooh and Piglet went round and round the pit hunting the Heffalump many times before they realized they were following their own footprints. Such a silly bear of little brain.

We may want to believe in the Velveteen Rabbit but he, in fact, does not exist. He is not, however, a figment of our imaginations. He is just the delusion of the overly optimistic, the Pollyannaists.

To say, too, that the US radicalizes people from the Middle East is to say we are making our own problems. A truism extraordinaire. Because if we didn’t have problems we wouldn’t be real, we wouldn’t be human–despite utopian thinking and needs. So, we gotsta make it up.

So, really, what the fuck is radicalization? And why is it only the US radicalizes? I mean, we have the arrogant bigoted Bill Maher to lead us onward, we don’t need to imagine anything on our own, yellow grass notwithstanding. Yellow grass and high quality dried green grass.

Let us appeal to Rumi:

You miss the garden,
because you want a small fig from a random tree.
You don’t meet the beautiful woman.
You’re joking with an old crone.
It makes me want to cry how she detains you,
stinking mouthed, with a hundred talons,
putting her head over the roof edge to call down,
tasteless fig, fold over fold, empty
as dry-rotten garlic.

She has you right by the belt,
even though there’s no flower and no milk
inside her body.
Death will open your eyes
to what her face is: leather spine
of a black lizard. No more advice.

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull of what you really love.

“An Empty Garlic” trans. Coleman Barks

Radicalization comes from the US. Well, if so, someone in the US needs to question radicalization and this radicalization bullshit. People need to wonder why it is it the US can only accomplish negativity. . .and the surreality of War is Peace, which we promote in the Middle East under the guise of “We bring you Democracy,” i.e. our version of authoritarianism and balance (in our favor). The true radicalization we create is in our invaded countries, not here in the US.

Why does everyone accept, even the news media, especially the visual news media, that radicalization of foreigners happens here, in the US?

Is nobody fucking thinking?!

I know. A stupid question. Look what we elected?

No one questions the iniquities of the US that would lead to radical behavior. . .even though radical behavior has been around for many years. Shall we say, since the Suffragettes? That’s, like, a century, man.

What kind of bullshit is this?

Perhaps not. US citizens are, in fact, radicalized daily, resulting in mass killing. The US tries to deny a sociocultural problem by blaming the mentally ill, despite evidence to the contrary.

The problem is the socioculture of the US. We are fucking ourselves.

Why does everyone accept, even the news media, especially the visual news media, that radicalization of foreigners happens here, in the US?

Is nobody fucking thinking?!

I know. A stupid question. Look what we elected?

 

(c) James L. Secor, 2017

 

 

The Boy Who Would Be Hero

The Boy Who Would Be Hero

by James L. Secor

“Stevie-boy!” called Donald the Dragon Killer.

And like magic, as if he’d known beforehand, Stevie-boy was there, in the room, just inside the door. His hulking frame, his head cocked to one side, blocked much of the light. Donald had not yet opened or had opened for him his shuttered windows, whence the two streaks of light that tore across the floor and up the opposite walls.

“Saddle my horse. I’m going out and I’m going farther than before.”

“Whatever for, Sir Donald?”

“A hero’s job is never done, Stevie-boy.”

“Yes, sir. And what of breakfast?”

“I’m a hero, Stevie-boy.”

“As you say, sir. But even heroes must eat.”

“Oh, alright. Have me a tankard of ale and a loaf of black bread sent in. That’ll do me.”

“As you say, sir.” And Stevie-boy suddenly disappeared.

For the umpteenth time, Donald wondered how Stevie-boy did these appearing and disappearing things but it was no use trying to figure it out–the workings of these lower-downs was really quite beyond him.

Candy-girl brought Donald his breakfast and stood demurely against the wall til he had finished. Then, she took the plate and tankard away. Donald belched and rose from his table. His stomach rumbled a little and he was reminded of how long it had been since he’d had a decent meal. He liked black bread and ale but the sameness of the routine bothered him. It was, in truth, wearing on is nerves. As was the idleness–or, rather, the lack of encountering heroic situations. Surely it was not possible to have swept the world clean.

Sir Donald strode out into the bare courtyard, where even the grass refused to grow. He had his mighty bow and quiver full of arrows. Sean-boy stood by his horse’s head with his trusty golden lance, never broken during battle. But it did not gleam in the pale sunlight. Donald looked up into the washed out bluish sky with its straggly, used up clouds and wondered again at what had happened to the world.

Sean-boy watched from bland eyes as his master mounted his golden gelding. He handed Sir Donald his lance and stepped back. The horse groaned a bit under Donald’s weight but stood its ground. It took Donald several kicks in the animal’s side to get the beast moving. Off they went at a leisurely walk. Although Donald grimaced slightly, perhaps this pace was better until he’d passed through his demesne.

