February 1, 2016
by Les Lane
0 comments

Love?? Help Me Out Here.

In 1893 Milton Bradley published a book by American education reformer Emilie Poulsson entitled In The Child’s World: Morning Talks And Stories For Kindergartens, Primary Schools And Homes, and it is a window into another world. In fact, some of the stories are hard for a reader with modern sensibilities to stomach (future pun intended). In one a pigeon is upset because she does not feel useful:

It seems to me I am not good for anything at all. The hens lay eggs for our mistress’s breakfast; the cow gives milk to drink and to be made into butter and cheese; the turkeycock will be fatted for Christmas, he says, and will be served on a big dish with a string of sausages all round him; that will be grand!…But I am good for nothing.

On the other hand, much of the material is remarkably charming, and can be appreciated as commentary on modern culture if nothing else. One example, especially relevant this month, is the long poem that comprises most of chapter 21, “St. Valentine’s Day.” Here’s part of the first stanza (read “unfortunate” with a long “a”):

“In the month of January, in the year of eighty-eight,
Little Master Philip Urbis had been so unfortunate
As to have the mumps and measles both, besides the whooping cough,
So away to get the country air his mother packed him off.”

Now, Philip loves St. Valentine’s Day, and looks forward eagerly to giving and receiving valentines “With their wonders of lace paper and their pictures gilt and gay,” but a heavy snowstorm makes it impossible for Philip and his aunt to get to “Danvers Center” to get them.

“So it seemed that snowy morning as if not a ray of joy
Could be coaxed to shine upon the disappointed little boy.
But his Auntie put her wits to work to somehow celebrate
On this fourteenth day of February, eighteen eighty-eight.”

She composes eight valentine poems on scraps of paper and puts them where Philip will find them throughout the day – pinned to his sheet, folded in his napkin, etc.:

“When Philip does his breakfast eat,
Of baked potato and minced meat,
Oh! may his heart to me incline,
For I’m his loving valentine.”

In the afternoon the butcher, making his rounds (yes, the butcher), happens by in his sled with a load of official valentines sent to Philip by friends, but by this time, as you have already guessed, Philip prefers the home-made ones!

What is really striking about this St. Valentine’s Day story is that the intimate poems featured are from an aunt. Think about it. Nowadays, if some adult aunt sent her young nephew eight poems like this one: “Porridge hot, Porridge cold, My love for you, Cannot be told,” someone somewhere would be tempted to call Child Services…after they looked up the word “porridge.” Nowadays Valentine’s Day is pretty much exclusively for lovers, not relatives. Why is that? True, the association of romantic love and Valentine’s Day goes way back, but so what? The question remains. Why don’t we have a holiday that celebrates an aunt’s deep love for her nephew? Is an aunt’s love categorically different from romantic love? What about our love for a neighbor, a teacher, a cousin, or certain music, food, colors, activities, etc.? Are those loves similar to the feeling we celebrate on this fourteenth day of February, two-thousand sixteen? WHAT IS LOVE ANYWAY?

What is Love? This is a mystery that has driven everyone with a pulse absolutely crazy at some time or other and in this month of love-focus some of us are surely tangled up in it again. America, let us no longer resign ourselves to frustration, confusion and ignorance. Let us beard the lion in his den! Let us try to define Love. That’s what Progressives do after all: search for truth fearlessly! (Besides “Love” appears to be a kissing cousin [so to speak] of one of our Progressive values, but more about that later.)

As you probably know, the ancient Greeks had four words for love. Or was it thirty? According to Greek scholars, it depends on the context. We have all heard about the three most likely to appear in a sermon or speech this month, “Agape,” “Philia,” and “Eros,” but these terms are pretty slippery in actual usage. In a nod to the narrative that Ancient Greece was the golden age of logic and reason – and because we need these concepts in order to write this blog – let’s just agree on the following: “Agape” means unconditional love (eventually for everything and everyone), “Philia” means both love among family members and love among comrades and friends, and “Eros” means romantic/sexual love. Two other loves not mentioned as often but just as important are Pragma – the love between long-term couples, and Philautia – love for oneself. Unfortunately, while this categorization is both poetic and illuminating, it doesn’t answer our question. Are these five things essentially the same thing or essentially different things? Intuition, and millennia of linguistic application, suggest the former, so we must ask: “What is the common denominator?”

Recent exploration has yielded what may be a revelation. English novelist Iris Murdoch is cited by another author as suggesting that

Love is the very difficult understanding that something other than yourself is real.

