Race, Place, Space, Face

Tags

, , , , , ,

fullsizeoutput_1372

Space

Allowed the growth of Race.

Race is all about crossing Space
In the shortest Time.

F7CA676E-E4E2-4BF7-973B-9B57EBB6C77F_1_105_c

To save Face,
Many of one Race
Insist they own Space;
Want their own Place.

To win Face,
Someone might fake the Time
It took to cross a Space
And claim a Place
On the winner’s stand and Time,
Their grand Smile
For awhile, so in Style.

Style is a sign of Race,
Of Place,
What kind of Face
Do you want to Grace
What comes into and on your Place?
Your Face?
Your Grace?

29F8267B-8CC2-4FD4-85EA-B9E842DF9CD8

Is there any kind of Reason or Rhyme
To the Time
That we spend trying to Smile —
Trying to use Style
To win Face over Face,
If it means that Life
Is Rife with Strife?

3FC757BE-A645-4C45-B75F-BD101D6225AC_1_105_c

If there were more Time
And we listened for the Rhyme
Would we finally See
Eternity?
Infinity?
The ultimate futility
Of Racing Race over Race,
Face over Face?

IMG_9189

How Odd of God
To give us Life
And then program us to a Life of Strife.
Perhaps the Miller’s Wife
Was right all Along —
The Strong
And stupid “Might Makes Right”
Is just another way of saying: “Fight Fakes Sight.”
For if we could truly See
The Space
The Time
That separates you and Me —

680174EA-5910-4F9B-8C75-C15B3136FB06_1_105_c

Is nothing but illusion and a sick Joke
Not worth the Choke
Of atomic Fire
Ruining Desire
Forever and forevermore
(It isn’t worth the bleeding sore).

IMG_9815

We could reach our hands Out
Across the Space
And Shout:

“Race
Has gone! We’ve won, we all shall Live!
Place?
We do not care; we all shall Give:
Love to our common planet, our Space.
Love to our common people, our Race.
Love each moment of our common Time,
Echo, echo each to each our common rhyme.
Our common rhyme.”

IMG_0442

I think, it’s about Time.
Let’s save this Place!
Let’s forget Race.
Face it, Face
Is a Race that can’t be won;
We’re already one.
We are already One.

7551D277-6606-4C1B-9E06-5E4E44C81A64

We can pull and we can Push;
We can blow ourselves to Mush —
But the fact remains that we are One
So whoever wins hasn’t truly Won.
They are only has-been nth Place.
We are all the Human Race,
And we all share this little Space.

Listen to the echo of our common Rhyme
Let’s use Love — Love to fill our common Time.

A13D392E-DFD8-47ED-9D4C-5C3F3E6318CF


———————————————-

Author Page on Amazon

Start of the First Book of The Myths of the Veritas

Start of the Second Book of the Myths of the Veritas

Table of Contents for the Second Book of the Veritas

Table of Contents for Essays on America 

Index for a Pattern Language for Teamwork and Collaboration  

Serious Fun and Games

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

woman holding white plumeria flower

Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on Pexels.com

Tu-Swift watched the small party leave and chewed the inside of his lips. Though he understood the “rationale” that Many Paths had given for the composition of the search party, he suspected that her real reason for leaving him out was more personal. She wanted to keep Tu-Swift close at hand. True enough, his knee still didn’t act quite right. He would walk along just fine for a time and then, he would just slightly misjudge the ground and a rock might slide a little to one side or the other and his knee would suddenly “give out.” Riding wasn’t much better. Although he was now second only to Jaccim in skill, he couldn’t ride for long. Tu-Swift wanted to be among those who first encountered the Veritas beyond the twin peaks. He had dreamed of being there when she was reunited. What, he wondered, if she never returned here? He stared at the long and beautiful ebony hair of Cat Eyes and remembered how it had pleasurably whipped his face on that wild flume ride. She turned back and grinned at him; waved; he could see the sunlight making a kind of dark rainbow in her hair. He waved back. Tu-Swift hadn’t noticed Sooz walk up behind him so that when she spoke it startled him. 

“You like her, don’t you?” 

“What?! Oh, Sooz, sorry. I … well, yes. I mean, don’t you?” 

Sooz smiled with her mouth but her eyes remained tight. “Oh, yes, she’s quite smart. It’s been fun working with her — and you — to better understand that game she brought with her from the ROI. Want to play?”

IMG_0673

Indeed, many of the Veritas had made some contribution to understanding the game, but Cat Eyes had been crucial in understanding. True enough, thought Tu-Swift, she was smart, but mainly, she had helped the most because she had seen the game played. Although, as a slave, they had never asked her to participate in the Giant settlement of the Z-Lotz, she had in the last few weeks, under the direction of Many Paths, been able to calm her mind, shut her eyes, and systematically “revisit” memories of watching the game played. She had not only seen in her mind’s eye what the throws and moves were; she could also recall what had been said and note the reactions on people’s faces. Playing the game proved to be fun for those Veritas patient enough to learn it including Tu-Swift and Sooz. And playing the game improved the speed with which they could decode the characters written on the many leaves that Eagle Eyes and Lion Tamer had returned with. 

“I would like to play with you, Sssooz. How about another game instead?” 

Sooz blushed. Tu-Swift and Sooz had been working on a secret code for communicating between the two of them. They said the same word, but in different ways. They would change how long they held on to one of the sounds that nature had long ago given the Veritas and that variation would change the meaning. The also said the words with a slightly different tone structure. They had worked together for several weeks on a kind of magic trick and were about to perform it in front of Many Paths and She Who Saves Many Lives. Tu-Swift and Sooz had made a pact not to let anyone else in on the secret quite yet. If they could pull off the trick in front of those two — and Eagle Eyes — then, they would reveal it to everyone. 

