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Somebody Can’t Trust CNN Anymore

I used to feel fortunate that CNN is accessible to me for free. Not anymore. I’m talking of CNN International – Europe. I had learned to enjoy the segments, all of them, and have become familiar with the anchor persons and field reporters. All of them.

Until Bernie Sanders happened. ❤

My first disappointment was when Fareed Zakariah discussed the claim of Sen. Sanders that had “no credible economic research”, so four economists said, about some economic dynamics (it’s also found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/sanderss-plans-make-republicans-look-serious/2016/02/18/4dbddb40-d684-11e5-b195-2e29a4e13425_story.html ). I was disappointed that the program and the post sounded like it was pounding Sen. Sanders’ opinions to the ground and so I had to search for information on names involved in the narrative. I counted the four economists out, as it’s obvious that they’re not supporting Sen. Sanders’ ideas on this. What I found out about the other name mentioned, an economics professor, (I read it here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/18/the-economist-who-validated-bernie-sanders-big-liberal-plans-is-voting-for-hillary-clinton/ ) is that aside that he is voting for Sec. Clinton, his calculations involve variables that can be “adjusted” to a point where the four economists involved would not have been able to criticize his results the way they did. I wish that Fareed Zakariah would have done a narrative in such a way that Sen. Sanders did not come out like an ignorant babbler. On the other hand, that he’s voting for one or another doesn’t say anything about his calculations. If indeed he is voting for Sec. Clinton and still talks positively about Sen. Sanders’ ideas, then it shows his innocent intention about the whole thing. (He speaks in an interview, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G-oHzb6DX8 .)

Moreover, another economics professor (in agreement with 169 economists) clarifies the correctness of the senator’s plan:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqIr45gRr-k  .

My next disappointment was when Jonathan Mann made it sound in one of his Political Mann segments that Sen. Sanders was not saying the truth when he claimed that he had been invited to the Vatican. The narrative ended by putting across to the viewers that it appears that Sen. Sanders had invited himself to the Vatican. Of course the senator was invited, by the Academy of Social Sciences that was started by Pope John Paul II in 1994  ( http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-04-08/so-who-exactly-invited-bernie-sanders-to-the-vatican ).

Today at this writing CNN International – Europe makes it sound that Sen. Sanders’ stay in the campaign is “hurting” the campaign of Sec. Clinton. It is an idiotic notion as seen from a few basic assumptions. (1.) If the election is democratic, and Sen. Sanders is winning a tremendous amount of votes, then staying in the campaign if fair both to Sen. Sanders’ aim and to the citizens who are yet to vote for him. These are both Democrats and Independents.  (2.) Saying that Sen. Sanders should drop out implies that his right to try for the office of the president is not acknowledged and the right of those who are yet to vote for him is denied.  (3.)  Instead of being positive about the fact that Sen. Sanders is injecting vitality into the whole voting process, making a myriad of formerly apathetic voters to come out and participate, Sen. Sanders is constantly and subtly being elbowed out of the process.

Just now CNN is discussing, with Wolf Blitzer, how the senator should own up to the Nevada chaos. It’s not as if he is altogether outrightly absolutely denying responsibility for the event. He has in fact said that he will investigate. He has in fact spoken that he does not condone any form of campaign violence (here’s a news segment on ithttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVPHNbTszUI&spfreload=10

and an analysis of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEY_KYD3sCY

and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0YT03p6qqQ  ). The issue is not with the senator but with the people who were directly responsible for the chaos. They are independent-thinking individuals who were witnessing a process that they perceived to be unfair. Why they were angry, why they were protesting, and why they became that passionately expressive cannot be assumed to have resulted from irrational idiotic views. It does not imply that the senator wanted the chaos to take place or that he had instigated or encouraged the reaction. It implies that there were real stimuli happening at real time that caused a corresponding reaction from those who felt disadvantaged by the process. What was the stimulus that produced this reaction? Were those people involved totally unreasonable? The other side dancing the tango has to be investigated, too. Here’s another analysis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTuH3jeIS-I

If Sen. Sanders’ voice had been largely ignored by the big media, his gargantuan campaign events not shown on air, his views sold as plain “socialism” with a poisonous tinge attached to it, and the phenomenon that millions have now become convinced of his vision in so short a time is not even a topic for mainstream-media discussion are just a few reasons why any sane supporter of his would now be calling the entire so-called democratic process nothing but foul. There are other issues that they also have the right to be angry about like the voting irregularities that are not discussed, the incidences of voting suppression, and the alleged disregard for votation laws by the former president Clinton; here: https://www.change.org/p/massachusetts-attorney-general-maura-healey-arrest-prosecute-bill-clinton-john-f-mitchell-violation-of-ma-election-laws

and here:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/3/2/1494728/-Bill-Clinton-Law-Breaking-at-Polling-Station-Beyond-Doubt-Video-Shows-Loudspeaker-Campaigning ).

I have no choice now but to surf the internet for news with regards to the US elections. CNN had just made my life less easier, so to speak! 😀 The downside is that I have come to slowly un-like their entire station! After all, a human being is entitled to her feelings. 🙂

Have a great day, everyone. Thanks for dropping by. Stay healthy!

🙂

Love the Girls

I am very much revolted by this document by the ISIS detailing guidelines for the enslavement or merchandize of girls.

I have several other issues to gripe about here*, but for now nothing prompted me strong enough to just break off from drinking my pu-erh + green + peppermint tea to just simply stand here and type away.

