Equal Opportunity for All?

Mini-Max came by the other day. He was in quite a good mood, elated really. He was happy in the realization the country had come to its senses and mandated the conservative agenda, which he said was quite apparent judging by the results of the last round of elections.

Now, he said, perhaps the government would relinquish its excessive regulation on private enterprise so that ambitious Americans would be free to reap the rewards of their hard work, increasing capital and jobs to the benefit of all. Reduced taxation would encourage business expansion creating even more jobs which would remove the need for social well-fare which, in turn, would result in a significant reduction in the national debt.

I thought about this for a while before I asked Max how he accounted for the increasing discrepancy in wealth distribution. It seemed to me, I told him, that the ‘job creators’ were fighting a livable wage requiring their employees to rely more and more on the safety net to get by and their increased profit taking was creating a stagnant income, that perhaps there was a greed factor inherent in human nature that might require a bit of government oversight.

Well, Max pretty much ignored my criticisms. He said the public saw the light to the right and we were without doubt headed in the right direction- equality of opportunity for all.

Max was riding pretty high and it would have been a shame to burst his bubble. I really should have suggested, though, that we’re a long way from equality in this country and there are quite a few things standing in the way of equal opportunity like unequal educational opportunities, racial prejudices, gender bias, not to mention a disinclination to assign credibility of any sort to inanimates such as myself.

I guess we’ll all continue to nurture our innate philosophical leanings and, as with religious beliefs, be fairly unresponsive to opposing views. I think though we all need to start seeing the grays.

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Who Are We?

Celestial Steven was waxing idealistic recently about the tenuous existence of humankind.  He said, that, early on-that is way, way back in time-cooperation among advanced sentient beings was primary.  An individual’s survival depended upon interaction with others.  On an individual level everyone was equal.

Problems, he said, began when the individual started identifying with a particular group; with group identification came conflict with others.  The whole process has continued to grow and fester into the sectarian, racial, and religious conflicts (not to mention the divisive social class distinctions brought about by economic inequities) we now experience.

So, Celestial Steven said, if we could re-establish the one on one or establish an egalitarian collective everything would be peachy.

Mini-Max, being an unapologetic pragmatic conservative, took immediate exception to this idea.  He said it is only human nature to desire the security of association with one’s own kind.  The social security and economic stability of such alliances brings about fair competition between groups resulting in innovation and invention that lead to affluence and raise everyone’s quality of life.

So, I guess what it comes down to is racing blindly toward self-destruction as we fall deeper into our tribal differences in the interests of more for us or waking up, over-coming our jealousy and fear of the other and moving toward a more egalitarian world.

Well, I think collectivity may be the way to go but I would hate having to give up my playhouse.

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Age of Aquarius

My friend Astrid and I were planning to get together recently when she called to say she couldn’t leave the house.

Astrid is a strong believer in the efficacy of the Astral Plane as an indicator of future events.  She had just found out Saturn was entering her seventh house signaling Saturday, our planned meeting day, an inauspicious time to socialize.  Better, she said, not to tempt fate.

I thought about this for a while.  It all sounded pretty new-agie to me, but I decided to give Astrid the benefit of the doubt and found my birth chart on-line.

As you might imagine determining the exact time and date of my extrusion wasn’t easy.  The year was printed on the bottom of my left shoe; I consulted my keeper as to purchase date, estimated delivery time and took into account the slight flaw on my shoulder as an indicator of a rush job probably done shortly before the end of workday.

Anyway, my chart indicated among other things the moon was in Aquarius just passing into my eighth house.  What this suggested was my head was full of original ideas but that I would have the tendency to be selfish and blunt.

Being the skeptic I am I called Pearl.  We went out and had quite a good time.  I thought I was quite a pleasant companion until Pearl told me she hadn’t noticed the smear on my shoulder before.  I responded by telling her she wasn’t exactly Miss America herself.

Pearl just shrugged off the comment but it definitely got me thinking:  I wonder what will happen when the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars?  Will peace guide the planets and love steer the stars?

