Category Archives: Homespun philosophy

From all times

A THANK YOU TO READERS

CONFESSIONS OF A TECHNOLOGY DENIER ASPIRING TO  BECOME COMPUTER LITERATE

This is both a thank-you and an explanation of my entry into the blogosphere. It has been wonderful to find some readers who have been kind about my “homilies” even though I have not known how to put my words out to be more easily found. So “THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND WORDS.” Since one is never too old to learn, I  hope to do better in the future, but some explanation for my lack of savvy is required.

I was born in 1940, so, there, I have given my age away. For the first thirteen years of my life my family lived a generally more late 19th or very early 20th Century lifestyle. Just before I turned 4 years old we moved to the country. We had electricity, which meant one bare bulb in the middle of the kitchen ceiling and once or twice a week we listened to my grandfather’s old cathedral shaped radio. There was no indoor plumbing, in fact no running water except for an artesian well just a few steps from the front door of the four room “house” we lived in. We did have a party line where the operator still said, “Number Please?” And certain neighbors always listened in.

Some of the things we took for granted seem almost bizarre today. The outhouse was dark and grim, with hairy wolf spiders and black widows in warm months. It was also freezing in the middle of winter. We heated and cooked with a wood stove, so wood had to be constantly split and chopped, and bringing in the wood meant there were all kinds of the above-mentioned spiders ready to bite. Water was hauled in on Saturday night, heated on the stove and poured into the tin tub. We were bathed according to our sex and age, which meant that I, as the only girl, at least got clean water, then the boys were bathed. We washed our hair with soap, with the final rinse having vinegar mixed in the water. We put on clean pajamas and were sent off to bed in one bedroom. How my parents then took care of their own needs I never thought about. How would they even fit in the tin tub? Hmmm. Maybe they stood up and poured water over each other? Some things were rather primitive even for the time.

On the brighter side, we were always busy with hard work and play. My parents always made sure we had things like bicycles, roller skates in summer and ice skates in winter. We were all taught to swim at a young age. I had lovely dolls and an even lovelier aunt who had only boys, so she taught me to embroider, crochet and sew.

The boys worked with my dad to build a new house. Even with the shortages and hardships of the war our father found ways to get lumber and nails (even if they were rusty or needed straightening) for construction. My brothers always had Erector Sets, Lincoln Logs, model airplane kits and new Lionel Model Train additions to their set every Christmas. We all went bird watching, horseback riding, hiking and camping. We also had both indoor and outdoor chores and chickens and other animals to care for.

One thing I always seemed to lack was any concept of future changes. We finally moved into a fairly modern house when I was 13, but I was always surprised by technological advances. The first time a B-24 flew over our house I was totally astounded. How could anything so huge fly? And when my older brother told me that someday we would be able to see movies in our own homes I wanted to beat him up for lying to me. How could that possibly be? The first time I saw a TV it scared me to death and our first Mixmaster and steam iron were incredible inventions to me.

When I married my husband, Bear, who loves technology, he concluded that he had to drag me kicking and screaming into the 20th Century, just in time for the 21st. When he bought his first high end computer, a Mac LISA, I thought he had gone completely insane. He told me it was important for our little children to learn computer skills. Why? He told me that people would one day have computers controlling their homes and businesses and we would rely on them for everything. Says who? Why would anyone even want that to happen?

Al Gore invented the Internet (!) and it grew up around me while I paid no attention at all. I got addicted to PAC-MAN, learned to do letters at work on a computer and had to admire the ease of change and correction. Before I started this blog I had used e-mail and had a personal junk file. I read Frank Hebert’s DUNE books and still didn’t understand the possibilities of the “gom jabbar.” Was that man prescient or what?

So here I am today trying to catch up to my kids and grand kids and do a blog in cyberspace on what I consider to be important things. I am learning, but I have a long way to go. Bear and I will try to make this blog become more convenient to find and follow if you so desire.

My advanced age must be one of my excuses, even though my late father-in-law and his brother bought into the computer age long before I did. Is it (mostly) a guy thing?

I’ll go now to find what an RSS thing does.

Anniel

HISTORICAL MEMORY

Not to know what happened before you were born, that is to be always a boy, to be always a child. –Cicero

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana

So here we are today, historically illiterate beyond belief, and unaware of the dangers that beset us. How do we wake up those who have been taught no history, nor how to think with any logic or common sense? They are grown-up children with no real thought at all, no feelings for others nor knowledge of the needs and desires of their fellow beings.

Hannah Arendt famously coined the term “the banality of evil” and in our age that thought is true, many are so banal in their evil. But there are others who “think” and believe what they think is true simply because they are the ones who think it. Or, as someone else said, “If what you think about is BS, then what difference does it make?”

Are we to “repeat” history in our day? At a time when we are faced not only with a lack of historical context but have leaders and educators actively lying about that history, what are we, who lived that history, going to do?

I have wondered what some of these people who lie or rewrite our history do in the middle of the night when they awake, review their actions and have a crisis of conscience. I have finally concluded that they sleep the sleep of the just and never awake to question anything, especially not themselves. Thus we have IRS agents and other government bureaucrats who truly believe they have done nothing wrong, and see no inconsistency in hiding behind the Fifth. They continue their lies to advance their own agenda.