Granted that even in the Ten Commandments women are shown in there as among the properties of a man, it doesn’t follow that this topic of using women as so is (unconditionally) sanctioned by any deity in the sense that Greek-philosophy originating worldviews would interpret it from the wording in the text. Granted that you may not have any respect at all for the deity called Yahweh whose name appears in the context, it does not follow that this deity sanctions the “use” of women. (I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by my explicit spelling out of the Tetragrammaton.) The fact that you do not have any consideration for any so-called deity does not follow that you condone the use of women as commodity like you do with salt or toilet paper.

This is how the biblical text Exodus 20:17 goes, per two translations that do not use the archaic term “covet” (which means “to want something (which you do not have) very much”, per Merriam-Webster):
Per GNB (Good News Bible):   “Do not desire another man’s house; do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns.”
Per BBE (Bible in Basic English, 1965):   Let not your desire be turned to your neighbour’s house, or his wife or his man-servant or his woman-servant or his ox or his ass or anything which is his.

You may argue that this text came from the very region where ISIS proliferates, the Middle East. It does not follow that this is the way the entire Middle East looks at women: as a property/commodity at par with currency exchanged.**  You cannot tell me that Islam does not respect its women as much as Christianity does because my Muslim blood cousins are very much respected in their households, per my firsthand witness of it being so; on the other hand at the same time saying that Christianity itself has issues against women that are currently trivialized by so-called spirituality, per my firsthand witness of it.

So where does this violence in man stem from? Aha, this is within the realm of the problem of evil. This is a realm of complicated and long-winded arguments. I have hardly begun to step into this arena. But then my question implies the radical ingredient of the problem: the generic man, adam, the one who comes from and will return to dust. This adam decides whether to treat a girl as a form of currency or not, to treat a girl as an extension of lust or not, to treat a girl as a tool for the expression of desire for power over xyz, simply of the desire of being able, of having the capacity to be able to do anything without restraint. This adam chooses. This adam’s choice depends on the array of choices available. If this adam sees a choice that is for compassion, against suffering, for love, against exploitation, but refuses to choose it, then this adam by his/her own actions condemns his/herself. If this adam is not able to see this choice for love, then us, fellow-adam, what do we do about it?

What ISIS is concerned about is appalling to the maximum. Seeing that it is so, then what do we do about it in our own little world? You can speak about and against it. You can do a small or a big thing to fight it. But whatever you do, listen to that gentleness that speaks to you, so that you do not fall prey to the desire to have power over xyz (i.e., power over anything in any form, be it things or individual minds or massive enticements, etc.), to the strong urge to “move things” including the one that you deem “good”. Remember what Jesus of Nazareth spoke of which thing here on earth is “good”***, and start from there.
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Notes:
* A hugely popular actor’s pathetic power trips over desirable women who have been silenced for decades by the prevalent celebrity-worshiping pop culture and who are now gathering their voices together; the world’s incompetence at giving priority for arms race and space exploration over the education of the most vulnerable of minds — girls and children — that now is powerfully put into the limelight through the recognition of the effects of the lives of Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi by the Nobel Peace Prize; the dazed vulnerability of compassionate girls falling in love for ‘hurt’ men, not seeing nor protecting themselves against these men’s myopic self-absorbed tendencies as portrayed by the tragedy of Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius; the stupidity of the powerful few who insist that global climate change has nothing to do with man, and at the same time not being able to compassionately address the devastating destruction of homes and livelihoods and lives at the Pacific rim NOT THE LEAST SMALL (in all sense of the word) NATIONS SUCH AS THE PHILIPPINES; the ongoing exploitation of the richness of Africa in both sides of the Atlantic, both by not promptly addressing the color-divide issue (Those who say that the term “race” is obsolete, speak up!) and by mis/mal-educating Africa toward the temple of consumerism; to the lack of readily available arguments against the all-goodness of modernity, hence consumerism, hence the inevitable response to the need for “servants for the big house”, hence the callous or blind exploitation of the “household” help be it domestic, commercial, coming from the same or from a different cultural background; and for crying out loud, what’s this thing about “measuring” a girl’s morality against her state of so-called virginity as if a girl can by herself devirginize (herself) or that girls get themselves devirginized for the sake of being so??!!!!

** Though not directly in the sense of “currency exchanged”, Professor Christine Hayes of Yale University speaks of Israelite provisions (note: “Israelite” is different from “Israeli”, but I have no time to get into this here now, though I’m sure information on it is readily available in the net) in the Torah (that’s the original term for what is popularly known as the Old Testament) where vulnerable persons in the society, which invariably includes women and orphans, are expressly protected against exploitation, here:   http://oyc.yale.edu/transcript/952/rlst-145. It’s a longish read, but if you’re impatient then you can look over the part within which says, “So it’s also illuminating to compare the Ancient Near Eastern and the biblical legal materials in terms of the concern for the disadvantaged, the elimination of social class distinctions, and a trend toward humanitarianism.”, which is under Chapter 4. Radical, Characteristic Features of Israelite Law [00:29:58]. This is not to pretty-up the Bible here in the apologetic sense, but just to say that Christianity and Islam originated from a way of thinking, among peoples, that took care of systematizing compassion and care for everyone and everything within their way of living.

*** Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19 : “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. […]” (GNB)

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added 18th January 2015:

I’d say something similar for Boko Haram. If you wonder what a monster looks like, a hideous manifestation of evil, then it’s this group’s activities.

