Trouble For The Town That NASA Built?

Northrop Grumman Facebook Ad for Huntsville

As people in North Alabama go about their daily lives, they do so without an active press watching out for their best interests. There’s no real newspaper to speak of, as Huntsville’s a part of the AL.com franchise. Huntsville is a boom town that recently captured the title of Alabama’s biggest city from Birmingham, so it stands to reason that it would support efforts to keep an eye on all that money floating around. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and so residents here tend to whistle along in the hope that their leaders aren’t (just) in it for themselves. That’s what happens absent a press that takes its job seriously.

The emperor of Huntsville is NASA, and nobody here has the courage to call a boondoggle what it is, because it puts so much food in so many mouths that it would be inappropriate to say that NASA is leading the parade completely naked. There’s been a significant disruption to the space industry in the form of reusable boosters, led by Elon Musk and the team at Space‑X. While Huntsville relies on our government to support space efforts, the private sector is advancing by giant leaps and bounds.

NASA is well aware of what’s happening, as well as those in Congress who approve or disapprove the massive funding of NASA and NASA projects. SpaceX is winning NASA contracts with increasing frequency based on a history of innovation, expertise, and outstanding performance. When SpaceX won the $2.9 billion Artemis lunar lander contract over Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, a Marshall Space Flight Center regular, Bezos sued NASA. The suit was tossed in court, and this was a bellwether event in U.S. space program history, although not publicly acknowledged in North Alabama.

NASA and Huntsville have long been the center of activity between the government and the private sector. One drive through Cummings Research Park, and you’ll see the logos of every private company involved in the U.S. space program, although many go back to the heyday of the race to space between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Huntsville is a museum for the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle programs. The Saturn‑5 that stands along the interstate is a testimony to the gargantuan effort by Werner von Braun’s Nazi rocket team that led up to it and set the U.S. on the path to outer space dominance in a changing world. The problem is that the technology has passed us by. Being married to the archaic means we cannot — dare not — do anything that might conflict with the government. NASA is tied to taxpayers, and therein lies the real problem. U.S. Senators simply cannot continue to fund such a monster forever, and its end is likely to surprise everybody here, because no one’s really reporting about it. The government has watched as NASA has shifted its most precious cargo — astronauts — to SpaceX, which has handled the responsibility with class and perfection. SpaceX has successfully landed over 100 boosters, most of them via landing platforms at sea. Think about that for a minute. Its Falcon9 program has been incredibly successful, especially as it relates to delivering cargo and people to and from the International Space Station.

But what about Huntsville? It’s all hyperbole and golly gee about the Artemis program and its Space Launch System (SLS) approved by Congress and taxpayer-funded. It makes much more sense for NASA to invest in the real future instead of one that’s built on politics and warm, fuzzy memories of days gone by. Cost overruns for SLS and its contractors (here in Huntsville) are enormous and continuous, and the handwriting on the wall is not favorable for a reliable future for the space program in Huntsville. And all of this is taking place without the watchful eyes of even the hint of a questioning press.

Absent a vibrant local press, information becomes public relations or some other form of favorable propaganda. The Huntsville Business Journal, for example, is producing a 3‑part series “Huntsville Takes the Lead to ‘Rock-it’ Back to the Moon” that goes far beyond the make-up of a simple puff piece. It’s hard propaganda that sings the praises of Huntsville’s businesses who are living off the nipple of NASA’s money. Here are just a few quotes from the series:

…Today, a new generation of space explorers is taking over. They are watching and learning and building their own bright futures right here in the Rocket City. They are the Artemis generation, who will once again lead the way as America returns to the moon, this time with the Space Launch Systems (SLS) – the most powerful rocket ever developed…

…“Currently, the SLS program has contributed $2.4 billion to Alabama’s economy; 13,000 jobs across the state; and generated more than $55 million in state and local taxes,” Mayor (Tommy) Battle said. “When you look at how much it is adding to our economy and then look at what it is adding to the world, you realize we are doing something no one else can do, that we’ve done it before, and we are doing it again…

…Home to the propulsion systems associated with the rockets we currently fly, and every successful rocket we have flown in the past, the Rocket City is once again at the heart of world-changing feats and life and death-defying technology.

Rocket scientists here in Huntsville are already working on hardware for five iterations of the Artemis Space Launch Systems (SLS), America’s next generation exploration class rocket, and the only rocket that can fly the manned Orion spacecraft safety to the moon.