A7A8D582-4B4A-4A7C-99CD-F4B9ADB9E82A

Tu-Swift believed this could prove useful as one of the new weapons of the Veritas. Many Paths had asked Tu-Swift to lead an effort to develop weapons that could be used without anyone noticing, including, if it came to that, the Z-Lotz who might try to kill or capture all of the Veritas. Tu-Swift had not wanted to contemplate being captured again, and the idea that all of the Veritas might be enslaved was horrendous. And yet, he could see the wisdom of preparation for such an eventuality. He reckoned that if he and Sooz could fool Eagle Eyes, Many Paths and She Who Saves Many Lives, they would be able to communicate secretly even if the worst came to be. 

Tu-Swift pulled a piece of birchbark from inside his tunic, walked over to a nearby charred log and broke off a small piece of charcoal. He carefully wrote a few strokes on the birch bark and handed it to Sooz. She read aloud, “Kiss me.”  

close up photo of woman s face

Photo by Charry Jin on Pexels.com

Tu-Swift leaned over and whispered, “If you insist.” He kissed her lightly on the lips. It felt good. He wanted to write her some more when a small and very familiar voice called his name. 

“Hi Tu-Swift! Are you two playing a game? Can I join?” 

It was Day-Nah. Day-Nah was gradually becoming more friendly with all of the Veritas but  still felt most comfortable when he was with Tu-Swift. Usually, Tu-Swift enjoyed his company but he scrunched his face up at the current interruption. I will have other opportunities, I suppose, thought Tu-Swift. He glanced at Sooz who noted the chagrin on the visage of Tu-Swift and chuckled. She smiled at Dah-Nah and said aloud, “Ssssure, Day-Nah, we wouldddd love to have you join in our reading game.” She winked at Tu-Swift with an eye that Day-Nah was hidden from Day-Nah. 

Despite the momentary disappointment, Tu-Swift had to smile at her hidden message which promised much more later. He looked at Day-Nah and smiled at him as well. “We’re practicing making marks and saying them. Here. You put some marks down. Let’s see whether we can say what you meant.” Tu-Swift gently took the birchbark from Sooz, stroking her hand as he did so and surreptitiously smudging what he had just written. He handed the birchbark and piece of charcoal to Day-Nah. He had expected Day-Nah to put down one word. Instead, Day-Nah was making a whole forest of marks. At last he handed the birch bark back to Tu-Swift. 

Tu-Swift shifted position so that he now say shoulder to shoulder with Sooz. Together they looked and read aloud. “?We go? ?See the whole collection? ?Again?” Tu-Swift sighed and glanced at Sooz. She made the slightest nod. They stood and walked across the cleaning and over to one of the many storerooms of the Veritas. Many Paths had asked for the table acorn-smashing table to be cleared. Several stumps already provide sitting. In the early spring, this table was used for mashing acorns that had been softened and de-bittered over-winter in the swamp. For now, people of the Veritas at various times came in and practiced decoding the marks. Everyone had been instructed to be very careful not to harm the delicate leaves of bark.  

It took a moment for the trio to become adjusted to the dim light. Day-Nah, the youngest, had adjusted the most quickly. He took the first leaf and stared at it. It seemed laid out differently from all the others. This first leaf of thin bark had many large spaces in it while all the other leaves were largely filled from top to bottom. Only a few spaces popped up here and there. Day-Nah began to turn his head this way and that. 

Tu-Swift’s inner eye suddenly showed him that flash of the long dark rainbow hair of Cat Eyes and he sighed. He said aloud, “I hope our searchers are able to find our cousins — there is no map. Jaccim says he knows the way, but I think his horse may know the way better. You know, horses are pretty amazing Sooz. I hope you someday get to ride one. They are big, but there’s no need to be scared.” 

horse near trees

Photo by KML on Pexels.com

Day-Nah muttered, “Map?”  

Tu-Swift shook his head. “What map? They don’t have any map. We’re taking about horses now.” 

Day-Nah, who generally seemed quite attuned to Tu-Swift’s every move, ignored Tu-Swift. He furrowed his brow and said again, “Map?” 

Sooz said kindly, “What map are you talking about, Day-Nah?” 

Day-Nah lifted up the first leaf and said, “This map.” 

Tu-Swift’s brows furrowed and he shook his head. “That’s not a map Day-Nah. It’s just the first leaf.” 

Day-Nah ignored them and put the first page up against a nearby pot so that it was nearly vertical at one end of the table. Then, he began arranging the leaves on the table. After about half of them were arranged on the table, Tu-Swift said, “Come Day-Nah, what is this nonsense. I thought we were going to practice. What are you doing?”

Day-Nah said again, “It’s a map.” He continued arranging the leaves carefully. “Now, go over to the door and tell me what you see.”

Tu-Swift sighed. “I won’t be able to see the marks from there. I mean, I will be able to see them but I won’t be able to tell which mark is which.” 

Day-Nah, said with some insistence in his voice, “Try it.” 

Tu-Swift sighed. He tried to be lenient with Day-Nah. As traumatic as it had been for he himself to have been stolen from his tribe, he imagined it had to be even more traumatic for Day-Nah. But now the kid was being annoying. He shook his head and walked over to the door. He stared at the leaves carefully laid out on the table. 

