Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

OTHER MEN DIE – HAPPY VETERANS’ DAY 2014

November 11, 2014
Victory is a state of mind.

Victory is a state of mind.

OTHER MEN DIE

And the old vet was up in his studio bedroom in Mom’s attic

Painting magic eyeballs on his fingertips

To go with the mystic spirals on the backs of his hands

And he told us about seagulls in the early dawn

Of feeding them barehanded

Palms stretched to the skies

Lying upon his back on the wet sand

Observing the feathered feeding frenzy

Of the messy, greedy birds

That pecked his fingers and palms and wrists

Opening red puncture wounds

And he loved it

Because it brought him

So close to life.

And I saw that vet by another name

Sitting cross-legged in a bikini bathing suit

In wind-tossed dune reed grass

In cold wind whistling off a Winter Pacific

And I asked

“Why do you sit in the freezing cold, Shane?”

And he replied

“Because, at least I know I’m alive.”

And so it goes

Vonnegut said

When these two old men try to reconcile

Still being in the world

While so many other men

No longer beside them

Did not survive.

jl/PDX/1-13

A Decent World

WAGING WAR FROM A BURNING HOUSE

No More Troops to Afghanistan

Dear President Obama,

Stop sending troops to Afghanistan.

I am a Vietnam Era veteran.  We stood nearly twenty years while our military-industrial complex ruined Vietnam.  Our prolonged stay, and side invasions of Cambodia and Laos, generationally disrupted and destabilized Southeast Asia, distorted America’s rule of law, and led directly to the present Reagan-Bush corporatist neo-conservative miasma.

Look at how the radical right Republicans have warped the nation they want us to fight for, die for, and honor.  The self-destructive insanity of the radical right Republican way of war makes it looks as if the bad guys have already won.  We are fighting a war for the life of the republic, as a result.

These are politically motivated corporatist wars, fought to extremes because of ill-informed egos and profit.  These bloody-handed murderers-by-proxy began their plunder of the American nation by taking the Peace Dividend away from us after the Berlin Wall fell.  They shifted to terrorism as the object of their monolithic war machine, and plunged the whole world into wrack and ruin.  Bush’s indefensible “give war a chance” was disgusting; so is Obama’s continued pursuit of it.

End the war now, no matter how wimpy it looks to arrested-adolescent bullyboys, or corporatist oil barons and banksters.  We’ve got a lot of positive work to do, and one dollar spent on peace really is worth ten wasted in war!

laststroke

AND WHAT ABOUT THESE MERCENARY BANDITS YOU HIRED?

Quit outsourcing government jobs to private contractors.  The People can get the job done better for less cost and for the community’s and not just a few individuals’ profit.

The performance of mission critical security functions by profit-driven contractors is counterproductive and often immoral and criminal.

It’s bad for the morale of our real American troops to see these overpaid and pampered bought-and-sold mercenaries.  I know because I have nephews and nieces who have served in our military in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Talk to real American troops to hear it.

Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s list of inherently governmental functions that these mercenaries must not perform should include: guard services, convoy security services, pass and identification services, plant protection services, the operation of prison or detention facilities, and any security operations that might reasonably require the use of deadly force; and, from support of intelligence activities (including covert operations), interrogation, military and police training, and repair and maintenance of weapon systems.

Machiavelli famously wrote that mercenaries might be trusted for only two things: to demand more money; and to run out when the chips are down.  Don’t buy champagne for mercenaries, use our money wisely to equip and protect our real American troops.

Finally, have you given any thought to what is to happen if these mercenaries decide they’ve got a better business proposition from our archenemies?  Or, face unemployment?  In Europe unemployed mercenaries set off the Hundred Years’ War, which might properly be called the “Rape, Murder and Plunder Crusade.”  The “Holy Crusades” were invented as a safety vent to send them packing out of town to do their dirty deeds.

STOP - SAVE

Don’t forget to click on the images for MORE information, or a larger image. Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t forget to salute the Man in the Moon! All the best! j

THE SORCERER

May 10, 2014
GARDEN of the GODS

GARDEN of the GODS

The Sorcerer lived like a well-to-do scholar. He said:

“You admit with credulity and abhorrence the reality of the infernal art of magic, which is able to control the eternal order of the planets and the voluntary operations of the human mind. You dread the mysterious power of spells and incantations, of potent herbs, and execrable rites; which can extinguish or recall life, inflame passions of the soul, blast the works of creation, and extort from the demons the secrets of futurity. You believe, with the wildest inconsistency, that this preternatural dominion of the air, of earth, and of hell, is exercised from the vilest motives of malice or gain, by some wrinkled hags and itinerant sorcerers, who pass their obscure lives in penury and contempt. The arts of magic are equally condemned by public opinion and the law; but, as they tend to gratify the most imperious passions of the heart of man, they are continually proscribed and continually practiced.”

“An imaginary cause is capable of producing the most serious and mischievous effects. The dark predictions of the death of an emperor, or the success of a conspiracy, are calculated only to stimulate the hopes of ambition and to dissolve the ties of fidelity; and the intentional guilt of magic is aggravated by the actual crimes of treason and sacrilege.”

“Antiochians claim Chrestos was invented there, and they content themselves with disobeying the moral precepts, but they were scrupulously attached to the speculative doctrines of their religion.”

So said the Sorcerer on that occasion.

 

Ancient Color

Ancient Color

SPECULATIONS ON THE LATE HERETIC PHARAOH

They called you heretic, mad, megalomaniac, monotheist,
And you were probably all of those,
And perhaps a hermaphrodite, or a woman,
And you married your sister, daughter, mother,
And had an affair with your son.

You set up your own city in the friendless desert,
And gathered together friends and families,
Commoners as queens, Hebiru as bureaucrats,
Raised temples and children, palaces and stele,
To mark your City of the Sun.

The old priests said you were evil, cursed by the gods,
When you closed their doors and temples,
Took away their goods and pride,
And canceled their services “forever,”
To be replaced by the one true One.

It took time for the people to feel the old gods’ wrath,
Their old priests had to wait many poisoned years,
While your Aten-god sun-disk grew remote,
And lost the hearts of your bewildered people,
Who looked for one true god and found none.

Would you still stand, if the old priests had let you be?
Probably not, heretic pharaoh Akhenaten,
With your hymns of praise to the Aten,
With your golden god of love, blinding you
With a power too great for your simple human mind.