Once again, as he had for uncountable mornings, Sir Donald The Dragon Killer rode tall through fields of emptiness. Stubble there was and an occasional sorry stalk of some grain or other, but otherwise nothing. Not even vermin or insects roamed the dry earth. The trees scattered around, dotting the hazy horizon here and there, showed dull, dusted green leaves on branches that sagged earthward.

How long had the world around him been barren? Donald could not recall. A long time, that was for sure. Why it was this way was a conundrum the hero could not get his mind around. He consoled himself by telling himself that it was his job to do, not to think. That is what a hero did. A hero acted. He killed problems and since he had to eat, he killed his food as well. When there had been game, he’d been good at it. Unsurpassed. For his aim was unerring. After all, he was a hero. Sometimes he used his hunting as an excuse to keep his skills sharp. Sir Donald The Dragon Killer was proud of himself. His abilities never atrophied.

Yes. All in all, despite the lack of game, Donald had a good life, he thought.

It wasn’t til after passing through the once fecund now fallen fallow cropland that his horse began to canter. Donald felt better at this pace and so was not bothered so much by the lack of a view. But he did pull his steed up short upon spying a forest up ahead. This was a sure sign he’d gone farther than he’d ever gone before. It was a lush green forest with tall-standing trees and dancing foliage, for there was a breeze. That brought his head around: a breeze! He could feel the breeze. He could smell the air. He felt invigorated. Surely there was life here and he’d eat well tonight. Sir Donald’s mouth watered. He kicked his trusty charger into a gallop. Unlike earlier in the morning, this did not take much effort.

The forest was much farther away than it appeared and by the time they entered its cool shade, the horse was sweating and snorting and foaming at the mouth. Horse and rider slowed to a walk, savoring the smell and the feel. Donald’s exceptional hearing picked up the sounds of stirrings amongst the trees and in the underbrush. He knew, though, that it was small stuff so he didn’t bother to look. He was after bigger game.

It would be nice, too, if there were a stream or a well.

The time passed almost unnoticed and then Donald spotted a clearing ahead. And in that clearing, his keen eyesight espied a fowl. A partridge. A very fat partridge. He moved a little closer, steadied his mount and took aim. His arrow flew silently and swiftly through the fresh air and sank itself into its target. The bird keeled over without a sound. But as Donald was cantering in to gather up his kill, a keening cleft the air.

When Donald broke into the clearing, a skinny old lady dressed in rags stood over the fallen fowl howling her grief, hands raised in the air, a look of horror on her gnarled and crinkled face. The door to her lean-to stood open and her spinning wheel lay spilled on the ground, thread sprawled everywhere. She looked up at Donald’s approach.

“You bastard!” she cursed. “Look what you’ve done.”

Donald looked. “Yes! I’ve just shot my dinner. Excellent marksmanship, don’t you think?”

“It was my only laying hen you shot!”

Donald dismounted. He looked closely at the dead bird.

“Yes. You’re right. It is a hen,” he said.

“Damn right I’m right. What are you going to do about it?”

“Do? I’m going to take it home and eat it.” And Donald reached for the dead thing.

The old woman sprang between him and his goal. “Over my dead body!”

“Surely you jest. I’m a hero. I always get what I want.”

“Not this time, buster.”

“Who the hell are you to challenge me?”

“I’m the old lady of the woods and this is my bird.”

“Life’s tough, honey. Tell me about it.”

“You want to take my hen and leave me to starve to death. Is that it?”

“That’s it.”

“Well, that isn’t it. . .unless you pay me first.”

“Pay you? With what?”

“You haven’t got anything on you?”

“What good’s money when you’re out hunting?”

“You haven’t got anything on you?”

“What good’s money out here in the woods?”

“Well, then. You have to kill me to get the bird.” She pulled her scrawny self up to her full height, perhaps her head came up to Sir Donald’s nose, so she was not too terribly intimidating.

“Okay,” shrugged Donald The Dragon Killer and he drew his sword and cut off her head in one fell swoop. “Evil old lady,” he muttered as her head plopped onto the ground and rolled around, staining the spun thread red. “Dinner and one less witch in the world,” Sir Donald The Dragon Killer said to himself. He was quite satisfied. It had been a good day.

Sir Donald carried the arrowed trophy-hen proudly over his shoulder.

“Zippity-doo-dah, zippity-ay,” he sang.

He turned to look back at the forest before the long journey home. The color was not so green and the leaves did not rustle. Somehow, the woods had sunk in on itself, it wasn’t so big any more. Like all the life had been taken out of it.

Sir Donald the hero wondered why it is this happened wherever he went. He shook his head. And then he turned round and headed home.

“My, oh my, what a wonderful day,” he sang.

