Restraint

I just saw this comment on Facebook: Imagine every talking head, gathered like the surface of the tongue, sounding together as the meditative Om of Being..
…and I was about to reply to it with a zinger, something about sheep in a flock, or everybody standing up in a stadium and mouthing the same words while they put their hand over their heart and stare adoringly at a flag, or everybody kneeling, in a church or a mosque, and repeating the same formulaic words, the intent is the same, it is uniformity, it is conformity, if they can get everybody to say the same thing at the same time, make the same gesture at the same time, wear the same clothes at the same time, eat the same foods at the same time, watch the same TV show at the same time, then they, whoever the hell they are, can totally control the population, and our society, our whole crazy, flawed, close to anarchistic at times society, devolves into an Orwellian nightmare world. But, I didn’t.
Partly because, despite my incessant desire to turn every conversation on Facebook into an argument, the poster of that post clearly posted with good intent. They were talking about the world being a more peaceful, harmonious place and what kind of a horrible misanthrope would I have to be to take a dump all over that?
Also, though, after a bit of thought, I realized that there are two sides. While we are individuals, there are moments when conformity makes us stronger. If you are playing in a band, or on a sports team, it is the co-ordination between the individuals, it is everybody thinking as one and having the same goal that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts, that elevates every one of the individuals up to a higher level, and that’s a beautiful thing. If you stretch it out to thousands of people at a time, however, add weapons, and assume that the goal is killing other people, then you have armies and that is a very bad thing, very destructive to the kind of world I would like to be living in.
We are individuals, and that is a great thing. We are also part of something greater, unified with each other. That is a great thing. Finding the balance and keeping it positive, that is the challenge.

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Answers to Important Questions

The answers are yes, the egg, zero, and of course, but only pre-supposing the existence of such a being, which is also kind of the answer to the third question. Allow me to elaborate, and then we will discuss the grandfather paradox.
Yes, if a tree falls in the forest, it makes a sound. Human beings are not a necessary part of existence. Things would still have properties, like appearance, odor, texture and, of course sound, even if we had never existed. To assume the need of a listener for sound to exist is like saying the universe is all inside our minds. That may be how we perceive it, but that’s just many way. Existence does, objectively, exist.
Of course eggs evolved before chickens. Bloody dinosaurs laid eggs. And if anybody tells you “Yeah, but the question is which came first, the chicken egg or the chicken, tell them that they should have phrased the question better, but the answer is still egg. Eggs symbolize beginnings. Chickens symbolize a picnic.
And the reason zero angels can dance on the head of a pin is because there’s no such thing as angels. This is where religion starts to cross the line into fairy tales. Not that I have anything against fairy tales.
And, of course, if there were a God, he or she could create a stone so heavy that he or she couldn’t lift it. Consider the human species. We have built giant skyscrapers, which we cannot lift. We have created the Hoover Dam. We have created a network of intelligent machines that we are not capable of understanding at all. And consider parenthood. We have the capacity to create tiny individuals who grow into human beings, any one of which has the power to exceed us.
Anyway, as to the Grandfather Paradox, which states that if you have a time machine, and you go back in time and kill your own grandfather, then you will never be born and you will never travel back in time to kill your grandfather so your grandfather will live and you will be born and grow up to go back in time to kill your grandfather and so on, but, just as the previous examples with angels dancing on the heads of pins and God showing off his weight lifting prowess, the question forces you to accept an assumption, in this case that time travel is possible. And it’s very likely it just isn’t.