FE330504-4067-401B-9EAA-E0B393F875CE

“Are you happy now, Day-Nah, just as I suspected, I cannot decode a single one of those marks from here. I almost have them memorized but I cannot actually discern them. They are just … just … Turtle in the sky!!” 

Sooz looked at the wide-eyed expression on Tu-Swift’s face. “What are you talking about? Have you both gone crazy?”

Tu-Swift gestured frantically. “Come over here! Come over here, Sooz! Look!” 

Sooz dutifully stood though she shook her head and slowly walked over. “My eyesight’s not any better than yours, Tu-Swift. I don’t even think Eagle Eyes could…” 

And then Sooz saw it too. The small markings could not be discriminated from each other but when the leaves were arranged thus, larger characters stood out. Those characters could be made out. She said them aloud: 

“Life must balance. Freedom and discipline. Work for self and work for tribe. Work for self alone ended the world for Orange Man and then greed ended the world. Now, we rebuild.” 

Tu-Swift swallowed hard. That was the essence of the story contained in the pages. The Orange Man had destroyed a tribe — and himself. But — the world? Everyone knew that too much greed was very strong and very bad medicine. How did Day-Nah know this was a map? With a sudden inspiration, Tu-Swift opened the shutters of one of the storehouse windows and walked outside. He peered in at the leaves arranged on the table. Now, he could see yet another pattern of characters that stunned him into a long silence. 

“Love/Unity makes Life. Greed/Division makes Death.”

shirtless man sitting on a rock

Photo by Darren Lawrence on Pexels.com

—————————————————-

Author Page on Amazon

Start of the First Book of The Myths of the Veritas

Start of the Second Book of the Myths of the Veritas

Table of Contents for the Second Book of the Veritas

Table of Contents for Essays on America 

Index for a Pattern Language for Teamwork and Collaboration  

The Pie of Life

Tags

, , , , , , ,

close up of tasty looking baked goods

Photo by Nishant Aneja on Pexels.com

There isn’t just the one pie, of course. A decent bakery will have quite a variety. Pecan pie, warm, with some vanilla ice cream — the warmth and richness of the pie while the creaminess of the melting ice cream! Key Lime pie — sweet, sour, and a hint of exotic bitterness. Chocolate cream pie — is it really more of a candy or a pie? On occasion, I’ve made pies from scratch that are filled with freshly picked blackberries or raspberries. If you’ve never had one fresh out of the oven — barely cool enough to eat — you should really treat yourself. The same goes for apple and cherry pie!

berry blueberries blueberry cake

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Most people in their daily lives are generous. They find it’s more fun to share a wonderful pie than secretly steal every piece for themselves. Most people you know and most people I know realize that in order to get anything significant done, they have to work with other people. And, while I, like many people, love to play competitive games and sports, all of life is not a competitive sport. It isn’t about taking the most pie you can regardless of consequences.  

In a zero-sum game, we imagine that there is only one pie. We have to split it and if you get more, I get less. 

But is everything in life like that? Is anything in life really like that? Even competitive sports like tennis where one person or team wins and the other loses is not truly a zero sum game. There is the benefit of fitness and improving your game and the sheer joy of playing. And most of life is like that — including pies. When we think about how to split the pie, we may want to consider other things such as: 

farm land during sunset

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How did the pie get there? What is the proper share for the people who grew the wheat? The miller who ground the flour? The truck driver who drove the flour truck to the store? How about the grocery clerk? The bagger? The person who cooked the pie? How about the person who tinkered around until she or he developed an excellent recipe? How about the people who had lived for thousands of years with the cinnamon trees and then had their villages and way of life destroyed so that the cinnamon trees could all be cut down? How about the people who cut the sugar cane? How about the policeman who protects the pie and the fireman who comes to save the bakery if it catches fire? How much should they all get? 

Trying to “determine the fair share” by measuring everything and “calculating” it by formula would be endlessly tedious. The inefficiency and waste and lack of innovation in the former Soviet Union demonstrated the futility of detailed central planning. In many places, society has developed a system of exchange based on money. The idea is to let the market “decide.” 

That system only works when people have approximately equal power and when they have equal justice under the law. When capitalism is combined with unequal justice, it quickly devolves into tyranny. Owners of corporations can get almost all of the pie for themselves and leave only enough crumbs for the workers to barely stay alive and eke out a living. To the extent that workers can be replaced by robots, it isn’t even necessary to give workers crumbs. 

Suppose your young child is deathly ill with pneumonia and needs penicillin. Suppose I am the only pharmacy in town and the roads are closed so that the only way for you to get the necessary penicillin is through me. As the pharmacist, I may have paid all of one thin dime for the medicine you need. But, assuming you love your child as much as most parents do, I can charge virtually any price. Any price. Think of that. I can not only gain your car, your house, and every dime you own. I can also make you an indebted servant. 

baby child close up crying

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Imagine a world in which there are many employers and many workers. Each worker has many possible jobs they could do and every company has a choice among many workers. In such a system, there is some balance of power. An employer who pays low wages or who provides bad working conditions will find themselves without enough workers to get the work done and go out of business. Similarly, a worker who goofs off or insists on very high wages will not be hired. But do we have a balance like that? In a land of many small companies and many small family farms, there is some balance. But today? In many cases, there are a small number of very large corporations who together hold almost all the power. 

