Posted tagged ‘musing’

Fifty Five Word Anthology

February 10, 2011

~Number Nine

San Francisco’s macrobiotic community in 1969 had many divergent sub groups ranging from yin to double yang. At open house dinners around town, intravenous drug users were finding nourishment and hope alongside health addicts who had never so much as smoked a cigarette. I was still coming down from the CIA’s LSD experiment in 1965.


Our closed physical universe has been winding down since day one. Solar decline recently accelerated. We need a source of outside energy. Human consciousness must find it. That’s the purpose of intelligent life. We are the bridge uniting matter with spiritual energy. We knew this in the sixties. Excuse me while I kiss the sky.

~Big Bang Cools

The early universe was an opaque fog of diatomic hydrogen gas. As it expanded, temperatures declined and, with internal pressures dropping, gravitational collapse initiated star cluster formation. Stars radiated energy, stripping electrons, ionizing hydrogen atoms, clearing the fog: the universe became transparent. Our watery planet with sunny blue skies happened much later, strictly by chance.

~Many Rivers to Cross

The fertile earth, you can kick it, lick it, smell it, warmed by the heat of a fire that never goes out, not in a billion years, and by then terrestrial life will have already ended due to the planet’s surface becoming too hot for liquid water to exist, so be happy you’re here now.


We are hardwired for empathy, understanding, and communicating. Why have we failed to organize ourselves into a global society with a sustainable ecology? We need a unifying purpose which embraces our humanity while respecting our individuality; yet the intellectual force of the ruling class is focused on short term profits for the top one percent.

~Blues, Away

Low-skilled adults in a winner-take-all economy, homesteading the urban wilderness, rethinking assumptions without a master plan. The decaying city up for sale, commercial properties underwater, worth less than their mortgages. No buyers in sight. We may be stuck here with it. Things could get worse. And yet, how wonderful life is with you in the world.

~Women on Top

Today’s job market favors aggressive, educated women. They’re dominating the information age. My wife recently earned her bachelor’s degree. She’s been going to school at night after working all day in an office. I’m a stay at home dad. Boy am I sad, not! Keep her happy, that’s it. Kids take care of themselves: thanks Internet.

~Popular Economics

Volatile markets, a rapid bidding down, a specific sequence of events, not merely academic, without evidence of a deliberate attempt, beyond finger pointing: how could someone manipulate the markets, make off with a gazillion dollars, and avoid detection? Determined prosecutors are still searching reams of data, hundreds of transcripts, using meta-math developed by Harry Potter.

~Wee Party

Selfish, arrogant, and exclusive, yes, and greedy. You wanna tax my income? Try it. I’ll run you out of office. I want politicians who will beef up the border. Armed guards who will shoot to kill on sight. A strong military presence around the world to secure priority access to energy resources. God bless America.

~Piece of Mind

I’m earning top honors at the university, studying bling theory, all the observable forces necessary to make a relationship shine in the presence of internal penetration. Bling dynamics are governed by friction and kinetic energy, which combine to produce mutual oscillations. Even in a down job market, I can always find work as a gigolo.

~Z Boson with a Hardron

The night, when viewed in a mirror, violated all the laws of parity, symmetry, and conservation. Her response, strongly interactive, the flavor of strangeness, is the reversal of expected spatial axes. I can go macho, make the stars appear brighter. Or go wimp, become dark and evasive. She remembers the big bang. Hard to compete.

~A Stranger from Paradise

At midnight, flutes and drums, a traditional dance, her body moving rhythmically in sync with mine, the goddess of love in a blue velvet dress, no bra, pink panties: all phenomenon from the beginning to the end of time radiated outward from our union. Her happiness gave meaning to life then. Where is she now?

~A Fragmentary Vision

Flashing eyes and floating hair, a damsel with a dulcimer, an Abyssinian from Ethiopia, a reality never before achieved without the milk of paradise while living in a pleasure dome, a variety of actors singing and dancing, now buried beneath the shifting sands of time; yet the dream, the insanity, remains the same: the expectation of true love.

~Nineteenth Amendment

She clearly wasn’t a normal girl. At six her parents found her under a table with a book. They asked her to read aloud. She read so perfectly, they were shocked, since no one had taught her. The book she had selected from the shelves of the drawing room was a play about a prostitute.

~She’s Out

A woman falls in love with a man and then another man and then another woman. The two men fight and come close to killing each other. Until they finally realize she’s out of their reach. And there will never be another woman like her. Not for them.

~I heard the news today, oh boy!

You listened to Beatles music on the AM radio, the jukebox, watched them on TV, bought their records, played them loudly all day long. They filled your heart with joy, you said. But then they broke it. They were human, all too human, which you reluctantly recognized. I had never really liked them until then.

~Auld Lang Syne

I’ve been drunk every new year’s eve since 1956, with few exceptions. I should know better than to drink before driving these unfamiliar roads outside the city during a snow storm. And she could have warned me there were no gas stations or convenience stores out here. Where’s that goddamn cellphone when I need it?

~Bud Business? Booming!

You were in it for the money. Legalization would evaporate your profits and decentralize your control. A campaign of brutality became necessary to assure it never happened. The war on drugs allowed you, effectively, to play both sides against the middle. Then you became seriously ill and found pain relief with medical marijuana, home grown.