For gods are renewable, replaceable, and to be forgotten,
Trooping in their legion down the corridors of time,
Leading the way to salvation or perdition,
They’re really all the same in endless ordinary lives,
Amused by the heretic’s deepest, most ordinary crimes.

jl:2-14

 

inventgod

 

PAY FREAKIN’ ATTENTION, G’DAMMIT!

I have always had this desire to reach out and grab a person and shake the living bejazzus out of him or her, and yell, “What the hell’s the matter with ya, fer chris’sakes?  Are you nuts?  Wake up, for gawd’s sake!  Wake up, dammit!”

Just like that, with all the histrionic emphasis and shouting.

When I have their attention, and they’re scared witless, I will say, “Sorry to bother you.  I got a little excited.”  And walk away.

"So how about those Mets? Hear about the Big Meteor? Almost the size of a refrigerator, they say!"

“So how about those Mets? Hear about the Big Meteor? Size of a refrigerator, they say!”

PARALLEL UNIVERSE 11, ROMANS 1

January 31, 2014

PARALLEL UNIVERSE

PARALLEL UNIVERSE

A SEASONAL TIDBIT ON THE ORIGINS OF STUFF

This is historically researched and as far as I know the actual facts. Of course, who knows the actual facts? Anyway, Premise: Saul of Tarsus, a.k.a. Paul the Apostle (self-appointed after the fact) was a Roman agent.

Jesus was not invented by the Romans, but Christ was. The Christ was a resurrected savior god popular with the Roman kitchen help and lower classes, who infected their middle class mistresses (mostly) with it. Widows were a good cult bet for membership because they were heads of households and would host and feed gatherings of this sect, which allowed women to occupy leadership positions – rare at that time throughout the society. Widows are still good “touches” for the roving evangelical; notice how many of them make “living wills”, naming church beneficiaries.

 The first book (Mark) of the New Testament ends with the empty tomb – not a good ending for a hero story (who stole the body?). Eighty years later, a Christian editor added the rolled aside stone, ascension, so forth. At that point, the Christ myth overwhelmed historical Jesus, cult hero of a Jewish sect (run by Jesus’ real elder brother James, who was not the same charismatic leader or money raiser that the younger Jesus had been), but definitely not the creator of a new religion. But the real Jesus cult was troublesome. His defiance at the Passover (the most dangerous time in the Jewish year for Roman conquerors, when every Hebrew nut job was in town to celebrate escape from Egyptian tyranny) was a direct slam at the Roman state; and thus, they routinely crucified him as they would any rebel or criminal who might raise popular opposition to them. The Romans then responded with their skewed movement to manage the backlash – which includes a section of the New Testament aptly named “ROMANS” (check it out) - a formula for controlling the masses who owe all earthly allegiance and obedience without question, and/or certainly rebellion to the emperor.  The New Testament Book ROMANS is the legal foundation of the Imperial Christian cult that still disturbs our planet.

From the  fictional “Barabbas Plot” – Roman governor speaks about subverting the Jesus Movement with Temple high priest and Paul (Saul of Tarsus, chief persecutor of the Jesus sect until now) before his “epiphany conversion” to chief apostle of the “Christus.”

HIGH PRIEST: You mean to subvert people’s religious beliefs?

GOVERNOR: “Correct” them. This dead fellow Barabbas preached harmony and equality to a mob that never had either. He gave them false hope that they can actually achieve those things. We must teach that Nature creates extreme opposites, not harmony, and destroy the arrogant notion that their lord and master is an imaginary sky ghost that pesters earthly virgins, instead of our living emperor who can and really will crucify them, if necessary.

HIGH PRIEST: What if they reject your new myth, Excellency?

GOVERNOR: The Emperor doesn’t want to send an army here if he can avoid the expense, but if he does, we’ll crush the fools – to the rousing applause of the civilized world, I suspect. We’re being very lenient, we’re preventing a bloodbath. Paul, we want you to instill particular virtues; build our new myth upon them.

PAUL: What are those, Excellency? Love, mercy, that sort of thing?

GOVERNOR: No. You will receive a written copy, but listen now:
1. All authority comes from god naturally, so that rulers – those in a position of authority – are obviously appointed by god;
2. Let every person submit to those who rule;
3. Whoever resists rulers resists whom god has appointed;
4. Those who resist rulers will be punished, for rulers do not terrorize those whose conduct is good, but only those whose conduct is evil; and,
5. Pay all in authority what they demand: taxes, revenues, respect and honor. What do you think?

PAUL: It favors an oppressive establishment, and preaches against social security and freedom from coercion and exploitation.

GOVERNOR: A passive, unresisting obedience that bows under the yoke of authority, or even oppression, is the most conspicuous and useful of all the evangelic virtues.

PAUL: Masked in a religion diffusing a pure, benevolent and universal system of ethics adapted to every duty and condition of life, recommended by the will and reason of a Supreme Deity, and enforced by the sanction of eternal rewards or punishments.

GOVERNOR:  A great liar must tell a great lie.

bizarro

Illuminati Apply in Rear

Did you ever notice that a lot of the religious conspiracy stuff clouds the water so that you can’t see the political conspiracy stuff as well?

Here’s my take on Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, the Illuminati, so forth: AW, C’MON!

http://www.johnlegry.wordpress.com/religion-and-beyond/illuminati-apply-in-rear/

TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

A monk-warrior in the Kingdom of Heaven says:

“By the word ‘religion,’ I’ve seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I’ve seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is your head and your heart, by what you decide every day, you will be a good man [or woman], or not.”

There are those who will say that if there is not a personified God, humankind will perish. However, God is universal and not capable of personification, denomination, or ritualization. God is the human concept of a Perfect Platonic Being: One and all, hen kai pan. “God” is life, not dogma. “God” is curiosity and learning, not brainwashing and stagnation. “God” is an ideal, an example for emulation, an aspiration, a romance, an invitation to speculation, not a non-profit corporation, theme park, or big black carpet-draped rock.

Émile Zola wrote, “Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.”

ART LIBERATION PROJECT at REDBUBBLE: http://www.redbubble.com/people/johnlegry

inventgod

TRINITY TRIPTYCH reprise

November 23, 2013
TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

A monk-warrior in the Kingdom of Heaven says:

“By the word ‘religion,’ I’ve seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I’ve seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is your head and your heart, by what you decide every day, you will be a good man [or woman], or not.”