This… is heavy dude. Last month we talked about boxes we inhabit at different times for different purposes, but we all exist in another box that is not so porous – that of our physical and mental perceptions and activity. First, consider that we all live literally and unavoidably in the past, since it takes time for physical perceptions to travel to the brain, be interpreted and then reported to the consciousness. Everything we “see” and “hear” actually happened a split-second ago, and we don’t catch up so we never actually touch objective reality. Second, we all perceive different “realities” because we are all of us confined to discrete bodies and brains. A person who is 5′ 9,” for example, will sense a different world than someone who is 5′ 10. Given these conditions (and others not covered here), would it be impossible that we subconsciously doubt the objective reality of anything other than ourselves (it’s called solipsism)…and that, furthermore, we are aware, at some level, of that doubt? Well…how does it feel to subconsciously entertain the notion that nothing else in the universe exists? Too weird and lonely for words? It certainly isn’t something most of us would wish for consciously. Under these circumstances, the assurance, however fleeting, that we are not absolutely alone, that there is a larger objective reality we can be a part of, would be precious indeed.

Think of the first time you heard a musical piece you “loved.” Would it be accurate to say it “transported” you? The first time you saw the “love” of your life (if you have found such a creature) – did you logically note the occasion from the confines of your discrete mind-space, or find yourself, suddenly and gloriously, outside of yourself in a world without limits? When you eat one of the foods you “love” or read an unexpectedly sublime literary passage, do you not break temporarily into another realm? This is probably what Murdoch is referring to, and it appears to be a common denominator of Agape, Philia, Eros, and Pragma at least. (Philautia would take more time than we have here to unravel.) So “Love” could very well be the appreciation of whatever causes us to transcend ourselves. And, since we don’t consciously control the cause of our transcendence, Love is blind. It comes unexpectedly. We “fall” in love. Somehow the person or thing hits the right buttons and whoosh! we are outside of ourselves and part of something larger.

And here is where our inquiry curls back into Progressive values. Inclusion, the acceptance of people unlike us, also has its roots in first, a conviction that there is an outside objective reality and second, a willingness to share that reality. Is it possible for consistent, sincere inclusion to lead to Love? Well…think Mother Theresa.

Tis yet another reason, among so many, to be a Progressive. Have a wonderful St. Valentine’s Day!

January 3, 2016
by Les Lane
Comments Off on REJOICE LUCKY PERSON!

REJOICE LUCKY PERSON!

December’s blog took a lighthearted look at our sometimes frenetic pursuit of the Christmas Spirit. It was lighthearted but it was also meant to be respectful, because it explored something very real and powerful – transcendence – a state of being above or beyond normal consciousness. (The Christmas Spirit is an experience of transcendence.) As wonderful as transcendence is however, it also happens to be one of the disconnects that lies at the heart of the perceived incompatibility of religiosity and secularism. Religious Christians hold up “drug-free” transcendence as support for their worldview and believe a supernatural soul is involved. Atheists think it’s a crock, or believe that only a natural brain is involved. We humans claim to have the ability to co-exist with complete strangers, secular and religious (irregardless of their views on transcendence) in a respectful, reciprocal, and mutually beneficial manner, but it’s easy to lose hope that this will ever come to pass if one does not see it manifested from time to time. So the question here is, where does one go to find peace on earth, good will towards others in a world divided?

Many who were raised Christian might point to the peace and good will they may have experienced within organized religion and individual church congregations. Indeed, people who attend the same church are often very supportive of one another, and this benevolence is sustained by transcendent experiences shared after concentrated study of ancient literature, participation in upbeat music, and prayer. But nothing in this world is free and there is a price one must pay to belong to such a group. Participants have to confine themselves to the religious/philosophical/cultural box inhabited by the congregation. Head to toe tattoos, and prurient couture, for example, would likely disqualify a person (at least unofficially) from real acceptance in a “God-fearing” Christian community. Prudish attire would be necessary just to block the chill rolling off everyone’s shoulders. A belief that the Bible is not the inspired (or literal) word of God because God does not exist would be a complete deal-breaker. Is this quid pro quo arrangement hypocritical? Is the peace and good will acquired at such a price the real thing?