~Lucifer’s Farewell

You didn’t believe I could survive your wrath, fall from Heaven, traverse the void, arise from the burning lake, outplay the devil. You condemned me to Hell for all eternity. Yet I escaped. I became human through the power of love. I’ll die a natural death soon. Nobody knows who I am, not even you.

~Halfway to the Top

Twelve seasoned mountain warfare counter-terrorism army veterans with backpacks, carrying M4A1 carbines, wearing combat helmets, reach a semi-barren plateau halfway to the top of the Hindu Kush mountains, the sparsely populated center of world population, where they find themselves surrounded by numerous armed men who must be killed immediately. Why else would they be there?

~Private Security in 55 Words

He’s returning from close combat experience during special operations in mountain warfare near the northeast Afghanistan border. As a good soldier, he cannot and will not question his mission there. And, as a thinking individual, he knows better than to open the floodgates of speculation. But don’t you dare try to take away his guns.

~His Longest Day

He parachuted into Normandy on six June, forty four, to support the amphibious landing on Utah Beach. At the age of eighty nine, his heavily medicated eyes show a rare spark of interest when Red Buttons gets his parachute caught on a church spire, hangs there, pretends to be dead, avoids the fight below.


Hardwired for a Reason – 2

April 4, 2010

We have, on the Internet, access to instantaneous global communications. Let’s communicate: human empathy has a unifying purpose. Internet communities are mimicing our hardwired empathy. People are better able, and more willing, to empathize with others who are similar to themselves. In general, empathy increases with similarities in culture and living conditions. Plus, empathy is more likely to occur between individuals who frequently interact. Even if the basic capacity to recognize emotions is innate, and may be achieved to a certain degree unconsciously, the ability to imagine oneself as another person is a sophisticated process which must be nurtured through training to achieve accuracy and intensity.

Empathy does not guarantee benevolence. Psychopathic personalities are sometimes adept at reading emotions, mimicing, and building a convincing friendship while in the process of exploiting others. Yet they do not experience reciprocal emotions or sympathy. Research indicates that components of their neural circuits involved in empathy may be dysfunctional.

The presumption that others have a mind is termed theory of mind; because each human can only prove the existence of his or her own mind through introspection. We have no direct access to another person’s mind. So we must be able to use our mind as a generator of representations to attribute mental states to others and to understanding them as causes of their behavior. If a person does not have a complete theory of mind it may be a sign of cognitive or developmental impairment.

Even though theory of mind appears to be an innate potential ability in humans, it requires social and other forms of experience to develope. Therefore, people with different backgrounds develop different, yet effective, theories of mind.

If we’re so hardwired for understanding and empathy, shouldn’t we be better at getting along?

Hardwired for a Reason

April 2, 2010

I’m a writer by inclination, my lack of education and talent notwithstanding. I write for several reasons, primarily because it helps me formulate and conceptualize ideas. Having been taught at an early age mostly through the written word, before television and computers were prevalent in society, written words remain a primary conceptual instrument in my life. Words in general, including spoken language, constitute a major part of my reality. And, it’s probably safe for me to assume, many others are similarly constituted. In fact, we are all hardwired for thought, language, and verbal communications according to recent research: which seems almost self-evident.

Hardwired? We have built-in capabilities to see, to hear, to modulate sounds, to process and analyze information. Therefore I can accept the concept of being hardwired for language. Research has also recently concluded, we are hardwired for empathy. Now that’s not quite as self-evident.

Who, or what, hardwired us? Evolution? Creation? Are there other ways of looking at it? Whatever we may conclude on that subject, we must continue to communicate and to cooperate on a basic, commonsense, humanistic level. Of course, that’s just an opinion. And I’m not holding my breath waiting for it to happen.

Empathy? The ability to imagine oneself as another person, to not only recognize their pain and pleasure but to experience it directly? That seems more like a sophisticated imaginative process than a hardwired automatic reaction. Perhaps our hardwired language system has reprogrammed our hardwired empathetic system. How? And why? I can only speculate. Yet one major clue could be the growth of mass media electronic technology which, in effect, has reprogrammed our conceptual continuum of self and other, while supplying us with corporate managed media content that has become a major source of our information and culture.

Corporations have turned consumption into an inner compulsion by manipulating the human subconscious, applying principles and techniques supplied to them by a well paid staff of opportunistic scientists, MBA’s, and lawyers. The very slogans of advertising and mass culture have become the idiom of common expression in our daily language. Corporate commodity culture dominates American culture. Corporate power dominates American politics: corporations have been using mass media organs of communication to empower conservative movements, while demonizing movements of social change.

What a strange corps of corporate experts we have running the show today! Homeland Security has been promoting broad use of radio frequency identification chips even though its own advisory committee on data integrity and privacy issued warnings.

The Bush administration increased the strangeness factor by several magnitudes but they are a blip on the radar screen in comparison to the potential for future abuse of advanced technology: like long range tracking of people on a large scale using radio frequency identification, RFID, chips linked with other identification methods, including biometric technologies, such as facial recognition, giving corporate led governments the means to identify, monitor, and track citizens anywhere in the world in real time, effectively creating a global surveillance network. Ironically, it will also enable criminals and terrorists to commit crimes against victims who won’t even know they’re being victimized until it’s too late to do anything about it.