There are those who will say that if there is not a personified God, humankind will perish. However, God (if present) is universal and not capable of personification, denomination, or ritualization. God is the human concept of a Perfect Platonic Being: One and all, hen kai pan. God is life, not dogma. God is curiosity and learning, not brainwashing and stagnation. God is an ideal, an example for emulation, an aspiration, a romance, an invitation to speculation, not a non-profit corporation, theme park, or big black carpet-draped rock.  Émile Zola wrote, “Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.”

There are at least three major institutions on earth that have outlived their usefulness and become baldly destructive and should be done away with: corporations, armies and religions. “Armies” will unnerve some, but think of it, without corporations and religions most of the causes of war will evaporate. Plus, wholesale murder is no longer profitable (if it ever was, beyond the obscene success of a very few greedy people) and generally accomplishes nothing (e.g. 50 years after the Korean War the peninsula is still militarized, divided and unstable). The emerging moral is that we should grow up, stop fighting like schoolyard bullies over whose dog is prettiest and who gets all the marbles, and begin to cooperate with one another for the purpose of sharing this shrinking world and its dwindling resources without turning into maddened overcrowded cannibalistic rats in a global-sized cage.

ohmmmm

We Move to Amend.We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:

  • Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
  • Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
  • Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

Signed by 298,363 and counting . . . CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/

RED LACE (BUDDHA Series variation)

RED LACE (BUDDHA Series Var.)

“Go forth in joyful participation in the sorrows of the world.”

At his death, BUDDHA Siddhartha Gautama is famously believed to have told his disciples to follow no leader. “All composite things (Saṅkhāra) are perishable,” he said. “Strive for your own liberation with diligence.”

“If you want the best idea of how the world was created, don’t pick the best mythology, consult the best science.” – His holiness the 14th DALI LAMA.

Layered Composition, 2012a, JLegry.

 

COMING FOR JUSTICE reprise

August 29, 2013

[Don’t forget to CLICK the IMAGES for extra information and “forbidden delights”]

JOE KENNEDY and PRESCOTT BUSH:

I was born in 1943 when America, my father included, was fighting the Nazi fascists from Germany.  There were many Americans who agreed with the fascists, Joseph Kennedy and Prescott Bush included.  Kennedy tried to keep America out of the war.  Bush helped finance the Nazis.  But democratic America, Roosevelt America defeated the fascists in that war – temporarily as it turns out.

The Nazis came home in our baggage.  A former SS colonel named Werner Von Braun developed our space program.  The SS colonel who ran Hitler’s Gestapo taught our nascent CIA about domestic surveillance, interrogation, martial law, and chemical/psychological techniques.  In the meantime, we fought in Korea, keeping the military-industrial complex robust and vitalized (strange word applied to death-dealing), and practiced spying on ourselves – McCarthyism – a fascist witch-hunt for “commies,” undermining our confidence in our nation and its democratic institutions.

We next followed nine years of imperialistic colonial French mis-rule in Indochina to inflict seventeen years of violence on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, destabilizing and radicalizing Southeast Asia more than the Japanese had during World War 2. Then as now, the CIA and FBI further brutalized and contaminated domestic America in defense and furtherance of a generally Republican anti-peace message that was as big as the wallets they were filling from war profits.

AMERICA LOSES HER WAY:

Our practice has consistently been to create more powerful and harsher means to oppress and suppress, maim, or kill opponents.  Might has triumphed over right and reason, but that makes us neither mighty nor bright.  We are damned bullies, forcing our bully will on many victims.  That is what America stands for today: death not life, war not peace, greed not generosity.

The Bush administration, and now beyond to Obama, with their well-practiced agents and provocateurs, served the darkest human motives, not the clean wholesome light of genuine American democracy.  Justice, liberty, and equality aren’t significant words in the Republican vocabulary or principles in Republican governance.  We have been subverted from within, hollowed out by a corrupt corporate power structure to serve its war machine in the interest of corporate profits.  If we want any hope to rise above and beyond it, we must vote for progressives and reclaim this country for the babes who wait in mothers’ arms for fathers to come home from our latest unholy war (s).

The present situation in the United States echoes ancient Rome in important ways:  A successful representative republic, proving wildly successful in war and conquest, grows rich and plunges into conspicuous consumption.  In time the citizen army is converted to a professional military (a professional army owes allegiance to its paymaster, not necessarily to the nation).  Beauty is heavily involved in politics and publicity (experience means less than height).  King-sized constructions attest to individual power and glory.  The poor get to see the lavish spread, but may not partake of it.  The toll of maintaining luxury is its undoing.  The general domestic economy weakens with foreign trade, although the rich stay rich and get richer.  The dispossessed flock into cities and live on a diminishing dole, manipulated by politicians.  The conservative legislature is indifferent to the people’s plight.  The bureaucracy and the military rule all.

How did it happen?  How did it get so bad?  Who is hurting?  The list includes everyone except the top 1% of the nation’s richest and most privileged citizens.  The rich characterize any protest of this imbalance as “class warfare,” although they’ve been waging class warfare on the poor and middle class (the rest of us) since Franklin Roosevelt died.  The Robber Barons have succeeded in unraveling the New Deal, beginning with the 23rd Amendment, which limited presidents to two terms: the “first stomp on FDR’s grave,” my father called it.  Dwight Eisenhower’s administration put “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance (clearly in violation of the constitution), tried to give Social Security away to private insurance companies, and the Tennessee Valley Public Power Authority to private utility owners.

Thirty years ago the conservatives began to advocate for the end of public education on the grounds that it’s undemocratic to mandate school attendance.  No system is pure on this side of the grave; our society considered it essential to educate all the people so that they can intelligently participate in their own democratic governance, and avoid being swindled by demagogues.  The John Birch Society bulletin advised its readers to “join your local P.T.A. and take it over.” Fascists twist democratic institutions and values to gain their selfish ends.  They advocate for state control of women’s bodies; control the body, control the mind (women vote too liberally).  They have besieged health, safety and environmental regulations for over 50 years, but don’t ask them to do a cost-benefit analysis on outrageous and endemic corporate welfare.

END GAMES and WISHFUL THINKING:

The end game for Bush wasn’t a fortuitous crusade against terrorism, but to bankrupt and reduce the United States government to the influence of a third world nation.  Thereafter, the plutocracy will rule.  Bush undid the hard-won social and legal advancements of our free and equal society.  He dismantled the American Dream.  He betrayed the Constitution, reinforcing the United States as a warmongering plutocracy that absolutely corrupts the democratic republic.