If, in addition to the imbalance of workers versus owners, the rich owners have now bought much of the government. Legislation to protect workers and consumers is not even being brought to a vote in the Senate. The Trumputin administration is rolling back food safety regulations, air pollution regulations, water pollution regulations, and healthcare. The justice department and the US intelligence agencies — who used to be filled with nonpartisan experts — are being destroyed from within. Ultimately, it means that every penny of wealth created by workers can be stolen by the richest and most powerful people in the country. Even now, some of the richest corporations and people pay zero taxes.

woman in black dress holding balance scale

Photo by JJ Jordan on Pexels.com

 

Many of the corporations don’t really have competitors. They spend money on lobbying and advertising. They don’t want to spend money on innovation and invention because that changes the nature of the game and so — they could potentially lose their monopoly power. In other words, none of these people are spending much resource on inventing new types of pies. They are protecting the rules that give most of the pie to them. Similarly, companies buy start-ups of potentially disruptive innovations, not in order to integrate inventions into their product lines but to prevent those start-ups from becoming competitors. 

Since most of us in America will soon be paying our tax bill, it might be time to consider this:

If you work two full time jobs in America, you can barely make ends meet and you will pay taxes on your earned income — not a lot — but more than some billionaires. If you are a highly talented writer, actor, consultant, scientist, and you work 80 hours a week, you might earn $200,000 a year and you will pay a lot of taxes on that money. On the other hand, let’s suppose that you inherited $10,000,000 and you invest $4,000,000 in the stock market. You will easily make $200,000 a year on that money while doing nothing for the whole year. You can spend your time watching TV, playing golf, or dressing up lizards. But your tax rate on the $200,000 you got for nothing except being born rich will be less than the talented person who works full time. 

How we divide up the pie makes a big difference. And we are becoming less and less fair about that and — perhaps even worse — we are no longer putting as much resource into growing the pie and inventing new types of pies. Meritocracy is being replaced with cronyism and a “might makes right” mentality. 

close up photo of spider

Photo by Michael Willinger on Pexels.com

While competition is a part of life, it is not the whole of life. Life cooperates with other life all the time and at every level. In our bodies, if we are healthy, the cells of every organ work together to promote life for the whole. In cancer, a few cells decide to suck all the resources into themselves. And — that’s what happening here in America. 

How’s it going where you are?  

Do you invent new kinds of pies? Do you help improve the recipes? Do you get a fair share? Or, do you find yourself fighting all day just to get a very little bit of a very large pie? 

white and brown bird

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

————————————

Author Page on Amazon

Index for a Pattern Language for Teamwork and Collaboration  

Piano

Tags

, , , , ,

4299C386-2C7D-4F31-88D3-E84AFE551465

 

Strike! the keys then smoothly skim along.
Strike! piano then sing your song.
Strike! down harder as the music flies.
Strike! once more as the music dies.

Murmur so softly to the moonbeams of blue
Whisper quiet to the desert night.
Rolling, caroling, dancing, whirling,
Murmur down to nothingness and silence long.

Triumphantly, the snow falls now,
Majestically were love’s enow.
Chord full rich. Chord weird whines.
Empty fifths flow futilely along.

The rhythm picks up in a waltzing gate
And all the dancers can hardly wait.
The melody’s thinking, “All is great!”
This orgy of music will satiate.

Mellow and sadly, slowly going,
Seeds of sorrow steadily sowing,
From painful pathos fire growing,
Mood and madness never slowing.

Strike! the keys both loud and strong.
Strike! piano then live your song.
Strike! down harder as the music flies
Strike! once more as the music dies.

55604266-EDA8-45E3-9D1A-DDDE8E216D93

 


Author Page on Amazon

Start of the First Book of The Myths of the Veritas

Start of the Second Book of the Myths of the Veritas

Table of Contents for the Second Book of the Veritas

Table of Contents for Essays on America 

Index for a Pattern Language for Teamwork and Collaboration  

 


A Suddenly Springing Something

Tags

, , , , ,

adorable animal baby cat

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

I thought it was an apropos time to remind people of what really matters: life, love, truth, curiosity. This poem was from 2004. The cats bookending the poem are cousins to Jones and Sirius and taken at the approximate age when this poem was written.

A Sudden-
ly

Spring –
ing

Some –
thing!

Two Courageous
Ridiculous
Sputtering
Kitteny
Little
Furry
Balls of Hellfire!

Two Demanding
Loving
Roving
Fighting
Biting
Leaping
Back-bending
Over-arching
Maddeningly
Swaying
Pouncing
Little Furry Balls of
Hellfire!

Jones and Sirius:
Two Snooping
Into every
Teeny crevice
Nosing out
Empty cans
Empty wrappers
For every scrap
Of cheese whiff
Or oil drip
In the cracks of tin foil
Growling
Little Furry Ball
Of Hellfire!

A tag-team, dynamic duo;
One cave-black and one marmalade;
Skittering over my keyboard
Chasing the cursor on my screen
Grabbing at my sox, my belt,
Chasing my tying lace-tips
Scrabbling up my shins
Snapping at my pencil and my pen
Jackknifing dive without a when
Little Furry Balls of Hellfire!

Purring, sleeping, curled and cuddled
Into the crook of my arm
Warmth feeling warmth
I laugh inside, I smile inside
At my little furry furies
Who remind my mind
Of Gandhi and Goodness.

Ultimately, Love,
Love is Strong
And will outlast
The longest Wrong.

cute short fur black kitten with blue eyes

Photo by Lad Fury on Pexels.com

Here below are the real Jones and Sirius, but grown up. Jones, left, loved everyone and everything. He stayed curious & affectionate till the day he died. Sirius proved to be a very smart cat, but would brook no non-sense. He was the most difficult cat any of our vets ever had to deal with. Yet, he was affectionate with us and with Jones.

