SHOCK AND AWE PAGE:
Tragedy and Comedy Intertwined
..
 
Tragedy is when I cut my finger;
comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.

- Mel Brooks.........

This site offers pages that reflect the beauty of profound insights, creative dreaming - and equally profound insights to be gleaned from absurdities - occasionally dire warnings and yes, even atrocities. It also includes those thoughts and opinions that we want to gloss over or ignore as we travel along the ways of our lives. We - each of us - need to learn to think "out of the box" as real planetary leaders - which is why our dear Dalai Lama and the sad little boy (below) both appear here.

Are we becoming more and more like the pre-World War II Japanese? Their sense of propriety and respectability was so extreme that American army scientists, looking for secret weapons to use against them in combat, once proposed that we gas them with hydrogen sulfide gas, which smells sulphurous, like boiled cabbage or farts! They proposed to call it "hoomee gas," and predicted it would work like a charm - or a curse! "Who, me?" each soldier would think, and become totally discombobulated, too embarrassed even to find out who made the hideous social blunder! Well, the top brass ruled it out - but I still think it was a great idea!

In the long run might the contest come down to one between the people who find life not only tragic and hopeless but splendidly absurd and funny and the ones whose beliefs are written in concrete? No, not cynicism - humor as a balancer and connector of meaning. Our American hyper-sensibilities may not have quite reached a pitch of absurdity equal to that of the Japanese, but we sometimes come close, as, for example, with our preoccupations with obscenity - or with our "religious" belief that a single-cell zygote is legally and morally superior in relevance to an adult woman!

The Monty Python song reminds us,

Every sperm is sacred,
Every sperm is great! ..
...When a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate!...

"That's it, fella, you're evil, down you go!" Whew. What ever happened to common sense and its close ally, a sense of humor?

No, it's not all funny, by any means. People get hurt; people die. We call the huge civilian death toll in modern war "collateral damage." Whoa! But that's way down the chain of choices and their consequences. We need to start at the source. Those who take life dead seriously - who insist that we all play it straight and by the book! - still live in a world of good and evil, in which God divides people into good sheep and evil goats, sends the sheep to a blue and gold heaven to wear white robes and play harps and the goats to a hell ruled over by a Satan who looks like the deviled ham image, and who condemns them to sit forever in a lake of burning oil. Hey, we need all the oil we can get hold of! Let's start draining that lake!

BUT - in the meantime, horrific folly, greed, gullibility, superstition, ignorance, perversity and tragic WRONGNESS of us human beings are pretty clearly in the saddle, and we are probably much too far along in the course of doing ourselves in on this planet to make the changes that might help us modify the course of our downfall.

Click here for an excerpt from The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle; and here for an article called "Tricksters Anonymous."

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Here's the news:
 
ITEM : The Tao of Email
a simple lesson in understanding how capitalism works.

ITEM : Response to the Virginia Tech tragedy

 
ITEM: Public Horror Story
Here's an e-mail we got from a friend who has been a 35-year associate and friend in educational reform:
 
An 18-year-old Kentucky high-school student, William Poole, recently found himself arrested for possessing materials at home that the authorities believed constituted a threat against faculty members and fellow students. The proscribed and dangerous object was apparently a fictional short story Poole wrote for English class, which he described as "about a high school over ran by zombies." He insists the story specified no one in real life, or even his particular school, but he was nevertheless charged with making terrorist threats.
 
As a local police detective put it,"Any time you make any threat or possess matter involving a school or function it's a felony in the state of Kentucky."
 
Now, the arrest of someone, an 18-year old legal adult, mind you, merely for possessing off campus a story, written for English class that is verboten for "involving a school or function" and treating the offense as a felony, is not something that should happen in a sane society, let alone a free one. For his work of fiction, this young man was dragged off to the police station as if he had committed a criminal act. The judge set his bond at $5,000. Of course, his real crime was writing "over ran." No, actually, it was his teachers' crime, wasn't it.
 
Whole story: http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0508e.asp
 

ITEM: Katrina as an apocalypse of race and poverty? - as the dawning of our belated awareness of the spreading of American Fascism?

ITEM: Katrina in New Orleans. 

 
ITEM: E. L. Doctorow on the role of religion  in the "mess" we are making of life on earth.
 
ITEM: The most telling website I've found, which he calls Know Thyself, describes "us" - the human race - in the eyes of an alien who signs himself "Yaj" as follows: "Oh well, better luck next time. . . Know Thyself, Yaj". He's right! Take a look. It's devastatingly accurate about such issues as acculturation, television, deception, education - you name it. Brilliant, and deadly! Please look at it.
 