Republicans don’t have any kind of mandate for their radical right wing agenda.  They brought us the Second Great Depression.  Republicans are all alarm and greed.  The Big Thieves came into our homes as we slept and threaten to never leave.  We shall be their economic and social slaves, although we will be called “the public,” “the people,” “average Americans,” whatever.  The dream turns into nightmare.

The pinnacle of human achievement can’t be George W. Bush.  “What a low pinnacle,” my wife says.  “He gives new meaning to the American concept that anybody can become president.”  They don’t even have to be elected.  He came to power in interesting fashion: a virtual coup overturning the popular will, based on a very tenuous partisan split vote of 5 to 4 in the Supreme Court – buttressed by legal arguments so weak that even first year law students would blush to use them.

VOTE PROGRESSIVE:

Be well advised, the next election is in November.  Cast your ballot for progressive candidates. Turn your back to the greed and close your wallets to them.  Save the dream.  Defend the republic.  Kick the sick twisted bastards out.

RELATED:

EAT the RICH

INDEPENDENCE DAY reprise 2013

July 3, 2013

Thomas Paine, author-patriot, 1737-1809

Thomas Paine, author-patriot, 1737-1809

“The world is my country.  To do good is my religion.” – Thomas Paine, founding father.

On every July 4th, we should honor an under-sung founding father who well represents all those who forged the American nation and brought modern popular democracy into the world.

On January 29th people around the world working for reform and free thought celebrate Tom Paine’s birthday.  He deserves to be nationally honored post-911 as a great American who fought for freedom, equality, direct democracy, and human rights.

The Revolution might have failed without Tom, or perhaps not even started.  He wrote America’s first bestseller Common Sense, taking backroom revolutionary discussion public, and leading directly to the signing of the Declaration of Independence six months later.  He spent two years in the Colonial Army with Washington, including the brutal winter at Valley Forge where he wrote The Crisis to talk the starving, freezing army out of deserting the cause.  “These are the times that try men’s souls,” are among the most famous words in the American revolutionary liturgy.

The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of all men and women.”

Paine’s words saved the army and the infant nation.  Sent to France by Congress at his own expense to find aid to save America from bankruptcy, he not only got the aid, but bankrupted himself buying a desperately needed ship and cargo of muskets, powder and shot, quite literally saving the army and the nascent nation a second time.

Paine may be the only true revolutionary in our Revolution.  His ideals bring common people together as a community.  No one is above the law.  Justice and fairness shall prevail.  Everyone gets to vote.  He argued for social security, childcare reform, universal health care, animal cruelty penalties and animal shelters 225 years ago!

He warned us to watch, guide, and stop the powerful elite if we want humanity in general to succeed.  He proposed that any bill that enriches a corporation or grants a corporate charter should be enacted in one session of the legislature, and confirmed in a second, after a vote of the people, to stop corporate raids on the public treasury.

Paine was made an honorary citizen of France after our Revolution so he could be elected to the French National Convention to help form their new republic.  He wrote much of the first French constitution and his masterwork The Rights of Man, both of which still inform the world.  He was certain that democracy was spreading and would soon free all of humanity from tyranny.  He was jailed, instead, as too moderate (!) and his health was wrecked.  He asked his old friend Washington for help to get home, but George ignored him to protect treaty negotiations with England for access to rich West Indies trade.  Tom wrote a bitter letter: Washington was a monarch who ignored honor to friends, and to allies who helped set America free, instead helping the filthy barbarians who kept her enslaved for the sake of ungodly profit.

Washington’s political party the Federalists was outraged.  Tom languished in prison for Washington’s eight-year presidency, and four more because John Adams carried an old grudge for Paine calling him a would-be king (which he was).  Jefferson finally welcomed Tom home after fifteen years, but trouble was waiting.

Paine wrote The Age of Reason while in exile to “avoid politics and controversy,” but rejected religion in it.  We can just stare at a tree, he said, and believe in God.  Who needs revealed religion?  Religionists branded him an atheist, Federalists recalled his insult to their great hero general president, and both went “a-howl in the newspapers over the drunken, atheist, radical Jefferson has let back into the country.”

Tom couldn’t get a job or a pension.  All he wanted was repayment for money he gave to the Cause – dollar for dollar – without other reward, but he was only given a small farm in New Rochelle, New York as compensation.  He retreated to it in poverty to write letters to the editor and to Jefferson, and articles on controversial topics.  When Louisiana petitioned for statehood with a right to keep slaves, he wrote that admitting slaves to a free and equal society was unthinkable.  “Pennsylvanians” must be sent to teach Louisiana about democracy; and don’t call the state “Louisiana” because it honors a king, which insults the republic just won by the people’s blood!

He tried to vote for his friend Thomas Jefferson in 1804, but the New Rochelle election board wouldn’t allow it: he was a “French citizen” because of the honorary citizenship permitting him to serve in the Convention.  He spent his last days in the courts trying to redress this ultimate indignity, but it was not the final disrespect.

He was refused burial in Quaker ground despite his request because the Quakers feared someone might immodestly raise a monument to him.  He was buried on a remote corner of his New Rochelle farm, and a visiting Englishman later dug his bones up secretly, took them to England, stashed them under his bed, and forgot about them.  Upon rediscovery years later, they were sold and parted out all over England as souvenirs, and the whereabouts of Tom Paine’s bones is today unknown.  It begs the question: How frightened of a man must one be to want to hide his very bones?

After Tom began to grow in popularity and accreditation during the threatened nationally self-conscious democracy of the 1930’s and ‘40’s, his full American citizenship was belatedly admitted in 1945.  In truth, he’s a citizen of the world.  Tom Paine’s fierce principled call for human rights and, yes, loving hearts, still echoes and is still needed, for as much now as then, “These are the times.”

Citizen Tom Paine was the essence of our great democratic republican experiment: we are rebels as well as patriots.  On the fourth of July and on Tom’s birthday January 29th, lift your cup and toast a great American, friend to all the world, and constant champion of humanity.  Sing out:  “Hurrah!” for Tom Paine.                                                             © J. Legry

World War I public morale poster, captioned "Food Will Win the War.  You came here seeking freedom.  You must now help to preserve it."
Them is Us

POLITICAL MEMORABILIA:  www.zazzle.com/theattic

The United Corporations of America.

