Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Monday, November 07, 2011

a Mythorelics introduction; where we are

Is it that we are lied to, deceived, led astray or misinformed? Hardly clear, except insofar as that we greatly need to further develop our knowledge and understanding of things. Much of the information we've relied on for decision-making has proven unreliable (at best). Politics and economics may be mostly matters of opinion, with little in the way of proof available, but we like to think of math, physics, history and medicine as involving hard fact; they don't. In many of my posts, I attempt to refute some common misunderstandings of things I don't regard as matters of opinion, despite that truth has been seen by many a wise mind as, in the words of Charles Sanders Pearce, "that opinion to which all who investigate sufficiently are fated to arrive." I certainly don't know about that "fated", but do know that attention to real investigation can reveal surprising things, things which those who pay sufficient attention need find no reason to argue about. Sorry to end a sentence with a preposition, but perhaps we'd best re-think a lot of our "rules" in better light than has gone into many of our social conventions (and expectations).

For lots more important information on significant ways in which we are continuously, and harmfully, deceived, see "Debt: The first five thousand years" by David Graeber and "The Story of B" by Daniel Quinn.

In hunter-gatherer and many other non-agricultural societies, women often do laborious, repetitive tasks while men indolently laze about. On occasion the men will hunt, fight or otherwise exert themselves strenuously, maybe with utilization of cunning, imagination and/or determination, but jockeying for position within their ranks is as important as any actual outcome of these activities. A few will somewhat simultaneously both mature and become leaders, while the majority will remain more surly and petulant than is seemly. The more modern and less sexist may well find good reason to look down on this kind of “social structuring” and its attitudes, sexism and indulgence, but the truth is that the demands of the hunt and protective warfare are not infrequently quite great, and one not well rested and catered to may have greater likelihood of proving inadequate to what becomes required. That hardly seems unlikely, anyway.
Men who “put out” strenuously in competitive performances still get respect and indulgence that others, even the more responsible and courteous, too often do not - at least somewhat because they maintain a “cutting edge” that helps keep their society and culture viable and alive. This explanation is hardly meant to exculpate or excuse, but only to help us understand that which occurs, which has come to include many
Problems: the dirty dozen set to destroy us 1.Power centralization leading to insanely venal politicians, bankers and corporate CEOs helping unaccountable lending institutions irresponsibly control everything, undermining not only all quality everywhere, but even any pretense of sanity, and economic orientation towards increased wealth for the already obscenely wealthy, with legal impunity for the rich, and consequent irresponsibility, until all but .01% are debt slaves at best, and able to buy only shoddy merchandise
2. Overpopulation (especially of useless people), plus dwindling resources, including even clean air and water, coupled with increased demand and an overabundance of garbage
3. Global warming, other dangerous weather and loss of ozone and other protective atmosphere
4. Loss of biodiversity, and especially of pollinators and other flying things that eat mosquitoes
5. No meaningful future even for our younger generations, let alone subsequent ones
6. Weapons proliferation, both private and governmental, endless war and its aftermath of further ruinations
7. Radiation, from bombs, nuclear energy plants and the earth’s center, from depletion of the earth-crust cooling system of water and oil
8. Ocean death from human waste, over-fishing, acidification and rising temperature
9. Loss of effective nutrition (GMOS, processing, mono-culture, preservatives, etc)
10. Epidemic disease worsened by antibiotic resistance
11. Prevalence of political corruption, duplicity and secrecy, including our obdurate failures with hemp and solar, leading to endless revolution
12. Desperate, ill-informed, angry folk with serious debt and health issues easily making for willing suicide bombers (with some able to parachute, para-sail or use creative imagination)

Do our elections in any way help restrain mega-corps? Do we benefit from megacorp “wealth creation”? Are there “terrorists” who want to end freedom and chance for personal improvement? How many of us even mind being lied to?

Those who benefit most from governmental support for business must pay for that support, or the supposedly free marketplace ceases to function efficiently, as wealth is siphoned off from the system. The myths of corporate personhood and “trickle-down economics” are large parts of this problem; so also are our systems of lobbying and campaign finance. Poor education and propagandistic media bought and paid for by corporate oligarchs certainly don’t help.
To keep the dollar strong and reinvigorate US employment, the military-industrial complex MUST be reigned in. There can be no balanced budget with the enormous, irresponsible outlay of lives and resources, and damage to international standing and credit, our reckless, militaristic folly has brought. Why stifle standards of living at home while spending with great abandon abroad?
We all know that utilization of “alternative” resources has become necessary, yet we don’t investigate whether there are unused patents on heavy battery technology. We don’t utilize THC-free hemp and its valuable oil and fiber. We don’t seek to curtail the waste of excess packaging. Nor do we care much about mass transportation, except by air – a form we’ve now made horribly inconvenient. Our foods are no longer really nutritious, our clothing is too expensive and steeped in vanity, and our housing arrangements self-indulgent without offering much benefit to the social needs of children. We’ve become so misguided our conversation centers mostly around entertainment, indulgences and petty hatreds. We demand, but do not respect.
For freedom under democracy, responsibility to the needs of society must be accepted. True citizens cannot be as lazy and compliant as we have been. We have let others do our work for us, and they have done it to their own benefit, not ours.