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Take care, everyone. Go out and breathe the fresh air. Get out of the shadows and soak in the winter sun. Fall in love. Greet the elderly. Laugh until your stomach hurts 🙂 hasta la vista!

Move, On

Once a long time ago I meditated on the instances of happy and painful relationships, either between lovers or between spouses. In my country divorce is not possible. The main reason is that it’s predominantly Roman Catholic, about 98% of the population. The other reason is the way we look at marriage as a permanent thing. Of course separation of spouses happen, as well as infidelity. But since the norm is marriage then even co-habitation is frowned upon. For many families it can incur ostracization of the young lovers. Parents who have cohabited for a long time do not generally make the set-up known, knowing that it will earn some stigma and will affect the children. If they have caring friends these will encourage them to officiate their union even if it’s only a civil rite. Also, civil rites are not as respectable as a church or a sacerdotal sanctioned ritual.

As part of our public education we would discuss marriage and domestic issues in school. One question that came up was if we are in favor of divorce being legalized. That question was taken by us seriously, us not having been raised in an environment where divorce is an open option. The sound of the word “divorce” is equivalent to that of “disaster”, “failure”, “destruction”, “insecurity”, “shame”, “secret”, “lies”, and even “outcast”. The challenge of even saying anything for it, for just the tiniest bit, was daunting.

I did not care much about the question until one lazy summer afternoon as I was spending my usual dreamy lounging time in my parents’ bedroom, where there’s always wonderful lighting streaming inside from two adjacent walls, I came to suddenly put my thinking into considering under what circumstances would I be found to agree on legalizing divorce. I zeroed in on my only answer: violence. I concluded then that a person cannot be made to stay in a set-up where he or she (in our context it’s she predominantly) is constantly in fear of being hurt. But I also thought about what if one of the spouses falls in love with somebody else. Ah, this was difficult stuff to answer as I haven’t been there myself. I had to consider this angle because it seems to be a popular reason why partners split.

Is it possible for a committed person to fall in love with another not her/his partner? If I were married and it happened to me what would I do? This part I had also answered for myself, which in turn made me conclude that choosing the mate isn’t a joke nor a thing to be taken lightly. It definitely cannot be based on hormones alone, although at that time I, too, knew little about this side of things. But, hey, rhetorics is free for everyone, even for budding snotty-nosed university graduates.

spring deer

1 Corinthians 13      (click to enlarge)

Of course it’s possible to fall in love with anyone anytime. What kind of question is this in the first place? Is it even a valid question at all? Are emotions and attraction things that can be channeled the way arguments can be tiered one after the other? Is there even a fool-proof theory about loving? I mean, if God is Love, then how does one deal with this phenomenon? All peoples have their own ways of talking about this phenomenon, and does one group of people or language or worldview define the entire humanity, then and now?

For a “love” between two persons who can’t take it to the socially accepted commitment status, like for instance in my country having it labeled as bigamy, which is illegal, then how could this “love” be handled? “If I were married and it happened to me what would I do?” I guess I have to decide and move on. But since I haven’t been married and so have not been initiated into this level of existence, I will not presume that I know anything about it. Therefore, I can’t openly say here anything by way of response to it. Theoretical musings is fine but I would rather show respect to the real circumstance experienced by real people who can’t even start to find words to deal with it, not even in their own private thoughts.

But what if a married man makes me feel loved and I found it honest and genuine and non-restricting, what do I do?

Certainly not go out on a date with him. Certainly not encourage the flirtation. Cetainly not fan my vanity into a blazing ember. Am I nuts? The guy is married. He has committed himself to something that excludes anything else at par with it. As one of my favorite shows would say, “Wake up and smell the coffee.”

But what if I, too, have started to love him? Ah, then that’s another story. To smell the coffee I think I would first and foremost honor his honesty and courage in making me aware of his care for me. I mean, who am I to reject such a wonderful gift? It’s “love” after all, it’s something unfathomable. It’s from God. It’s God’s language.

Then I would refrain from asking too many questions. I won’t even ask questions at all. I would nip all questions in the bud. Here Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle applies: defining an electron’s state alters its state. I will refrain from putting my finger on anything in order to pin it down, they be descriptions, qualifications, quantifications of this “love”. Any attempt to pin it down, in this context, will result into a failure. Defining it will destroy it. Getting hold of it will cause its demise. I would leave things as they are, without defining them — be they concepts, words, situations. They will not be turned this way and that for closer examination. They will be left as a blur and will not be designated into compartments or categories. Their rawness will be respected. That way they will not be suffocated, robbed of air, and fester for the lack of it.

As this “love” is there, then what could be done with it? Why, celebrate it, of course. It is not “forbidden”, for goodness’ sake. Love is free, is encouraged, is induced, is given, is spread out, is scattered. The world has been constantly suffering because love has been twisted and restricted and deformed and castigated. But since, in the context I’m talking about here, it’s in an instance where care has to be exercised on its behalf, then I would suggest to take this “love” into another plane of existence. It cannot be insisted on the same plane where it will foster suffering, because that’s not its purpose. Love is something that affirms our humanity, it is a life-giving phenomenon, and hence it does not belong to the arena of suffering. Don’t ask me more about how I speak of it here because, my dear, words are not adequate to speak of this phenomenon in this angle.