It may seem obvious to some that conditional peace and good will (fully available only to those within the box) is hypocritical, since Jesus himself publicly flouted such distinctions, but keep in mind that boxes in general are the rule in life rather than the exception. If you are in a committed relationship, for example, and expect to stay there, you necessarily confine yourself to a box. At work, at the mall, at the theater, on the road, everywhere you go, every time you go, you confine yourself to boxes – shared beliefs and limits – and expect others to do the same. And why not? The world is a wild and crazy place, and slippery slopes surround us. The mind/emotion symbioses each of us embodies is arguably the most powerful force we will ever encounter. Controlled it can bring harsh reality to heel, uncontrolled it can destroy us, and anyone who has worked at a psychiatric hospital will tell you that nobody is immune from that potential destruction. Is it surprising that people feel the need for boxes?

The problem is not boxes. The problem is a desperate fear, conscious or unconscious, of everybody on the outside that compels zealots to first, drag into their box as many unwilling strangers as they can, and second, incapacitate those they cannot capture in order to neutralize the threat of that which they do not understand. This is where certain “religious” groups in America and elsewhere – not larger religious traditions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc., but sub-sets of these – have been very bad boys and girls. And their bullying has catalyzed a response some are calling “the new Atheism.”

The term refers to the fact that former live-and-let-live Atheists are on the offensive for the first time in recent history. They are calling religiosity out. And who can blame them? The American Religious Right and the radical Muslims so much in our faces lately are mirror-image poster children for violently imposed cultural and religious standards and practices. But while this cage fight between secularism and religiosity represented by the new Atheism movement has produced a cornucopia of fascinating and important philosophical discussion on the Web, it has also added to the strident cacophony of divisive rancor so prevalent in today’s cultural interface. Peace and good will seem further away than ever. Unless…Is it possible religion really is the problem? Is religion an obstacle to peace and good will that will eventually be sloughed off like an old skin? This is unlikely for a lot of reasons (read some of the debate on the internet), and, as it turns out, secularism is no more reliably virtuous than organized religion. Secularists can be as mean and reactionary as anyone else. Again, the problem is not necessarily the box one chooses to inhabit, but the fear of a world outside of one’s box that cannot be understood or controlled.

So, if universal peace and good will – peace and good will that can exist outside of quid pro quo boxes – can’t be found in either religion or secularism, where on earth should we look for it? Try looking for it among Progressives. No kidding. If you are a Progressive, you already know this. If you aren’t, understand that Progressives live in a box too, but it is big enough to include everybody, both religious and secular. Our limits are the universe and humankind (the jury is still out on space aliens). But if you’re going to party with Progressives, leave small mindedness and prejudice at the door. We are Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans, Omnists, Atheists, Agnostics,and other viewpoints too numerous to list here and we come in all shades (there is no such thing as race) and all sexual orientations and identifications. If you can step up your curiosity and acceptance a notch, then a roomful of Progressives is where you can find real peace and good will. Now the only problem is finding a roomful of Progressives……

Rejoice lucky person!! WHYR is hosting its next bi-monthly Progressive Social January 28th from 6 pm to 8 pm at the station (1623 Main Street) and we want you to come. Show up, eat, drink, have fun. Ask questions and tell us about yourself. Speaking of transcendence (cause we were), a roomful of Progressives is where you could find out that secular Atheists have transcendent experiences also (as do Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans, Omnists, Agnostics, and other viewpoints too numerous to list here) because nobody will be offended if you ask. Look – everything in this universe is interconnected in a matrix of influence. Deep cosmic mystery and food-and-beverage-assisted chillaxation are no exception. If you are a Progressive, come meet your brothers and sisters. If you aren’t, come get your mind blown and your heart opened. Hope to see you there!

November 29, 2015
by Les Lane
Comments Off on PURSUING THE ELUSIVE CHRISTMAS SPIRITUS

PURSUING THE ELUSIVE CHRISTMAS SPIRITUS

It’s that time of year again – when people get caught up in a frantic hunt for the Christmas Spirit, spending money, time and energy like they have extra. Pushing, shoving, jostling and grabbing so they can get a thing that, when covered in paper and handed to another person, will possibly lure this butterfly of happiness to a specific location, if only for a second. Listening to the same 80 or so songs that, if heard enough times, in enough variations, from enough voices, might briefly flush this quiet quarry out of the tangle within our hearts, souls, or brains. Cooking and serving a table-straining feast in an attempt to bring this elusive creature into focus within a culture that already shoves food in our progressively fleshier faces every minute of every day. (“Can you breathe?” “Barely.” “You’re not full yet. Buy a low-fat snack bar!”) But ’tis a rare thing the Christmas Spirit, and seldom encountered. We know more about Bigfoot. During the Christmas season, two questions inevitably surface: first, “What is the Christmas Spirit?” and second, “How do we know when we’ve captured it?” In an attempt to facilitate the identification and apprehension of this will o’ the wisp, the first ever bestiary of Christmas feeltudes (combinations of feelings and attitudes) is presented below.