Agro-fascism and societal law calcifying pyramidal patriarchal social-structuring took perhaps half of history as we know it (history involving at least place-names used contemporaneously) to coalesce, but by the time the founder of intentionally-recorded history, Herodotus, wrote, a vicious culture of forceful, regimented work-addiction was achieving domination over the human condition, forcing us inexorably towards our own destruction. The destruction of other cultures and forms of life, to foster our addiction to economically militant growth, as a way of life, inevitably leads to its own destruction, an event swiftly descending upon us.

Politically, economically and even spiritually the most pressing issues are genetic modification and global warming. GMOs are threatening our very lives, no exaggeration. They demand increasingly lethal chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers, mechanization agents), and harm pollinators, which harms us. They demand mono-culture farming, which destabilizes the whole ecosystem. And they make people stupider, which undermines democracy. Even work towards less violence is less important. Monsanto and other agribiz companies must be reigned in.
And speaking of people being made stupider, our water supply must be better protected. No fracking, and no more fluoride added to the supply. We’ve got to keep BigPharma’s chemicals out of our drinking supply too.
What we pathetically call alternative energy must become mainstream. Big money must be taken out of politics, and small businesses again given a chance. Gerrymandering must be redressed, and government made more transparent, accountable and peace oriented.
These things can be well addressed within the next four years. After the next US congressional election, perhaps hemp can be brought back, making a big dent in global warming. We’ve got a small chance now. If we don’t seize it, there’ll be no reason to expect reasonable behavior from our youth.

We've only split atoms already radioactive; although the results have been deemed desirable, the true expense has yet to be calculated, and likely high beyond measure. As our scientists don't really know what they've done, how can the theory be seen as adequate? Seems to me rather more madness than brilliance, and that we've been duped. Now other scientists are transferring genetic material without accompanying genetic sheathes, which is likely to produce even more disastrous consequences.

In a hydrogen bomb, no hydrogen atom is split; rather, two atoms of a hydrogen isotope are fused. To fuse them, atoms of plutonium or uranium isotopes are split. As Britannica says, “The radioactive fallout contaminates air, water, and soil and may continue years after the explosion; its distribution is virtually worldwide.” Some helium, with a heavier nucleus than that of hydrogen, is formed, too… An H-bomb requires an A-bomb; nuclear energy gets released (explosively) by both nuclear fusion and nuclear fission. There’s always radioactive waste - which presents much danger and no utility.
Robert Oppenheimer, who developed the A-bomb as head of the Manhattan Project, refused to support development of the H-bomb. Considering the negative consequences which resulted (largely through Sen. Jos. McCarthy), he surely had very good reason to do so. Pity more of our “geniuses” don’t have that kind of vision…
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and thus clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H. L. Mencken
"When politicians have achieved office by scaring the living day lights out of the electorate, they correctly perceive an outbreak of peace as a threat to their interests. Journalists support them partly because
they celebrate power regardless of its complexion and partly because war makes better copy than peace." - George Monbiot

Without claiming this to be an idea entirely clear or coalesced, I wish to present something that has been kicking around in my head for a while. The US Senate, being already an oligarchic entity, could be made more pragmatic, and the Legislative Branch of US government perhaps made more effective by rearrangement of the elective process. Half of the Senate chosen in the traditional way, the other half could be chosen from votes of the total populace, each eligible voter allocated from one to five votes: one vote automatic to citizens over 18; one to completers of 2 years of accredited college or passing a standard test (more demanding than that for a GED), attempts limited to once every 3 years; one for total tax payments of over $3000 (or a certain % of something), another for real property ownership of over $40,000 (or a certain % of something) and one for 2 years of government service or an equivalent of community service. Representatives to the House would be chosen as normal, but allocation to states redistributed so that states of smaller populations aren’t as disproportionately represented.
To clean up our act:
1. The legal fiction of corporate "personhood" must end, now.
2. Military expenditures must be reduced, and all National Guard recalled to within national borders.
3. Political campaign finance must be reformed to lessen money's undermining of democracy.
4. Our tax laws must be simplified and made equitable, so that the rich will pay their share and others not depend so much on tax accountants.
5. Marijuana must be decriminalized and taxed, and marijuana prisoners released.
6. The Federal Reserve Bank must be fully nationalized and the government allowed to stop borrowing.
7. A jobs program instituting aspects of the CCC, WPA, VISTA and community radio must be begun.
8. As cleaning the whole water supply would now be impractical, free drinking water in glass bottles must be provided with easy access to all.
9. The educational system must be revitalized and improved to prepare our kids to compete in a world market.
10. The Supreme Court needs to reclaim some integrity - Anthony Scalia and Clarence Thomas must be removed.
11. The EPA must be truly empowered, and corporations in the 3rd World encouraged to act responsibly.
12. The USA must become a prime defender, not prime violator, of international law.

If we are to survive, our irresponsibility, and the nightmare of our national folly, must end.
Not that I expect comment – I’m sure other issues presented here are much more interesting, and they haven’t really gleaned anything…

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