So maybe I’d say I’d let this love dwell with the clouds, let it float on the calmest of ocean surfaces, let it flit with the wind among the many branches of as many trees that greet me on my way to wherever everyday, let the leaves’ rustle talk of it to me. Let my echoed footsteps be chants of meditation on it. Silent. Abiding. Subdued. Sometimes even forgotten for a while but certainly there, accompanying me, holding on to the tips of my hair as the breeze blows imperceptible strands here and there, sometimes.

So I won’t conjure physical manifestations of it. “Fantasies” and “possibilities” are words not even entertained. I will not “insist” it; will not “force” it into “fruition”; will not “fight” for it — these avenues does not belong to “love”. Read 1 Corinthians 13. This is the only way I can show respect to my emotions, by not straining it with emptiness, not feeding it with conjectures the probabilities of which approach zero. This, too, is the way I could love my self in this context, and so lift my self up from the plane of senselessness.

It was a poem by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) that prompted me on this reflection. Here it is:

I cannot live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf

The sexton keeps the key to,
Putting up
Our life, his porcelain,
Like a cup

Discarded of the housewife,
Quaint or broken;
A newer Sevres pleases,
Old ones crack.

I could not die with you,
For one must wait
To shut the other’s gaze down,
You could not.

And I, could I stand by
And see you freeze,
Without my right of frost,
Death’s privilege?

Nor could I rise with you,
Because your face
Would put out Jesus’,
That new grace

Glow plain and foreign
On my homesick eye,
Except that you, than he
Shone closer by.

They’d judge us-how?
For you served Heaven, you know,
Or sought to;
I could not,

Because you saturated sight,
And I had no more eyes
For sordid excellence
As Paradise.

And were you lost, I would be,
Though my name
Rang loudest
On the heavenly fame.

And were you saved,
And I condemned to be
Where you were not,
That self were hell to me.

So we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are,
And prayer,
And that pale sustenance,
Despair!

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There’s an explanation of it here:
http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/close-reading-i-cannot-live-you
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hope-robin-pavitrata-500

I also wanted to explore what I could say in resonance to it, from a different context.

So, I’d say, “I love you, and I must pick my self up from here and carry on, as well as I can possibly do. This is the only way I can show God, and you, how much I honor and value Him, and you.”

I hope that the way I spoke of it isn’t as sad-sounding as Dickinson’s expression here, of her love. Here’s another of her poems, an encouraging sounding one that I copied from http://www.shortpoems.org/emily_dickinson/


Have the best of days, everyone! 🙂



My Journey to Non-Nationality


When I first came to Fangorn I didn’t know what kind of folks Fangornians are. Though I could have consulted the web or the prints still there simply was no time to even think about doing so. At that time I had to function like a crazed morph, having to sprout extra limbs and cerebral lobes. I had to prepare for the take off yet my feet was at a work place that screamed for organization. I’ve been alone on the road plodding for decades already and I’ve built a facade so camouflaged that my family and so-called friends couldn’t see how my internal gauges have been showing erratic fluctuations.

I even told an elder that I just came from shingles and he thought I was telling him that I’m single. If it wasn’t for my semi-‘conservative’ friend Netz I could have gone vegetable over those viral remnants of childhood chicken pox. The presence of persons such as Netz in my life make me think twice about labelling either my own self or other people.

Whether a person is from my gene pool or not the laws of biology and psychology are the same.

When I first came to Fangorn I was not so wistful of my different gene pool nor was I apprehensive of faces that I used to see only on screen. I was actually busy trying to figure out how the heck could I stay standing on the pavement without my brains freezing out before the coziness of the bus comes. I was preoccupied trying to figure out if the room lighting’s luminousity is up to my system’s survival threshold. I was foraging for sources of nourishment, the ones that would make my stomach aware that I have already put some into it.

Later, after having seen for myself that I could survive here, my brain started to grow out calmer dendrites. I started reflecting outside the context of immediate survival. I explored new turf.

I looked at the Fangornians. I couldn’t see much. That was a culture shock that I had seen coming. Even until today I still couldn’t see of them as much as I wanted to although a few have already welcomed me into their homes. I looked at the Flip-Flops. I saw more than I expected. I looked at the Zirconians as well as my fellow Zaps. Then I looked at the entire pulsating planet.

Ipensive contemplative reflective meditative thoughtful arrived at the conclusion that it is greed that has to do with all our woes. But when I talked about this to my classmate Moira he said that he thinks greed isn’t inherent in us humans, but that it’s a function of the environment. We’ve been brought up, he told me, to be greedy.

I still have to take the time to reflect on that. I have to look at original-sin side by side with tabula-rasa, too. I honestly don’t know from which angle to approach the topic with new eyes. I may have to go back to Moira, to pick up where we left it off because we had ran out of walking space.

In this picture are my new friends JDG, RK, and TCD.

Since two years ago when JDG heard me call a colleague “manong” (older brother) he told me that he, too, was my manong. So I started to call him that using the equivalent word in his mother speech, orabeoni. We started to relate to each other more freely than before but calling him manong didn’t take our friendship into a quantum leap, to that manong level. So I think next time I see him it would be more appopriate to substitute “sunbaenim” (respected senior) for orabeoni. I sense old and newly erected fences, all invisible to me, around which I should maneuver and in which in the end I’d possibly be left with a bye-bye to a friendship that could have been really great.