A caveat: Like any other cryptozoological endeavor, this effort does not claim to be, or even expect to be 100% accurate for everyone. It is only a feeble first attempt.

Black Friday and Competition febris:

The careful preparation for Black Friday (where and when to meet, who’s car to use, how to wait most comfortably, who runs where in the store to try to get what when the doors open), the split-second action and reaction, the physical give and take…the cool-down… Is the feeltude catalyzed by this yearly, adrenalin-fueled event the Christmas Spirit? No. What you’re experiencing is Competition febris. Black Friday is a sports event in which you, a highly trained athlete, test yourself against others in a world-class arena. Look for the following distinguishing mark of Competition febris: it eventually metamorphoses into “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” The Christmas Spirit does not.

Methodical Christmas Shopping and Hilarem actio:

Trudging for hours through dozens of stores while hugging a hundred boxes and bags… Is the feeltude you get from the bright, cheerful sights, sounds, and smells you are bathed in during Methodical Christmas Shopping the rare and elusive Christmas Spirit? Nope. That’s Hilarem actio. There is joy in being around so much agreeable stimulation, as well as gratitude for 1. a break from routine, 2. your health, and 3. your bank account. There is sweet anticipation of the delight you hope to see on the faces of significant others, but Hilarem actio lacks stamina. After only 14 hours or so, it devolves into fatigue and crankiness. Later it can become downright debilitating if someone doesn’t like their present(s). Not so with the Christmas Spirit.

Christmas Dinner and Reatu liberum edendi:

The tribute to loved ones who have moved on, the careful preparation of seasonal, family specialties like Maw Maw rolls, Mom’s butternut squash souffle, or Pa Pa’s pumpkin pie, the dreamy anticipation of the participants and the physical bliss of those first bites… Surely the Christmas Dinner feeltude is what we’re searching for! Negatori good buddy. This feeltude is Reatu liberum edendi. It is without doubt a part of Christmas, but it also part of Thanksgiving and Easter. The real Christmas Spirit is only active after Thanksgiving and through the Epiphany (January 6th). It hibernates the rest of the year. (The Christmas Spirit that some merchants try to scare up in July is a contrived shadow of the real thing. Don’t be fooled.)

Christmas Programs and Operae nostrae vicaria experentia:

Sacred music performed by great church, college or high school choirs, A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life, performed on stage or on the silver screen, renovated and digitized retellings of Rudolph’s or Charlie Brown’s story… Gotcha! Close, but no cigar. The Christmas Spirit does often visit this feeltude, but it is not this feeltude. You are actually experiencing Operae nostrae vicaria experentia when you attend to these performances. (Kind of sounds like a Harry Potter spell doesn’t it?) The difference is that O.n.v.e. requires a million other people – writing, producing, performing, disseminating – whereas the Christmas Spirit requires only you and the universe.

Here’s a clue. The most accurate aid to identifying the real Christmas Spirit is your mood on December 26th. If you are only worn out after the madness has subsided and glad that Christmas is over for another year, you are like Linus in the pumpkin patch the morning after. You are still Christmas-Spiritless. The real thing rejuvenates and renews you, and changes you at a subliminal level. When you get the Christmas Spirit you know it.

Okay, it’s time for the reveal.

The most important thing you need to know about the Christmas Spirit is that it is quiet, like a leaf settling on a still pond. If whatever you’re feeling is noisy or busy, that ain’t it. It comes over you without fanfare or announcement. So…when Christmas spiritus does swoop silently down, your soul/heart/consciousness opens to the vastness of the universe and the music of the spheres, a breath of hope flows through the void and fills you like an autumn breeze, and acceptance and love of everything and everybody warms you to your tips. If you happen to be Christian you see it through the lens of divine manifestation, which sprinkles it with wonder and awe, but Christianity is not a prerequisite. Even though the Christmas Spirit smells like cloves and pine and sounds like a slow, quiet version of “Silent Night” if sung, it may actually be Oneness-With-Everything (experienced by several religious viewpoints) in different plumage.

As far as how one attracts the Christmas Spirit, the internet has some great ideas. It is important to remember, however, that it is less likely to alight while we are focused on doing something. Activity plays a crucial part in reminding us that where there is life there is hope, and lots of it, but a moment of contemplation, and appreciation of what we have, and of what’s possible in the future, greatly increases the odds of capturing Christmas spiritus. (Keep in mind that none of this is certain. The study of Christmas feeltudes is a new field. More research is needed.)