Agenda of the Economic Elite. The economic elite have made decades of premeditated carefully orchestrated strikes on the New Deal, democracy as a form of government, and the American constitution, supported by neo-conservative, Libertarian and religious fundamentalist allies – the same sort of coalition that supported the growth of national socialism in Germany (for a fact, grandpa Prescott Bush and the Koch brothers father Fred helped finance the Nazis); and no matter how disguised in civic rectitude, the merger of corporations with the state is still Mussolini’s original definition of fascism.Thomas Paine wrote that a tyranny used to meet an emergency, must return to democracy immediately after the crisis, or it becomes a permanent tyranny.  The ends justify the means permits all manner of abomination.  We can really see its manifestation in the lying Congress, corporate media and Republican Party.  They lie shamelessly in total self-interest.  Country, America, truth, democracy, freedom, justice and We the People mean absolutely nothing to them; they are obsessed with money and power.  Yet they are just minions of the super rich.  The following article introduces our real national enemy. Exposing Our Enemy: The Business Roundtable: The Most Powerful Corporate Business Club Most Americans Have Never Heard ofThe Business Roundtable, an organization representing Fortune 500 CEOs, is at the heart of the Economic Elite’s power center.  Editor’s Note: The following is Part III of David DeGraw’s report, “The Economic Elite vs. People of the USA.” AlterNet previously ran Part I and Part II.  DeGraw writes in the introduction to his report: “It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically destroying our way of life. The harsh truth is that 99% of the US population no longer has political representation. The US economy, government and tax system is now blatantly rigged against us. Current statistical societal indicators clearly demonstrate that a strategic attack has been launched and an analysis of current governmental policies prove that conditions for 99% of Americans will continue to deteriorate. The Economic Elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep. . . and make no mistake, they have launched a war to eliminate the US middle class.”

REAL HEROES: Click the image for narrative.

A Choice, Not an Echo

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

Liberty crowning defiant American democracy.


AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

June 2, 2013

Earth Rebelled

DEATH BY 1,000 PIN PRICKS

There must be a new approach to public policy development that makes “Earth First” top priority.  “Property” “economy” and “jobs” must serve “Earth First.”

The planning frame should be at least 100 years, possibly 1,000, NOT 25.  Environmental change is occurring so fast that small decisions made locally avalanche regionally (e.g. downstream pollution), or even globally (e.g. ozone layer destruction).

The Economic Growth discussion is always the same: “highest and best value” (a misnomer if ever there was one – profits trump survival).

Fat City is over, although many are still trying to milk it for the last bit of cream.  We must do more with less, and the rich must share or move out.  We don’t need more deadhead users and freeloaders.  We must develop a mutually supportive community again.  The business of government is the people’s business; developers step to the rear.  Legislators must renounce corporate campaign contributions as contrary to the public good.

We need to CONTROL land value to discourage speculation, and eliminate or lessen the wide market swings due to nerves or manipulation.  We must impose firm, honest value on land and discourage speculative over-inflation – speculation is not bad per se, but it is one of the easiest activities to exaggerate and corrupt.  We need a National Land Use Comprehensive Plan.

Unlimited growth is the ethos of a cancer cell, says David Suzuki, noted biologist.  Because one cannot personally conceive of an alternative to growth does not mean that one does not exist.  Sustainability is NOT a myth – it is an under-represented, and too-often wrongfully rejected younger child; the one bearing truth to co-dependent addictive parents in deep denial over their multi-generational destruction of the natural environment.

Three well-known fables, or metaphors illustrate our present situation:

  • Chinese fable of death by 1,000 pin pricks.  Stick a mouse one to 500 times and it can still heal unassisted.  Between 500-750 sticks, the mouse needs help in order to survive.  Between 750 and the 1,000th stick, death is certain, regardless of outside intervention.
  • A lily pad grows exponentially, doubling in size every day.  It takes a while for it to cover half the pond, but on the very next day, the entire pond is covered, and everything below it suffocates.
  • Parable of the frog and boiling water.  Put a frog in boiling water and it hops right out.  Put the frog in cold water and slowly heat it to boiling and the frog will adjust until it boils to death.

One more stick with the pin?  Deal with it later?  Turn up the heat?

As a former Chair of an urban Planning Commission and Executive Committee Member of a Regional Planning Council two developers stand out:

One claimed that a miles long unregulated commercial Strip was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen: America’s energy and excitement was laid out plain: the true entrepreneurial spirit – wires, signs, traffic snarls, and pollution, revealed in indifferent sprawl and waste.

A second bermed his auto lot outside the entrance to a National Historical Site at our demand.  He then ran a ramp up so that his trucks would show above the berm, and trimmed his trees to poodle tail puffs so that the branches wouldn’t obscure anything.  He performed the letter, but not the spirit of the law, with no respect for our shared national heritage.  He was a Coney Island developer at Gettysburg National Cemetery.

We are in crisis and we must make fundamental and absolute changes without further delay.  We cannot give “just a little bit more.”  Spoiled children require discipline if they are to live wholesome, productive lives.  Developers, energy barons, other planet-killers and we, must settle for less and work to plan a healthy sustainable community.  We require teamwork to endure what is coming.  We don’t have the luxury to indulge selfish, ignorant behaviors.

JL:PDX-10-09/5-13

Earth’s Life Support Systems Failing by Stephen Leahy.

UXBRIDGE, Canada – The world has failed to slow the accelerating extinction crisis despite 17 years of national and international efforts since the great hopes raised at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

The last big promise to act was in 2003, when government ministers from 123 countries committed to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.

Experts convening an international meeting in South Africa this week agree that target will not be met next year, which is also the International Year of Biodiversity.

“It is hard to imagine a more important priority than protecting the ecosystem services underpinned by biodiversity,” said Georgina Mace of Imperial College in London, and vice chair of the international DIVERSITAS programme, a broad science-based collaborative.

“We will certainly miss the target for reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010,” said Mace in a statement.

Biodiversity is not just weird-looking animals and pretty birds. It is the diversity of life on Earth that comprises the ecosystems that provide vital services, including climate regulation, food, fibre, clean water and air.

By some estimates, 12,000 species go extinct every year, and the rate is accelerating. Akin to a cataclysmic asteroid, pollution, logging, over-exploitation, consumption, land use changes and engineering projects have produced the planet’s sixth great extinction of species.