Fifteen percent more power than the Saturn V, the SLS is the only exploration class vehicle capable of sending humans into deep space along with large systems that are necessary to live and work in deep space.

And none of these missions can get off earth and escape earth’s gravity field without the SLS, managed and for a large part, built here in Huntsville!…

I hope you can see the denial present in this “news.” The Marshall Space Flight Center needs a rock solid relationship with SpaceX in order to continue with the moniker “Rocket City,” because Musk and others from the private sector (who worry about things like cost instead of just dipping into tax dollars for more) are taking over everything. Likewise, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center needs “used” SpaceX props for its museum. Without those show pieces, the place is, again, a museum about the early days of space.

What does exist of a “press” here in Huntsville seems completely sold on the idea that SLS, Artemis, and the Orion lander are the future of space. Meanwhile, the open nature of SpaceX’s work gives us daily views of what’s taking place in Boca Chica, Texas and the SpaceX Starship program. NASA funds some projects, including a Starship orbit around the moon. Elon Musk, however, has his sights set on Mars and colonizing the red planet. SpaceX has yet to test its genius Starship booster and Starship combination and is waiting for an environmental impact study from the FAA (which certainly has the ears of NASA) before approving a test flight of Booster 4 and Starship 20. This system will destroy the Huntsville claim that SLS is the most powerful rocket ever developed.

Government-generated environmental concerns have kept SpaceX from testing its innovative system, and there’s talk of delays and even moving from Boca Chica to the Florida space coast. Meanwhile, Huntsville holds its breath, for this event is likely to get ALL of the global attention of space industry watchers (including Congress) and firmly place SLS in the junk bin of technological disruption.

Generally speaking, the press outside Huntsville includes skepticism about SLS, but it’s not something you’ll receive here. The bane of local media is always its relationship with local advertisers, and this is no different. Local news departments, for example, stay away from complaints about car dealers, because sales departments would have a cow!

The SpaceX vision includes fuel tankers in space, space stations, and everything else that would be necessary for humans to become an interplanetary species. And Elon Musk’s primary concerns are the outer space aspirations of countries like China, Russia, and other U.S. (business) adversaries. SpaceX gladly embraces these challenges, while NASA and Huntsville are hung up on the costly and time-consuming elements of doing it the old way. The damage to North Alabama’s economy will eventually be devastating.

The Government Accounting Office’s 2021 NASA report will be out this Spring, and it will describe even greater cost-overruns, errors, and delays in the SLS program. There’s talk of another launch delay, possibly to the summer of 2022. In the end, SLS will deliver on its promise to send Americans back to the moon, but as each month passes, Huntsville sinks deeper and deeper into the quagmire of yesterday when it comes to innovation and the future. There simply is no future in outer space without reusability, and that’s not what NASA is doing with SLS.

Behind all the public cheerleading for NASA, leadership here knows of what’s happening, and that may be the biggest story of all. Hush everybody, for as long as the emperor THINKS he’s clothed, what’s the problem?

Loving Neighbors “As Ourselves”

Feeling Comfortable In Your Skin - The DMC Clinic - Counselling Wexford

The inability of many humans to love themselves is the root of great mischief in the world of life under the sun. It’s why trauma — especially childhood trauma — is such a great evil, for how can one love their neighbors, if they cannot love themselves? Those victims of such often wrap themselves in shame by blaming themselves for the trauma. These people feel unlovable and do their best to bury this truth rather than allowing others to see their pain. Who wants to appear weak in a world that associates success with godliness?

Acts of charity are often self-centered — even just to receive a simple pat on the back or a tax write-off — instead of simply loving our neighbors in the eternal moment of the here and now.

It Is the great lie of the devil (a.k.a. the human ego) that any of us are unlovable, for life views each of us exactly the same. As such, we’re all lovable and connected in the moment. Emphasizing only our behavior towards others, however, traps us in the worlds of time and space, because that is where behavior resides. This is why we can never “perform” in such a way that guarantees a right relationship with God and others. We cannot pray enough to make ourselves more righteous, worship enough, attend church enough, do enough good works, meditate enough, read the Bible enough, or do any of the acts usually attributed to holy living.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love.”

— I John 4:7–8

If we don’t or can’t love ourselves, it’s impossible for us to love one another.