(c) James L. Secor, 2017

Where No Self-Respecting American Would Go — part 1

Where No Self-Respecting American Would Go

or

living like most Chinese

 The adventure begins with petty revenge taken over having gotten caught attempting to cheat–or, less politely, extortion. I was the victim. In the end, the present circumstances led to a deeper understanding of China that is otherwise prejudiced by my culture, my learning, my worldview. That is, irritating and fretful as the punitive behavior was, I came out ahead. And I am certainly pleased at having had this adventure into the heart of China, where no self–respecting American would ever go. However, having won was, in the end losing, as evidenced by the circumstances leading to my living down at the bottom of city life. . .where I gained more cultural information.

One year ago, upon leaving Anyang shifan daxue 安阳师范大学 (Anyang Teachers University), there was an attempt to cheat me out of one month’s salary from my first month’s hire of three years. I had been hired in February when the administration of the school was away for Spring Festival, Mao’s ludicrous attempt to rid the language, putonghua, of ancient, royalist oppressive thought supposedly contained in New Year’s that included ridding society of all celebration: everyone was supposed to go home, go to their family home, and sit around and eat and drink, no noise or wild celebrating. Because the school was shut down, there was no way to institute a salary, albeit the unpaid foreign affairs teacher, Zhang Xiangang 张显刚 Robert, had the contract to hand and had brought me in from the RR station. So, no salary until March when the school administration would return. I had the money to live the month that, though a nationwide holiday, was still a paid month as my hire began on 1 February. All things considered, by the time I left to return to the States due to illness, this lost salary was already pocketed, leaders and institutionalized corruption being what they are. Still, it was my money and I wanted it.

The first lesson: do not challenge authority, especially if it is wrong. Expect a huge battle, beginning with denial and ending with administrative pressure on close teaching staff. At this time, three years after beginning at AYTU, the foreign affairs person was not Robert Zhang. The foreign affairs officer was a woman and, so, easily manipulated by her superiors, women really not being equal despite government/Mao’s rhetoric to the contrary. Indeed, people in general are not equal. There is open classism here.

At any rate, there was no admittance of wrong doing or mistake by the College Dean. But I would not be deterred. And I needed the money.

There seemed little change from, say, the Song dynasty and The Outlaws of the Marsh, when rightful petition was denied and aggressively fought against. Like those outlaws and, in fact, the Medieval outlaws of Britain and Europe, I would not relent, something people in power positions (authorities) do not understand, especially this man who seemed to be interested in demonstrating and maintaining power (I noted this in other situations during my 3 years at AYTU—-and not just with him). However, I did not become violent or revengeful, as the Outlaws had. Although I had come across corruption before in Lanzhou, a far more petty and insidious and destructive sort, I’d not been introduced to the corruption of thievery, a much more common corruption. The corruption of getting ahead at any cost, always to the detriment of another, is endemic in China. Endemic to the point of being normal, everyday behavior. Definitely expected of higher ups.

Despite shows of egalitarianism, there is no equality to the new China. Women are still less than men; city or common folk are lower than entrepreneurs, academics and government officials; farmers are dirt. In fact, I learned that my students did not like to admit their families were farmers, if this were true, as they would be looked down on. Foreigners are China’s niggers: we gots rights but who cares? When you wrong, you wrong. No queshuns ast.

Since I did not relent, I was a real bad, out of step sort.

As everyone is supposed to be equal in the face of higher salaries and better treatment of those above, getting ahead is the order of the day. Getting ahead at any cost, in any way, as if to say that having or making more money equates to serving the State better, more assiduously, than others (below you). All employment is working for the State, according to Communist doctrine, so the more work, the more monetary gain, the more status and the more a Worker of the State you are. The more Communist. Rhetoric in practice. In fact, no one wants to be the same as everyone else. Everyone wants to be better, better off than the norm, which is poverty. . .according to Communist Doctrine. Since Deng Xiaoping 邓小平 had revolutionized Mao Zedong’s 毛泽东 policies, such behavior became, if not more pronounced, more possible. Indeed, I was to find in the ensuing years that the behavior in academia of The Red Guards and The Revolutionaries was not dead at all, only simmering and bubbling below the surface like a spot–specific earthquake waiting to happen. This is one way to get ahead. One way to eliminate threats.

As the situation surrounding the regaining of my lost salary elevated, things got out of control. It is generally assumed that I (the foreigner), as I was told, got out of control. However, if truth be told, the Dean of the College–the person under the microscope here–was the one to get out of control. He fought for his life, that is to say, he fought for his ill-got gains. More than likely, he’d already spent the money. Not so very much as I’d taken less than originally agreed upon in order to attain a better situation than that in Lanzhou Jiaotong Daxue.