One of my grandsons watched “The Great Escape” and concluded that he “knew all about World War II and the Wehrmacht.”  Sorry, but not so. Later I gave the boys the series “Victory at Sea”, to watch. There was an episode about the Americans going onto a Pacific island and encountering a fearsome and very bloody Japanese attack. I was stunned to hear the boys talking about how “stupid” the Americans were to go there when there were that many of the enemy. I made them pause the episode and asked how the Americans could possibly have known the Japanese were there. Well, they could have seen them. How? Well, by satellites. They didn’t have any. Well, they should have flown planes over. What makes you think they didn’t? Have you ever heard of camouflage?  And planes have a limited range and get shot down. Their intelligence capabilities were very limited. The boys finally conceded that they knew very little and returned to their viewing. Then I heard a couple of them laugh about a dead body floating in the water. In black and white it didn’t look so bad to children raised viewing death and destruction on the big screen and seeing violent video games. Again I made them hit pause, and said, “That boy was somebody’s son or husband or father. He could have been my friend’s older brother. I remember the sadness and pain when he was killed in the Pacific.” That brought shock and silence.

The shock and silence of those who are not taught the realities of history.

We have many who are liars about history and everything else, and are too smug and self-satisfied to suffer “the long, dark tea-time of the soul” which leads to adulthood. They will always be children and condemned to learn the hard way.

It’s too bad they blind others and carry them to destruction with them.

CAVEAT EMPTOR

CAVEAT EMPTOR – BUYER BEWARE, OR NEVER BUY A PIG IN A POKE

Never buy a pig in a poke, the buyer’s beware of its day, has generated many explanations about sacks and pigs and stuff, but I prefer my mother’s take on the matter.

Many years ago women wore what were called “poke bonnets”. These bonnets were designed with a wide brim that projected out and around the wearer’s face. This allowed women to decorate the inside of the brim to frame and call attention to their lovely faces and away from other attributes that might not be so desirable. If a man were searching for a wife he might be taken in by the beautiful flowers, lace, and ribbons arrayed around a comely face and not see or think about flaws elsewhere. Or in the heat of the moment he might overlook personality or character issues.

When one falls for a (pardon the use of such an unladylike term) “pig in a poke”, he might not see clearly until he has brought the pig home and removed the bonnet, and we all know what happens when a pig, with lipstick or not, gets loose in the house.

This is not to say that women can’t be fooled, too. How many Jane Austin heroines got taken in by handsome men in “regimentals”?

The way I see it, the poke bonnet was the Madison Avenue of its time, the same false promises we are enticed with today by those who lie and connive for their own ends.

When was the last time you knew an advertisement was legit, or that a politician was telling any kind of truth? And yet we keep on buying things that don’t satisfy and believing what we really do know are lies. (Another old saying about “being led like pigs to the slaughter” comes to mind here. Sorry, that’s terrible, I know.)

There appears to be no area where politics does not rear its ugly head. Think about all the money and lies that go into a political campaign to make a candidate appear desirable, and the opposition not just wrong, but evil. Why oh why do we keep bringing the pigs home???

Please, don’t put your vote in a poke and then be surprised by the pig.

LIARS – Explicit and Implicit

THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO BE FOOLED. ONE IS TO BELIEVE WHAT IS NOT TRUE; THE OTHER IS TO REFUSE TO BELIEVE WHAT IS TRUE.
Soren Kirkegaard
. . . . . . . . . .

And so today we act as fools, because of a supposed “law”. The people of the United States can no longer close their eyes, minds and hearts to the explicit lies of our highest ranking leaders. We have also been treated to the explicit and implicit lies of all those who support those “leaders”: those who are true believers in the lies and those who just go along to get along.

What happens to a nation of liars and oath breakers? What happens to those who choose to believe and support and be enslaved by those lies and liars? If the truth will set us free then the opposite must also be true, when we believe a lie we become slaves to that lie.

If we believe what is not true, implicitly we are passive in our own downfall. If we refuse to believe what is true then we are explicitly partners in what our future holds.

Consider what it does to our own souls when we ACCEPT such lies and are either too lazy or too apathetic to confront the lies and demand the truth. Do we then also become implicit liars, no better than those in power who lie to perpetuate their power?

Lies at this point seem to be coin of the realm and are spent by many.

When our three older children were young (and we still had a TV), the kids liked to watch AMERICA’S MOST WANTED. They all had a highly developed sense of the necessity for bad guys to get caught and punished for their crimes and it pained them to see someone “getting away with it.” I tried to explain to them that no one “gets away” with anything, that we are what we are. One day I made it really simple and introduced the idea of a lie that they might have told and thought they “got away with” because no one else “caught” them. Then I asked, “Are you still a liar or not?” As young as they were they could see the point that until they confessed and determined not to ever lie again, they would remain liars. Then we could discuss whether a politician who lies, or a thief or a murderer can really “get away with it.”

Of course we have all told what we consider to be “white” lies, and we do have need of change. One can always find something positive to say without lying, or maybe the truth just needs to be out there. Until we accept our own culpability and make the necessary changes, we remain what we are. If we are liars we remain liars still. Our very souls remain calcified until we break the shells we build to hide from ourselves.

Our leaders seem to have highly calcified and impregnable shells, and they continue in their lies. We need to call their game so we are free from the lies placed upon us.