Friday Post-Bible Reading Fantasy Debate

“So it’s campfire story until after Moses dies?”

“That’s right.”

“So Moses is telling the story of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and then Noah, and then Abraham, and eventually Jacob and Joseph?”

“You got it.”

“So is Moses somehow ‘read into’ a version of scripture as a young boy, like an already begun tale, or is he passing down something later related to him, perhaps by Yahweh Himself?”

“Interesting question. What brings it to mind, if I may ask?”

“Well, in early books of the Bible, books authored by Moses, books written before Moses learns God’s name on Sinai, characters use that name in speech. For example, Abraham talks to the king of Sodom and says, ‘I have raised my hand to Yahweh God Most High…’”

“So?”

“So, my real question is, ‘Is Moses telling us the truth that Abraham actually uttered the name “Yahweh”—which would mean it was then lost by the time Moses had to ask—or, is Moses helping the story along, and keeping it particular because he, Moses, knows that Abraham meant the god “Yahweh” whatever he, Abraham, actually uttered in that moment?’”

“Ah. I think I see your point. Quick clarifying question. What difference would it make if Abraham uttered ‘Yahweh’ vs. Moses only saying that Abraham uttered it?”

“Well, doesn’t that make Moses a liar? I mean, how can he say something happened that he knows did not happen?”

“What do you think? Is there any way that scripture holds integrity here? You’ve painted a pretty stark picture.”

“I guess I could zoom out a bit and say the point of scripture is not to get Abraham’s exact words correct, but to reveal who Yahweh is.”

“Seems a bit too loose.”

“Maybe I could say that it must be that the name Yahweh was lost by the time Moses was on Sinai?”

“Seems like you don’t actually believe that.”

“Maybe Moses didn’t really write it as tradition holds?”

“Jesus seemed to think he did.”

“Good point. Hmm. So Moses knows he’s a member of Israel, and knows this before the burning bush, because that’s the whole point. His people were already a “people” in their own eyes, that’s how they were enslaved. Then It’s got to be some kind of more immediate need on Sinai when he asked, than Moses inserting it into Abraham’s speech falsely. And that would, or but that would also mean that Moses is passing on an inherited tradition—which is now not that unlikely because the story is definitely that they were enslaved according to their tribe.”

“But this still leaves what problem?”

“It leaves the problem of ‘If Moses is passing on inherited stories, why did Moses have to ask Yahweh what his name was? Shouldn’t he and all the people fresh off the Exodus have known?’”

“Precisely. But let’s ask it this way, ‘Would the people who were already creating an idol while Moses was up on Sinai have known Yahweh?’”

“Good point. And yet someone had to have told Moses.”

“Had to have. Or else Moses, as author of Genesis, must be lying.”

“But he can’t be lying.”

“But he can’t be lying, that’s right.”

“What do you think?”

“I think what I normally think.”

“‘More reading.’”

“More reading.”

Lemme Tell Ya What’s Stupid

You want to know what’s stupid? Using visual aids or graphics to describe COVID-19.

You want to know what’s stupid? Boosted pro-vaxxers, who finally got it and now say, “This time everyone’s gonna get this s—-!”

You want to know what’s stupid? Self-policing mask usage/fit.

You want to know what’s stupid? Children declaring that they don’t want to get “COVID”.

You want to know what’s stupid? Adults feeling ashamed for getting COVID.

You want to know what’s stupid? Variants.

You want to know what’s stupider? Sub-variants.

You want to know what’s stupid? Saying “He/she/they died of COVID.”

You want to know what’s stupid? Fearing death.

You want to know what’s stupid? Fear.

You want to know what’s stupid? Pandemics.

You want to know what’s stupid? Buying and using a home test whose result you know isn’t going to be definitive in your eyes.

You want to know what’s stupid? Signs above sinks that read, “Wash your hands for 20 secs.”

You want to know what’s stupid? Using your eyes to read a test to discover if you feel sick in your body.