Shikataganai. East Zapians are of a machismo worldview and even fellow Zapians can’t do anything about that, lowering the gaze and clipping the arms by their sides upon meeting the so-called strong ones. But it is the East Zapians who taught me to reflect on loyalty and steadfastness, on endurance and single-mindedness. On appreciating the fullness of silence. Just as Treebeard said I shoudn’t be hasty at my conclusions.

Again, on the picture are RK and TCD, who are Zirconians. When I first came to Fangorn and was just learning to walk on snow, mustering the fear of my feet being singed through the soles of my shoes, I had thought of how to get out of the thinking that Zirconians, collectively, are responsible for the many woes of the Flip-Flops and of the pulsating planet. The peaceable consequence that I reached at was that whoever was responsible for the mess should be the one to clean it up. Whoever tipped the balance must do something to restore it.

thoughtful CNI needed to see at least one Zirconian who was exactly doing this, innocently and with integrity, without even being aware that there are Flips who think the way I do. Honestly I am vaguely aware that there are many Flips out there who echo my sentiments but that they are faceless to me. I do not personally know of one, and thought trains like these are, well, what can I say, camouflaged among thick forest undergrowths.

Not long after I met CN, a huge Zirconian with clear shining eyes. He and his friends have an ongoing program for ending world hunger. It’s a blatantly naive and gigantic ambition. It’s hopelessly lovable. He has tried to describe how the church could be functioning in our present context.

Like RK he has tried to talk in terms that would welcome anyone who’s eager to participate. Many would call it a post-modern paradigm, similar to several, both named and yet obscure, that are groping in the unchartered multiple-contexts we now find ourselves bewildered in.clear brilliant eyes

Now I know that I shouldn’t take Zirconians as a “people”, a generalized collective, but as “persons”, one individual at a time. There are Zirconians who, like RK and CN, are neither threatened nor limited by labeling.

Back home there was a Fangornian with whom I’d started to befriend. Of the extremely short time I spent with her I was able to ask her of whom did she thought we women should be modelling ourselves after. Her answer was startling to me then: after no-one. It is only now that I’m starting to understand her. It is only now that I’m starting to she what she meant when she said that first and foremost it is my own individuality that I must be looking out for.

As per the conversation I had with Moira, about greed, I tried to put it into a logical diagram and see what I can come up with:

Venn 1 & 2_greedy, people

Without bothering with defining the Universal Set, these four Venn diagrams show the possible relationships between all people and all greedy entities. My musings led me nearer to the idea pictured by Figure 4. Moira’s counter-arguments tend towards Figure 1, although not as how things are but rather as a starting point, when conditioning is taken out of the picture. Moira seemed to be telling me that humans do not have greediness as a necessary attribute, although he did say that he’d be needing all the evidences that he can get his hands on before being sure of this.

Venn 3 & 4_greedy, peopleFor me I just based my conclusion (Moira did tease me, that I have “concluded” already) on the historical events. Empires rising and falling. Countries getting richer and poorer. Parents in a frenzy about giving the A-class education to their children. Young professionals eager to show off the brands of their possessions. I have wanted to look into the machinery that fuels the global dynamics and if I start at the grass roots, at the level of an individual’s needs and wants, then I would pinpoint to the human’s propensity to get hold onto and retain something, incorporate it into the personal space. Of course some can readily recognize when the level of this “acquisition process” is becoming toxic and so it is readily called off. Bastante. This situation may be pictured by either Figure 2 or 3, above. Not everyone is helpless against greediness.

Still there’s something about my Venn diagrams that bother me. I’d like to replace “people”, a faceless mass, with “persons” — attributing now the sense of responsibility to individuals. Yet either way something still doesn’t quite fit. I feel like I’m figuring things out by ossifying phenomena with labels. It’s the same dynamics as when I talk of Fangonians, Zirconians, Zaps, and Flips as groups. Not all Zirconians are alike and I have yet to find a Flip who resonates in my frequency. Perhaps I never will. TCDTCD, a Zirconian whose personaliy I would zig-zag away from back home (chatty, readily friendly, flashy smile) surprisingly has become the first Zirconian I can relate to with ease, without being conscious of the cerebral gap. Because of him, CN, and RK, I now have little use of the label “Zircon”.

I had a Rilkan penfriend for eight years. I’m looking for her whereabouts now and I’m sure she does think of me sometimes. But, alas, we both cannot be found among the social media websites. I had a Shtoi dormmate. Her brother became my student and so we three have become friends. I will search for her home address among my files so that when I go to their country I will be able to visit them, as she invited me to. Now I have Moira a Milesian, and Benga a Huzz. We call ourselves “the three idiots” after that hilarious but enlightening Indian movie. There’s Peth the Fangornian lady back home, happily married to a fellow Flip of whom I am more at awe than friendly.

These non-Flips became friends because we related with expressions that connected persons, not peoples. We did not pre-define each other. We didn’t bring labels into our relationships. We simply faced each other, talked openly, and became one human being to another human being.

I had thought that it is only the word “race” that we should be doing away with. Now there’s national-classification as well. A wo/man’s context does not ‘define’ her/him. Honesty, trust, and thankfulness speak in a language that have nothing to do with culture, nationality, or genes.

Benga & Moira

Benga & Moira

Many Zirconians will continue to be jerks. Many Flips will continue to be clueless. Many Zaps will continue to be mesmerized by anything Zirconian or Deltan. Many Fangornians will remain cold and rude. This, however, is not the only lens with which to view humanity. Any human can equally be a jerk, clueless, impressionable, cold, or rude.

