Sunday, April 20, 2014

Short of thinking ...

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Reminder / Coming Soon!
The Global Climate Convergence - Earth Day to May Day 2014.


Short of thinking there's no way to solve any problem; and thinking (it turns out) is intimately dependent upon speaking, language.

Gary Larsen - Far Side: What we say to dogs & What they hear.It takes two to tango? Well, it takes two (or more) to think then too eh?


Memory and external storage may provide the domain (or is it range?) for reflection, sure, but the memories have to come from somewhere some when - antecedents, even when they are imaginary & fictional.

Which brings us (if you can follow and if you will permit) back 'round to Matthew:
If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Unfortunate in a way that such wisdom should find itself in scripture since God has nothing whatever to do with it. It is up to those on the scene at the time to sort out, or not.

It should be possible (one would think) to go pretty well directly from here to a toe-tal refudiation of such nonsense as "It matters not how straight the gate."

Speaking of 'range': It might be well to remember that all of the (not inconsiderable) forces of correctitude, propriety, euphemism and the brutal ideology of positive thinking are ranged against anything as direct as what is suggested in Matthew.

And assuming of course that you give a shit about your brother, sister, neighbour, co-livyer on the planet; which is ... possible.

And then there's dumb luck.

Philip Street - Fisher: Beware the iron hand in the velvet puppet.

Not to mention the myriad other ways communication can get fucked up wise and otherwise. It's almost enough to make one turn to the Old Testament, to Zephaniah:
For then will I turn to the people a pure language.
I make it 'return' not 'turn'; and again, that it is found in 'holy' scripture is no reason to think God has anything to do with it - it is entirely up to the people. (As any fool can plainly see.)

 :-)This post was composed on a Sunday y'unnerstan'.

                                                                        Be well gentle readers.

Consider the auk;
        Becoming extinct because he forgot how to fly,
        And could only walk.
Consider man, Who may well become extinct
        Because he forgot how to walk and learned how to fly before he thinked.

Ogden Nash

Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire! (Larry Springer, Enbridge spokesperson):
Larry Springer, Enbridge spokesperson.Larry Springer, Enbridge spokesperson.Larry Springer, Enbridge spokesperson.

"Enbridge is part of an energy pipeline industry that is committed to the highest safety standards in the construction and operation of our facilities."

Bollocks! (I guess that's why they leak so often.)
But let's be fair, Larry says exactly what he's told to say and gets fat and happy doin' it. No responsibility will rub off on him. What's the problem?

Sajo: Life of Poor.Postscript - Yann Martel:

One of the good reasons to completely disregard anything you find here is that my memory is about entirely shot. I read both 'Life of Pi' and 'Beatrice and Virgil' a few years ago. When I saw Sajo's cartoon I knew immediately what he's referring to. The rest is a blank. Luckily I recorded a few observations the first time: in 2010 and 2011.

I re-read both novels in the last few weeks (with nary a moment of familiarity - I begin to wonder, joking aside, if the Alz really is creepin' up), watched the Life of Pi film, and read his letters to Stephen Harper '101 letters to a prime minister', and ...

...   before I forget   :-)   ...

At least God is mentioned only once - in a serious way - in the latter novel.

I want to reproduce an excerpt, 'Games for Gustav', but it seems important to do it right - maybe in a separate post.

Games for Gustav


Your ten-year-old son is speaking to you.
He says he has found a way of obtaining
some potatoes to feed your starving family.
If he is caught, he will be killed.
Do you let him go?


You are a barber.
You are working in a room full of people.
You shear them and then they are led away and killed.
You do this all day, every day. A new group is brought in.
You recognize the wife and sister of a good friend.
They recognize you too, with joy in their eyes.
You embrace.
They ask you what is going to happen to them.
What do you tell them?


You are holding your granddaughter's hand.
Neither of you is well after the long trip
with no food or water.
Together, you are taken to the "infirmary" by a soldier.
The place turns out to be a pit where people are
being "cured with a single pill," as the soldier puts it,
that is, with a single shot to the back of the head.
The pit is full of bodies, some of them still moving.
There are six people ahead of you in the line.
Your granddaughter looks up at you
and asks you a question.
What is that question?


An armed guard tells you to sing. You sing.
He tells you to dance. You dance.
He tells you to pretend you are a pig.
You pretend you are a pig.
He tells you to lick his boot. You lick his boot.
Then he tells you to "_________,"
and it's a foreign word you don't understand.
What action do you do?


The order comes at gunpoint:
you and your family and all the people around you
must strip naked.
You are with your seventy-two-year-old father,
your sixty-eight-year-old mother,
your spouse, your sister, a cousin,
and your three children,
aged fifteen, twelve and eight.
After you have finished undressing,
where do you look?


You are about to die.
Next to you is a stranger. He turns to you.
He says something in a language you don't understand.
What do you do?


Your daughter is clearly dead.
If you step on her head, you can reach higher,
where the air is better.
Do you step on your daughter's head?


Afterwards, when it's all over, you are sad.
Your sadness is all-consuming and ever-present.
You want to escape it.
What do you do?


Afterwards, when it's all over, you meet God.
What do you say to God?


Afterwards, when it's all over, you overhear a joke.
At the punch line the listeners gasp,
bringing their hands to their mouths,
and then they roar with laughter.
The joke is about your suffering and your loss.
What is your reaction?


Of your community of 1,650 souls, 122 have survived.
You hear that your entire extended family is dead,
that your house has been taken over by strangers,
that all your possessions have been stolen.
You also hear that the new government wants to
turn a new page and address the errors of the past.
Do you return home?


A doctor is speaking to you:
"This pill will erase your memory.
You will forget all your suffering and all your loss.
But you will also forget your entire past."
Do you swallow the pill?


This is the best I've seen from Yann Martel - and it's damn near perfect! A few (hopefully helpful) quibbles: the phrase 'that is, with a single shot to the back of the head' is redundant; and, 'the new government wants to turn a new page and address the errors of the past' is a different, more complicated structure than the others, it jars, and calls for an irony that doesn't quite fit.

I am reminded of R.D. Laing's little book 'Knots'.

Yann Martel & Miranda Ordóñez 14-02-14 Mexico.How could I forget Yann Martel's two books so completely? And still remember 'Knots' which was many years ago (though I do have a copy on my shelf)? Doh?!

The man himself I don't know - pedantic, a bit pompous in the video interviews I have seen; and more than a bit afraid to be caught out; repeatedly stressing that the note he had from Obama is handwritten (I would do no less if it happened to me I suppose). Generous - the most recent photograph I could find has him holding someone else's book.

Having read '101 letters to a prime minister' I now know why Stephen Harper didn't answer. I doubt his minions trashed the books - sent them to charity maybe with the flyleaf dedications carefully cut out - someone may have read them. There they are - Stevie & Yannathan - two patronizing and arrogant complacencies facing off across a moribund civilization. Ai ai ai.

[Photo source: Blog of Miranda Ordóñez.]
Proverbs: "He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart." What about spirit considered as wind? What about fools and servants in the (sometimes inverted, sometimes not) Christian hierarchy?

[A-and a third or fourth level qualification comes with the provenance of this verse: being James P. Cooney III of North Carolina - one of the lawyers for Duke Energy in the Dan River debacle.]
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