The Five Kings

The writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, has written a brilliant book,  https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Empire-Five-Kings/Bernard-Henri-Levy/9781250203014

The book lays out the impact of America retreating from its world leadership to the growth of the emerging Five Kings -Turkey, Iran, China, Russia, and radical Islam. Levy states that America by letting the Kurds down in Kirkuk created the beginning of the end of America’s greatness. The American dream really did exist. The Marshall Plan and rebuilding Europe after Hitler destroyed much of it has lost its footing with Trumps “America First” nationalism. I certainly agree that we live in a global economy. Planes can cross the Atlantic in 1 hour and nuclear bombs in 10 minutes . Th USA has the nuclear fire power to blow up the entire world many times over just from their hidden nuclear subs. So why the constant wars and power struggles when we have effectively out dated war though technology and nuclear power.

My main push back to Levy on “America First” as a bad idea regards the fact that protecting Europe and the rest of the world is bankrupting the USA and a lot of that Defense money should got to our infrastucture and education . Our allies have been on the economic tit of America for too long . If America is spending 5% of GDP on defending against the 5 Evil Kings while Britain, France, Japan etc. are spending 2% of GDP then they need to step up. They do not need to spend as much as America but the same 5 % of GDP spent on defense is very reasonable. Where Trump’s “America First” goes bad is that it paves the way into a dystopian world where dictators, religion, and technology can crush personal freedom with impunity.

Levy spotlights Jeremy Bentham as the origin of this dystopian nightmare. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jeremy-Bentham

Bentham was an eminent enlightenment philosopher of the late 1700’s who was soon followed by Locke, Voltaire, and others. Bentham among other things invented the panopticon-a giant tower that could watch over everyone. Bentham argued that “commerce and control” would work together in harmony. Levy says the Orwellian nightmare of 1984 has come to pass because Bentham and other philosophers trained us intellectually over many years to be accepting of losing our privacy. Certainly much good has come out of the digital revolution including that the leaders around the world can no longer hide behind closed doors . Examples of Trump as the “chief pussy grabber”, Putin exposed to have of 500 billion in secret assets, Osama Bin laden downloading porn in his lair with 5 wives, Erdogan, Hussein, the Ayatollah, and many Muslim leaders brutally murdering their own citizens were all exposed by all exposed by digital media- yet the political and religious dictators still are still in power -or are they still in power? Th Arab Spring was spawned by the new digital technology. Is GAFA (Google Amazon Facebook and Apple) running the show and letting the dictators stay put for now? Does GAFA become the 21st Century version of of the panopticon where “commerce and control” can work together while everyone including our leaders is being watched. Bentham first postulated this form of control in the 1700’s. George Orwell and Robert Heinlein further updated this dystopia in their novels in the mid 1900’s.

So are we going to let the 5 Kings take over the world politically with authoritarianism while GAFA  really runs the show behind closed doors like Bentham’s panopticon or the Wizard of Oz? The Doors poet and singer Jim Morrison bellowed “We want the world and we want it now!!”

Our generations day is quickly passing but the emotional high I got from Jim Morrison’s lyrics in my late teens still resonates. The “Boomers” made plenty of changes to the world order, but we will not be around to see the full impact . Our cry for freedom and a cleaner less warlike planet had impact. I am an optimist. I believe the glass of life is half full.

Cheers

Blake

Traffic

In the summer of 1970 I was riding on top of a 1964 Ford Econoline Van that was speeding through the desert at over 75 miles an hour. George, Danny, and I were long term friends and recent high school graduates. We were taking a trip around the country before we headed to college in the fall. We had been driving cross country all summer.

We had just been driving for hours through the desert and scenic unpopulated areas of the Southwest. As we made our way into Arcadia California just North of Los Angeles a police car began chasing us. We could not hear them coming after us because Danny had rigged the sound system so loud that we could hear nothing around us. I was riding on top of the Van with my long hair blowing in the wind with headphones on. The song I want to take you Higher by Sly and the Family Stones was playing at very high volume boom lakka lakka boom . Below is a picture of our Van.   

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In retrospect it was an incredibly unsafe situation. I was leaning against a luggage rack that was basically sticking to the top of the Van with old dry rotted rubber suction cups. When we finally heard the police sirens and megaphone we stopped and pulled over. The two policeman were really pissed off.  When I refused to let them search the vehicle the policeman then asked the driver Danny if they could search our vehicle.  Unfortunately Danny gave them permission to search and after an extensive search they found a very small container of marijuana. They proceeded to arrest us and throw us in jail. George, our wanted to call home as it didn’t look like we were gonna get out any time soon.  I prevailed upon George and Danny not to call home. We were able to speak with one another since our cells were next to each other and tried to figure out our options. I slept through breakfast every morning and was only eating part of a horrible dinner. I was getting incredibly hungry and claustrophobic. It was shocking to be caged in this jail cell like a monkey. After spending several months wondering the wide open spaces of the great American southwest I was now staring at 17 slightly rusted steel bars instead of the Rocky Mountains . I am allergic to wool and the bed was a piece of gray cut up canvas with a wool blanket that cut my skin and itched non stop. I was wondering what the future held. I had heard that the penalty for possession of marijuana was 20 years in prison back in 1970. 

The police agreed to let us go for no apparent reason after only 3 days. When we got out of jail  I took off running through some open park gulping in fresh air and the sense of freedom that only a caged animal can feel. We found our Van at the impound and it was totally torn apart. We reassembled it a little bit and were happy we had not called home for help and our captors had released us.  Danny went out and bought an album from a group called Traffic who I had never heard of before. We got back in the Van and that night drove up the beautiful and scenic Route 1 under a full moon overlooking the Pacific Ocean .The moon caused the roaring surf to glow. All night long we played the Traffic album over and over again being mesmerized by the originality, uniqueness, and power of the music. Imagine the joy we had in being set free and listening to this historic album as we headed on to more adventures. 