For purposes of conversations Moira and I could still use the Venn diagrams but now it has become clearer to me how all persons are configured by the tracks that they had to run on. Each landmark we pass by morphs us. Had I not found myself abruptly shoved into Fangorn I wouldn’t have started to trust a Zirconian for a long time yet. I relate to TCD as TCD, as himself, and not as someone with a Zircon-labeling.

Now I’m happier.

on John Samuel Mbiti and religious plurality in Africa

Hello. Good morning.

My name is Mona Lisa P. Siacor and I wish to share with you my summaries of the following articles:

African theology revisited by John S. Pobee [pp. 135-143]

John Mbiti’s contribution to African theology by Kwame Bediako [pp. 367-388]

Both are found in: Religious Plurality in Africa: Essays in Honour of John S. Mbiti. Edited by Jacob K. Olupona and Sulayman S. Nyang. In: Religion and Society 32. Berlin. 1993.

I made the informal paper for an Oberseminar discussion in 2012 at the University of Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany.

At the end of the summaries is a note on the word ubuntu of the Bantu culture.

This summary-paper has been officially marked or graded by my professor. Please respect my ownership of it (thank you very much, and peace!). The care I put into the effort reflects my fascination of the collective cultures of the African continent. Had I more time I would have explored the topic further. (As of today, July 31, 2021, I have not edited it, like I’ve been planning to. But I like it as it is, too, and so did my professor.) 

Viel Spaß und alles Gute. Ciao.

A Summary of: African theology revisited by John S. Pobee


Prof. Pobee recalls that Prof. Harry Sawyerr and Mbiti were among the few in the late 1950’s who believed that theology in Africa was in a state of “northern captivity” and who worked to answer “the need to search for and develop African theology”. Although at the end of the 19th century the concept “gone Fantee” [meaning, an integration of African heritage and “authentic” Christianity (and not “European” or “Northern”) (page 136)] was already present, it was Mbiti’s work that has contributed much to the study and has provided references to scholars who followed along this line. This study is now seen as dealing with “the true nature of theology”, whereas earlier critics labeled such works as either “African nationalism donning theology and religion” or “the heathenisation of the African Church”. (137)

Pobee states theology as articulation, or naming, of “the hopes and fears of people in the light of God’s word and self-disclosure”. That naming is “about respecting, understanding the language, liturgy, structure, style, architecture, etc. of a distinctive community of discourse.”(135) Again, “It is human attempt to articulate that Word of God in coherent language.”(137) He draws affirmation from the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us of John 1:14. It is in this sense when he speaks that the “self-disclosure of God engages people as they are” – with the perception and expression of which being affected by the people’s context. Therefore, every theology is contextual.

Moreover, theology addresses three areas: the academia, the community of faith, and the world (138). While academia has generally dealt theology with logical propositions, this way, too, is contextual. Mbiti pointed out that an oral, non-written, non-propositional style is therefore just as valid. In communities where theology is within unwritten modes of expression, as in the case of Africa, the collection and analysis of these articulations should be a priority. To pay attention to this task is also to pay attention to the people who are producing them. Therefore, “people are subjects of the theological enterprise”; they “help set the agenda of theology”.(138) This statement can be clarified with what Pobee says in page 141, “…bring theology out of the classroom to the people, whose religion after all is subject of the study.” The factors or areas that help set the agenda for African theology are: culture, the context of pluralism, politics, poverty, worship, and biblical scholarship. —> To get the full document —>

 —> For the proper footnoting and the original document, download the PDF file HERE. Excuse my use of wiki and other non-formal sources as references (please change them if you can, when it’s time for you to make use of the information, and if it’s for a formal paper).

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ Blessings and joy to you ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

thankful for the dreams

One of the things I don’t like about academic work is that it’s taking away much of my sleep time.

I like sleeping. I like the feeling of falling down whenever I’m on the verge of it, which usually happen when I was particularly mobile that day. The first time I remembered it happen I was about 4 or 5, the time I started going to school. The sensation of falling down then was associated with my dream of floating down slowly from where I could see a basketball ring, like associating my fall with a ball’s going down trajectory but in slow motion. During those times it would happen to me I’d feel apprehensive. For one, I can’t fly. So it’s associated with helplessness. But later on when I had to cut some of my sleeping time I found myself welcoming those feelings of letting go, like they’ve become for me transition states from the world of stress into the world of contentment.

What I am thankful about just now is that I still have the capacity to almost immediately start dreaming just a few minutes into closing my eyes.

"Concurrent" by sacadalang 2012.

“Concurrent” by sacadalang 2012. [or worms? 🙂 ]

Sometimes it doesn’t even have to take the closing of my eyes before I’d start dreaming. These are those times when I’ve been sitting tire-fully in class and fighting off sleep and then suddenly I’d realize I’m witnessing something that doesn’t belong in class. One time I was sitting up perfectly straight at a teacher’s lecture, pen in hand, but the things I write down have nothing to do with the lesson. All the while my act of writing down was supposedly for taking down notes. Voila. Before I knew it I was already in dreamland 🙂 I was writing down words associated with my dream. One of those was “worm”, and I think it was because my teacher was then using a flower, drawing it on the board in chalk, for illustrating some abstract algebra concept that had to do with rotations and flips and turns (hahaha! I couldn’t even understand it perfectly then!) and there I was writing down on my notebook the word for creatures having the same body shape with caterpillars, creatures that wriggle on plants (haha!)

