Brave New World

Clarence Thomas asks his first questions in ten years and jokes with Justice Breyer.Three women justices shred the anti abortion arguments of the Texas attorney general; Teflon Don Trump barrels toward nomination despite the  assault of republican elites.Sanders hangs on despite being declared incapable of winning nomination.Cruz and Rubio descend into pre adolescent name calling.Hillary is now anti Wall St. steering and pro union.Maybe populism isn’t as toxic as the French revolution taught….”the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true”…Now, which chalice is the one from the palace?…

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  1. My response is motivated by both “Intergenerational Dialogue” and “A Brave New World” posts.

    Daedal2207 states: “we appear to have arrived at a major inflection point in U.S. and world history.”

    How not to agree with that assessment? Of course, it’s a rhetorical question … and, yes, I do concur with the premise. Then, the younger generation (my older 45-year old son) challenges me with “compared to what?” Historical references/record and introspection are a passion in this family. “You’ve come a long way, baby” as the (wow! cigarette) jingle used to boast … while promoting unhealthy behavior seems to be an ubiquitous motto. An editorial column, “The Enduring Curse of Caste,” appeared in The NYTimes today that hit at the heart of our … worldwide … inability to see ourselves as the brotherhood of our specie. The column is particularly pertinent in light of conversations I have been having with one of my friends who just returned from a “high-end” tour of India. They are truly world-travelled, but nothing prepared her nor her husband for what they saw from the self-proclaimed largest democracy. Democracy? What does that mean? Do words have meaning?

    “‘My birth is my fatal accident,’ Mr. Vemula wrote in his suicide note. But his birth as a citizen of democratic India should have been a guarantee of dignity, opportunity and respect. He also wrote that he blamed no one. Yet there are culprits: his fellow Indians who have embraced democracy without understanding that its first principle is equality for all.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/10/opinion/the-enduring-curse-of-caste.html?emc=edit_ty_20160309&nl=opinion&nlid=32752233&_r=0&login=email

    The fact that in his note he “blamed no one” should be especially reassuring for DS (sorry, Don, couldn’t resist that one … should show more respect for my elders since I’m “only” 72!). The fact is that I tend to agree with your opening remarks … but, then come your conclusions! No. However, I do feel that one day we might reach common ground. Maybe it’s my east coast (more specifically Moorestown, NJ across the river from the city of Brotherly Love) optimism.

    But, back to the opinion piece … some of the “Comments” were particularly appalling. However, there was one that tried to offer light to our unenlightened souls:

    “Samuel Markes ~~
    Except for being born under a religion that has almost always mean being “different” perhaps I have no right to speak on this subject. But I find the entire discussion absurd and abhorrent. We can seek understanding of the fundaments of our universe, but we can’t get past the imbecility of discriminating against other members of our species for differences in skin tone, circumstances of birth, or religion. Today, when we face issues that require us to act as a single species if we’re to continue to thrive, we still fight over imaginary differences and imaginary friends.
    The only wish, the only solace, would be if Mr. Vemula’s death might have the effect of change.”

    As coalescent material, I would also like to offer Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson’s interview with Lawrence O’Donnell for the broadcaster series “7 Days of Genius”:
    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-news/watch/race-and-2016-isabel-wilkerson-weighs-in-639136835645?cid=eml_mlw_20160308

    The word “ghetto” is particularly discussed. There’s a pre-conceived visualization, which, in its modern/current interpretation assumes instantly “poverty.” Not only has our communication been reduced to … 140 characters (I don’t know, I don’t Twitter) … but, if seems that our brains can also only handle limited, condensed thought. In the Wilkerson/O’Donnell exchange, among other things, “ghetto” is broadened beyond the disparaging connotation.

    The cruel pre-judgment intertwined in The NYTimes piece and the MSNBC interview seems to be self-evident. I apologize if the links offered might give an impression of laziness on my part. Why paraphrase when it’s already being so eloquently stated?

    There is a fear of misplaced empathy. Is that possible when we’re constantly reminded that nature has provided for only the survival of the fittest? As has been pointed out, evolutionary fittest, or instant fittest? Perhaps our self-proclaimed exceptionalism lies in our ability to show/act on that tiny, little bit of more empathy than the rest of the present world does? Ah, yes, daedal2207 … a brave new world, indeed! We should all beware of that chalice! What are the chances that Justice Clarence Thomas is fearing the inevitable? That would require a conscience.

    1. SB: “There is a fear of misplaced empathy. Is that possible when we’re constantly reminded that nature has provided for only the survival of the fittest? As has been pointed out, evolutionary fittest, or instant fittest?”
      Given that we do not possess complete knowledge as to how things will ACTUALLY play out there is always a possibility that painfully bad guesses (as to where we should invest our empathy) are worthy of the emotion we call “fear”. This appropriate concern inspires us to invest time reflecting upon the probable outcomes of such investment. The fact that it seems to be a universal truth that the “fittest” are most likely to survive does not negate the possibility that in some contexts empathic compassion may be the “fittest” (most appropriate) concept guiding us to humanity’s greatest benefit. But, if the application of such empathy guides a mind to do things that enable the weak to remain weak, or condemn that which is appropriately strong, that empathic bias, relative to humanity’s best health, becomes a dysfunction. Good intentions can go bad. For good and for ill, feelings are supreme. We all have them, but measurable evidence tells us when the sentiments we love to love are appropriate and when they are inappropriate.

    1. International women’s day finds women all over the world asserting leadership.This while many males in leadership positions engage in barely pubescent talk( thinly disguised)about the size and potency of their sexual apparatus.The conceptual link to instrumental effectiveness is fantasy and needs to be separated therefrom,(fears of castration,and impotency notwithstanding.)Remember the old military doggerel?(this is your rifle,this is your gun,this is for work and this is for fun?The scissors wielded by the (female) fates are not aimed at male castration or circumcision.For the record female circumcision is a far more brutal human reality.Fear of female power seems ingrained and responsive to by various forms of “subduing”.,burning,beheading,”turning out”,impregnating etc.

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