This is pretty serious stuff to those Christians who believe they’re following the great commandments of Jesus:

“… and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

— Matthew 22:35–40

The implied aspect of commanding us to love ourselves is missed by theologians who are hung up on our behavior towards others, including God. However, the love of self isn’t universal with the interference of ego’s two-sided coin. Who, after all, has the time and energy to love oneself when we’re just trying to make it through the quagmires and quicksands of everyday life? Self-protection isn’t self-love, although it sure seems so at times. For sure, the providing of food, clothing, and shelter for oneself and family is a part of loving oneself, but not to the exclusion of all the other aspects of the commandment.

And love is a one-way street, from the source, through us and to others. Love doesn’t seek itself, as the ego does, and this forms the basis for human conflict. So, what does it really mean to love yourself? Here are ten concepts for your consideration: (Also see The Parable of the Garden Hose)

1. It begins with ruthless honesty, starting with the idea that we are ALL corrupt and cannot be trusted to behave selflessly. This would be a problem were it not for the sacrifice of the cross, because we are now capable of great good, although we mostly choose to care only for ourselves. Notice that even the gospel itself has been corrupted by this, as described in Pat Robertson’s discussion with me about why people give to ministries:

It helps me
It helps my family
It helps my community
It helps my state
It helps my country
It helps fulfill the great commission
It helps others who are less fortunate

The Gospel of Self

Notice that this is an ever-widening circle that begins closely wrapped around self interest. That is a great illustration of the heresy currently practiced by a great throng of “Christians”.

2. We are residents of Earth, because of God’s (Life’s) grace. We did nothing ourselves to get here, so the idea that we can actually “manage” life while living under the sun is the disaster undergirding contemporary hierarchies. We “deserve” nothing, because we are nothing when compared to life overarching. We “deserve” vanquishment, because faith is built upon the foundation that we are ALL “unprofitable servants” of the most-high God. In other words, we don’t move mountains to draw attention to ourselves, regardless of how “good” those works are. Our right relationship with life, therefore, is that it has all the power and we have none.

Apple trees would die everywhere, if they tried to manage the growth and development of their own fruit. They are merely unprofitable conduits in life’s production of apples. They don’t question; they simply produce. What could the human race accomplish, if we could behave in the same manner? Anything.

3. Everybody has difficulties. In accepting our own, we are more likely to have compassion for others, and this is an essential part of loving our neighbors. In so doing, we also give ourselves permission to fail, for we all WILL certainly fail. We simply cannot be perfect, despite our own desires to be so, or at least to project ourselves as perfect for the benefit of observers.

4. No one is better than or worse than the rest in the moment. We are all human and impacted in human ways. It matters not how we feel. As a doctor once taught me, “People are like snowflakes, all different, but all the same. Put a flame to snowflakes, and they melt. Stab us with an icepick, and we bleed.” This part of loving ourselves is critical to a right understanding of life under the sun.

5. We should not be overly critical of ourselves, for such is a trap that our egos present. We need to criticize ourselves with great care, for in so doing, we will be much less critical of others. The greatest weight we carry through life, the baggage that we often put on others, is the angry and critical spirit that grows from imperfection’s soil.

6. Joy — and even great joy — is carried by loving ourselves, for it is a fruit of the spirit. Happiness depends on what’s happening and is, therefore, a useless pursuit. If eating chocolate, for example, makes you happy, then it follows that you must always be eating chocolate in order to “feel” happy. Loving ourselves has little to do with feelings, for emotions come from the senses, which accompany our animal nature. If you know joy, you will be happy.

7. Given the above, we also love ourselves when we open our minds to life and its great possibilities. There is no greater block that our egos can use to defile us than a closed mind, one that is rule-bound and carefully boxed, so as to present ourselves dishonestly as obedient, committed, and, well, perfect. Remember always the words of Henry Adams, “The way of nature is change (chaos): the dream of man Is order.” Those who stress law and order over compassion are closed-minded, self-centered, and not loving of themselves. They are then unable to love their neighbors.

8. In everything give thanks, for we’ve done nothing on our own. Be thankful even in times of deep darkness, like the death of a loved one, because joy will return after a season of grieving. Let’s permit ourselves to grieve in times of loss, for such suffering is the key to downstream wholeness. Even setting a time limit for deep grieving is an act of self-love, and one that our lost loved ones would desire for us.