My last official evening in Anyang, the Janus-faced Foreign Affairs Office Director had relented and was ready to pay up–as was proper; however, the Dean, Mr. Shi–I don’t know his putonghua but this Shi was not the same as my Shi 史–got out of hand and called a friend of mine, a faculty member, Robert Zhang, to get him to convince me that I was wrong, and because I raised my voice–and I do have a large voice when the occasion warrants it–because I went ballistic. I fumed at him and, when the FAO Director entered my house right as this odious phone call was terminated, I shouted at her with all the power and fury I could muster–she left precipitously, eyes wide, frightened and slightly confused and talking into two cell phones at once. She left the door open. Later that evening, the Vice Dean of Foreign Languages dropped by with the FAO Director to smooth things over and give me the rationale for giving me the money to which I was entitled but not entitled: I was not totally blameless, I was told, as if this had anything at all to do with the issue at hand. However, it was calculated to show up the good-heartedess of the Dean in relenting in the face of my ignoble persistance and, thereby, making the school and save face: placating the bad guy, me. Though perhaps buying me off would be a better assessment. That I was owed the money was of no account. Getting rid of an irritant and someone who was exposing corruption (cheating, thievery) was uppermost in Dean Shi’s mind. I was supposed to feel honored at being so generously treated. I did not. It was my due. I won. How embarrassing for the Dean, the school. It was important, then, to understand the error of my ways, my errant behavior that should by all rights have resulted in termination (I refused to teach after two weeks of promises for a new washing machine that never materialized resulting in no clean clothes–I acted out, something I had found the Chinese and hospital nurses responded well to—I had my washer by noon) and, therefore, how nice and good the school was in giving me the money. I was supposed to accept such behavior, put up with such conditions—after all, the Chinese do. I wanted to say something but understood that this rhetoric was necessary to saving face.

That was lesson number two, if you will.

I had, to be honest, learned innumerable lessons of culture during those three years, not all of them pleasant.

One year later, having returned healthy and ready for another wonderful stay in China, academic people notwithstanding, I was to find petty revenge must have its day. I returned to Anyang to visit friends and adopted daughters and rented an old house on campus belonging to a friend of my 干女儿 gan nü er‘s  father.

Now, I must take a little side road here and explain this adoptive situation. A  gan nü er is not a true daughter nor, as we in America understand it, a true adopted daughter. God-daughter does not even come close. There is no expected legal paperwork involved. This situation is old fashioned with the exception, in the modern day, of gan nü er implying that I had adopted the girl and am waiting until she grows up to marry her. The adopting is unofficial but culturally binding.  gan nü er translates as “dry daughter,” meaning not really mine. Moreover, I did not adopt her–or the other two involved in this–she/they adopted me. They wanted to do this as they wanted to take care of me when I got old. Of course, they wanted to take care of me “now,” since I did not know Chinese ways.

These three girls were students; we had become close over the three years I taught at AYTU. They were at my house often; they and their classmates were at my house monthly for a feed-fest, TV and movie watching, and general conversation. Even now, 10 years later, I miss this. With their adoption of me as “father,” I had what I did not have in my own life: family. A family that cared. This particular daughter, Zhang Fan 张帆, was closest to me then. The situation has changed over the years with the more aggressive, protective daughter showing an intolerance that has resulted in her, now, not talking to me; and the youngest of the group, Qin Lixiao Young 秦李小, taking on the role of protective daughter. Young is, in some respects, very much like me in that she goes her own way, has her own ideas and wants and desires, and will be damned not to follow her dream.

At the this time of my life, Young was elsewhere finishing her studies, Zhang Na Anna 张哪 was in Scotland getting her masters and Zhang Fan Yuki (now, due to marriage, Salimah) was the only one left in Anyang. We were the close ones.

I made no bones about this return to Anyang and my living arrangements; I did not hide my living on campus in an old empty house (apartment), abandoned because the original owner had opted to move to the newer teacher housing of the old campus. Why should I? I was guilty of nothing. Had nothing to hide. Expected nothing. I was simply returning to see friends, old students and my daughter.

The Dean of the College, the very same Dean who was bested a year ago, was, however, not pleased. His loss still rankled, apparently, and he considered me a threat when I could have cared less. He was not important any more. He pressured my gan nü er‘s father and his friend, the owner of the house, to get rid of me or else the apartment would be confiscated by the school and there would be further trouble for these teachers, my daughter’s father and his friend. In a week I was expected to vacate the premises. It was hoped, I’m sure, that this would put me out on the streets; definitely, it was to discompose me. I did not understand the why screw others instead of me behavior. Me, the bane of his existence. I still do not. I find it the same as making life difficult for someone for no reason but to make life difficult for them. As with the old Buddhist tale of the two monks travelling down the road in the rain–always in the rain–Dean Shi was still carrying the woman met while I had set her down on the other side of the road, as she wished.