I don’t want to lose this ability to instantaneously dream. For minute naps they are my sure proof that indeed I have fallen asleep, and I feel glad for having them.

The Term “Cruel” and Its Derivatives in “Tarzan of the Apes”

(Update July 30, 2021. At last, I got it looking better. I did not want to delete the original post, still shown beneath, right below the paper’s now edited CONCLUSION. Yepper, I sure did edit the featured paper! You can download a PDF copy of it here. So, it is an edited work, not the original one, but I think my professor would have seen it as an improvement. I submitted it to my university here in Philippines in 2019, but I haven’t heard anything regarding it ever since. So, rather than let it just die out, I’m giving it out to the world, for anyone who might have good use for it. You may simply use the blog post’s permalink as the web-source, https://sacadalang.com/2014/06/12/cruel-in-tarzan-of-the-apes/

Thanks. Cheers and blessings!!

Here now is the CONCLUSION, from my paper’s page 16:

CONCLUSION (of the paper, “Tracing Cruelty in Tarzan of the Apes” by Mona Lisa Siacor). Edited July 30, 2021.

Cruel and its derivatives are used in describing all characters or their actions in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel Tarzan of the Apes. They are used to state that Tarzan has no cruelty inherent in him. They are used in describing objects that are inanimate, or most of the time even when no concurrent action is present to qualify as cruel. The Whites, especially the Porter group, see the jungle as threatening the most, attributing cruelty to it even when there is no concurrent action. However, where actions are concurrent to the usage, the Porter group is more responsible for cruelty than any other character group in the novel. In most these instances it is one of them who is being cruel to another of their member, by the use of words. Significantly, almost all of the cruel terms are not essential at all in building up the meaning of the phrase where the term is found, within the novel’s narrative.

Using many cruel or violence related terms to describe the jungle and its inhabitants contradicts Tarzan’s perception that his jungle home is peaceful (Burroughs, 1914  217; ch. 17). Tarzan excuses the jungle’s violence as a way of life, as a matter of survival. Usually he kills dispassionately, but sometimes for pleasure (Burroughs, 1914  117,118; ch. 10). D’ Arnot lauds Tarzan’s survival. He tells him, “it is mind, and not muscle, that makes the human animal greater than the mighty beasts of your jungle… Otherwise, …how long would you have lasted in the savage wilderness?” (Burroughs, 1914  324: ch. 25). All jungle inhabitants are Tarzan’s enemies except his ape tribe and Tantor (Burroughs, 1914  103; ch. 9). This is reflected in the many times cruel is directed from the jungle inhabitants to Tarzan. The jungle is peaceful for Tarzan and he is “lord” of himself and of his world, as Burroughs puts it (“Tarzan Theme”), because with his “mind” and physical prowess he is able to subdue threats against him. Only Tantor is not afraid of him (Burroughs, 1914  48, 59; ch. 4, 5).

Outside the jungle the facility of the word is important. Civilization uses words the way Tarzan uses his mind and his strength to subdue threats. In civilization, the “greatest” are those with the best minds such as the novel’s characters Prof. Porter and the Claytons, who are intelligent and are good with words (Burroughs, 1914  9, 83, 194; ch. 1, 7, 16 ). Prof. Porter and Cecil Clayton are the only characters in the novel who inflict cruelty using words. In the preliminaries, John Clayton (Tarzan’s father, Lord Greystoke) as well had earlier dismissed the ship Fuwalda’s captain with “you are something of an ass” (Burroughs, 1914  18; ch. 1).

The jungle “beasts” are man’s enemies, says D’ Arnot (Burroughs, 1914  324: ch. 25). In the face of this, civilized man’s recourse is to subdue the jungle in the eyes of civilization by using words, which is the case with the novel Tarzan of the Apes. Albeit in reality, the jungle and its inhabitants are impervious to words. In Tarzan of the Apes, it is only in words that the jungle is cruel to civilized man—though this assertion itself is false even within the novel, based on the findings above. This may be seen, therefore, as a case of demonizing an imaginary enemy through propaganda. But since Burroughs’ aim was simply to sell a story, in which he was indeed very successful, then looking into propaganda as a matter of popular consumption, so to say, is another consideration.

(Here now was the original blog post: )

🙂 Hi!

I made a term paper in class and when the professor handed it back with a heart-warming grade I asked him if it was okay to share it online. He said yes! So here it is. Why? Because I spent energy on it and now that I got a grade for it I felt bad that its use ends up just there. I made it to pass, yes, but it was only me and my teacher who got to read it, so, what the heck. Better let it out and be done with it. I hope you can appreciate the way I made it, at how crazily easy and difficult it is at the same time.

Tarzan of the Apes in All Story 1912

The cover of the magazine that let out the first Tarzan story into the world, in 1912. The picture was copied from: http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/Tarzan

I had to edit the format before uploading because the tables musn’t be cut at the wrong places. It has lots of tables. So that’s the difficult part. Attention has to be given to the descriptions that accompany each table that appears, one after the other. Attention has to be given to the placements of elements inside the tables, within rows and columns alike. Otherwise, it’s all just a bunch of jumbled gibberish. Honestly, I really found myself laughing at my work for a long time 😀

The easy part, eh?, was that since I couldn’t come up with how to say things nicely after months of reading about Tarzan and his world both in and outside the book I decided instead to find a pattern within the product itself, the finished sold-like-hotcake novel that turned Edgar Rice Burroughs into an instant sensation. The idea came to me while I was noticing that many words alluding to cruelty keep appearing one after the other as I turn the pages. It became a sort of a game to me, wanting to find out if I could distill something out of the prolific appearances of such nasty words in such an innocent-sounding story. Yosh! I was on my way. I felt that it was the cleanest way I could do the requirement without getting bogged down in the arguments for or against this and that, not the least being what kind of guy and gal Tarzan and Jane are. The arguments touch on psychology, history, sociology, literary criticism (which I don’t know much on!)… the works.

