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Ocasio-Cortez Hits Back at Liz Cheney: 'What Do You Call Building Mass Camps of People Being Detained Without Trial?'

It is still hot - 87F but feels cool by comparison. Something like your fan experience, it seems cooler.
And it is quite. Brought some mint and lavender in thinking this was a good idea I had some carrot tops but the cat won’t leave them alone.

Today was wrestling with dragons and now putting them to rest. This comes to mind:

“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” Carlos Castaneda

Yes, 106 is hot in just about any context for those of us living in the “temperate zones,” which are getting less so every year. Dry is better than damp, but only up to a point and only if one is constantly re-hydrating.

When we moved to the North Carolina Piedmont from Oklahoma, I spent the first four months back in OK packing the house and getting it ready to sell. When Sara had been here about a month I received an email saying, “You’re not going to believe this, but here the rain falls straight down!” Having grown up in Oklahoma and with Oscar Hammerstein’s lyric about the wind sweeping down the plain, right behind the rain, part of my birthright, I knew we had made a good choice. But it was only after a couple of years, as I came to realize that much of the time 90 degrees her didn’t feel as hot as 90 degrees did in OK, I also realized that morning lows here are typically around 70, seldom higher than 75, while in Oklahoma there would be a good many days when the temperature never went below 80, for a week or more at a time in many summers. That makes it impossible for the ground ever to cool off, making it even hotter for the creatures thereon.

When I left California to return to Oklahoma, I started out on my bicycle, but so late in the season that the nights in Arizona were freezing. But the road to Sandia Pass east of Albuquerke was down to two lanes for repairs, with a stiff wind blowing straight out of the east. I went back into town, turned my bike over to the local bike shop to box and ship, and finished the trip on a bus. But before that I had pedaled down the eastern rim of the San Joachin valley in late September or early October, sweating through mile after mile of brown dry grass. The Mojave wasn’t any worse.

My morning started slowly as usual, so I have not yet even looked at The Plan. But we aren’t getting any cool weather until Thursday night, and I won’t start work on the screen door today, so I will have another day for reading, writing, and thinking, with no commitments and after a solid 8 hours of sleep. I have “many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse” (not literally–that’s a satirical joke from Gilbert and Sullivan), and even more questions.

Your lunch with old friends should indeed be great fun, the more so for the frustration of anticipation. May you all linger long under the air conditioning.

Best ever. Busy with the frustration of anticipation. More to follow.

Lots of distractions here today, but still forward motion. I need to stop for supper, but In going through Frankl’s explanation of his “logotherapy” (with logos representing not “word” but “meaning”) I find that much of what he says is metaphorical (and brilliantly so), and much of what he does for patients is to turn a troubling situation on its head in such a way as to show that it is not only not desperate but filled with opportunity. More later.

It must be a day for distractions, here also. Lunch was nice with lots of familiar shared experiences and new things too. We have plans for another get together. We have worked together, lived together, gone our separate ways and returned. Great when all the little stuff is behind you.

This is the last super hot day and it will be at least 10 degrees cooler tomorrow. Time to catch up on a few things if all goes well. We have similar weather to Oklahoma and you describe it perfectly. The rain is another matter though as there is a lot of variation. (when it actually rains) I use to talk with someone that lived in Oklahoma and they also talked about ice storms. North Carolina is a bit of a mystery but it sounds like it was good choice. (especially so as consensus).

That is a very ambitious ride you took. It can still be pretty hot here, now into November. I have been to the Mojave Desert too. (on an adventure) Flat land for miles and miles. I remember seeing a single coyote crossing the road in a hurry to go somewhere. I just couldn’t imagine where Kind of an ancient landscape.

Oh, those are the best days where the mind is free to wander and a good sleep as well. Thank you for the good wishes. Indeed the air conditioning was great also.

Looking forward to hearing more on Frankl and logotherapy.

“What a day this has been,
What a rare mood I’m in”

Again, I build my philosophy around The Great American Songbook! I think one of the best things about growing old is looking back and realizing that our lives were not as messed up or as futile as we thought at times that they were. It must be a universal phenomenon, as Frankl writes about it, though not in quite those terms.