However, I marshalled friends–who found the Dean’s actions to be as incomprehensible as I did–and we managed to find a manageable place. I was focused on not having a job and, therefore, not having money to squander on more or less top-of-the-line accommodations, as a good foreigner ought to seek out. This place I settled into was gotten less than a week after the threat to others had been made. Perhaps the threat, aside from being petty revenge where hurting everyone in your path to get to the one you want is acceptable (à la George Bush II), was also a (further) move to power, of which he had no need. That is, he was the power in the school, what further show of force was necessary? I could have cared less about him. Apparently, though, full dictatorial powers. . .here in a more or less backwater town at a no-name school, means a man who wants it to be known that he is the boss and, like George Bush II, is not going to tolerate any who help the enemy.

Let’s see if we can discover why my presence at AYTU was a threat to this man’s power. . .honor. Hate. Childish petulance. Fear of losing status. Humberto Marriotti might consider this behavior that of an incompetent. Perhaps more akin to Elmer Fudd’s frustration at never being able to bag that siwwy wabbit. Hopping mad. Yuki suggested that, after I moved, I could further frustrate this man by simply showing up on campus–often. Impotent rage. I could just see him turning red, steam pouring out of his ears, “Ooooh!” spouting past his saliva-speckled lips. I thought, yes, but that showing up only 2–3 times a week at rather inconsistent occasions would be better, for he’d keep waiting for the next time, anxious and fearful, ready with a means to put me out of his misery. Which never occurred.

I’ve found a way to put this event into my book (The Constant Shell Game, as yet unpublished, as so many of my writings are not). The absurdity of it all. The parallel will be more than obvious to those in the know. Also, it will restore my sense of humor, which seems to have gotten lost in this particular writing.

Well. . .on to the adventure.

As I said to Yuki as we traversed the back roads and narrow byways to what was to become my new house, I was getting deeper and deeper into China. Certainly no foreigner would have bothered to go as deep into living areas as this; none would even consider actually living in such a place. I saw this as learning some more about China, things that most all foreigners are ignorant of–discounting that they are ignorant of China in the main to begin with. Most foreigners, most especially Americans, only see and wish to know the more prosperous side of life and the tourist attractions, believing these facets of China are “China” and become the experience of a lifetime. I, however, was going to discover what it was like living like the Chinese live. Once, though, for a couple weeks, I had lived in similar circumstances while spending New Year’s with a student’s family in a village outside of Jinhua 金华市, during the Southern Song Dynasty the chosen home of the government elite. So, there was some foreknowledge of what I was getting into. This time, I was not ill, not living through walking pneumonia which was, eventually, what sent me back to the States.

Off the not-so-wide back streets of Anyang there are smaller what might be called paved alleyways, though there were other less wide streets, which we’re not concerned with here. Off Dongnanying jie 东南营街 East South Road, is a smaller roadway, perhaps 2 ½ bicycles wide at its widest. There is an archway-tunnel entrance, under which, in the street, the construction workers slept over the noon break (2–3 hrs, standard). It would be easy, I found out, to run them over. Luckily, I was quick on my bike.

On the east wall of the tunnel is a sign and a further hand-written notice: Linfu jie 林府街, Forest Home Road. No trees. It bends as it goes along, finally ending in a cul de sac; there are a couple of other alleys and streets that are also dead ends leading to larger houses. But Linfu jie was where I was destined to live. This was old central Anyang so, probably, there once was a forest or woods here. “Now” the area was all built up, newer levels obvious via style.

I was both appalled and pleased at discovering this local hutong 胡同. I knew immediately this was real China, not the modern economic wonder most Americans expect, even though Fanfan had been taking me places off the beaten path, as far as foreigners are concerned. If we had any reason to go down these streets, we would only ogle and comment disparagingly. Very much as the British in India and Africa, Americans carried their culture and their attitudes with them wherever we go, never seeing the world of China but through the cultural prejudices of American middle class. We are so insulated, we are unaware of Chinese responses to us, especially those of us who can find nothing positive to say about this new world or its people. As odd as we find Chinese behavior at times, they find our behavior as odd. Even my behavior of getting on with the people and visiting and living in old town.

I got on so well with my students, paying attention to them and their student activities that I was invited into their culture and homes and learned a lot. Not to say I had no biases. I did. I just kept them to myself.

I could not believe that people lived, as a matter of course, in such horrible conditions. I could not understand it, even though I knew of parallel living conditions in America, had lived in poverty, had even squatted in abandoned buildings in order to live. However, since those days–early 20s, college days–I had taken on a more middle-class view of things. Not that I ever was middle-class. At least not above the lower end. Perhaps, though, I was better prepared than most as I’d just spent the prior 10 years involved in disability affairs and, indeed, for part of the time living the throw-away life given to the disabled. Grudgingly given to the disabled.