ITEM: On his website, which he calls Requiem, Jay Hanson quotes Captain Cousteau thus:
The road to the future leads us smack into the wall. We simply ricochet off the alternatives that destiny offers: a demographic explosion that triggers social chaos and spreads death, nuclear delirium and the quasi-annihilation of the species... Our survival is no more than a question of 25, 50 or perhaps 100 years.

-- Jacques Cousteau:

 
ITEM: Die Off: a population crash resource page. Bearing out what Captain Cousteau, and a lot of other honest scientists, have been saying for decades, for centuries, really, here's the most comprehensive collection of data on all aspects of the coming tragedy for the current inhabitants of the earth, including the wealth of flora and fauna we have known, and perhaps least of all, the human predators who are responsible for the demise of all of us life forms on earth. You won't like it, but you'd better know about it.

ITEM: Jesus Christ, What's Going on Here? A necessary corrective to the "Christian" politicoes? That WOULD be nice!

ITEM: Breakup of The North Polar Ice Cap, From Dirk Dunning. It's beginning - for real! The end of oil in sight, global warming now well underway, and 35 years to turn it around, because the effect is way up there - so we have this stuff all at once and no amelioration for three decades. Wonder how many of us ostriches will survive.

ITEM: Calendar: loaded with lovely images and information about Bush's No Child Left Behind program. I hope they sent him one. We sell it in our Ashfield hardware store.

nochild.gif

ITEM: Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi tells us what we need - collectively and individually - to be in a position to help in the healing of our planet, our world.

ITEM: Le Capitaine - mon cher Jacques-Yves Cousteau - warned us in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit about what was happening to our planet. His words carry even more urgency now than they did then. He is the only one I know about who is (or was) mentioning the unmentionable factor we all want desperately to ignore - OVER-POPULATION!

ITEM: Michael Moore on Bush, via Tikkun's online magazine. Also a followup chiding Democrats for hand-wringing.

ITEM: Why do we drive our children crazy? You might find my essay, "Mainlining Sesame Street" worth looking at.

ITEM: Biggest Bush whopper from the Council for a Livable World - result of a contest.

ITEM: The Gulf between home and public education: wise, kind comment on the relevance for us of this gulf by Helen Hegener, publisher of Home Education magazine, from the May/June 04 issue.

ITEM: Cold Turkey: an essay by Kurt Vonnegut at 81, a commentary on and prayer for the world we inhabit today - funny, ironic, irreverent, often scathing, but also profoundly reverential of those prophets, teachers and philosophers whose teachings he espouses, whose sayings he reveres.

ITEM: Review by Mark Kingwell, professor of philosophy at the U. of Toronto, of a book by Peter Singer (a bioethics professor at Princeton University) entitled The President of Good and Evil, The Morality of George W. Bush, which appears in the May/June 04 issue of Education magazine.

ITEM: Autistic Cow Lady Temple Grandin - an account, from the last chapter of her book Thinking in Pictures, of her own way of working out who God is and what life is all about - brilliant, profound.

ITEM: Holy Fool Jerry Wennstrom tells us that when we let go of ourselves and "surrender and trust the mysterious, unknown void with our lives, we enter the domain of the Holy Fool for God." Includes an item from his amazing artistic works and a summary of a recent NPR program about Jerry and his equally remarkable wife Marilyn Strong.
 
ITEM: An Attack on Democracy - by Dr. Robert Abele, a professor of philosophy at Illinois Valley Community College, located near Chicago. He has written articles on political philosophy and also on ethics and warfare, and is now in the process of completing a book on ethics and the invasion of Iraq.
 
He also has a new book entitled A User's Guide to the USA PATRIOT Act, published by University Press of America, due out in November. This is the best summary I have seen of the actual effects on our democracy, spelled out in very specific constitutional and political terms and analyses, citing chapter and verse throughout.
 
ITEM: Social Security for Congress Members. Did you know that .... ?
 
ITEM: Journalism Under Fire, by Bill Moyers. Part biography, part reprimand, part love letter to the promise of his profession - this speech, given by Bill Moyers at a Society of Professional Journalists conference on Sept. 11, 2004, will be referred to for years to come by those who are worried about the state of journalism. It's a true classic: "I believe democracy requires 'a sacred contract' between journalists and those who put their trust in us to tell them what we can about how the world really works."
 

ITEM: The Sleeping Giant Stirs, by Ernest Partridge. This is a stirring essay offering hope of a change for the better in our wounded democracy.

Write me at maryskole@aol.com.