Monday, July 28, 2003

The international boundaries are falling and the mixing pot is bubbling rapidly as the stew of religion, morality, philosophy and law transforms through the heat and mixture of unequal parts. What will the flavor of geopolitical stew ultimately taste like when it's served? No one knows.

Just as the United States has embroiled itself in empire building in Iraq and set for itself the goal of transforming that nation into a democracy - when it has never known such a system - the rest of the world is struggling with questions that have never been asked before the end of the 'Cold War.'

The proliferation of drugs, the proliferation of weapons, the expansion of illicit trade of all sorts throughout the world, most especially in Russia and Uzbekistan - are only hints of the winds of change blowing worldwide, and the outcomes, the effects on all peoples of the world, will be momentous, without doubt.

How can we know what a small group of people living in the mountains of Mexico, Peru or Afghanistan will do when offered the opportunity to make money. Money, after all, is the driving force behind all the world's politics and all the world's wars. The veil of morality that hides the plain truth of this reality is thin indeed! Yet most people are fooled by its diaphanous distraction.

With America trying to export capitalism to third-world countries while force-feeding its allies on diplomatic manuevers that most find distasteful or outright wrong-headed, what can the U.S. public expect except retribution from those cultures that do not understand or agree with our vision of utopia.

Utopia? What a joke! There is no utopia on this planet. Only choices made by individuals - poor and rich alike - that put those people on paths that lead to unknown realities.

For America's administration to shove the tripe about a drug war down our throats is a complete absurdity but we continue to accept it as fact. And yet, our own administration actually conducts the sale and distribution of cocaine, heroin and marijuana in order to maintain its judicial system's importance. Rather than a reasoned approach to drug use the government wants us to believe in absolutes.. The absolute of moral certainty that dictates a war on drugs is 'right,' and the only way to deal with the so-called drug problem. Why are we supposed to believe a continued militaristic approach to drug sales and use will curb the cultivation, distribution and use of drugs? Doesn't the evidence of the past 500 years show us that lie of that notion?

And yet we go on allowing our government to waste millions of dollars each year on this perverse activity. Wiping out the drug dealers who don't play by the rules - rules set down by the European nations in line with the United States' own demands. Travesty! That's what the whole premise of policing the use of drugs in the world is based upon - travesty.

Open your eyes and see the reality of this world. Get past your limited, narrow-minded viewpoint that you've sowed into your character and step back far enough from the picture to see the true image, not the simple brush strokes and unreadable, shapeless colors that lies represent.

Have a nice day.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Roger Longiness (soft 'g') tells us, "We have to become a bi-planetary, tri-planetary, multi-planetary species if we're to have any hope of survival. This planet, inevitably, will become uninhabitable. There's an asteroid out there with our name on it. Or we might do something to our enivironment that will make the planet unlivable. So one of the five reasons we explore space is this: We must find new planets to inhabit if our species is survive the coming catastrophe."

How's that for an uplifting concept on a fuzzy Sunday morning? The background is this: NPR was interviewing Longiness (and I'm not sure that name is accurate, frankly) and the question was posed, "Why do we use human beings for space exploration if the goal is to expand science and the science can be done without human intervention?" He listed five reasons and, let's see, one was prestige - the prestige of having the technological sophistication to propel a person into space and bring that person back to Earth intact. When a nation, any nation, wants to join the elite group of recognized world powers, one of the requisites is active space exploration, according to Longiness.

Another reason is the obvious one - science. Yet another was capitalism - the profit-driven motive; yet another is military application. And though we don't yet have soldiers in space, ultimately we will. So is that five? Science, capitalism, military advantage, prestige and, oh yea, communication, that's the fifth. The drive for faster, more accurate communication, whether it's imagery, telephonics, text or television.

So there you have it. We have five reasons and five reasons only for exploring space with human beings as part of the payload. In the wake of the February Columbia disaster, many naysayers are attacking the space program in general, and NASA specifically. But I believe we simply must travel into the ether, expand our borders outward from this planet far as we can.

An addendum to Longiness' list could be this: It keeps us focused on something other than our selfish fears and self-centered desires. In other words, it stimulates our philosophical nature, that part of our minds that considers everything outside our limited allotment of time and space. Our inevitable shared fate - death - and our urge, no, our obsession with avoiding that fate.

And so it goes.

On a lighter note, Mort Sahl mentioned during an interview this morning that he was a speech writer for JFK for while, until the "old man," Joseph Kennedy, turned on him. Sahl recalled that John F. Kennedy said, in a private, disarmed moment, "Sex is nature's joke on men. And love is nature's joke on women."

Ponder that a while, and have a nice day.