9. I’m sure there are many other aspects of loving ourselves that could be inserted into this list, but this an important skill that’s possible for each of us, and that is to recognize and therefore acknowledge the voice of our ego. When we talk to ourselves (everybody does) who’s talking with whom? This is a great place to begin our study. Remember that the ego is a liar (and the father of all lies) and that he lives in our heads. When we question ourselves, don’t be surprised if he answers, and we can usually determine which voice is which.

10. Finally, remember the paradox of prosperity, that discontent increases with opportunities for acting on it. This is the trap that leads (mostly) the rich to never be satisfied with what they have, and this is one of the most common ways that we fail to love ourselves and by default, our neighbors.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

The Rise of Women’s Volleyball

2021 NCAA DI women's volleyball championship selections announced | NCAA.com

The 2021 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament gets underway this week, and the quality of the teams this year is pretty staggering. I’ve become a super fan of women’s volleyball, and (you know me) I’m seeing some things that need discussion, because this sport is outgrowing its parochial infrastructure. If the powers that be play their cards correctly, this could become the new rage in televised sports.

The bottom line is this: Volleyball is not only the top participatory sport for girls in the United States, but it’s also the fastest growing participatory sport for girls. Girls don’t just play volleyball in school; there exists a rapidly-growing club level volleyball that is expanding to handle the demand. This is producing REALLY talented players who then go on to scholarships from NCAA teams each trying to build the best volleyball programs possible. It’s impossible to overstate the upward pressure that all of this is putting on the sport.

Upward pressure is also coming from social media and the tools available for preparing and presenting promotional videos of their daughters and sisters for recruiting. YouTube is a goldmine of such videos and provides a service previous generations didn’t have. This is only going to get better.

Florida State is in the tournament with a remarkable team of almost entirely freshmen. They’re about to get even better next year with the addition of Audrey Rothman from Spring Park here in Alabama. I’ve seen this girl play, and she’s the top volleyball player from the state. She’s 6′4″ and a 6‑rotation player that will fit in beautifully with Florida State’s system. But, for every Audrey Rothman, there are hundreds of others talented enough to play in Division I, and that is raising the level of the game throughout every conference in the NCAA.

I love the game and the talent it takes to play at the highest levels. Every aspect of the game is getting better and better, because coaching and preparation have also evolved to accommodate the interest from young girls. NCAA Volleyball women are terrific role models for girls, because there’s a certain elegance, fun, and glamour that accompanies the sport. Volleyball players are by nature VERY smart and capable leaders, and who would argue that our world needs such people?

With all of this, you’d think that the sport would be considered among the other potential moneymakers of college sports, but that’s not the case. On some campuses — especially in the Big Ten — a women’s volleyball ticket is the hardest to get. These schools have given resources to the sport and have been repaid with creative fans who turn each match into a loud and fun campus event. From bench dance contests to playing The Beatles “Let It Be” complete with phone lights waving whenever their opponent challenges a call that went in their favor.

With all of this going for it, women’s volleyball is suffering badly from growing pains, especially with television. ESPN gives cursory scattered matches on its channels, but there is no overview media assigned to the sport. Conferences operate with autonomy, each advertising that only volleyball from THEIR conference is worth watching. These conferences have their own cable or streaming channels, and the result is a high degree of parochiality in the sport. Certain conferences are stronger than others, but all are judged by their records and statistics, which are skewed by the level of competition in each. For example, there are eight teams in the tournament from the Big Ten, and it’s more than likely that all will make it to the second round. That means that of 32 teams, 8 would be from one conference.

But that, too, is facing the upward pressure from the younger girls. Conferences other than The Big Ten (who’s the genius who came up with B1G?) are rising to the very top, and the Louisville Cardinals are this year’s example. The competition will only get tougher throughout all conferences.

As an old television guy, much of my focus has been on how the sport could become more television-friendly. There are plenty of good announcers to handle the sport, but they aren’t helped much by production. Graphics, statistics, and personal accomplishments could be presented so much better. Key to games are the challenges to referee calls, which require replay. However, the sport moves so fast that the points of contention aren’t easy to “see” absent very high speed cameras at the net and the court’s out-of-bounds line. Storytelling is also weak, because there aren’t the resources dedicated to making it better.

There is no news report that covers volleyball thoroughly, and this is important to establish and maintain the growth and evolution of the sport. No reports on upcoming high schoolers. No reports about club tournaments or human interest stories of young girls playing volleyball. A weekly, one hour program with Paul Sunderland and commentators that covered everything in the sport would be very useful for the growing competition level. Somebody needs to track all of this.

