Posted tagged ‘Science’

Ann Hides Her Bush

November 4, 2010

Ann works in her autumn garden while her husband, Buddy, along with their son, Bud Junior, and his school chum, Mickey, are out in the now empty grain field playing ball games. And that’s how she likes it. She would rather see the men out there playing with their balls than hanging around the house fighting, which are the only two things they seem interested in doing, or watching others do.

Her garden provides her with a unique natural sanctuary. Lined with trees to the north, it’s rimmed all around with selected vines and bushy vegetation. Working alone, she builds a fire, burning dried twigs and branches in a crudely constructed rock pit. In a small kettle of boiling water, she steeps leaves freshly picked from a bush she keeps hidden in a protected area of the garden. She drinks the tea warm, sipping slowly, enjoying its sharp, bitter taste on her lips and tongue, mixing it with saliva before swallowing.

Her consciousness expands to include an immediate perception of eternal time and infinite space. Earth is alive and speaks to her of knowing. The material world transforms through stages into its ethereal essence until she is pure thought in a universal mind of cosmic consciousness.

When the men return hot and sweaty, she has their favorite beverage waiting. It’s a fermented mixture of grains from the field along with herbs and spices from her garden, made with pure water from the flowing well. Buddy’s a big man with a big thirst. Throwing back his head, he empties a large foamy mug with one long, pulsating gulp. The two younger men sip from their foamy mugs and laugh, shaking their head to acknowledge Buddy as the winner in that category of competition, if none other.

Ann drinks with the men before serving dinner but she prefers her beverage made from fermented grapes. On the kitchen table there’s a tossed salad of garden greens topped with an oil, vinegar, and herb dressing. There’s butter and cheese to go with fresh bread still hot from the over. And there’s a thick soup of mixed beans, turnips, onions, and sweet basil.

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Grumpt Group, LLC: An Excerpt

April 5, 2010

At sea in the north Atlantic, Klaus wearily pushed away from the desk in his cabin. He had thoroughly analyzed Einstein’s gravitational field equations and he still wasn’t convinced they actually predicted antigravity propulsion, as Marlowe claimed. “Let me get this straight,” he remarked as he stood from his chair: “These equations are saying it’s possible to accelerate a space craft to near light speeds without crushing the contents of the craft?”

Marlowe stood to face him, and eagerly responded: “Any mass moving faster than approximately sixty percent of the speed of light will gravitationally repel other masses lying within a narrow antigravity beam in front of it. The closer a mass gets to the speed of light, the stronger its antigravity beam becomes.”

“And we can use this repulsion of a body speeding through space to highly accelerate large spacecraft, while reducing internal tidal forces that could tear the cargo apart?”

“The payload will fall weightlessly in an antigravity beam.”

Listening from the bedroom cabin, Nell hollered out: “My payload’s about to fall. But it’s far from weightless. I could use a strong gravity beam right now.”

“Just stay relaxed, honey,” Mauve insisted, getting up from her chair beside Nell’s bed to adjust the pillows.

“Leave me alone, mother,” Nell snapped, readjusting the pillows to help her sit up: “I don’t want to relax.”

“I can’t leave you alone, dear,” Mauve patiently responded: “You should be in a hospital right now, with a doctor, not out here in the frigid ocean.”

When her water broke, Nell started to panic. She closed her eyes, inhaled deeply, and then held her breath. Although she could feel the motion of the ship pitching, rolling, and buffeting through the water, she concentrated on what was happening inside of her.

“Just stay calm, honey,” Mauve advised, struggling to stay calm herself: “Contractions don’t always come right away. Let’s clean you up first.”

Alerted by the commotion, Klaus stood by the bed, and Marlowe watched from the hatchway, as mother assisted daughter in the basic ritual of child birth. “It’s a boy,” Klaus shouted as the baby slid into the world, gasping for breath.”

Immediately afterwards, while Mauve still held the baby in her arms, Nell became excited and talkative, saying: “That was so intense, I couldn’t even judge the time. How long has it been since contractions began?”

“I’m not sure how long, darling,” Klaus responded, taking Nell’s hand: “It was probably no more than an hour or so.”

“It was fifteen minutes,” Mauve chimed in while placing the baby on Nell’s stomach.

During the birthing process, Marlowe couldn’t take his eyes from Nell. When the baby’s head crowned, she let out a scream, arched her back, and started hyperventilating. With her eyes nearly popping from her head, she finally gained control of her breath. Then her face turned red as she squeezed mightily to push the baby out. He came with a twisting motion, already gasping and grasping for air. Minutes later, as the placenta and fetal membranes were expelled from the uterus, Marlowe moved closer to observe.