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Hypocrisy

I was visiting with Granny Applehead the other day.  She was waxing nostalgic about her days in secondary school.  She remembers each day began with students rising from their seats, putting hands to hearts and pledging allegiance to the flag.  No one really questioned the validity of the activity back then but, she said, as she thinks about it in retrospect it was pretty clear there was strong intention to instill in young minds a religious sense of nationalistic propriety: America, land of the free and brave has God on her side.

She surmised it was easier back then when everyone was pretty well on the same page regarding God and country.  There were a lot fewer people asking the big questions.

I guess explanation can be found in the post-WWII politics of the times and dealing with godless Communism.  You know, prep these young minds for Holy Wars to come.

Social critique has tempered the blatant flag waving.  The mind manipulation of the young is subtler now but it’s pretty clear we still think of ourselves as being in God’s favor; ready and willing to impose our beliefs and life-style on the rest of the world.

Granny just shakes her head at what she sees as the hypocrisy of our self-perceived sense of fairness and equality for all: as long as everyone conforms to our values and beliefs.

On my way home I was thinking about what the world would be like if everyone was like me: skeptical seekers, always questioning, investigating the new, comparing the old, reaching toward the limits of one’s capabilities to find what may lay beyond.  As egotistical as it may sound, I can’t see that as being a bad thing in the least.

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Beauty or Beast?

Have you ever thought about how much physical appearance determines the person one becomes?  I mean, would the Barbies be so shallow and smiley all the time if they didn’t have such symmetrical, svelte features?  Would Woody Allen have developed a nervous, quick, humorous repartee or Christopher Reeves have been the strong silent type?

Even among children the larger toddler seems to command greater respect from her peers.  Given normal intelligence such a child is likely to fall right into the role of leader of the pack.

I guess my diminutive size and unexceptional appearance has led me to a life of solitary introspection and contemplation.  I’m not complaining.  It’s pretty clear to me one can be too exceptional; take King Kong.  All he wanted to do was spend some time with Fay Wray but because of his size everyone was afraid of him and wouldn’t leave him alone.

I’ll be content to just be who I am.

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Revisiting the Magic Dragon

I was visiting with Granny Applehead the other day.  She was telling me about being a flower child back in the day: the communal living, free love and days of care-free frolic under the influence of the magic herb.  The way she tells it there was such optimism then, a sense of unlimited potential in overcoming the materialistic trappings of her parents’ generation.  I don’t know if she was remembering accurately but the memories certainly were pleasant for her.

Granny’s not getting along quite as well as she used to; her knees are stiffening up and her face is starting to mold.  She thinks it will soon be time to move someplace where she can get help with her basic needs.  Well, at least she won’t be lonely; being a baby-boomer she’ll have lots of company.

She seemed pleased when I told her the government appeared to be easing restrictions on marijuana use and possession.  Wouldn’t it be nice, with all these seniors moving toward assisted living, if we could provide a special brownie with their afternoon tea?  Then they could revisit the magic dragon during their afternoon naps.vision serpent3

Belief is truth to the Believer

Boy, it’s really hard to know what to believe these days.  I read in a news magazine my hero, Mr. Rogers, was a former Navy Seal with twenty five confirmed sniper kills during the war in Viet Nam; truly mind-boggling.  But, then I went on line looking for details and found out that the story wasn’t true, that it was just an urban legend.

I got to thinking that the safest thing to do is doubt everything, but my friend told me that it’s impossible: to be skeptical of everything is to be skeptical of being skeptical which is a logical contradiction. (I guess he didn’t know about Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem).

My friend said I should have faith that some things are true, that belief is truth to the believer. I guess people with a strong religious faith believe God is truth and that when they’re in doubt they can ask God to direct them, which means they have a way of communicating with a supernatural entity.  I don’t doubt their sincerity but judging from the variety of interpretations different people have for the Biblical texts I wonder if they’re all talking to the same Being.

Well, maybe it’s just that wires get crossed sometimes.

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