A9BEF067-4F4A-43CB-8D03-4984AB1FD0AB

 

1501AD95-B215-428B-B1A6-FE8D037FDB65

601B457C-A539-4A1F-85BC-06A597EB9749

Wartime Playtime

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Tu-Swift laughed. 

BDAD5D7D-3543-4705-9A06-7CD7659129E4

He had mastered juggling four sacks, or four rocks and had been working all morning on five, but with little success. Sooz shook her head and chuckled good-naturedly. “Don’t give up, Tu-Swift. You’ll get there.” Then, after a pause, she added, “Though you may be an old man with a long white beard.” 

“What? You’ll pay for that!” He began to chase her around the training space. Being lighter, Sooz could turn more quickly. After a few moments, Cat Eyes appeared. Tu-Swift called out, “Help me catch this fox! I can’t turn fast enough!” 

Cat Eyes laughed as well. With a serious note in her voice, she added, “You shouldn’t be trying to turn fast. Let your knee heal, would you?” 

1A559AF5-59A6-4D1E-929D-B09054B43A89

Tu-Swift’s face darkened for a moment. The ground around them also grew dark as a passing cloud momentarily blocked the sun. He wondered briefly whether he would ever really regain his speed and mobility. Then, just as the ground grew sunny again, so did his face. Time would tell. Meantime…

Just then, he heard the deep voice of Jaccim. He was trying, but largely failing, to speak Veritas. With the help of Cat Eyes, he eventually made himself clear. He had asked why they were playing when there was likely to be a war which they should all be preparing for. They had been “marked” for war. This was no time for juggling nonsense or for laughing. 

Tu-Swift replied, “Hello, Jaccim. I see you brought your own clouds with you.” 

Sooz and Cat Eyes both laughed, though in a friendly way. Tu-Swift continued, “Jaccim, this is the way of the Veritas. Don’t you ever play?” 

Jaccim’s head snapped back and he frowned. He spoke and Cat Eyes translated. “Me? Certainly not! Play is for small children. Not someone your age. All of you should be preparing for war. It is serious.” 

86A389C7-4CD7-42E3-ABFA-A555A5BB24CB

Many Paths who strode into the training area overheard the last part of the translated conversation. She smiled at all of them and supplemented her Veritas with sign language so that Jaccim would directly understand as much as possible. “You are right. It is serious. This is why we play. We need weapons. New weapons. Weapons that no-one will suspect. That is why  we watch and listen to those whose minds are like water flooding over new plains. They will go ways that we cannot foresee. Nor can others. What shall we care who wins a war if life holds no joy? Every moment now is precious. This is what the Veritas always teach. But now that we may be on the brink of destruction, joy is more important than ever.” 

Jaccim frowned and answered with a mixture of sign language and broken Veritas. “What may be gained by juggling bags or rocks? It is foolish.”

Many Paths smiled at Tu-Swift. She put her hand into a fold of her tunic and brought out a knife and casually tossed it to Tu-Swift. She quickly threw him two more. He easily caught all three and began juggling the three knives. 

Jaccim opened his mouth to speak, but before he could formulate his answer in the tongue of the Veritas, he heard three odd sounds a little like a horse’s whinny and a little like a large rock hitting a tree trunk. He frowned and then his mouth dropped open farther as he saw all three knives sticking out of three nearby tree trunks. Tu-Swift had thrown all three underhand and hard into three targets. Jaccim tried to speak but nothing came out. It wasn’t that he did not know the Veritas words for what he wanted to say. There were no words. Even a sensible language like ROI could not help him. Tu-Swift, meanwhile, calmly walked over and wiggled each of the knives out and handed them back to Many Paths. 

6A476221-BDAD-4FC1-97A4-531C91BE04AC

She smiled at Tu-Swift and continued out of the clearing. As she reached the edge she looked back over her shoulder and said, “Keep up the good work.” 

Jaccim understood her words but not her thinking. She was supposed to be the leader. Yet she spoke of joy and play even though they would likely soon be at war. It made no sense, thought Jaccim. It’s what comes, he thought, of having a woman as leader. We would not have a woman as leader. Not the ROI. Nor would the Z-Lotz. It’s all foolishness. As the Veritas will soon discover for themselves. How had these people defeated the ROI and destroyed his village? 

Tu-Swift called out, “Many Paths! Have you a moment? I wish to show you something else!” 

Many Paths turned back, “I am on my way to meet up with Shadow Walker but I can see what else you have first.” 

Tu-Swift glanced at Sooz and once he had caught her eye, gestured over toward a contraption they had constructed at the end of the training compound. Two vines were suspended from a strong overhanging branch. The vines looped through a thick wooden plank which lay parallel to the ground. Sooz lifted a leg over the plank coquettishly as she smiled at Tu-Swift. He walked around behind her and pushed. He found pushing her surprisingly pleasurable and his cheeks flushed. 

back view photo of woman swinging

Photo by Ahmad Fauzi on Pexels.com

Sooz swung forward and then arced back toward Tu-Swift. Just as she stopped, he pushed her again. Each time, he pushed at just the right time and she swung higher and higher. After a score of pushes, he changed the timing so that he pushed against her momentum and gradually slowed her to a stop. 

Jaccim shook his head. He could see no reason for such frivolity. 