Freshwater ecosystems may be the first collapse of one of Earth’s life support systems in 13,000 years. Species that live in lakes and rivers are vanishing four to six times faster than anywhere else on the planet, said Klement Tockner of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Germany.

“There is clear and growing scientific evidence that we are on the verge of a major freshwater biodiversity crisis,” Tockner told IPS.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/10/14-4

Without Drastic CO2 Cuts Immediately, the World Faces a Massive ‘Oh Shit’ Moment By Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation.

A frightening new climate change study says the United States must eliminate its enormous rate of carbon emission within ten years.

Editor’s Note: This is the kickoff to a series of pieces as a Copenhagen Primer about climate change that we will be running in the lead up to the international climate talks in Copenhagen beginning on December 7. Stay tuned.

They say that everyone who finally gets it about climate change has an “Oh, shit” moment — an instant when the full scientific implications become clear and they suddenly realize what a horrifically dangerous situation humanity has created for itself. Listening to the speeches, ground-breaking in their way, that President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao delivered September 22 at the UN Summit on Climate Change, I was reminded of my most recent “Oh, shit” moment. It came in July, courtesy of the chief climate adviser to the German government. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, chair of an advisory council known by its German acronym, WBGU, is a physicist whose specialty, fittingly enough, is chaos theory. Speaking to an invitation-only conference at New Mexico’s Santa Fe Institute, Schellnhuber divulged the findings of a study so new he had not yet briefed Chancellor Angela Merkel about it. The study, Solving the Climate Dilemma: The Budget Approach, has now been published here. If its conclusions are correct — and Schellnhuber ranks among the world’s half-dozen most eminent climate scientists — it has monumental implications for the pivotal meeting in December in Copenhagen, where world leaders will try to agree on reversing global warming.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/143256/without_drastic_co2_cuts_immediately%2C_the_world_faces_a_massive_%27oh_shit%27_moment

Decline of a Tribe: and Then There Were Five The Independent/UK by Guy Adams.

The last surviving members of an ancient Amazonian tribe are a tragic testament to greed and genocide.

They are the last survivors: all that’s left of a once-vibrant civilisation which created its own religion and language, and gave special names to everything from the creatures of the rainforest to the stars of the night sky.

Just five people represent the entire remaining population of the Akuntsu, an ancient Amazonian tribe which a generation ago boasted several hundred members, but has been destroyed by a tragic mixture of hostility and neglect.

The indigenous community, which spent thousands of years in uncontacted seclusion, recently took an unwelcome step closer to extinction, with the death of its sixth last member, an elderly woman called Ururú.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/10/13-3

Light at the End of the Tunnel.

DO AWAY WITH ARMIES FOR MEMORIAL DAY

May 24, 2013
"FILL 'ER UP!"

“FILL ‘ER UP!”

[CLICK the PICS for more information, LINKS]

EXIT STRATEGY

There are at least three major institutions on earth that have outlived their usefulness and become baldly destructive and should be done away with: corporations, armies and religions. “Armies” will unnerve some, but think of it, without corporations and religions most of the causes of war will evaporate. Plus, wholesale murder is no longer profitable (if it ever was, beyond the obscene success of a very few greedy people) and generally accomplishes nothing (e.g. 50 years after the Korean War the peninsula is still militarized, divided and unstable). The emerging moral is that we should grow up, stop fighting like schoolyard bullies over whose dog is prettiest and who gets all the marbles, and begin to cooperate with one another for the purpose of sharing this shrinking world and its dwindling resources without turning into maddened overcrowded cannibalistic rats in a global-sized cage.

A Decent World

A Decent World

I am a veteran and senior citizen.

The war in Iraq was a personal project for George W. Bush, using American lives and treasure.  He effectively ruined the world’s finest military.  He fought like the boneheaded novice that he is, and like British General Kitchener at Gallipoli, observing allied troops running uphill against heavy Turkish guns at his order, said, “Stout fellows, they always run for the thickest part of the fence.”

Added to which, Bush’s expensive technological war toys often did not work.  They were only designed to fill the pockets of his war-profiteering cronies; that’s what they were meant to accomplish.

Colin Powell said, “Don’t get into war unless it’s absolutely necessary, and when we do, go to win, no half measures,” but it doesn’t apply very much in real life.

As a Vietnam veteran, I know Johnson‘s phony Gulf of Tonkin Incident fished us into war (I was drafted).  He bought into the radical right’s communist containment scare.  The Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars wrote:

“In part, the process of deception has also been unintentional.  Much of the rhetoric and many of the actions that have accompanied our… involvement have been ad hoc responses to situations of stress: a cumulative series of reflex moves and lunges produced by deepening executive anxiety, defensiveness, alarm, desperation, and even a sensed state of siege.  Similarly in rhetoric, our ‘national honor,’ ‘[enemies] with nuclear weapons,’ and the goal of ‘peace with honor’ – all have misled the public.  At the root of executive deception is a vast amount of executive self-deception – or, to put it bluntly, stupidity.”

America blithely ignores offers of friendship and makes enemies as fast as we can throw the first sucker punch.  This is not military sense; it’s a bad case of ideology and invention over reason and fact.  But, Americans don’t run out when the fight’s tough – see: Khe San.  We stood nearly twenty years (dating from Eisenhower putting the first American boots on the ground in the Fifties when the French got tossed out) while our military-industrial complex ruined Vietnam.  Our prolonged stay, and Nixon’s side invasions of Cambodia and Laos, generationally disrupted and destabilized Southeast Asia, distorted America’s rule of law, and led directly to the Bush leadership miasma; and our present dilemma under Obama.

We are now fighting a war for the health and life of the republic. Look at how the radical right Republicans and Tea Party and War Democrats have warped the nation they want us to fight for, die for, and honor! The self-destructive insanity of the radical right way of war makes it looks as if the bad guys have already won.

These are politically motivated wars, fought to extremes because of ill-informed egos and profit.  Bush’s indefensible “give war a chance” was disgusting; so is Obama’s current pursuit of it.  End our wars now, no matter how wimpy it looks to arrested-adolescent bullyboys. It is time to grow up. No more useless bloodshed!

We’ve got a lot of positive work to do, and one dollar spent on peace really is worth ten wasted in war!