You want to know what’s stupid? Using short animated videos to explain/defend/justify the need to lockdown.

You want to know what’s stupid? Bubbles.

You want to know what’s stupid? Worrying.

You want to know what’s stupid? Telling a child to worry.

You want to know what’s stupid? Mankind testing animals for COVID.

You want to know what’s stupid? Restricting travel during a pandemic.

You want to know what’s stupid? Runs on toilet paper.

You want to know what’s stupid? Emails explaining COVID plans that may change.

You want to know what’s stupid? Feeling like you can (and should) do something to help during a pandemic—like explaining things in emails.

You want to know what’s stupid? Email pronouncements that describe the last two years without using the word “stupid”.

This hasn’t been interesting, strange, complicated, challenging, scary, wild, or any other of the many safe-for-work adjectives.

Lemme tell ya what’s stupid. The last two years—that’s what.

An Example of Tuesday’s Post

The Twin Cities have announced that January 19th begins a new rule for restaurants. On that day you gotta provide proof of vaccination or negative test from last 72 hrs in order to receive service.

It’s being decreed by Mayors, as it is only for the two cities (and mayors are kings of political units called “cities”…)

So now what? Who do the folks affected seek relief from? Another government official? Say, the governor? I doubt that would result in the desired relief.

The politicians are backed by doctors.

So to whom do we petition as we seek relief?

A judge?

Peter Drucker handily explains in his tome on management that the reason written, or even spoken, propaganda never actually works is that eventually people lose faith/ignore it. He suggests that there is just something inmate in us that recognizes the difference between experiences and false descriptions of experiences. “You’re happy! Believe me!”

I can tell you that even 6th grade boys know whether they really beat me in a game of basketball, or whether I threw it.

In any case, this new situation in the Twin Cities is just another example of the definitive reason we can’t stop talking about the pandemic. Who can be called upon to provide relief?

The Definitive Reason the Pandemic is THE Most Compelling Conversation Topic

One of the ways a distant king garners direct power over his distant subjects is by offering and providing them protection and relief from their more immediately located feudal rulers and their policies. This “offering protection” doesn’t have to mean much more than “hearing constant petitions and seizing convenient opportunities to increase his power.” In other words, the low-level ruler, whether exercising legitimate or illegitimate power, does it poorly and so creates a need for relief in his subject. The subject petitions the far away king and the rest falls into place. The king gains loyal subjects until he has enough to clearly have real power, while, at most, the low-level ruler continues to rule in name only. (And at worst, war precedes lasting peace.)

Hold that thought for a second and follow me from kings to doctors.

Who among us hasn’t been fed the idea that going to the doctor is a good thing for our entire lives? We may not have wanted to go sometimes, but that wasn’t because we didn’t believe in the doctors ability, it was because being ill clouds judgement.

From the earliest times, our parents may have helped us through minor illness or trauma, like a fever or a scraped knee. But there was always a possibility that we would need to go to see the doctor. Hear me carefully here: once we hit a certain circumstantial threshold, the doctor was the only solution. So if one doctor couldn’t help, there was no other solution, just a more specialized doctor. It wasn’t ever, “I can’t help ya, let’s get you to a lawyer (or a plumber, or a pilot).”

From another angle, if you have ever needed legal help, you were advised by all to see a lawyer and eventually went to a lawyer. And if the first lawyer proved incompetent, then you went to a better lawyer etc.

But when you’re with the best lawyer and about to win whatever the dispute is, if in that moment you get sick enough, then you enter the doctor realm and remain there. A failed doctor visit only leads to a different doctor, not a visit to a different profession. Again, once certain situations unfold, you never leave the doctor realm.

And another angle: if you need to travel, you call up a pilot, or some specialist delegated by the pilot, to book a flight. But while on that flight, if you get sick, you are diverted to the doctor—and at no point will you, in the process of solving the sickness problem, be diverted to anything other than doctors.