“Don’t cut the cord,” Nell insisted: “The placenta is an amazing organ. It formed directly from the cell division of the fertilized egg, not from me. It’s a part of the baby. It’s not something to be cut off and thrown away.”

“I hope you’re right, dear,” Mauve replied as she lightly salted the placenta and then wrapped it warmly in a blanket, following instructions they had previously agreed upon.

“Keep it level or slightly lower than the baby,” Nell directed, sitting up in bed with the newborn in her arms.

Overwhelmed by emotion, Marlowe backed out of the cabin and went topside. It was early in the morning and a faint glimmer of sunlight appeared from beyond the eastern horizon. Standing alone above the ship’s pilothouse, he began talking to himself: “I have never felt so ambivalent about who I am. Or what I want to accomplish. Throughout my existence, I have never wanted responsibility for anybody but myself. That’s why God had me cast from Heaven, when I was Lucifer. It’s also why I can’t stand living in Hell anymore, as Satan. I don’t want the responsibility. Then why am I so envious of Klaus and his family? Why do I want to know how it feels to be human, to father a child?”

When the dried up umbilical cord separated on the forth day, Nell wanted to eat the remaining placenta but Mauve protested: “Animals in the wild do that, honey, because they’re forced to. They have no other choice. They can’t order a gourmet dinner from the kitchen like you can.”

“It might help my milk,” Nell replied, looking down at the nursing baby.

Mauve set the covered placenta on a table away from the bed, saying: “You have enough milk already, dear.”

With her eyes still on the baby, Nell said: “Isn’t it amazing how, right after he was born, he found the milk on his own? You set him on my stomach and he knew right where to go from there. He immediately crawled up and latched on without a problem.”

“In a hospital, honey, they would have put him in an incubator to keep him warm.”

“The heat from my body is warming him, mother. He seems happy. I don’t want him separated from me. These first days together are important.”

“When are you going to give him a name, dear?”

“I want to name him Kevin, after dad. It starts with a K, like Klaus, and Karl, and many of the other Grumpt men’s names. He responds when I call him Kevin. Klaus says it’s up to me.”

“Then Kevin it is.”

“I wish it was Kevin O’Shea, like dad’s. I’d prefer that over Kevin Grumpt.”

“Get used to the Grumpt, honey. You and the baby both belong to Klaus now. And he’s not the kind of man who neglects things. Young Kevin Grumpt couldn’t have a better father at this time in history. Klaus seems destined for world leadership. I just hope he doesn’t plan to rule the world from this ship.”

“Klaus doesn’t want to rule the world, mother. I think that’s Marlowe’s influence. Marlowe is awfully cleaver. Too cleaver for my liking.”

“You can’t argue with their results, dear. Between the two of them, they’ve managed to reduce the number of conflicts around the globe, to disengage belligerent forces, and to effect a partial disarmament by the major military powers. Even bitter opponents have united to face the impending global catastrophe.”

“A catastrophe only Marlowe can see, mother. I don’t like that. Klaus is taking Marlowe’s word for it. And the military leaders are going along with Klaus because he has demonstrated his power over a new technology which they covet. Plus, he is now showing them how to make more money through space exploration than war.”

“But, if Marlowe is right, we need to get ready. That’s what they’re doing. And so far it’s been all for the good.”

Nell drifted off with the baby sleeping in her arms and her mother’s last words producing subconscious impressions of well being.

In a dream, she had a vision of God sitting enthroned above the firmament with globe in hand surrounded by singing seraphim. She saw Lucifer, along with the other white winged angels being cast from Heaven: a chatoyant harmony of colors reflected from their extraordinary falling movements until they eventually disappeared into a deep, dark void.

“Lucifer?” she shouted aloud in her dream: “The anointed angel? Who God has created perfect in all ways, who has been set apart for a Divine purpose, God has found iniquity in him? Put there by Lucifer himself and not by God?”

She saw Lucifer, now transformed into Satan, regaining consciousness and rising from the flames of a burning lake, experiencing his new form for the first time, not weakened by God’s fury, but made stronger, and even more determined. She saw him rising from the fire and flying onto land. He stood on a ledge overlooking the burning lake, calling to his legions, who were lying inert on the firy surface. She saw them awake, fly onto the land, and assemble around him in military fashion. And when she zoomed in on Satan, it was Marlowe.

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.