Another is being able to do it with those “old acquaintances,” the ones who were important to us in some way then. That’s what keeps John and me, different as we are, having lunch together every Tuesday, five years after we reconnected 48 years after our last previous meeting.

Amen to all the rest, to which I will reply tomorrow. There is a little more to Frankl–profound but deceptively simple, but not simple enough for me to think through it tonight. Instead I’m going to append part of a message from one of our many local activists who on Tuesdays leads a group bird-dogging one of our feckless senators. The link probably will not work, but the gist is quoted by the sender. The idea will be familiar to you. Frankl alludes to this as well, from the perspective of mid-20th century America:

Today in the New York Times there is an article called “The Religious Hunger of the Radical Right,” which argues that the movement which feeds shooters such as the one in El Paso is an essentially religious phenomenon. “White supremacists and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists make no metaphysical truth claims, do not focus on God and offer no promise of an afterlife or reward. But they fulfill the functions that sociologists generally attribute to a religion: They give their members a meaningful account of why the world is the way it is. They provide them with a sense of purpose and the possibility of sainthood. They offer a sense of community. And they establish clear roles and rituals that allow adherents to feel and act as part of a whole. These aren’t just subcultures; they are churches. And until we recognize the religious hunger alongside the destructive hatred, we have little chance of stopping these terrorists.”

Glad to see you are making good use of spare time and traversing of lyrical pathways. It must have been a pretty great day. I agree, it is a cherished phenomenon, if not universal it should be. Sometimes it only makes sense from this perspective. Anyway, it is pretty darn sweet

I think it must be the power and recognition of affinity between people. Not always easy to explain but always a good touchstone. (friendships)

More on local activism tomorrow. I accessed the article on the Religious Right and have some thoughts on this. I would like to give this a little more thought.

Tomorrow then.

It sounds as if you may have been able to get the whole NYT article, not just the excerpt.

I was up early and on a roll, musing on topics of the past week, then life intervened. I’m working hard to accept that as a good thing, and re-tune my “schedule” (HAH) to assure some uninterrupted periods each day (HAH again).

Ooooh, I just opened a tab to check the weather and on the way found an article titled, “How will our religions handle the discovery of alien life?” Lots of science fiction on that topic, but The Word for World is Forest, the one book of Le Guin’s that I have read clear through and one of the few books I have read more than once, is spellbinding and optimistic.

Ninety degrees again today, with a little break in the afternoon but not down to 80 until sundown, so I will have some indoor time. Not starting the screen door until Wednesday.

More later.

I did get the whole NYT article and I just re-read it. I looked up the author last night, impressive. Asked my ok lets see where this leads because I hadn’t considered this particular perspective except that there have been some emerging religious connections.

We all have our own rituals and I try to set mine aside so as not to confuse the information. The first read was kind of yes/no evaluation followed by why. Her concepts are well organized so it made that a lot easier. Also, she has the neutrality of an observer and investigator and a personal quality that is honest in what that means to her.

Oddly enough on an energy level, White Supremacy has a rooting in the 3rd chakra among others. (How we use energy in the body) It probably accounts for the nausea in some cases if your not use to it or prepared for it. I’m being brave as we have an organized version of it here which I never really see directly. I visited one of the sites and saw that as a real challenge. So I congratulate the author both in her preparation and understanding of the issue. How did it sit with you if you care to say?

I am far more accepting to life’s interruptions now. And, sometimes I use age to my advantage. “What are you crazy, I’m to old to do that”? he he. But, doors are a necessary part of American life so it is a good idea to keep them in good repair. (time and weather permitting)

Yes, latter

Ok, I may have noticed a bias here or there.

Wow, that really DID take off in all directions. I don’t trust any large corporations, least of all the media, so the instant I see the “sign up for free account” I shut them down. Thanks for opening THAT door. I thought I had already “used up my five free articles” years ago, so maybe they reset it. Periodically, no pun intended.

Having read it once, my response is the same as yours: need to read it again. But it is coherent and well written, and the conclusions well framed. As for bias, anyone who can use the word “etiology” in a sentence–and in a non-medical context yet–gets one free pass from me.