There needs to be television coverage of the sport from outside the bubbles of the conference networks. This coverage would include news and updates from around the NCAA.

There is no America pro volleyball league, and it’s inevitable there will be one. The sport is simply growing too fast to not give these women a chance to pursue careers in volleyball. I’d run a slate of games on Sunday afternoon to compete with NFL football. Perhaps an Alumni League would serve the same purpose.

At some schools, the sport isn’t promoted on campus, which results in light crowds on hand to set the excitement level during matches. Obviously, there needs to be drives on campus to recruit students for the gallery, but teams could also reach out to the local club and high school scenes to fill those stands, even if it means comping the tickets. A televised match with little audience is bad TV.

Volleyball is filling a need by providing a sport that is actually more fun to watch when women play the game, not men. That makes it unique in the sporting world and another powerful reason for college athletics to take notice. Remember, it’s the fastest-growing participatory sport for young girls in the U.S.

ESPN, are you hearing this?

Deconstructing Narratives

In the study of postmodernism, one is confronted with the concept of narratives — overarching and comprehensive accounts of events, experiences, and social and cultural phenomena based on an appeal to universal truth or universal values. The narrative is the story that’s presented about the event, one that legitimizes power, authority, and social customs.

Each of us in the U.S. makes assumptions about life based on some or many narratives that seem to have been set in stone and against which we have no choice but to go along. We’re in a season where skepticism is increasing, however, as more and more people discover that these things aren’t really concrete but stem from the narratives of others like the ruling class, those who have the power to force rules and hierarchies on the powerless. This growing skepticism is a frightening perspective for the status quo, who demands that the rules be followed regardless of their source. Here, the great enemy is the postmodern exercise known as deconstruction, where narratives are examined to uncover both source and path. Deconstruction is the great commoner counterweight to the status quo.

Here’s an example from my own history. In the early 1970s, I was a morning news producer and part-time Assignment Editor for WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee. I lived in the suburb of Shorewood, not very far from the campus of WTMJ, and had to be in work around 4 o’clock in the morning. My street was a one-way street that ended at a normally busy street. I needed to turn left, but there was a sign saying “No Left Turn.” There was zero traffic on the street, so I simply turned left, and one morning, a cop was watching. I got a ticket and was pretty upset about it. I can’t emphasize enough that the street was completely empty.

I did research and discovered that many years earlier, a woman pushing a baby stroller was run over by a car making a left turn at the intersection. The driver didn’t see the woman, because he was blinded by the setting sun, which was directly in his eyes. The story got a lot of attention, and so the authorities banned all left turns at the intersection. Based on that narrative, I was able to successfully argue that the circumstances at the intersection were very different in the middle of the night, and I convinced the Traffic Safety Commission to change the law from No Left Turn to No Left Turn 7am-7pm. If I hadn’t found the narrative that was used to justify the law in the first place, I would’ve had much more difficulty reaching the commissioners.

The point is it can be very valuable to know and understand the narrative behind the things we encounter around us and elsewhere. So let’s dig deeper. According to the New World Encyclopedia:

A grand narrative or metanarrative is one that claims to explain various events in history, gives meaning by connecting disperse events and phenomena by appealing to some kind of universal knowledge or schema. The term grand narratives can be applied to a wide range of thoughts which includes Marxism, religious doctrines, belief in progress, universal reason, and others.

The concept was created by Jean-François Lyotard in his work, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979). In this text, Lyotard refers to what he describes as the postmodern condition, which he characterized as increasing skepticism toward the totalizing nature of “metanarratives” or “grand narratives.”

…Many Christians believe that human nature, since the Fall (Genesis 3), is characteristically sinful, but has the possibility of redemption and experiencing eternal life in heaven; thus representing a belief in a universal rule and a telos for humankind.”

The challenge for all of us in 2021 is to recognize narratives when confronted with events — especially those political — so that we might have a chance of separating the facts from the bullshit. If we adapt to this form of understanding, we’ll see it everywhere, because every person, every business, every institution has a narrative that helps explain their language and their behavior. A personal narrative is called “agency,” the freedom I have to present myself to the world in any way that feels right to me. The problem, of course, is that we’re all human beings, and agency narratives can easily slip into selfishness, which is a serious problem for those who are trying to exercise love in their lives.