Put plainly, we all have been living, pre-pandemic and now, under the belief that doctors-as-problem-solvers were meaningfully all-powerful.

And the trouble with this can be made clear with the analogy to kings gaining power. Serfs and others needed protection or relief in a way that they couldn’t achieve from their direct rulers, so they went to the next level up. They eventually went to what had to appear like an almost mythical character called a “king”. They brought, more than anything, hope to the king, hope that no matter how inept or unqualified he had proved to be thus far, that he would be able to help me now. The position itself, rather than the individual holding it, turned out to be the thing that mattered in many cases.

Fast forward to 2022 and even the “king” (POTUS) defers to the doctor when faced with a challenge.

Consider that.

The President defers to the doctor.

And that’s what makes the pandemic the most compelling conversation topic. The king didn’t provide relief. The pandemic is not over.

We serfs still have pressing problems.

Putting this all together, then, the definitive reason why the pandemic is the most compelling topic of conversation is we have no one, literally we don’t even have a position or concept of a position, to help us. In the analogy I’ve used, we are the serfs being harassed by the Lords. Who is our equivalent, distant king? Who can we write to? Who can we appeal to?

The definitive reason we can’t stop talking to each other about the pandemic is because it has made evident the lack of a relief valve/person/position.

We want relief. We know that. But to whom do we address the letter?

(For my Christian readers, surely Jesus is our deliverer. But He was still on the throne when the serfs petitioned the earthly kings of old, too. So I’m suggesting that even if all prayer was directed to Jesus, we still are not set up for earthly relief. Remember that even the Israelites appealed to their neighbors’ having kings when they asked for a king. It wasn’t like Yahweh is in the business if inventing political systems.)

And, for better or worse, this seems worth discussing.

After Lies

Oooo. January 6th is tomorrow! The one year anniversary of… What? What exactly happened one year ago tomorrow?

As usual, while that’s a compelling question, it’s not the most pressing question. A better question is, “How many people died due to the events at the capital on January 6?” If you have time to spare, figure that answer out. The rest of the answers will fall into place.

But even that very specific, particular, and on some level should-be-simple, question is not the best question to ask right now. The problem we face is made evident by asking this, the best, question:

What do we do after determining we’re being told lies?

What do we do after lies?

Some people are quicker than others at recognizing lies. Other people lie with gusto. But that’s not the problem that faces us. The problem is, “What next?”

The problem that no one is directly addressing, but in priority needs address immediately, is, “So we’re being told lies. Fine. What next?”

Plug our ears? Blot out our eyes? Neither of those would seem to motivate the truth to come out.

Direct requests? As in, “Please stop lying.” Would that work?

Commanding language? As in, “STOP LYING!” Anyone think that would have the desired effect?

Maybe a shouting match? They lie, and we tell the truth, but a little bit louder, hoping to drown the lie out through force. Would we be wise to place hope in that strategy?

What do we do after lies? How can we know what to do? What method even helps with the choice? Is there an analogy or a small-scale example?

After being lied to in a relationship, friendship or romance, there is often a breakup or cooling off period at least. Accepted wisdom for those situations includes the need for “time” to be taken.

Fair enough. But what would “taking time” look like between a government and its citizens? Or even on a smaller scale, a group of leaders, say at a business, and its employees? Does anyone have any experience at that level? Initially, I want to say that “business” is measured by performance, so as long as the business can perform while on a “break to re-establish trust/truth” it could proceed.

But in volunteer organizations, it seems like wholesale change of personnel usually accompanies lies from leadership. Those caught lying have got to go.

The performance measurement of a nation is security. Security in business, security in home, security in diversions, security in economy, security in law, security in institutions, security in defense, security in contracts, security, security, security. Security = no questions. Security = I know what’s next. Security = predicability. Security = stability.

Are we any closer? What do we do after being lied to? What do we do while being lied to?

To stop paying attention isn’t a fix when it’s government officials.

To tell the truth louder isn’t a fix.

To ask them to stop isn’t a fix.

