Friday, January 19, 2007


skywalking in Spokane.


This morning as I ran the electric razor over the wrinkles of my homely face, I got to thinking about consciousness, communication and our Chihuahua Chi Chi. Not long ago I read an essay about dogs and their uncanny ability to use humans as food sources and how they’d learned all their tricks basically in order to wiggle food out of us. Dogs were described as very apt parasites in symbiotic relationships with their masters. And, so, with complete superiority I let my thinking rest there for awhile. . . until this morning. Then I got to thinking back over my work life (a benefit of being in retirement) and all the masters that I had learned to please in order to earn my food, the skills I mastered (well. . . semi-mastered), the words I learned to please mommy and poppy, the social tricks for getting along. Well. . . what’s superior to a dog’s life and learning about all the things I learned in order to win my food from the complex culture I found myself born into?

We human animals sure like to pride ourselves on our free wills, but strip away all the ways we try to explain our behavior and down deep, we’ll see that most all of it is learned in order to get food, stay safe within the pack (or herd), and procreate. I don’t know what to make of those of us who got educations in the arts until I recall the movie, “Dead Poets Society”, and the claim made there that poetry was/is all about getting laid (which I sort of agree with when I think of all the ways I used my education in English and creative writing). The trouble is that most poets don’t put the grub on the kitchen table, unless they teach poetry or literature, and most women will eventually leave them for a man whose got a good job sweeping schoolroom floors. Don’t tell me different. I done seen it way to many times in my long and misled life.


According to an article in Newsweek (June, 2006) the Afghanistan Taliban know as well as our own fundamentalist Christians that “home schooling” is the way to brainwash children. The Taliban believes that “. . . the school system [in Afghanistan] is no more than a plot to impose Western ideas—even Christianity—on the country’s Muslim children. Back in February [2006], Taliban fighters threatened to shut down the only school in the town of Ghanzi, an hour's drive north of Kabul, according to Malak Mirza, 55, a local tribal elder. The townspeople sent back a strong message that the Taliban would be driven out of the area if the school was attacked. The Taliban relented on one condition: no Christianity (which is very occasionally taught in Afghanistan—surreptitiously—by zealous missionaries). They distrust any education that takes place outside madrassas [home schools]. ‘These extremists know that educated children are unlikely to follow religious extremism in the future,’ says Nadery. ‘The Taliban want to keep us backward.’ ”

I might add—so do fundamentalist Christians want to keep as many Americans as possible "backward". For only someone deeply uninformed, profoundly superstitious and biased could possibly believe a fraction of what the Bible tells them to believe.

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