MAGA Christianity, for example, is narrative, and that’s exactly why it’s so dangerous. Universal plausibility, not fact, is what determines the story, so the grand narrative presented is false but effective in providing its denizens with what sounds like a reasonable story.

“The democrats are socialists who want to take your hard-earned money and give it to those who ought to just work like the rest of us.”

This is, of course, quite false, but it fits the conservative grand narrative that the rich people are the smart folks in our culture and provide a path for people to follow, because wherever democrats are in charge, there is waste. All one has to do to succeed in this life, therefore, is follow the rules and conform to the narrative, including the popular myth that teaching a man to fish is better than giving him a fish. The simple truth here is that the fishing pond doesn’t evenly spread the fish (resources) out in such a way that they can be caught equally.

If you understand narratives, you’ll begin to understand the old adage that “in war, the victor writes the history,” and you’ll also start asking questions about the narratives that you uncover. If you’re super lucky, you’ll soon begin — at some level — the postmodern practice of deconstructing those same narratives in an honest search for truth. History is not truth. History is narrative. As Peter Lurie pointed out in his marvelous 2003 essay “Why the Web Will Win the Culture Wars for the Left: Deconstructing Hyperlinks”, the web puts us automatically within deconstruction’s reach, because every link beckons us to dig deeper and discover for ourselves. We have no idea where this is going to lead culturally, except that it is going to be terribly difficult for the status quo.

“The content available online is much less important than the manner in which it is delivered; indeed, the way the Web is structured. Its influence is structural rather than informational, and its structure is agnostic. For that reason, parental controls of the sort that AOL can offer give no comfort to conservatives. It’s not that Johnny will Google “hardcore” or “T&A” rather than “family values;” rather, it’s that Johnny will come to think, consciously or not, of everything he reads as linked, associative and contingent. He will be disinclined to accept the authority of any text, whether religious, political or artistic, since he has learned that there is no such thing as the last word, or indeed even a series of words that do not link, in some way, to some other text or game. For those who grow up reading online, reading will come to seem a game, one that endlessly plays out in unlimited directions. The web, in providing link after associative link, commentary upon every picture and paragraph, allows, indeed requires, users to engage in a postmodernist inquiry.”

Be a deconstructor, but think positively. This is a time of tremendous opportunity. Distance yourself from the status quo, for it is crashing and will blow up in time. Before that happens, however, the heat on all of this is going to be burning furiously, and it points right now to civil war. Trump and his cronies continue to pull followers further to the right, and there will come a point when all their guns will begin firing. The ensuing terror will exceed that of 9/11, because this will be perpetuated by our neighbors, not foreigners who already hate all of us. Follow the narrative to get a glimpse of tomorrow. By presenting their political ideas as an overarching narrative, followers have no choice but to go along to the very end. The appeal, after all, is universal plausibility.

The media doesn’t get this, because the media presents itself as a special class, which is part of its own narrative. In other words, the media is simply unwilling and therefore not capable of presenting life as narrative. Goodness, that would be a lot of work.

A citizenry that does its own deconstructing is not easily fooled by political narratives, and that’s where we’re all headed thanks to the World Wide Web. This shift in human understanding is eonic in nature, and we can say with great confidence that the era of modernism is over, which likely accounts for all of the current conflict between ideologies that we’re experiencing today. One era dies; another rises. Welcome to the era of postmodernism.

The irony is that this changing narrative was brought about by a pandemic and the shutting down of the culture for a season. Suddenly home alone and with tons of “free” time, people retreated into survival mode and began a great awakening amongst the people that “jobs” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and that nobody really cares for anybody else, just themselves. This has spawned an entire generation of unsatisfied people who’re working the system to start their own businesses and thus be their own employers. Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, Doordash, and others have given many of these people a way to make a few bucks while exploring their options. I use Uber several times a month, and my survey of drivers strongly suggests this is so.

So, who’ll run things when the era matures? We will. The people. And that has a chance to be glorious.

Deconstructing Life: Consciousness

What Is the Purpose of Life? | Psychology Today
Courtesy Psychology Today

A lot of “science” keeps showing up in my news feed these days concerning the study of consciousness. I read every one of these articles, but I always (at least often) find them lacking in the sense that our world views consciousness as only an individual experience. I think, therefore I am. That’s fine, but what we’re missing here is a more important matter. Unfortunately, it’s anathema to science and is therefore lumped together, by science, with superstition, myth, and fantasy.