Her credentials are impressive, but something about The American Interest rang a bell. It turns out that it was founded by Francis Fukuyama, who got a really bad reputation for some of his writing in the 90s and the early aughts, espousing (and often later rejecting) such dubious ideas as postmodernism, neoconservatism, AND neoliberalism, while often being cited in the same sentence with architects of US empire and so-called velvet authoritarianism.

But that’s Fukuyama, not Burton, and not necessarily even The American Interest, although that very wording seems to suggest the interests of American empire and American corporations, at least those between roughly the 30th and 48th parallels.

But back to the question: The reason I sent the excerpt was that if the author’s interpretations are correct, which I think they are, it is further recognition that most if not all of the problems of our time are fundamentally spiritual. That is implicit throughout Frankl’s discourse on his system of psychotherapy, and even more directly in a 16-page postscript added in 1984, 22 years after the second edition of the book was published. A little more on that later too.

Not coincidentally, before I finished Man’s Search for Meaning (a title that probably could not get published today, but neither could the Declaration of Independence–we HAVE made SOME strides), I picked up a book on Buddhism that was assigned for a class in the religions of India that I took in college. I don’t recall ever reading more than a small part of it, but the farther I get the more familiar it seems. More on that too, perhaps, but I mention it because some of what the author, a Buddhist monk and scholar, says is said in almost the same words by Frankl, who was Jewish. Indeed, there a lot of elements of Frankl’s system that are identical to some in Buddhist teaching. More on THAT later for certain, but maybe not until tomorrow, as Sara and I usually play cards or Scrabble on Saturday evening, a ritual of sorts that lapsed and that we have recently revived.

I have the same feeling about such things (media accounts) I tried several other ways to access the article before opening it. They all had a similar account system or led back to the original. The NYT or LAT are probably a risky bargain with the netherworld (unknown world).

I thought she introduced some very fine points. The changes in society and roll of religion in those changes being one of them. I think this is well known throughout history. Colonization in Africa had unexpected and extremely violent consequences. Easily identified in retrospect. The issue I had is how normal is framed knowing there were problems with normal too. I may have missed it. Thank you for posting the link.

The world is connected on so many levels and you have a much better grasp of it than I. I think we can see into the future but part of this issue is that we are not validated and for so long not recognized it is no longer a reliable ability on a mass level, this makes every thing an emergent issue and religions unable to fill that gap. It puts a lot of things in crisis programing for a lot of people. This is why I think you have to object (as she suggested) but knowing full well you can’t punish this out of existence.

Back to the question: I agree about this being on a spiritual level and add how we connect and live in the world. It is not just human experience but a connected experience with all living things. Even rocks.

Just by observation, I think Buddhism guards compassion on earth. This and the continuity of spiritual development. When the huge stone Buddhas were destroyed in Afghanistan it was evident there would be a loss of compassion in the years that followed. The Jewish religion is also quite ancient, but more complex in my opinion. Glad to know there is some synchronicity there.

It sounds like a fun evening. Scrabble especially.

Ok tomorrow then

Oops, this got a little out of hand. I haven’t even proofread, and I apologize for the length. Otherwise I stand by it. See you tomorrow.


Oh I think you make connections just fine. I would not have thought about the dislocations both caused by religious beliefs and within religious communities by colonization in Africa in connection with White supremacy groups in this country, even though I am fairly well aware of it. Nor would I have thought about how the ambiguity of what is considered “normal” by whom affects how we understand that sorry page in human history. I think the synergy between the different connections we make with any given issue is a big part of what keeps this discussion going–absolutely unique in my experience, nothing to compare it to.

I also think that the different ways we use the language contributes to the discussion rather than hindering it, as it causes both of us to stop and think, and if necessary translate. For example, I’m pretty sure after reading several times that with regard to seeing into the future you are saying that humankind has largely lost this ability disuse resulting from our failure even to recognize that it exists. Is that close?

There are a couple of other items related to Frankl and Buddhism that I would like to run by you, but I would like to share with you a little more of my own spiritual journey. I mentioned my exposure to Mueller’s Sacred Books of the East during my senior year in high school. I was brought up in a mainline Protestant church, and was much more literal-minded then even than I am now. By that year I was already having difficulty with reconciling everything I was being taught.