Traffic video

Anthropocentrism

In the beginning mankind was a hunter and gatherer. There was always an alpha male who led the pack. If you are to look at evolution from the standpoint of all animals plants and microbes we find that genetic mutation thrives and moves forward based on the strongest male being able to mate particularly among mammals. For example I just watched a PBS special where two male Elk were hanging out together for the whole year until mating season. When mating season arrived and they came upon a large pack of female Elk they battled. The strongest one was able to stay and mate with his newly formed harem. This battle was fought with high energy, but neither of the male Elk were hurt. When mating season was over the dominant male returned to his friend who he had defeated in battle and they hung out for the rest of the year together with no hard feelings. They foraged for food and water and were together as “soul” or hunting mates till the next mating season. Imagine if human beings could be so magnanimous as the Elk in after losing battle for who was the dominant male in mating or in politics that they could resume their friendship after procreation.

Me & Social Media: I Feel a Bad Moon Rising — The Green Study

I have written many times over the years about eschewing social media, most notably, Twitter and Facebook. But it’s becoming a problem, because everybody and their grandmothers are on it, including businesses and writing groups and offline groups that I’m involved in. It’s become more of a pain in the ass to avoid it, than […]

via Me & Social Media: I Feel a Bad Moon Rising — The Green Study

Life is a series of choices

I have spent my intellectual life favoring science over religion. There are many intellectual and personal choice all human beings face. How about monogamy vs polygamy? Monotheism vs. polytheism seems to be as a choice a knockout punch in 2017 for monotheism. Are we now in this world of digital information overload headed for atheism and virtual reality sex ? The computer has beaten humans in chess and the 3d sex robots are getting better. Mind, body, and spirit the important spiritual triumvirate from my high school Gilman is all caught up in this ontological evolution of how our childhood and adolescent background can influence our moral and spiritual choices. I rebelled in high school and thought I had left this triumvirate in the dust. I embraced the spiritual essence of the 1960’s of tune in ,turn on, and drop out. However, the seeds planted in pre- adolescence can be hard to completely shed. Spinoza one of my favorite philosopher’s said “God is in nature”and nature’s triangulation is visually apparent. If you have ever experienced LSD or what the Buddhists call the “third eye” which is in western terms is the pineal gland you know what I am referring to. A deep connection with nature is really quite profound. This emotional expo of oneness is similar in the cognitive human brain to what is happening to humans when they experience religious epiphany. In the Abrahamic regions which came out of the mid eastern dessert 2000 years ago these religions offered this sense of connection. As man left the “primordial swamp”of Africa and traveled to the desserts of the Mid East he began to uncover meaning in a very robust and complex universe. Mohammed, Jesus, and Abraham helped to comfort and give order to their lives. Fast forward 2000 years

Technolgy is the current God economically and in terms of 7 billion humans being glued to their phone 24 /7. I say this tapping these words on my ” smart” phone . Now our moral and empirical search for truth face new challenges. If the kinesthetic and aesthetic sensations of sex robots exceeds the pleasure of real men and women having sex then are we doomed as a species. Sex with a robots in a godless universe oh my that does not sound good. Is this futuristic science fiction a possible choice for a movie starring physically beautiful men and women of high intelligence debating and sampling the real versus cyber sex. Who will win the battle for humankind’s last stand against technology overload? What are the real choices facing humanity? Astrological visions of other planets and theories of life being on earth in the sunken island of Atlantis is the closest we have come to communication outside the third planet from the Sun in our solar system. So if there is life beyond homo sapiens and the planet earth why are they hiding? Will these aliens from other planets take those of us who prefer real sex with our fellow humans over the ones favoring cyber sex with robots. Stay tuned in , turned on and ready to drop out.

God given talents

There is a New Testament Christian story about talents. In the story there are 3 sons

The son that used his talents to the best of his ability was the one that was rewarded by the father. I mention this as I contemplate my three children and what they have done with their talents. How have I rewarded them over the years has been mainly situational and based on what they needed to get at the time. However Blakely has certainly used her talents to the best. I have encouraged her to get a Master’s degree and am helping her to buy a house and to split the cost with her husband rather than continue renting. Blakely has been the most expensive of the three children; however she has responded to that by now getting a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and is willing to work hard to maximize her talents. The Christian bible story of rewarding your children who use their talents is allegorical and came to my mind today because I just gave money specifically $20 in a very very bad neighborhood to an older African American gentleman who was walking down the street on a 100゚ day. He was crippled with a huge limp and had severe arm spasms. I said to myself well now there is somebody I would give some money to because he is truly in need. I am so disgusted by all the young beggars out there begging for money when they are in perfectly good health. So instead of saying in my mind I would do something good I pulled my car over to the side in a very bad neighborhood and gave him some money. It turns out he was blind in one eye and didn’t know what I was giving him. After I explained to him he had a $20 bill in his hand he told me how his old girlfriend had hit him in the head with a large piece of wood and blinded him in one eye while she was trying to steal his money. Whether that story was true or not I don’t know but I have no reason to doubt it. He was walking on a sidewalk without begging on a 100゚ day. He reminded me of a time years ago when I was hitchhiking through Alaska and getting picked up by drivers without sticking my thumb out . I was showing to the drivers that I was willing to walk the distance to get where I was going if nobody would pick me up. This goes back to the story of talents we all have only so much going on in terms of our talent mentally or physically. Question is what do we do with that God-given talent and do we do our best or do we become beggars. And if we become beggars do we become beggars with class, dignity, and a sense of pride?