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One Year Ago Today

April 8th, 2020. It was the day that hope died. Bernie Sanders, realizing that the fix was in for senile old racist Joe Biden, threw in the towel. A lot of his supporters, including myself, felt that he should have taken it all the way to the convention, but he has always been a political realist.
His policies are realistic, too. They would have been affordable, implementable, and may have been the only thing to save the U.S. from complete societal collapse and the entire world from choking its own carbon emissions.
The world is a worse place because the centrist Democrats were so unwilling to relinquish their hold on power they did not allow for a fair primary – which came as no surprise, really
It also comes as no surprise that – now that Bernie is no longer a threat to them – the Democrats have no intention of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, providing Medicare for All, or doing doodly-squat to help protect the environment. As far as getting money out of politics, forget that. Nobody’s even talking about it any more.
And the left, it seems, is at war with itself. That does surprise me. But, I think we’ll come through it. Good ideas do not get quenched that easily. The Bern is not, at the moment, a raging flame, but it is millions and million of stubbornly glowing embers.
His ideas will continue to exist forever. Some day, and I hope it will be soon, the fire will be rekindled

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Star Trek and AOC

Two days ago I wrote a blog about how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez bears a large part of the responsibility for the current war (mostly on the internet) between her and the left, and if she wants to defuse that, she’d better offer at least an explanation for her actions and give us some proof that she’s still on our side.
I can never tell which of my blogs will get a lot of comments, but this was one. I got some support, and some attacks, which were mostly of the “we shouldn’t be fighting” variety. I admit, it would be nicer if we weren’t, but ‘say no ill of a fellow leftist’ sounds a whole lot like Reagan thinking. Admittedly, that’s been very effective for his party, and they have accumulated an enormous amount of power, but they have also turned into a useless blob which is directed by the most severely mentally disabled among them. Also, there’s some question about who they mean when they say ‘we.’
But the type of comment I want to address in today’s blog are the ones who say ‘you have no authority to speak on this subject.’ I got ‘you have no authority to speak on this subject because you voted for Trump’ (I didn’t. I voted Green and have always been very public about that), ‘you have no authority because you’re not a voter in her district,’ and, my favorite, ‘you have no authority because of what you said about Star Trek.’ What I said about Star Trek was that Kirk was the worst captain, and the original series was the worst of all the series, which I stand by. Janeway defeated the Borg, Cisco ran an entire space station instead of a mere starship, defeated the Cardassians, and was revered as a deity by the Bajorans, Picard was the epitome of cool in all situations, and Archer, well, there never would have been a Federation of Planets if not for Captain Archer. Kirk just got into fistfights and had brief affairs with women across the galaxy.
I suspect that comment was at least partly tongue in cheek. You never know, though. Star Trek people take Star Trek very seriously.

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In My Humble Opinion

I have just finished binge watching Star Trek: the original series, which means I have completely binge-watched, since joining NetFlix, all of the major Star Trek series: TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise. I tried watching Star Trek: Discovery, but found it unwatchable dreck and don’t consider it part of the series. I’ve never seen The Orville, Picard, or Lower Decks either, so none of those are included in this review.
In rating the 5 series of which I’ve now seen every episode, I confess to what is probably unpopular opinion among Star Trek geekdom: The original series is nowhere near as good as any of the others, and Kirk is by far the worst captain.
Sure, it gets credit for being the start of the whole thing, and it was very welcome at the time. The only sci-fi program on TV before that was Lost in Space, and that was so incredibly bad that even sci-fi fanatics like me, who were watching it because it was the only sci-fi on TV, knew it was bad and justified our watching of it by saying ‘it’s so bad that it’s funny.’ But, we yearned for serious sci-fi and when Star Trek debuted in 1966, we were overjoyed.
Looking back on it now, though, it may have been better than Lost in Space, but not by that much. It took them a couple of episodes just to get the uniforms to fit right, and the aliens were amateurish – people today put more work into Halloween costumes than the props department put into the original Klingons. A bit of brown shoe polish and some stringy, fake beards, that was about it. Of course, their computers look ridiculous to us these days, but you can’t really blame them for that.
What you can blame them for is the ridiculous amount of sexism, the cultural stereotyping (Chekhov), and the fact that, even with all of the technology available to them, nearly every episode contains fist fights, which were often quite essential in determining the outcome.
It was landmark television, and it led the way into bigger and brighter Star Trek universes. Today, though, it looks -like the 1960s – very flawed.

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