Papers are among the craziest things in the world. That’s a personal opinion 🙂 and you can argue ’til you’re blue with me all I’ll give out is an I-don’t-know-anything chuckle.

So do I like Tarzan? I used to, but not anymore. However, both that question and that answer may first have to be verified as to which particular Tarzan is being asked of and which particular Tarzan did I like. Anyway, the Tarzan of the apes is a caricature of a wish that originated from a context that won’t get a vote from me. That Tarzan’s outside-the-book world was a time when discrimination was a respected norm.

Needless to say I learned much from and through my readings on Tarzan, many of which were not used in this paper. However, those are the more important ones. 🙂 My teacher’s parting comment was that the presentation was nicely put up but I should have written more on the conclusion. I agreed with him, too, but at that time I was already fed up with so much thinking about Tarzan, day in and out, that I was simply relieved to have wrapped up fast and get the load off my hands 😛

among us

come, get out from your enclosure and stand among us… [the trees say]

we are all creatures of metabolism, come out where your vibration is affirmed, supported, upheld, played out, and so glow strongly by your own light…

come, let us rejoice of life together, let us be thankful together,

stand among us under the sky …

“7.83 Hz alive” by sacadalang 2014

… winter may come anytime, we remain …

7.83 Hz, the Schumann frequency, is the earth’s and the living organism’s frequency. It’s one of the explanations that science has come up with to the question as to why we feel very good whenever we are outdoors. All of us who are alive, and so the earth, vibrate to this frequency. Persistent disturbance to this vibration becomes physically manifested over time, as a health aberration and the like. So it’s not just actually the loads of oxygen and sunlight of the outdoors that affect us, but rather phenomena on the subatomic level, too.

[ this was taken at the onset of winter, and so the other trees surrounding have already shed their leaves; likewise with the green-sky view at the post previous to this ]

 

Faith and Rubik’s cube

The Rubik’s cube is fascinating. It reminds me of what life is like. Rubik's cube 1 _green

Life is a series of acts in order to put things into order. Order order order. For me I see life, mine at least, as being put into order at some other parts while [I] am occupied with putting into order some other different part.

I have forgotten about this feature in my life until I recently spent time getting to know a 3 x 3 Rubik’s cube. To my delight I saw that when I try to get a side into a single color the other sides may form distinguishable patterns all by themselves.

Rubik's cube 2 _redThere are those who, like me, do not congregate towards the “very” end of the “orderly” spectrum. I may be called lazy by some, but I know I’m not lazy. It’s just that the way my clock runs isn’t the kind that will stand out in the corporate world. Instead, my clock runs in such a way that I take the time to appreciate patterns that aren’t interesting to others. No, I don’t have the aptitude for the mathematical way of describing patterns, so that’s not what I’m talking about, either. There’s just too much stuff needed to be able to math-talk that I run out of time for them. Nevertheless it would be wonderful if I, too, like the mathematicians am able to cook up a statement describing how the color patterns come up when this and that turning is done on a Rubik’s cube.

Rubik's cube 3 _nearlyThe way I, or you, put our lives into order may be objectionable to others. There are those who express disapproval at the way we do things. It could also be that we try to put our lives into order in such a way that we won’t be at the receiving end of a disapproval. Whichever way it is we do feel the tension between these two ways tugging at us. For me it is couched as “what should I do?”

We all have our own pattern-appreciation-languages ::: musical notes, weaving patterns,  words on a page, lines+shapes+lighting, or sound+movement+lighting, angles+weights, trajectory+speed, food tastes, taxonomy, almost-no-words-but-full-of-thoughts (e.g., the haiku) … et cetera

Rubik's cube 4 _nearlyThere are also those who, like me, aren’t experts at a particular pattern-language but all the same we are uplifted whenever we spot an evidence of one.

If you believe in God then this shouldn’t be a surprise for you. Thousands of years ago humans have already become aware that God causes patterns to form. He puts order out of chaos.

Rubuik's cube 5 _orange

At center stage, my Rubik’s cube on my table where my study things are pushed to the side for the moment.

I am typical of my folks. We get to laugh at almost anything, not the least at our own selves. It helps us cope. It helps us from going down that road which is lethal to those who have “nothing”. I needed to put that within quotes because, one, it is subjective, and two, “nothing” doesn’t seem to exist. That’s what I understood the last time I looked up science. But, I fervently request you, don’t discuss creatio ex nihilo with me yet because I haven’t read up much on that. If you want, in relation to it, you can look at discussions about an ancient Mesopotamian composition that starts with “When on high” … 😀 that’s all I can remember for now 😀

I don’t know which part of the world you live in, but just in case you are also like us who are nakakapit sa patalim (living on the edge of a knife) then let the lesson I discovered from the Rubik’s cube encourage you. Just keep on no matter how hard things are going because somehow there’s a pattern forming at the other side, waiting for its perfect time to come up in your life’s story.