GROWING OLD IN RAINY SPOKANE
A rainy day in old Spokane, and I feel very drowsy and ambitionless, but it’s a comfortable feeling, and I ought to honor it by doing nothing all day. The lawn is growing thicker and this Spring rain doesn’t help. Soon the lawn, the gardens, the flowers will demand more attention. I already got the “weed and feed” to hose onto the lawn, and the little bottles just sit there, telling me to get busy as I go in and out the back door. The weeds already own some of the back yard which I cleared last year preparatory to planting more xeric plants. Now I’m at square one again.
Growing old and thinking about death these days, I recall when I was younger and every time I thought of my death I could imagine myself in the coffin under the ground. It was terrifying. I know I’ve talked about this before, about the terror of being in a coffin alive under the earth. That’s why I used to be afraid of dying.
Now of course, I know death’s just a sleep I’ll slip into, dreamless, from which I won’t awake. There’s no god, of course, but I might be an experiment by alien beings who will awake me after I die in some other form. Actually, that’s a lot more likely than the fairy tale Christian story.
(Ten minutes later.) The drowsiness has passed. It was just the sinus pill I took to clear my head and ears because I was getting dizzy.
AN ORTHODOX NEOCON ISRAELI SAYS PSALMS ARE ABOUT REVENGE
For years I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen that the Psalms are full of violence and paranoia. Christians have looked at me like I was nuts. But last night (April 5) I was watching Nightline, a segment on the Jewish right wing in Israel which is as murderous as any Nazi party ever was.
These Jews want to drive out or murder any Palestinian who refuses to leave and thoroughly cleanse Israel of all non-Jews. They say it’s god’s will and all that nonsense. They sound like George Bush with his god’s will nonsense. And most of those Israeli Jews looked at lot like redneck American Christians, beards and all. They’re average Jewish citizens but, like most Southern fundamentalists, not very bright. One or two of them had facial tics and eye rolls that showed signs of mental retardation. Simpleton types, the kind easily led by emotionalism and ignorance into any desperate plan. Ignorant, yes, but scary none the less because capable of violence.
Anyhow... one of the Jewish extremists mentioned the Psalms and said he reads them all the time. He said, “Read them! Only two psalms about healing the sick and all the rest about ‘revenge’!” Finally, a man of the Old Testament noticing what I noticed many years ago. The Psalms are full of revenge and asking god to get even with enemies, asking god to kill other races and religions. That’s the psalms, that’s where a lot of American Christians get their anger and self-pity. The psalms are paranoid and filled with fear and resentment and the spirit of revenge. Read them honestly, you’ll see! But you must be fair and impartial when you read them.
W. R. GRACE AND CONSERVATIVES
Also watched a PBS show on the decimation of the population of Libby, Montana by the asbestos plague W. R. Grace Company created while mining there. And the pain and suffering caused by the mining giant is so obvious and far reaching, I had to laugh, again, at the silly Sears salesman who told me that no company would consciously kill off it’s customer base. God, sometimes, you gotta wonder what planet these neocons live on, and why they know so little of history. Is it a mental disease caused by listening to too much Hannity, Limbaugh and O’Reilly?
Actually, we know that the distortion of history which goes on on their shows is pretty complete and it’s beginning to hurt Americans ability to know and tell the truth.
WHEN EMOTION MUST DIE
I was discussing the role of feeling in the human animal with a friend at the Spike the other day. He says that emotion is a large part of human life and hinted we can’t do without emotion. But I see a day coming when humans are going to have to make some pretty tough, dispassionate decisions about human life. What will we do when we can predict much of the course of a human life before it’s born?
Let’s say we can predict accurately that a particular fetus will have an 80 percent chance of committing a violent assault and that the assault will 60 percent of the time result in a death. What will we do? Given those odds, carefully compiled by actuaries, will we decide to terminate the life of that fetus? What if we can tell that a fetus will 90 percent of the time develop a nonfatal but crippling disease in a culture which no longer has the resources to maintain that life in any sort of comfortable manner? What percentage will we decide is significant in any of these cases? How much is too much or too little? What will we do with such an unfortunate fetus? Will we coldly, dispassionately make decisions which benefit all culture even though for one family the pain would be great?
More importantly, does the pain have to be so great? Can’t the human animal learn to transcend selfish personal pain for a larger view of the good life? Most people, I know, are afraid of being so dispassionate. They are! But what will we do as human life continues to choke the arteries of the planet and we get to the place that we need to cut back procreative urges or die?
Of course, there is one hope which remains. That science, once it can predict the future of a fetus, can also find ways to correct the genetic defects.
"A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin." —H.L. Menken