There are two forms of consciousness in the human experience. One is, of course, our private, individual consciousness, which includes our thoughts, moods, actions, reactions, motivations, behaviors, and more. The second, however, is the consciousness that both surrounds us and flows through us. This forms the very fabric of Life under the sun and consists of the consciousness of all who live, have lived, or await the birth of the flesh. It is the consciousness assigned to “God” in worldwide religions, but it is not a being separate from us. This consciousness is forever evolving with cultural and individual advancements and is experienced by all of us who live life under the sun. This is pure consciousness, the very life blood of planet Earth.

We are in the birth pangs of making space travel a regular (normal?) part of being human. When we travel in space, we must abide by the laws that govern life on earth. Otherwise, we’d die in the vacuum of outer space. Astronauts take the consciousness of the moment with them and therefore the rest of us along with them.

This suggests that all personal or private consciousness exist within this greater consciousness, which explains a great many naturally-occurring events that we tend to dismiss as happenstance or fantasy. I’m referring to things like reincarnation, impossible “memories”, déjà vu, feelings like you’ve been somewhere before, some dreams (but not others), “bad” apples, and even sociopathy and other serious mental conditions.

This is the consciousness that begs our study and consideration, especially in an age when individuality and agency tickle the ears of those humans confessing their form of uniqueness. Yes, we’re individuals who can determine our own agency, but we cannot dismiss the sameness of the human race. It’s the problem with our thinking that’s played the biggest role in the separation of humans based on religion or politics in the early 21st Century.

We are all a part of this forever and always have been. Deja Vu? More likely a breach of this reality. Reincarnation? Same thing. People who don’t understand this believe what they’ve been taught, that this life is where you prepare for the next, crudely identified as heaven and hell. What they can’t realize is that our addresses in the future will be the same as today, for heaven and hell are states of living under the sun. Those who’ve lived a life in hell, for example, bring that hell with them into the consciousness of all. Good and evil function in the same way and impact the culture through this ever-present living consciousness.

Fallacy is the great destroyer of consciousness.

Consciousness is locked into the moment. As a result, it exists in the unique position of advancing the culture despite what the fallacious earthly command and control mechanisms demand and need for the maintenance of their power. Our politics, for example, may wish for better days (for them), but in so doing, they draw attention to their self-centered demands. For example, consciousness knows that abortion has always been a choice of the one who carries the child and therefore, that attempts to control the rate at which we murder our children in utero cannot compete with the consciousness of our planet leading us as a whole to stop killing our own children. The image of women entering abortion clinics for convenient birth control have been blown apart by the stories of women who struggle greatly over the matter. It’s inhuman to describe these women as gleeful for getting rid of something unwanted. No, our consciousness has already moved on, which is why continued efforts to support the institution of “Pro-Life” are the equivalent of beating a dead drum. Next?

Consciousness is bound to time and space and moves in time under the sun. The past is not conscious, nor is the future. Life under the sun, therefore, begins with individual consciousness and is automatically a part of the consciousness that sets the parameters of what’s allowed under the sun. There can be no logical argument against this. Are fetuses conscious within the womb? Ever read “The secret life of the unborn child?”

How do Monarch butterflies return from North America to a specific set of trees in Mexico to overwinter? They are a part of the Earth’s consciousness and know the way via those who’ve been there before. It is impossible for science to view such thoughts as viable, despite the reality of Occum’s Razor.

Consciousness cannot travel backwards or forwards. This is why time travel is a fantasy, for your own consciousness is bound to all consciousness, and in order to travel backwards or forwards, we’d be locked into the consciousness of that time, so why travel at all? People all the time say they’d love to go back with what they now know, but that isn’t possible, for consciousness evolves as life advances. A 50-year old mind has adapted to the contemporary moment, but none of that can move forwards or backwards. It simply evolves in place, because that mind has consumed 50-years of data. One year equals one-fiftieth of his life, and he could not survive intact, for example, when a year equals only 1/25th of his life. All of the knowledge and wisdom gained by age 50 simple cannot go back to his point at 25, so again, why the wish to go back and relive all of it? You can’t even tell your past self to enjoy life more, because that knowledge will likely have been gained during years 26–50.

What an incredible gift it is for each of us to live under the sun, but we come from consciousness and to it we shall return.