Along the east (right) wall of Linfu jie, after passing through its tunnelled entryway, were the entrances, through their own little tunnels, to the living areas–more than one house, more than one family, gathered about little courtyards or common areas. There were only one or two double-doored entrances to living areas on the west wall. I lived in #7. Quite a ways down the street. The entryway was paved; where it turned left concrete civilization ended: the ground there was pounded down by use and mossy-ish. Trees and bushes grew all about these houses, so the first courtyard was shady and green. This open courtyard must be passed through to get to the even narrower passageway that led to my courtyard, bounded by three houses. Old houses. Clay tile-roofed, white-washed brick or plastered concreted brick; or, like mine and the one right across the yard, brick with a concrete lower third. There is a large hole in this other small, out building-sized house’s door where the thin plywood type panel had gone missing. Must be cold in the winter. This courtyard was sans trees, seemingly older than the front area and most certainly much less well–cared for.

Once a long time ago, the narrow, between houses passage that led to this back living area was bricked over, cobbled; now it was a tumult of tsunami-tossed bricks sticking up into the non-sunshine, embedded in the hard, hard earth. I thought of staying in when it rains, as, though I do have boots to counter both the running water–a little watercourse rushes not necessarily down the middle–and the mud, it was impossible to hold an umbrella aloft through this back alley entryway. The rain water running down some of the neighborhood streets was less conducive to slopping along. How Chinese of me! Ha! The Chinese did not appear to go out in the rain. I used to tease my students that they were afraid of the rain.

Creationist Meringue Pie

 by

James L. Secor and Minna vander Pfaltz

Creationism and its off-spring, the dystopiously named Intelligent Design, have rightly been criticized for their recalcitrant stand on the infallibility of a foreign document of high metaphor being interpreted as literal truth flying in the face of science. The Tyrants of Science, lead by Richard Dawkins, have ceaselessly barraged these narrow-minded, escapist individuals adhering to a belief system that is not even European about their lack of sense, their lack of facing up to the findings of science which, to the Tyrants of Science, is the be-all and end-all of everything, a slice of knowledge that has the answer to everything.

There is, in this analysis by the New Enlightenment, no history, no mention of the fact that the last time this particular religion called Christianity ruled the world there was a dearth of science, a great case of ignorance. Indeed, this period of Church rule was known as The Dark Ages–and the Irish think they saved civilization by not destroying texts considered heretical, though, of course, none of these were scientific works. No. As Christianity dictated every action and thought of the Western world into the Middle Ages, the backwards, infidelist Middle East was taking science to great heights. Physiology and anatomy, biology, chemistry, medicine, astronomy–all grew and had to be “discovered” by the West. Even then, the persecution continued: Copernicus, Galileo; Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were lucky they were not discovered dissecting bodies–a desecration of God’s human form. Heavens! Indeed, that the Earth was not the centre of the universe was known from the time of the Sumerians and then the Babylonians and Egyptians. The idea of a flat Earth was utterly ridiculous as sailors had been sailing over the edge, over the horizon, for millennia–the Greeks even reaching the southern coast of what is now China, calling the people there radish eaters.

No one is thus mentioning the historical precedent to the present idiocy and theodicy of the Creationists and their delusional brood. If they are allowed to spread, the US is due to enter a ripe dark ages. . .again.

Charles Darwin never attempted an explanation for the beginning of life– the origin of life on this planet–only what had been happening to it since then. And Darwinism has changed considerably since then, if nothing else from an outward-looking science to an inward-looking science. Even Lamarck has been discovered to have been not so totally wrong. But he was an evolutionist anyway. The Creationists don’t bother with him. Just as they don’t bother with the Enlightenment philosophers or the ancient Greeks: evolutionists all. Evolution meaning “change.” Evolution also includes environmental effects upon the organism. There is, in truth, a subtle intertwining of outer and inner worlds. But the Creationists don’t bother with this. They prefer their own misinterpretation. As the Bible is the most read book, Darwin’s Origin of Species is the most quoted but least read book. (It is, in fact, very boring.)

And, then, when Islam grew to intolerant levels like Christianity, all scientific exploration ceased. It seems to be the way with theocratic dictatorships and societies that close themselves off from the outside world. The Commonwealth of the Roundheads. The Puritans of Salem, Massachusetts. The Japanese threw the Christians out and had a cultural renaissance.

But in all this there is another angle that has not been looked at, probably by either side: that is the modern astrophysical and physical sciences since July 1969 when men landed on the moon–and took a picture of the Earth “rising” over the Lunar horizon, a beautiful blue ball floating in space, in an infinite blackness (God–where was the light?). Some have called those astronauts Men in the Moon. Does that make them, as in the eyes of Washington Irving, Lunatics?

What do the Creationists make of this event and the following wonders of landings and findings on Mars and Saturn’s moon Titan, the changes to Jupiter? How do these frightened people adhering to a belief system that no longer holds water interpret these findings? For, as Joseph Campbell noted in his 1970 lecture, “The Moonwalk–The Outward Journey,” this is the one great bound into going beyond our limits since the discovery of fire, not originally used, it is believed, for cooking at all. Are these people, the Creationist spawn, believers in the idea that the moon landings were all staged events in the Arizona desert? If so, where in that desert? Area 51 is not in Arizona.