Tu-Swift walked over to Many Paths. “We had been swinging on a single vine and Sooz thought this would work — and it did. But the thing we really wanted to show you is this. He walked over to a small pile of straps made of softened hide. He put a stone in a small, broad but shallow pit in the strap. He motioned for the others to stand behind a nearby tree and peek out. He put both ends of the strap in his hand and began whirling it around his head. He suddenly let go of one end and the stone went flying. It thunked loudly into one of the small, dead pine trunks that had been partly buried in the ground. Many Paths led the others over to see the result. The stone lay buried in the trunk. She nodded. “Nice,” she said. 

Many Paths nodded again. “Yes. This is good. You have an almost endless supply of stones. Imagine these flying into an army from many directions at once. It will be hard to defend against.” Many Paths smiled again at Tu-Swift and set off to meet up with Shadow Walker. 

As Many Paths left the clearing, she ducked under an overhanging branch of Witch Hazel and spoke aloud, “Thank you for your medicine.” She walked down a sweetly curving path toward a small spring. Three pink flowers, Lady Slippers, poked their heads through the dark greenery. She began thinking about the sedation caused by Lady Slippers and recalled what She Who Saves Many Lives had said. “After the sedation wears off, one may be nervous and high strung for a time.” Many Paths had only tried it twice and she experienced exactly what the elder had described both times. It had felt a lot like the way that the roots of Sweet Flag made her feel. But after the effects of Sweet Flag wore off, it made her feel tired and groggy. Odd, she thought. 

She chuckled at the swinging seat that Tu-Swift and Sooz had created though she couldn’t see how that led to the sling weapon he had shown her. It all had to do with the timings of the pushes, she reminded herself. Suddenly, many paths stopped. 

She thought of the swing, the pushes, the Lady Slippers, and the Sweet Flag. What if… what if I pushed with a little Lady Slipper and then… just when it began to wear off, I pulled with some Sweet Flag…a person might become very nervous and want more Lady Slipper… what would happen if they were pushed and pulled higher and higher? I wouldn’t poison the person exactly. Would it tear the body apart? Tearing the people apart with such pushes seemed to be what was indicated in the strange tales scribed into the sheaf of leaves that had been discovered by Lion Slayer and Eagle Eyes. Could that really happen? Was there a way to tear apart the Z-Lotz? Was there a way to tear apart the Veritas? And, if so, how could it be prevented? 

B723FC76-0CC5-4DDB-8A0B-DFADBB1884FD_4_5005_c

———————————————-

Author Page on Amazon

Start of the First Book of The Myths of the Veritas

Start of the Second Book of the Myths of the Veritas

Table of Contents for the Second Book of the Veritas

Table of Contents for Essays on America 

Index for a Pattern Language for Teamwork and Collaboration  

 

The Touch of One Hand Clasping

Tags

, , , , ,

red and brown castle landscape photography

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Japan, Tokyo, 1977. I walk crowded streets and beautiful gardens where care is taken for spaces as well as things that grow. I struggle — try to speak Japanese language but usually mispronounce “Key-Ray-Ee-Des” (It is beautiful) as “Key-Rah-Ee-Des” (It is dirty). I tip-toe through minefields of culture steeped in subtlety; lose huge chunks of flesh and karma with my thunderous, blunderous New York strides.

Shin-Ju-Ku: lights dim Times Square into grandmother’s fruit cellar. Row on countless row of Japanese stare hypnotized at small vertical pin-ball game called Pah-Chinn-Koe. This bright hustle bustle hassle hides deeper subtlety, deeper calm, inside, beneath, where foreign eyes can peer not.

city people lights walking

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

I enter Tokyo subway. Then — SHE enters — total stranger, totally beautiful, black hair, endless eyes. I, of course, having learned small little in my many minefield walks, look everywhere but at her. Better, SHE looks everywhere but at me. We ride, totally not looking at each other. SHE stands in middle — nowhere to hold on to — unprotected, beautiful, vulnerable.

Suddenly, train lurches. Simultaneously: SHE shoots hand out to only spot I can possibly reach while I shoot hand out to only spot she can reach. Our hands clasp strongly for instant and I save her from fall. Slowly, we release.

monochrome photo of couple holding hands

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Next stop, she suddenly rushes out. But — just before the doors bang shut, she turns — looks straight into my eyes. “Kohn-bahn-wah” she says (“Good Evening”) thus, Japanese beauty touches beyond body into very soul of clumsy Westerner.

snow capped mountain

Photo by Life of Wu on Pexels.com

 

Author Page on Amazon

Start of the First Book of The Myths of the Veritas

Start of the Second Book of the Myths of the Veritas

Table of Contents for the Second Book of the Veritas

Table of Contents for Essays on America 

Index for a Pattern Language for Teamwork and Collaboration  

Checks and Balances

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Checks and Balances. 

Yes, yes, we’ve all heard the term. And, many of us even know that “Checks and Balances” are in the American Constitution and in the foundational documents of other nations as well. But why? Are they really necessary? Aren’t “checks and balances” simply something that “gets in the way” and “slows things down”? 

Let’s see whether “Checks and Balances” are found in other types of systems. Consider a physical system. For instance, in your home, you likely have some source of electricity. Electricity is very useful. It can run refrigerators, TV’s, computers, water pumps, and toasters. If your home is to be safe, its electrical system includes fuses or circuit breakers. Why? 