Seriously…Christmas is actually many things – too many to touch upon here – and it is profoundly personal. But it isn’t greed, it isn’t guilt, and it isn’t onerous obligation. Look below the surface. And relax.

We here at WHYR and the Baton Rouge Progressive Network want all of you to know how much you are appreciated, and we hope the Christmas Spirit, and all the other wonderful feeltudes of this special season, touch you in a profound and lasting way. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

November 9, 2015
by Les Lane
Comments Off on Change

Change

In one episode (“Flight Path”) of the great 1970’s science fiction television series UFO, a young, beautiful woman is threatened by a bad guy (under alien control) who is trying to jimmy her apartment door and shoot her. After brief indecision she remembers the double-barreled shotgun in the closet and blasts the intruder through the door just as he gains entry. He falls to the floor dropping his pistol which slides away, but then starts painfully dragging himself toward it to finish the job. How does she respond? Does she:

A. walk into the next room, light a cigarette, and escape through the window

B. pick the pistol up, put it on top of the refrigerator, light a cigarette and threaten the maniac with the other barrel of the shotgun, or

C. kick the gun away, put the sofa on him and sit in it, light a cigarette (they smoked a lot of cigarettes in this show), call the police and pull out a good book?

The answer – none of the above. She cowers in a corner of the room within range of the gun – without even lighting a cigarette – and waits, trembling and devoid of hope, for him to finish what he started. Ah…how times have changed. Nowadays the intruder would be a 250 pound troglodyte who would unceremoniously bash in the door only to get his derriere kicked by a 100 pound hellcat in a black leather jumpsuit.

It helps, if one wishes to understand what the heck is going on in these vintage shows, to be able to travel back in time and immerse oneself in the social mores and attitudes of that period. Not an easy thing to do. In this case, we must understand that first – attractive women were essentially porcelain angels. Showing a bit of grit was fine, and even a little sexy, as our protagonist did when she shot him in the first place, but taking it to the next level by threatening, or heaven forbid, shooting her attacker with the other barrel (option B) would have been crass, unseemly, and completely out of the question for any self-respecting woman. Better to die. Solving a problem through violence or the threat of violence, was the purview of the man. Second – the idea that any man (protector) would try to kill a woman (protected) was so ghastly that it literally paralyzed her. The sheer evil of it pinned her to the wall. Nowadays we take violence of all types and degrees for granted, but back then, with World War II still fresh in the social memory and fought over and over in movies and on TV, violence was relegated to certain closely prescribed circumstances. (The shock value of this type of homicide, however, did add immeasurably to the intensity of the show.) Third – option A or C would have introduced shades of gray to a black and white situation that would have caused considerable discomfort to the viewers. He was bad, she was good. He was powerful, even in his last moments, she was helpless. If this black and white situation wasn’t actually black and white, what other situations and attitudes might be suspect? It would have been too much to contemplate.

Times change, and most of that change is inevitable. Of course change brings destruction and dissolution – of attitudes, organizations, systems, physical entities, etc. – but no one would want to live in a world where nothing ever changes. Imagine living where you live how you live, surrounded by what you’re surrounded by, doing what you do in the way you do it with everything exactly the same… forever. If old stuff wasn’t destroyed, there would be no room, mental, physical, or metaphysical, for new stuff. There would be no creation of any kind.

Destruction and creation are the engines of life and existence. Take away the cycle of destruction and creation and you’re left with entropy – an infinite field of stable nothing. To try to prevent change out of a blind fear of the destruction it brings is to lose your chance at creation, as the political organization of ultra-conservatives that has animated the Frankenstein’s monster Tea Party will inexorably discover. But change these days is increasing exponentially, and a nagging question is beginning to surface. How fast is too fast? At what point does the rate of change in technology (smart phone apps), business (universal, omnipresent commercialization), daily routines (non-stop multitasking), private life (hovering drones, gps), etc., threaten our individual and collective psyche? The fact that so much has changed since 1970 that it is difficult to make sense of certain situations in the shows of that period is interesting. Is it alarming? Should we be concerned as a species, or do we possess the ability to just continue to speed up forever? In 1970, Alvin Toffler and his wife (uncredited co-author) warned us against out-of-control change in their best-seller Future Shock. The book spawned a new field, futurology, that attempts to predict and explain the future, but scientific studies and surveys that plumb the depth of our capacity to endure that future are very difficult to find.