Closer to home, what about the satellites going round and round the Earth? Not only the Skylab but the communications satellites that make possible the use of the Creationists’ personal computers and cell phones, themselves made possible by the space program. Do they use Velcro, developed for the space program? Are any of their number wearing heart pacemakers? Do they build with plastics, a modern scientific development? Drive cars with rubber wheels (rubber being a variant of plastic)? What about airplanes and jets: if God had wanted us to fly He’d have given us wings, right? Flying gigs that break the speed of sound? That is, they are visible before they can be heard. That surely goes against all God’s laws, no? Physicists have even demonstrated faster-than-light travel, that is, something that is here before it is here. God damn!–even He could not manage this!

No science, though, has proven the existence of ghosts, which the Creationist horde firmly believe in. Or witches. . .which didn’t exist in the Bible until the time of James I of England VI of Scotland who was obsessed by them, believing they had inhabited the bodies and souls of his nobles and wrought them sorely to bring down his kingdom. Thank you Shakespeare.

Do they forget the OT was written in Hebrew? The NT in Greek? Is their education such that they can read the real books? Which language did God speak and write in? Are they even aware that Middle Eastern Semitic culture is different from white Western culture? So that there is no such thing, in reality, as a blond white Savior?

So. . .this modern science, modern astrophysical universe question, needs to be presented to the Creationists, for if they accept it, then they are accepting all of the scientific breakthroughs that have occurred in other disciplines before then. Which they don’t. Though they utilize all of the discoveries that astrophysical science has generated: these are called spin-offs. And that’s a religious conundrum to stump even God. How can you only believe in half of something, the second half?

They are like the boy who, with his friend, ordered a milkshake and won the drinking of the top half. So. . .he drank up the entire milkshake, maintaining it was only logical, for he had to drink the bottom half to get to the top half that was his. That is, he had to make half of the milkshake cease to exist.

In denying the discoveries of science, these people-in-crisis are denying, as the Church did, the teachings of the 11th and 12th and, again, the 15th and 16th century humanists, the great flowering of the human, God-given mind. For if we are created by God, then all of us, our minds as well as our souls, were created by God and to withhold the greatest achievements of science–achievements of the mind–in the name of this same God’s creating is to fly in the face of that same God. Isn’t it?

This ship of fools is denying the wonder of Life in toto, for human life is not the only life here, God created it all. And who are they to say just how it is or what it was that God created and what his purpose was? Isn’t God’s wisdom beyond the ken of man? (Women, of course, don’t count in this view of things.) The wonder of life and of humankind has been tossed out into the garbage bin in cavalier fashion, without a thought. Hey-ho!

And how do they know the form of God? What did the writers of the various Genesises mean by “form”? Form is not simply–and only–physical being. Where does “formative” come from? What about the form of mind? the form of thought? How about the metaphysical form of things? Philosophical forms? Platonic forms?

I should think that if these weird-scientists want to return to the Dark Ages when science was damned and denied, they should be allowed to–in every respect, giving up all advances that have come into existence since, say, 1000 CE when the world was supposed to end and didn’t (I think). Let them live without electricity, running water, indoor toilets, garbage disposals, washing/drying machines, cars, trains, planes, phones of all sort, TV, plastic, Velcro, computers, medicine, steak, toothpaste, anti-perspirant, inner spring mattresses, pens and pencils, paper (even for writing), a change of clothes, drugs, condoms. . . . About the only thing we can’t give them to make the picture complete is clean water, though if they move to the edge of the Gobi Desert, in Jiayuguan, Gansu, China, they can come upon clean water, run-off from Qilianshan.

We can let them figure out who are the peasants and who are the aristocrats. They, after all, must be allowed something of their own to create. Which will be against God’s plan as He didn’t make social classes. When He was working, everyone was equal in status.

Well, actually, maybe we’d just better let them go back to the Garden of Eden, if they can find it; though I imagine going naked would be a heart-stopping experience: my God! Cunts and pricks and tits and asses! God’s creation just hanging out for all to see–Heavens! Then, of course, we’d have to color them black. Yes, that’s right, they’d have to become niggers, the most hated, lowest animal on the planet, according to Creationists and Intelligent Designers. Anyone ever notice the whiteness of the Creationist bend sinister? Or did God, in his wisdom, create, along the equator so lush, white people? If so, what color was their hair, their eyes?

Hmm. . .seems we got a problem here. . .

