A Cease-Fire by Any Other Name

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Having been around for a few millennia means that I’ve seen just about everything–over, and over, and over. I keep hoping that humankind will learn from their past actions. Be honest, have you?

Not only no, but hell no. You never learn.

Today your Vice-President, Mike Pence negotiated a supposed 120 hour cease-fire between Turkey and the Kurds in Syria. Sounds good?

You never learn.

This is better referred to as “time for Turkey to resupply, rearm, reload, and relax. They’ll start to rape, pillage, and burn again, either in 121 hours, or as soon as all Turkey’s soldiers have a full load of ammo, a full belly, and a full night’s sleep.

I know this –not because I’m a genius (although I am)–but because it has always been this way and I see no evidence of change.

Souls for Sale

 

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Over the past few millenia, I’ve seen many souls sold to the devil. Most–if not all–people made a terrible deal, selling their soul for pennies when it’s worth a king’s ransom. It should be evident to anyone what a soul is worth.

Christians, who sometimes need to be told things clearly (small words, short sentences, or parables) lest they misunderstand, should at least have a clue. If you believe that the Son of God died to redeem you, then what do you think your soul is worth?

I’ll wait while you find a calculator.

In any case, the current soul trade is definitely a buyer’s market. People are lining up to sell their souls. Buyers are only offering a smidge of a pittance. No one seems to care. If anything, the line of sellers keeps growing.

Now for the bad news–most people will have to wait until all of the politicians’ sales have been processed before they can even list their souls. Don’t expect too much, but–hey–its only your soul.

 

 

Precedent

Based on President Trump’s demand that he does not need to answer any subpoenas until certain conditions–such as a vote of the entire House of Representatives–are met, may I present this scenario:

Judge: “Mr. Johnson, do you have an attorney?”

Johnson: (tweeting) I don’t need an attorney. I will represent myself.

Bailiff: confiscates cell phone.

Judge: “If we may continue, Mr. Johnson you are charged with . . . .”

Johnson: “This is a political fiasco and I won’t  provide any information until the entire police department votes unanimously to charge me!”

Judge: “Mr. Johnson, with all due respect to Fox News (if any is, in fact, due) the accused is not the one who gets to set terms. The rules are already in place and you are expected to comply with them.”

Johnson: “This is a witch hunt! TERRIBLE! I’m being harassed! It’s all based on fake news! SAD!”

Judge: “Bailiff, given that Mr. Johnson is not President of the United States, would you please take Mr. Johnson into custody until he either is represented by an attorney or is prepared to present an appropriate legal defense.”

Bailiff: Half guides and half carries Johnson out. Johnson is still screaming.

Johnson: “I demand my phone! It’s my constitutional right to tweet! This is a travesty! (sound of his voice fades out)

Judge: Puts head in hands, brushes her hair back, and takes a deep breath. “Bailiff, to save me from calling a recess, do you have any acetaminophen?”

Bailiff: “Yes, your honor. Every day, your honor.” Passes a bottle of generic acetaminophen to the judge, who shakes two into her hand and with her bottle of water, swallows them.

Judge: Handing the bottle back to the bailiff, “Thank you. Please remind me to buy a large economy size bottle to keep here on my bench.”

Bailiff: nods

Judge: Sighs. “Okay, let’s move on to the next case.”

Bailiff: “Your honor, the next defendant is represented by Rudy Giuliani.”

Judge: Groans

Do You Remember Integrity?

Politicians are well know for their willingness to do damn near anything to be elected or re-elected. As Richard Jordan said in Hunt for Red October, “I’m a politician, which means that when I’m not kissing babies, I’m stealing their candy.”

Today’s politicians make that attitude seem downright saintly. Specifically, the Republican Party, which used to prize personal responsibility and fiscal conservatism is now willing to compromise everything because they fear the far-far-far-right white supremacists who adore Donald Trump.

Apparently,  there is no line to cross. They’ve been bought, paid for, wrapped in gift paper, and delivered.

And it doesn’t seem to bother them at all.

This Seems Familiar

As near as I can tell, your President is verbally feuding–or more correctly, twitterpating–with a swimsuit model. Based on my millennia (NOT Melania) of experience and observation, a swimsuit model is like a dancing girl, except that she doesn’t dance.

I wish I had a drachma for every time I’ve seen a powerful man distracted by a woman followed by his downfall. There was Adam and Eve, although that is fairly allegorical. Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra, King David and Bathsheba are all famous cases that were devastating for all involved. Then there was the young dancer who suckered King Herod into having John the Baptist beheaded. Her mother told her to do it–I can tell you with confidence that the dancer didn’t really dream about having John’s bloody head on a silver platter as an objet d’art in her bedroom.

Powerful people seem to believe that they’re too smart; that they’ll win every time; that bad things will never happen to them.

If these people are really so smart, why don’t they pick their fights with philosophers, scientists, or college professors?

Good or Evil

I’ve heard philosophers and theologians, among others, debate whether humans are inherently good or evil. Some claim that we are inherently evil and it requires some outside influence, such as religion or cultural expectations, to do good. Others claim that within each of us, without external action, there is the desire to do good.

I think that the phrasing of the question is the problem. We should instead ask, “Are humans naturally self-centered or communal?” Do we value the good of others more than purely personal benefit?

I don’t believe that we’re born one way or the other, but the priority of self vs. others is learned. Some learn a sense of community from the community itself, whether that is family, a religious organization, or another inclusive group. The key is whether a person can see something as more important than him or herself.

One of the most highly trusted groups today is the US military. On one hand, this may seem surprising because the purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. On the other, the members of the military are willing to die for a purpose they perceive as greater than themselves. While each service member defines their own values, their service starts with an oath to the US Constitution.

On the other hand, there are people who view life in terms of “What’s in it for me?” They, too, learned this. Some learned from family, business, or others who valued self first. Others may have learned it from a society that rejected them and they feel no obligation to such a society.

What have you learned? What are you teaching others?

 

Pleased to Meet You

Good day, sir or madam. My name is Diogenes and I am so pleased to meet you.

Over a few millennia, things change and even I must adjust. In my experience, it is by acting outrageous that I attract attention to my philosophy. I lived in a sewer, for crying out loud, and carried a torch in the daylight to be noticed, but now, to be outrageous, one needs to be . . . . . .. .

Courteous!

Eargggh!

Polite!

Garrgh!

Okay, I get it. Please tell me what truly interests you. I promise to listen intently.

Hmmmmm. Interesting.

Now, admit it–don’t you feel like a rebel? A libertine? A threat to society? All by sharing a thought in a polite manner?

Weird, isn’t it?