Blind, mindless fear of the unavoidable change toward diversity and power-sharing has transformed the far-right into suicide bombers, willing to destroy themselves, their party, and the country in order to “save” America. But not all conservatives have lost their minds over this. A consultant with one of the recent moderate Republican gubernatorial campaigns agreed, during a private conversation, that change is necessary and inevitable, but added that it should be “methodical.” While “methodical” might be a little slow for many Progressives, the suggestion that change also not be helter-skelter is perhaps not completely off in right field. When it comes to attitudes about change, the difference between left and right might just be one of degree. This suggests compromise in our body politic might still be possible, you know – like it used to be in the perfect, golden-age past. Now that would be a change!

September 30, 2015
by Les Lane
Comments Off on Voting? Please!

Voting? Please!

Let’s get right down to it, shall we?

Stock reasons not to vote:

  • You are one of millions. Your vote won’t make a difference. It’s like spitting in the ocean.

  • You know politicians are lying when they have their mouths open and words are coming out. A politician’s campaign promises are like Listerine wafers in your mouth.

  • You don’t understand the issues and you’re too slammed right now to educate yourself. It would be irresponsible of you to vote. You should leave it up to the people who know what they’re doing. Besides, see reason number one.

Stock rebuttals to stock reasons not to vote:

  • Only 1/3 of eligible voters actually vote. So your vote does make a difference. (Okay, so it would be like spitting in Lake Pontchartrain then!)

  • There are actually some politicians who are not lying liars that lie. (Oh sure, and I’m the pope.)

  • It’s your duty as a citizen to inform yourself and participate in the democratic process. (Fine, you pay for a lawyer who can explain those ballot initiatives to me, or a political scientist who can dissect the policy proposals, or a psychologist who can assess the personalities, and I will go vote, if I can find time to go to the polls and stand in line.)

Hmmm…This may take a little more effort. Okay, try these:

  • When you vote you say to the universe, “I exist,” even if you have to drive, park, walk, and then – yes – stand in line to make that statement. It doesn’t really matter if the universe already knows you exist or not. Making the statement is not for its benefit. It’s for your benefit. It may be the most important statement you ever make because when you make it, you matter. Some people declare their existence by hurting people or destroying something. It’s much easier to do, but it’s also much more cowardly and much less impressive. Exert yourself a little and declare your existence constructively by voting.

  • Okay, so you declare your existence. Big deal. It felt good, but once done the big moment is over and the universe maybe still doesn’t care. Not true. When you vote you determine your destiny, though not in the sense, necessarily, that whomever you vote for will be elected and stick to his or her promises (see reasons not to vote above). Instead, as many philosophers and leaders (Ghandi and Emerson among others) have pointed out:

Your thoughts become your words.

Your words become your actions.

Your actions become your habits.

Your habits become your values.

Your values become your character.

Your character becomes your destiny.

Voting even once changes you. Sitting on your tush and letting other people make decisions without your input also changes you. Thoughts become actions become your destiny. Big things are actually small. You, for example, are the culmination of a “twinkle in someone’s eye,” a passing, fragile thought. The whole universe works this way. (Don’t make me drag out that old cliche’ about the mighty oak from an acorn. I will if I have to!)

  • Quantum physics will tell you that everything and everybody is interconnected energy. What you do impacts the universe.  What you don’t do impacts the universe.  The same sort of interconnection exists at the macroscopic level. Every look, word, and action generate multiple, and multilevel, emotional, physical, and philosophical reactions in others. When you vote you make ripples that continue long after the polls close. This happens whether you believe it does or not, so don’t waste your time and energy in denial. Just go out and make some good ripples.

  • Finally – and this one is slightly less philosophical – looneytune ultra-conservatives want you to stay away from the polls. They have broken every rule – legal, ethical, moral – at some point to keep you, or someone like you, from voting. If you don’t vote, you play right into their hands, and they all say thank you.

Keep this in mind also…If you are still alive you have learned how to judge people, at least to some extent. Forget all those ballot initiatives and all those policy proposals if you are pressed for time. Focus on the people running. You may not agree with everything they say, but are they good people? Read a little about them, from both sides of the political spectrum, and attend just one of their appearances. You are likely to enjoy the adventure and you will learn that first, they are regular folks, just like you, except they decided to go into politics. Second, they all have good ideas and bad ideas that you will recognize as good or bad. And third, they are easier to evaluate than you think. Go and see for yourself and then trust your judgment.

“‘Nuff said.” Go vote.