Even worse, when the OT posited the beginnings of the Hebrew race, the Hebrews only went back to the beginning of civilization, about 3000 years or so, to the Sumerians; Moses knew better than to believe the entire world according to God came into being with the beginning of civilization, having lived a long time in the Egyptian universe, a culture ripe with an interest in history, origins and beyond death. Are the Creationists aware, too, that the NT as it exists today was a politically chosen document that discounted everything that was deemed threatening to the ruling hegemony (The Church)? Manichianism. Zoroastrianism. Polytheism. Gnostic gospels. Early writings of the Christian community prior to Paul. Love. All now part of the Christian doctrine.

Oh. . .do the Creationists know they must become Catholics?

A Buddhist might note that these Laurel & Hardys are mindless. But let’s not bring religion into this, okay?

But, back to my question: what about July 1969 and after? What about that science? Is it of the same sort as dinosaurs and Troglodytes and fossils and hens’ teeth?

Changing over

Those familiar with labelleotero are now here. Talesofthefloatingworld comes about from problems that would not fix.This is the fix for the lovely, incomparable and very numinous Minna vander Pfaltz, whom Jimsecor might call a Familiar. I occasionally let him mount essays and whatnot here and he tells me there will soon be an update on the ludicrous happenings in Lawrence, a town that fits Dunning-Kruger to a T. Truly an oddity considering KS’s governor, Sam Dale Brownback, a nobody til he married publishing money, played toady to Bush II and got hysterical over a mole on his back and apparently saw God. Not quite like seeing the Fairy King over a mushroom hood but certainly of the same fantastical nature. Jimsecor is extremely cynical and disgusted over Brownback’s harrowing encounter with death via mole, as he himself bled out in 1999. He does not talk about this much, only to say he got no enlightenment, which may be a kind of enlightenment nonetheless. I have followed Jimsecor since we first met across the country and into Europe and Russia, and thence to the Far East: Japan, China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong (which many Americans believe is China; it is not, though China’s governors want it to be for good capitalist reasons).

Along with this new blog site comes a new apt, albeit not really ours yet. Nevertheless, the promise is there and the money is rolling in, kind of like Sisyphus pushing his stone up the hill. It is on the first floor, given there is a ground floor, for which we are not totally thrilled as our wheelchaired friends cannot visit and I fret over his falling down the stairs (Jimsecor is a fall risk, managing 2-3 episodes/yr). But it is larger than the present dormitory type room and much more open and bright. Jimsecor will be able to set his office aside, in the second bedroom; I prefer to write on the kitchen table so I can yell at the cat for strewing my papers hither and yon as he scrambles over the polished oak surface in chase of. . .whatever it is cats see. We will have to line the balcony with something to keep the little g-kids from falling off.

Speaking of g-kids. . .Aurora, now 2, was born on Jimsecor’s birthday. As he has no family, she and her brothers and sisters have been a boon to him. Me, too, when he lets me get in the mix. There is a picture of her taking a bath. She cannot say her name, managing only “Rora.” Very headstrong, full of “No” and, though indulged, not spoiled by her grandpa. But we do not get to see them often enough. Isn’t that the way it is?

Jimsecor will be undergoing TMS, transcranial magnetic stimulation, in an attempt to gain some kind of control over his treatment resistant depression. Without such control, he is tossed about like a rat in a cage as his moods swing into and about his person. Before returning to the States in 2010, from China via a stop in Liverpool, his Bipolar I was not so disruptive. Since returning, he has spent half the time not writing, the publications coming right at the beginning of the 2 1/2 yr dry period. This is the last resort. Please, gods and goddesses, let it be successful! I will not abandon him as family, friends and lovers have; but living with an out of control Bipolar I is not rosy. I think, though, I handle it better than Zelda did F. Scott’s; however, Jimsecor’s not a raging alcoholic. If there is no resolution, we will be going to live in a “populated area,” either here in KS or in China, where he does have family: adopted girls. And students he is still in contact with.

“Populated area”: a ghost town has no people in it. A populated area has some. Very some. Matfield Green, KS has 49, a cowboy bar and a grocery, along with an artist’s retreat and a couple ranches on the National Historical Register. Linghu, Zhejiang, China has a main road of 1/2 mile and is the hometown of one of his students; her parents own THE grocery store. There is an old town along the polluted canal and out a ways from the “town” centre is Gu Jia Michelle’s grandparents’ house, where she was raised. Jimsecor would like to have indoor plumbing put in and move in; Gu Jia is somewhat resistant to the idea, believing he won’t be able to manage on his own with his (and my) slim Chinese ability. I wonder because Linghu is 45 minutes by furious bus over both paved and unpaved road from Huzhou, the nearest big town. I think the nearest town period. We both would like to move to Whorehouse Meadows, OR but it is not a town, just a beautiful spot of greenery in an otherwise arid area where, once, whores were housed in tents to keep the RR workers content.

And that’s about where we are at the moment, with me taking care of the mundanities of life and the editing and other business concerns, all of which frustrate the hell out of Jimsecor. I don’t mind. Jimsecor is my populated area.

The dishes await.