EATTHERICH23

TRINITY TRIPTYCH

May 12, 2013
TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

A monk-warrior in the Kingdom of Heaven says:

“By the word ‘religion,’ I’ve seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I’ve seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is your head and your heart, by what you decide every day, you will be a good man [or woman], or not.”

There are those who will say that if there is not a personified God, humankind will perish. However, God (if present) is universal and not capable of personification, denomination, or ritualization. God is the human concept of a Perfect Platonic Being: One and all, hen kai pan. God is life, not dogma. God is curiosity and learning, not brainwashing and stagnation. God is an ideal, an example for emulation, an aspiration, a romance, an invitation to speculation, not a non-profit corporation, theme park, or big black carpet-draped rock.  Émile Zola wrote, “Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.”

There are at least three major institutions on earth that have outlived their usefulness and become baldly destructive and should be done away with: corporations, armies and religions. “Armies” will unnerve some, but think of it, without corporations and religions most of the causes of war will evaporate. Plus, wholesale murder is no longer profitable (if it ever was, beyond the obscene success of a very few greedy people) and generally accomplishes nothing (e.g. 50 years after the Korean War the peninsula is still militarized, divided and unstable). The emerging moral is that we should grow up, stop fighting like schoolyard bullies over whose dog is prettiest and who gets all the marbles, and begin to cooperate with one another for the purpose of sharing this shrinking world and its dwindling resources without turning into maddened overcrowded cannibalistic rats in a global-sized cage.

We Move to Amend.We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:

  • Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
  • Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
  • Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

Signed by 298,363 and counting . . . CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/

FatLemon Sez

ALICE and YUYA, the HOLY GRAIL and WE

April 29, 2013

Pharaoh is the Joker

Excerpt: ALL OF A KEY, an unpublished novel:  (Scene: Seniors Alice  and Lou and Twenty-something Charlie tour Cairo Museum)

The ground floor entrance of Cairo Museum was dominated by a statue of Queen Tiye seated beside her husband, Amenhotep III, in a huge composition seven meters high and five meters wide.

“For the first time in Egyptian history,” Alice said, “the queen is shown the same size as the king.  She was a commoner.  Her father, Yuya, was her husband’s chief vizier, as he had been for his father, Tuthmosis IV.  We’re going to see Yuya today.”

“He would be important, why?” Lou asked, fumbling with his folding map guide to the exhibit halls.

“The Exodus may have occurred at several different times and places, and a great deal of money and faith has been expended to ‘prove’ each of them.  Each has its merits and advocates, each its flaws and detractors.  What is incontrovertible is that a Semitic tribe co-mingled with the Egyptian pharaonic family, fell afoul of orthodox Egyptian authorities, left or fled Egypt, looting as much of the place as possible as they went, setting up a religious opposition and a separate organization that not only challenged Egyptian traditions, but declared a ‘special,’ ‘separate,’ and ‘supreme,’ relationship and claim to the only true god.”

“God,” Lou agreed.

“Inventing different versions of the same truth, denying common roots, and claiming sovereignty over the myth has been criminally disruptive.  Akhenaten and his Habiru-Shasu shepherd henchmen were power-obsessed manipulators, breaking the peace and harmony of the world for personal gain.”

“Selfish bastards,” Lou agreed.  “Let me get this straight, you’re talkin’ about Joseph and Moses and those guys, right?”

“I’m talking about a particularly garbled tract of proto-history, beginning with the Story of Joseph in what is referred to as the first book of the Old Testament in the compendium called collectively the Holy Bible.”

“Oh,” Lou said.

“Scholars agree,” Alice continued, “that the Joseph Story was an original narration put down in writing in the 9th Century B.C. and is thought to be the Judah-Israel version.  A second story came a century later, the Reuben-Jacob version.  The story in Genesis is mainly from the two sources, however, priests returning from the Babylonian exile arranged the sources, and added details: Joseph’s age (30) at time of Pharaoh’s elevation, the number of the tribe of Israel that went down into Egypt (70), the length of the sojourn (430 years), and Joseph’s request to be buried in Canaan.  Then, an editor, sometime before the second century B.C. took on the task of making one story from the three sources, and added the section on Joseph’s death and his request to be reburied in Canaan on his own initiative, or orders.”

Lou looked at her blankly.

“People believe a cobbled, fiddled myth,” she said.  “We must go to its roots to see the truth, which should prevail.  However, our self-deception and self-aggrandizement overpower facts with inventions suiting our basest desires for certainty and dominance.”

“Yeah, but so what?” Lou disagreed.  “Guy got lucky, huh?”

Charlie laughed.

“Okay, Alice,” Lou said, “men wrote the Talmud and the Bible…”

“…and the Koran,” she said.

“…and the Koran, but refute this: they also made the mistakes – not God.  God had to use several men until we correctly reconstructed what happened.”

“With another man to pronounce the trail ended.  Neatly bent,” she complimented.  “First rate religious counterpoint to reason.  That’s just the trouble, isn’t it?  Religious people see what they’ve taught themselves to believe and deny any exception on the grounds of deviltry and perdition.

“Muhammad is the descendent of another of Abraham’s sons,” Alice continued.  “Ishmael out of Hagar, Sarah (Sarai’s) Egyptian maid.  Muhammad was born in Mecca in A.D. 570, eighteen centuries after Exodus.  He started his mission at age 40 or so, preaching to Arab idolaters the ‘true faith’: Islam, the monotheistic Hanif religion of his remote ancestor Abraham.  Hanif is the Islamic word for someone who believes in one God, but is not a Jew, a Christian, or a worshipper of idols.

“Significantly,” Alice said, “the Koran agrees with the Judah-Israel and Reuben-Jacob versions of the story, but ends there, making no connection to the later priestly and editor’s additions.  This reinforces the conviction that the original story is in the first two sources, before it was given shape, or included Joseph’s reburial in Canaan.  It helps convince me that he never left Egypt.”

“So, where’d he go?” Lou scoffed.

“He’s in Room Number 12 according to the floor map,” she replied.  “I like what I understand of the ancient Egyptian concept of our relation to god.  God created all out of thought and word.  Everything is part of god.  The million gods are one; all creation, everything, is part of the whole.  Hence, the world went out of balance when the Akhenaten-Moses megalomaniac took his god out of Egypt and set him up separate above everything else in the world.  It would be good for all of us, if we recognized and nourished the roots instead of losing ourselves in the branches.  Of course, anything is possible, Lou, but let’s have a look at this particular mummy.  I really believe it’s  your Joseph.”