When we learn things “naturally,” where do you think that comes from, if not the corporate consciousness of all humanity? An infant gets frightened and will not venture out onto a platform with a glass bottom, for she knows she might fall and hurt herself. She senses the concept of falling, because those types of consciousness have been around since the beginning. They are hard to ignore. We call these things “instincts,” but where are they embedded except the consciousness she’s a part of.

Are newly discovered civilizations in the Amazon, for example, a part of this advancing consciousness? Absolutely, because we must admit we know very little about the spiritual nature of such simple human beings. Moreover, we dare not judge such, for the quickest path away from the moment is to lord oneself over others, and this is one of the fundamentals of the consciousness being discussed here.

This group consciousness serves as a governor of human behavior, and as it gets infected with radical selfishness, it becomes burdensome to everyone. Have you ever walked into a room of loving people so filled with life that the room itself seems to almost float? Sensitive people know of which I speak. Likewise, the feel of that room can be so dark that they’ll have to leave quickly or be consumed by it.

This consciousness functions at the subconscious level for most of those who’ve entered animal bodies under the sun. Like God, it has a one-way connection to human kind, but it is observable by those who believe it exists. Most people can’t, won’t, or don’t, and so it appears to them as if we’re alone and not connected. The contemporary desire for agency is found here, and while that’s fine under the sun, it’s limiting when it comes to a greater understanding of life.

The most exciting thing about all this is that consciousness is slowly evolving as we gain knowledge and wisdom, No matter how much political pressure is applied to stop this evolution — after all, the status quo doesn’t want any part of this evolution — it’s just not going to stop the advancement of the human race. If consciousness is evolving, then what is to be our response but to evolve along with it?

I realize that what’s presented here is counterintuitive and may be considered foolishness to those who prefer a more scientific perspective, but that’s exactly why we need to explore alternative explanations for life under the sun. Frankly, the hope for the human race is going to require innovative thinking that doesn’t accept the limits of science as ultimate truth.

The Wishful Thinking of an Anti-Trumper

Elections | WOODTV.com

Democrats have made enormous tactical and strategic blunders in the wake of the 2020 election, and the result was a ringing and unanticipated night for Republicans in 2021 elections on Tuesday. Dems simply cannot resist advancing (not maintaining, mind you, but advancing) status quo progressive causes at every turn, and this made them appear weak, ignorant, and predictable in the aftermath of a global pandemic and the lunacy of Donald Trump.

It’s almost as though the Democrats viewed those two extreme events as merely small blips on the path from here to liberal nirvana.

The most grievous error was the automatic assumption that a Biden win was a vote for balls-to-the-walls progressivism. It was not. The 2020 presidential election was a desperate attempt at rescue for those who could see Trump’s well-lit path to despotism, authoritarianism, fascism, lying as a tactic, bullying, and profound recklessness and corruption. That was it, and for that, the entire planet breathed a sigh of relief when Trump was removed.

This matter was the paramount concern of people who gave the White House to Joe Biden, not to be swapped for extremism in the other direction. The insurrection of January 6 took place AFTER the election, so the best we can say about it was it validated the real concerns of the electorate two months earlier. Enter Biden and the Democrats who had been given the extremely rare opportunity to set their opponent back decades but instead chose to press the Obama foolishness (under the circumstances) that rubbed America the wrong way sufficiently enough to elect Trump in the first place. This strategic decision showed up in the elections on Tuesday, where Republicans not “expected” to be a serious challenge basically swept everything.

This could/should be the event that redirects the actions of the left, but it won’t, and that spells deep trouble for all of us in 2024.

In politics, it is very foolish to underestimate the circumstances within which the electorate moves. And, I can tell you that working with democrats these days (in the wake of Trump) is among the most frustrating activities I’ve ever encountered. The assumptions that drive their strategies are not universally held. Social movements either end short of their goal or become institutionalized. Such institutions, you’d think, would be smart enough to momentarily maintain radio silence while we could concentrate on attacking the very hegemony that keeps the super rich running everything.

But no. Democrats can only be democrats, so they swapped opportunity for the maintenance of the status quo and its sure money.

We desperately need a 3rd political party, one that brings together more ecumenical members of the GOP and more conservative members of the democrats. Let the extremes wreak havoc on each other while we do the job of governing and moving the country forward.

Let’s get the lawyers out of our legislatures (a blatant conflict of interest) and replace them with working people, not professional politicians.

Oh well, I suppose that’s just the wishful thinking of an old warhorse who simply cannot tolerate what he’s seeing.