That year was stressful for many reasons, but especially because of a fire hose of new information that just did not compute, and by the end of the year I was a basket case (or so I thought). I had been accepted at a small liberal arts college with a music conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio, for a 5-year double degree program in math and music, and I wanted nothing but to tune out the world, play my music, and study math, my two best talents.

Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, before orientation week was ended I found myself in the midst of the “Death of God” controversy. If you haven’t heard of it, you can look it up. Paradoxical as it was (my introduction to paradox was still a year in the future), it made sense to me, while further upsetting my apple cart. I spent the next fifteen years piecing my worldview back together enough to eke out a living, still with a lot of loose ends.

Sometimes I’m a very slow learner. I had already come into contact with existential philosophy, and most thoughtful people would have said, “OK, so there is no god. What next?” Instead, it took me 25 more years to admit to myself, “Gee, I guess that makes me an atheist,” although I had accepted the idea that whatever meaning there is in life is what we choose to make of it. Actually it was 35 years before I stopped insisting on “A-theist.” Still literal.

But while existentialists are all over the map, the ones that made sense to me were those who still embraced all of the aspects of the human condition that had been mandated by the sky god for five millennia: kindness, compassion for all, ethical behavior, etc. In the back of my mind I remembered that this was “What the Buddha Taught” (which happens to be the title of this book that I had forgotten about), and also what all three of the Abrahamic Faiths claim to uphold.

I do not consider myself a Buddhist, and certainly am not about to go through all the discipline (“yoga”) that are required to be “truly enlightened” (nirvana). As I have slowed down a bit, and because of recent events in the world at large, I have become much more aware of indigenous wisdom and its importance and relevance today. In a sense we really do have to “get ourselves back to the Garden” (Crosby, Stills, and Nash, 50 years ago this month).

There is no dogma in Buddhism, and there is none in Logotherapy. It’s all about human beings trying to live gently on the earth. There is a poem by Sam Walter Foss titled “The House by the Side of the Road” that I have always thought attractive. I had not read it since tenth grade–so I did. It is exactly as I remembered it. Not great poetry, but a great take on the well-lived life.

I think articles like this one are suppose to be a stimulus for this type of discussion. White Supremacy is a broad topic in all its forms. I think the common element is the break down of religious belief or ritual practice. In Africa, white supremacy replaced social and cultural practices and left people defenseless. They couldn’t practice their own beliefs and didn’t understand those imposed. (to very bad affect) This has happened so many times in so many places, it is not surprising there is an element that is correlated to the subject of this article. She did provide a statistical model of trends in religious affiliation in the U.S. As a person that welcomes change it could be very good, as a reality, it hasn’t been so for everyone.

We both have a pretty good understanding of the language we use, but it is different. I appreciate that you are precise in terms and willing to explain fully what you mean. I do modify mine somewhat to make concepts more readily identifiable or something we already have a common understanding. I do spend a fair amount of time at the dictionary too. I wouldn’t change a thing.

In how we see the future I was trying to avoid things like forecasting and prophecy. For the common practice of seeing what comes next. (native American practice of making decisions that impact seven generations) For this discussion, how can anyone not see the escalation of violence in this issue. I think we just forget to look. This could be more of a media affect as we are always far behind these situations. Yes, you were right.

This is a very unique discussion for me. A nice surprise as well.

I did go to a Protestant church as a child, mostly because my mother thought I should know these things. “But” I had spiritual freedom to choose for myself and that included other things. This is probably more common than we think, I don’t see how we get everything we need from one source. So you have to fine those things that resonate. I have been validated for this life choice which I questioned extensively as being a good path. Probably similar to your experience and the missing years. I think I remember something about the “Death of God” controversy. I think I was to young though and it went right over my head. A lot of people still have a relationship with God, the Great Mystery, or whatever name resonates. I think during times of spiritual growth it is easy to lose a sense of self because it changes. Amen for slow growth too. This alone doesn’t account for some of those dark times in our history.

I think yours is a job well done. And, I know what you mean about the discipline required with Buddhism. I spent a week at the Zen Center in San Francisco. I really enjoyed it and thought I could continue what I learned but it was so different and what I learned is that I really needed more patience. I do remember the Litany of the great compassionate one, a night time mediation which is similar to other practices in meaning. Amen for less dogma, a little goes a long way.