Yuya had a long thin dignified face, almost alive, wearing a calm confident expression.  The position of his hands was striking.  They were normally placed over the chest in the Osirian position, but here, in the only example Alice had ever seen, the palms were down just under the chin, as if giving reverence, not to the gods, but to himself.

Unusually, his ears were unpierced.  His strong, aquiline features and hooked nose immediately suggested foreign, possibly Semitic origin.  His white hair and aged appearance indicated that he was at least sixty years old when he died.

“Commanding figure,” Lou admitted.  “Lot of character in that face: full, strong lips, prominent determined jaw.  He could wake right up.  Wow!  What an embalming job.”

“He’s the originator of the great religious movement that his daughter and grandson carried into execution.”

“Come on, he could be Syrian, or anything.  You don’t know he’s Moses.”

“He is Yuya, father of Tiye, whom Amenhotep III made his Great Royal Wife. Their son, Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) married his cousin, Nefertiti, Yuya’s grand daughter by his son Aye.  Akhenaten closed the temples, banned the ancient gods of Egypt, and established a monotheistic God, like the God of Israel, with himself as high priest.  I believe he can be linked to Moses, or rather to the mythological stereotype we know as ‘Moses.’”

Looking at the well-preserved features, Lou thought that Yuya did have the face of an ecclesiastic; there was something around the mouth.

“I have in my files at home,” Alice said, “a photocopy of Yuya’s titles, taken from the book written in 1907 by Theodore M. Davis.  One of them was it ntr n nb tawi, “the holy father of the Lord of the Two Lands”, and not just the common semi-priestly it ntr, “the father of the god”.  That certainly sounds like a blood relation, doesn’t it?  If we’re ever to get the truth, this is a good reason for re-examination.”

“To what end, Alice?” Charlie asked.

“All three religions revere Joseph,” she replied.  “If this is he…”

“They’ll kill each other to get him,” Charlie said.  “Best to let the poor beggar lie.  If that’s your Joseph, or anyone else’s, he didn’t get to Canaan, but he looks content.  Let’s not trouble his rest.”

Lou laughed and nodded.  Alice took a few notes and made a sketch from which she would later do an ink painting.  Yuya’s profile was particularly interesting, she thought.  He’s not Syrian.

Yuya, "Holy Father of the Lord of the Two Lands"
Yuya, “Holy Father of the Lord of the Two Lands”

PARTIAL SOURCES:

Moses the Egyptian, Jan Assmann, the memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism.  Harvard University Press. The author is Professor of Egyptology at the University of Heidelberg. A brilliant study by a world-renowned specialist.

Hebrew Pharaohs of Egypt, Ahmed Osman, the secret lineage of the Patriarch Joseph.  Bear & Company.  Cairo-born author presents results of twenty-two years writing and research.

Pastiche Der Nibelungen.

BEYOND DAN BROWN: The DeVinci Load. 

The so-called Holy Grail is the object of legendary quest for Arthurian knights and may be a “wide-mouthed or shallow vessel,” although its precise etymology (in the true literal sense of the word) remains uncertain, and small wonder.

The Grail was probably inspired by classical or Celtic mythologies, which abound in horns of plenty, magic life-restoring caldrons, and the like.  In Finland, the pre-Christian Kalevala features the sampo, which might be a pillar that holds up the sky, or a mill to produce salt, meal and gold, or a talisman of happiness and prosperity.  Take your pick.

The first extant text (or more aptly invention) about the Grail is Chrétien de Troyes’ late 12th century unfinished romance Parceval or Le Conte du Graal, which combined the religious with the fantastic.  In the 13th century Robert de Borron’s poem extended the Christian significance of the legend, linking the Grail with Christ’s cup at the Last Supper and with Joseph of Aramea whom he said used it to catch Jesus’ blood as he hung on the cross.  In the same century, Wolfram von Esenbach’s Parzival gave the Grail profound and mystical expression as a precious stone fallen from Heaven (sampo, anyone?).  Malory’s late 15th century Le Morte D’Arthur transmitted the fanciful Grail essence to English-speaking readers.

In the story-telling invention, the quest itself became a search for mystical union with God.  Through various permutations by many different writers over several hundreds of years, the Grail theme formed a culminating point for the Arthurian romance.  It’s a good story device; it doesn’t really matter what it really is, as long as it stands for truth, justice and the “right” way.  Its physical presence is just like the True Cross, Longinus’ Spear, St. Michael’s pickled peritoneum, or any other “holy” relic: e.g. entrepreneurs started fabricating bits of the true cross as soon as they noticed a market for it; as we’ve seen from Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the DeVinci Code, and Newsweek, people are still making big bucks selling new baubles to hang on the old artificial tree, which is patently, the Grail’s only real value.  When you get right down to it, it’s buying a box of air, isn’t it?  That’s the way faith works, so have fun with the storyline.

Incidentally, Christ is the Greek Chrestos – a mystery cult popular with the poor and lower middle class of the 1st century C.E.  Self-proclaimed “Apostle” Paul of Tarsus cobbled Chrestos with the historical Jesus movement as a sales package for Gentiles (infuriating the Jesus movement because he co-opted and lied about their guy; of such petty human foibles are great religious movements conceived), but that’s another story.

REVERY:

We’ve come a long way, you and I.  Thousands upon thousands of light years, and yet we’re still far short of our destination.  Where were we going anyway?  Haven’t we already been there?  The universe is a big round circle in a dimension so large that we poor mites cannot see the curve.  It looks like a straight line to us, but so does time, and time is a repetition of itself, always telling us the same thing.  As each generation is born, the next arises, and each of those, and all of those billions more, grows by the same learning process, through the same biology, give or take a tenth of a percent of one gene, which seems to specify skin tone and what we call racial differences.  It’s the same as classifying men by the size of their nipples and finally as insignificant.

We all begin as fertilized eggs.  We are one with the chicken and the salamander, fish and spider.

There is not one atom within us that is remarkable for being unique.  There is nothing unique in the universe, except individual discovery.

LINK WORTH VIEWING:

Washington Diarist by Leon Wieseltier, Accommodationism:  “One of the most troublesome qualities of reason is that it is not always reasonable.”

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=cf4e433c-60bd-4184-abc3-fc372c7f8304

Little King Rides Again.

Little King Rides Again.


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