Basically, a fuse or circuit breaker is there to prevent damage. If you are running an electric motor; e.g., like a drill or a garbage disposal, the motor might get “stuck.” Without a fuse or circuit breaker, the motor will draw more and more current and burn out the motor. Wires can also become frayed, commonly due to rodents eating the insulation, which for some reason, they love. If wire insulation is too frayed, the two ends of a circuit can become directly connected (a “short circuit”) and since the resistance becomes nearly zero, the amperage rises tremendously causing more and more heat which can easily cause a fire. 

orange flame

Photo by Francesco Paggiaro on Pexels.com

Home electrical fires in America account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage.

(See https://www.esfi.org/resource/home-electrical-fires-184 for more details). 

Yes, electricity is a useful tool! But where there is power and energy, there is also danger. Power and energy must be limited. That’s why your home has fuses or circuit breakers. The idea is that the current must pass through the fuse or circuit breaker and if too much current starts to flow it burns out the fuse (typically a small piece of copper) or “trips” the circuit breaker causing it to shut off current. Your car also has fuses and for much the same reason. 

Your automobile has many “checks and balances.” There is not only an accelerator; it also possesses brakes! Imagine a car that had an accelerator but no brakes. One of the scariest things that can happen when you’re driving is to have the accelerator get “stuck” in the accelerating position. It happened to me once. Even pressing on the brakes hard isn’t enough to slow the car. Or, at least it didn’t seem to do much for me. I was driving an automatic and needed to put the car in neutral. The engine still raced but at least the car slowed down. I kept tapping the accelerator with my foot and eventually it became “unstuck.”

red and yellow hatchback axa crash tests

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Nuclear power plants, elevators, cranes, and so on all have “Checks and Balances” built into them to minimize the chances of a catastrophe when something goes wrong. 

Biological systems, however, sweep the Academy Awards in the category “Checks and Balances.” In fact, life itself can be thought of as energy systems with highly evolved “Checks and Balances.” These “Checks and Balances” happen at the chemical level, at the level of tiny organelles inside a cell, at the level of cells, and at the level of individual bodies such as you and I have. If we get too cold, our hair stands on end and we shiver. Those things warm us up. If we get too hot, we sweat and our skin gets flushed. These two things cool us down. 

If our blood sugar level falls too far, we get hungry. We feel like eating. We eat. We digest food and our blood sugar level goes up. If it does up too fast, our body releases insulin which tends to bring it back down. 

woman wearing black jacket holding doughnut

Photo by Renato Abati on Pexels.com

By and large, these “Checks and Balances” work remarkably well. In some special circumstances, they fail for one reason or another. For instance, if we get addicted to opioids of any kind, we feel “better” after we take the opioids. We also become more “tolerant” of the drug. To feel “better” will require ever higher doses. When you quit, you feel worse and taking more of the drug makes you feel better. 

For some, gambling, sex, alcohol, and crime itself can function the same way. Many who rob a liquor store are doing it to get the money. But some of the people who rob a liquor store are partly doing it for the thrill. They enjoy doing something criminal in and of itself. Similarly, greediness can serve as an addictive drug. Being unfair and cruel, for such people, is not just the means to an end (e.g., becoming richer). It is the end itself. 

For such a person, taking more than their share of donuts isn’t just about having more donuts. The addictive joy is also in seeing others angry or miserable or hungry. The “Checks and Balances” in such a person are not working well at all. They need to wreak more and more cruelty on others in order to feel “okay” again. 

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, cancer is essentially greed at the cellular level. A cell somewhere in the body is no longer satisfied with its “normal” nutritional allocation. It is no longer content to perform its function as a muscle cell, brain cell, liver cell or skin cell. Instead, it “decides” that it will no longer perform its actual function. Rather, it is now “demanding” more and more resources from the rest of the body and its only function becomes increasing its own power and control over the rest of the body. Normally, cell growth and reproduction are also controlled by “Checks and Balances.” In fact, when cells become damaged and can no longer function, the body’s immune system normally recognizes that and destroys them. In cancer, however, the sick and greedy cell manages to “convince” the other cells that “everything’s normal” and those cancer cells grow without bound. As the tumor grows, it sucks up more and more of the body’s resources until the whole body dies — including, guess who? The ugly tumorous cancer cells grow without bound because “Checks and Balances” no longer work on them. Cancer cells cannot do anything “useful” for themselves. They are only able to suck value from the host body. So once they kill the host, cancer dies too. 

3403641F-071C-4611-A35F-AF9A548C7577

Original drawing by Pierce Morgan

“Checks and Balances” are also meant to work in complex social and political systems. For instance, in a democracy, if people are elected and they provide no value to the political body they represent, they will be voted out, in principle. But what if instead of providing value to the body as a whole, they provide value to a very few, very rich people? What if, in return for funneling the resources to those very rich donors, the rich donors help make sure that the candidate gets re-elected — again, and again, and again — even though those politicians only benefit a few. “Checks and Balances” have now failed. 

woman in black dress holding balance scale

Photo by JJ Jordan on Pexels.com

One important society system of “Checks and Balances” is the legal system. Imagine that there were no legal system — no police, no judges, no prosecutors, no juries, no laws. Now, imagine that someone robbed you or harmed your children. What would you do? You wouldn’t go to the police because they wouldn’t exist in such a system. Or, worse, they would be utterly corrupt. Some people would “turn the other cheek” but most people would set out to seek their own justice. They’d steal something of equal or greater value. They would harm the law-breaker’s children. And, it would often happen that they would not only get “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” but they would try to get “two eyes for an eye” and “two teeth for a tooth.” And, without “Checks and Balances”, who would stop them? The kin of the first criminal would try to stop them and sometimes succeed and sometimes fail. Without agreed upon “Checks and Balances,” crime, violence, rape, theft, would continue to escalate.