I can see why you liked this poem by Sam Walter Foss. Very nice.

I won’t ask who won… smile

Well, I just finished a dissertation on the connections among Logotherapy, Buddhism, existential philosophy, and spirituality (religion without creeds, dogmas, or puppet masters in the sky), and I hit the wrong key and lost the whole thing. How absolutely apt to the subject, of which impermanence is a fundamental aspect!

I may attempt to partly reconstruct it later, but the main idea was that I think I see a new awakening only distantly related to any of the four recognized in the current version of the Wikipedia article on “Great Awakening.” The difference from those earlier awakenings is that it rejects the Protestant Fundamentalism that is the entire substance of them, and at its best leads a person to take responsibility for her/his thoughts and actions, which process creates meaning in one’s life. There are specific discussions of this process in Frankl’s book but clearly you already understand the concept.

But Ms. Burton recognizes a different and ominous response to the changes driving that awakening. Her third paragraph begins:

“Now more than ever, the promises religion has traditionally made — a meaningful world, a viable place within it, a community to share it with, rituals to render ordinary life sacred — are absent from the public sphere. More and more Americans are joining the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated.”

And then:

“But what nearly all of these perpetrators shared was a cosmic-level worldview that fetishizes violence as a kind of purifying fire: a destruction necessary to “reset” the world from its current broken state. This atavistic worldview idealizes an imagined past, one that predates the afflictions of, say, feminism and multiculturalism.”

We have seen that response to a chaotic milieu before, and it has never come to a good end. Her parting shot is:

“When we ignore the religious aspect of extremist groups, we allow them to claim the monopoly on meaning. That’s not ground I, at least, am willing to cede.”

I think she is stating a truth that most people are avoiding, but perhaps missing the concomitant truth underlying it, that the God of Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammad no longer has the ability to satisfy the spiritual needs of today’s world.

I agree completely with your comments on that article, especially the last line. I had addressed that in some detail in the essay that disappeared, and if I can get to a partial reconstruction that will be a part of it.

I agree with your second paragraph as well, but go easy with modifying your language to make it easier for me to understand, as part of this stage of my life involves becoming more fluent in that sort of language. I went through college and 30 years of work hardly ever consulting a dictionary, but as soon as I stepped in front of a classroom my reference shelf expanded. It has gotten increasingly greater use ever since.

But thanks for the clarification about seeing into the future. My reflex would be to call what you are saying as “planning” for the future, but that would not be correct either. It is much more about recognizing that there IS a future, and that we are responsible for it, which is indeed almost a lost art. Yes, the Mainstream Media are essentially chroniclers and advocates for the status quo, trying to stop time so also always far behind.

Skipping over some of the complicated stuff (which isn’t really so complicated), I remember the SF Zen Center, though I never went there myself. I don’t even have to imagine how simple the concepts seem (even under the eyes of a seasoned teacher which I have never had), but how difficult they are to master on one’s own. I have an anecdote about that too.

We split a pair of Scrabble games, both with unusual board positions and alternating between spells in which letters fell into place as if by magic with strings of a half-dozen or more words worth ten points or less–very peculiar. Next week we’re going to re-learn Canasta.

Here is how the comment I accidentally deleted began:

"I need to back up a little here. As usual, I can’t keep up with your fertile mind! My mother used to say the trouble with life is that it’s just so daily. “Be Here Now,” but even the Buddhist monk recognizes that we bhikkhus (monks, or mendicants) can’t always take that advice literally.

“First, those lines from one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite shows (#306) were in recognition of your banner day with old friends. But my day turned out to be a good one as well, perhaps because I had started the day on such an upbeat note.”

Then regarding the last sentence of your second paragraph (#314), reconstructed:

The awakening I have in mind began in the late 19th century, when people in the West at least began to question the orthodoxies of the Abrahamic Faiths going as far back as 5,000 years (the single sky god), but mostly arising 1,500 to 3,000 years ago. The Great War dealt them a mortal blow in the minds of many people, and the “Beat” movement that began shortly before the end of the Great War, Part 2, further weakened their authority.

A good many people tried to reconcile the orthodoxies with what they saw happening to themselves and others. Some just quit going to church and thought no more about it. But some (like us) quit going to church and thought a LOT about if for a long time, eventually cobbling together an understanding that worked for them individually, essentially what Frankl, Buddha, and the existentialists prescribed.

Unfortunately, as both you and Ms. Burton point out, there was another group that lacked the courage—and/or the knowledge and understanding—to let the old myths go, instead creating new myths that laid the blame for their miseries on others, and taking revenge on them.

Letting go is hard to do, but hanging on can be worse on everyone. Ms. Burton doesn’t call it a spiritual problem, buy essentially does so in other words. I have read about one organization of former white supremacists who rejected that course and were working to persuade others to do likewise. It can only be done one on one, and the numbers do not seem to be in our favor.

Here is a link to the article that raises the question spelled out in the URL. It’s interesting and amusing, but I could only shake my head and sometimes roll my eyes. The author is a professor of astronomy at Vanderbilt, and he has written a book on the subject.

I was going to comment on your paragraph about your own spiritual journey, but there is absolutely nothing I could add. The unavoidable fluidity over time in what we take to be absolute knowledge is inherent in the concept, and all of the wisest sources I know including Buddhism and science encourage their followers to see if they can do better.

There were a couple of additional details from Frankl, but I think I’ve already gone overboard “proving” what we already know. Now maybe we can back up and explore a few of the many ideas that flew past so fast I don’t even know what they were. :slight_smile:

It has been an off day here but feeling better.

Oh man, who says the universe doesn’t have a sense of humor. I do know that one as well.

I agree there are lot of examples where religion is not meeting spiritual needs, even though many of them define those needs with faith as the measure of compliance. There seems to be wide range for religious affiliation, while there may be an overall decline, those that are affiliated, are so at ever increasing social and cultural levels. Especially political influence. As with all religions, there are several levels of participation. White supremacy takes on different characteristics with violence, abuse, and neglect being subordinate for obvious reasons.

Your position is very perceptive of the issue, how we see religion in a changing world. There is more than one way to interpret this and rarely is the concomitant view considered. (except by non-affiliation) It is hard to say if it is the chicken or the egg, The church I go to every so often uses programed learning and the group I attend is bi-lingual in English and Spanish. It is an informal group but still, with the usual characteristics. I’m not a member but a participant.

Second paragraph: Glad we agree. It is a long time since I’ve actively participated in this type of discussion and some of the meanings have changed. Still, always interesting and I will try not to modify terms.

When I was a kid I use to get in trouble for not knowing what would happen as a result of my behavior, I think all kids get this to some degree. It is an ability that is being lost, along with a lot of other things. Like navigation. (which I really do not have a good understanding of at all) Your welcome.

Zen Center: I was there over the 4th of July holiday. At midnight everyone went to the roof of the building to recite the Diamond Sutra. I really knew so very little but it was just being there that provided a rich experience. (in a good way) I very much agree with the community aspect and trusted teacher for learning. I hope you’ll share.

Ah, it sounds like great fun!

Thank you very much for bring this back into the realm. I really enjoyed all of it and it perfectly brings some amusement to a can be serious topic.

I will respond in the morning after sleeping on this tonight.

I was going to do a riff on the connection between the universe having a sense of humor and Kierkegaard’s notion of “the absurd,” but most of the references available via the internet are themselves pretty absurd. Here are two that are less so than some, but I wouldn’t take either of them too seriously, certainly not enough to read the entire Wikipedia entry:

No wonder people think that philosophy is nonsense. Your comment explains it better, and also draws the connection with complex systems and its “emergent” phenomena, completely unforeseeable events that may or may not be the result of pure randomness–no way to tell. You used that term in a similar context a couple of days ago. All further confirmation of the limitations of spoken/written language.

I’m looking forward to your further comments on the spiritual journey. I suspect your take will be closer to the mark, I’m sure it will be more concise than mine.

And THAT reminds me, two months after the fact, where this conversation started out, with the question of whether absolute knowledge can exist. It’s paradoxical. Sometimes I really am a slow learner, but I take comfort in remembering that Aristotle never did realize that not everything is either black or white.