Eventually, like cancer, the violence would die. There would be nothing left worth stealing; no-one left living to rape or kill. So, like cancer, the violence would destroy everything of value and then would fizzle out because there would be nothing left to “feed on.” 

A functioning system of “Checks and Balances” results in houses that don’t burn down, bodies that grow strong and reproduce, and societies that prosper. What happens when we destroy the “Checks and Balances”? In the case of a house, in the old days, we could replace your fuses with a copper penny. A copper penny is much thicker than the thin wire in a fuse. It’s very likely we would end up burning your house down. Cells without “Checks and Balances” form cancer. People whose behavior lacks “Checks and Balances” become addicted, often to self-defeating behavior. Societies without “Checks and Balances” become, quite naturally, more and more unbalanced. This, in turn, leads to violent revolution (as happened in the American, French, and Russian revolution) or being overrun by other countries (as happened in ancient Rome).  

photo of person wearing guy fawkes mask

Photo by Vincent M.A. Janssen on Pexels.com

There are several main types of action that we can take to try to prevent the destruction of our own society. To the extent that any official “Checks and Balances” still exist, we can throw our own energy into slamming on the emergency brake. We can vote. We can encourage others to do the same. 

We can try to “disconnect” the source of power from the “car.” We can push for impeachments, indictments, recusals, article 25 invocations. We can encourage others to do the same. 

We can also try to perform actions that “should be” part of the normal “Checks and Balances” by ourself. If some group of people are being unfairly targeted for instance, we can go out of our way to make that unfairness less unfair. We can encourage others to do the same. 

i voted sticker lot

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

If one group of people is amassing power and wealth in an uncontrolled fashion, we can individually resist letting more of our own power and wealth get into their hands. We can encourage others to do the same. 

We can voice our opposition to a cancerous and corrupt system that has destroyed “Checks and Balances.” We can encourage others to do the same. 

———————-

Author Page on Amazon. 

A parable about the logical outcomes of unfettered greed and lying. 

An essay about why cancer must die. 

A Sci-Fi story about an AI system without proper Checks and Balances. 

Wilbur’s Story

Tags

, , , , , ,

{Starting in the fifth grade, Wilbur was my next door neighbor. We are entering a time of great danger, as are the Veritas. It will be a great danger to do anything to thwart the Putin administration. Yet, not doing anything may be a greater danger. So, I thought this recounting would be apropos.)

flight sky sunset men

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Wilbur’s dead. Died in Nam. And, the question I keep asking him is: “Did it help you face the Danger? All those hours together we played soldier?”

Wilbur’s family moved next door from West Virginia when I was eleven. They were stupendously uneducated. Wilbur was my buddy though. We were rock-fighting the oaks of the forest when he tried to heave a huge boulder over my head. Endless waiting in the Emergency Room. Stitches. My hair still doesn’t grow straight there. “Friendly fire.”

More often, we used wooden swords to slash our way through the blackberry and wild rose jungle of The Enemy; parry the blows of the wildly swinging grapevines; hide out in the hollow tree; launch the sudden ambush.

cascade creek environment fern

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We matched strategy wits on the RISK board, on the chess board, plastic soldier set-ups. I always won. Still, Wilbur made me think — more than school ever did.

One day, for some stupid reason, he insisted on fighting me. I punched him once (truly lightly) on the nose. He bled. He fled crying home to mama. Wilbur couldn’t stand the sight of blood.

I guess you got your fill of that in Nam, Wilbur.

After years of dangerous jungle combat, he was finally to ship home, safe and sound, tour over — thank God!

He slipped on a bar of soap in the shower and killed himself.

Wilbur answers me across the years and miles: “So much for Danger, buddy,” he laughs, “Go for it!”

close up photo of lion

Photo by Gareth Davies on Pexels.com

Thanks, Wilbur.

Thanks.


Author Page on Amazon.

Start of the First Book of The Myths of the Veritas

Start of the Second Book of the Myths of the Veritas

Table of Contents for the Second Book of the Veritas

Table of Contents for Essays on America 

Index for a Pattern Language for Teamwork and Collaboration  

 

Hauntings Across the Time Zones

Tags

, , , , , , ,

{You may have noticed that what follows is neither a furtherance of the narrative of The Myths of the Veritas, nor an essay about America. But somehow it seems relevant to both. The poem seems to reflect how many people in America currently feel …. and it also reflects what the Veritas would not do.

Hauntings Across the Time Zones

Caught between a rock and a hard place,
I just try to keep busy.
Busy, busy, blocking out the voices,
Surrounding them with noise.
Busy, busy, blocking out the images,
Enveloped in a flashy Vegas fog.

Surf the web and watch TV,
Mobile phone and rushing traffic,
Fast food and faster planes,
Double or nothing,
Promotion and prozac in equal doses.

Yet, instants pop though the time-warp.
I hear my anscestors moaning behind the fridge,
They waver on the overheated car hood.
“Greed never captured what it’s all about.”
Their hoarse multitudinous whispers carry far
Like a stadium roar across a winter’s frozen lake.

Then, an echo from behind the Dieffenbachia maculata:
The possible children of the future asking,
“Will we have water? Will we have bread?
Will we have air? Will we have plutonium? Why are you selling our birthright
For a bowl of plastic?”

Now, I hear the workers in the arches of my running shoes.
Some of them are surprisingly young or old.

But never mind.
I find
Again the busy keys,
Blocking out eternities.
The path is very narrow —
I must travel like an arrow.
I look nor left nor right
I see only black and white.