By process of elimination, the fix isn’t becoming any more clear.

This is why I say, the problem that faces us, the problem that the events at the capital on Jan 6, 2021 reveals, is made evident by the fact that there is no manifest answer to the question, “What do we do after lies?”

Review of Matrix Resurrections, By Lana Wachowski

When it comes to any Matrix movie, the only question that needs to be answered is, “Was it right?”

Before the release of Matrix Resurrections, the answers would’ve been, in order, “Yes”, “Yes”, and “Yes”. With the release of the latest installment, the first three films are now treated as one (Trilogy), and Matrix Resurrections is the sequel.

So is Matrix Resurrections right? In other words, can anyone be the savior? Put another way, can a cat? Can A.I.? Can a woman? Can a couple? Can the planet? Can an idea? (Or does it have to be a man, bloody man?)

Let’s be clear about this. In the Trilogy, the hero was still a man. Or “man” in the mankind sense of the word, but bounded by individual-ness. In Resurrections, we’ve added to the options. Like the Trilogy, the fight isn’t mano y mano. But unlike the Trilogy, Resurrection’s fight removes the requirement that is be one against many.

The fight, the conflict, according to Lana Wachowski, is against boundaries themselves.

Oooh. Sounds sexy.

In short, however, the answer to the question must be “no”. Matrix Resurrections is not right. Boundaries exist. Consequences occur.

Single sentence Wrap-Up: While visually pleasing, curiosity satisfying, and fun like an age-old game of “tag”—but we’re chasing and being chased by ideas—for all that, there was no new “bullet time”, and the avant-garde idea is so idiotic that it could only be suggested by an emperor in new clothes, that is, Larry Wachowski.

Friday Thoughts

My daughter, A-, not H-, is about 16 months old and as I tried to help the wife by finishing up the infant’s laundry, I saw once again that there were entirely too many articles of clothing in her dresser. By the time I got done sorting out everything that was too small for storage, and re-folding everything that is her size, I had the thought, “I have, on this day, touched every piece of my daughter’s clothing.”

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My step-son, just now, reheated his chocolate mousse pie slice in the microwave. Just imagine it. Last night he saw the lady pull two chocolate mousse pies, a lemon meringue pie, and a pumpkin pie from the fridge, not to mention we were given the option of taking home an apple pie, a blueberry pie or another pumpkin pie that were over on the counter (room temperature). Yet, today when it came time to finish the second abnormally large, special-for-the-day piece of leftover pie—still topped with whip cream and all—he turned into a mindless robot and acted out, “Food from fridge must be reheated.”

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Do any other husbands and fathers ever find that they ask a question of their family members and in return receive an answer—a clearly-worded answer—which is ultimately the exact opposite of the answer the son/wife/daughter states that they had in mind after further clarification? “Is the dishwasher clean?” “Yes.” Door opens. “Looks pretty dirty.” “Oh, I meant ‘no’.”

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My other daughter, H-, was not feeling good enough to FaceTime last night. But she was able to send her Christmas list.

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And, finally, politics. I finished the guided reading portion of Kant in my Great Books of the Western World set this morning. Next up is John Stuart Mill. John Stuart Mill is the one who advocated for universal (unqualified) suffrage—the first one. 1861. Let’s us 2021 Americans recall that people—essentially all people ever prior to 1861, and this means many people still alive today who are not us—did not want everyone to vote. In short, for most of human history it’s safe to say that all people feared mob rule. Put another way, let’s recall that the idea that “mob rule is to be feared” is a problem that has not been abated by universal suffrage.

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Movie news: If you need another nod to get you to sit through 2019’s subtitled, “Parasite,” here it is.

On Ethiopian Civil War

If I was you, faithful reader, I’d probably be thinking, “Pete, why don’t you stop pontificating as a pretend-amateur-auteur-political-motivational philosophy professor guru and instead give us some insight into something you truly do have unique access to, as surely your wife knows something about what is happening in her home country and you could translate for us?”

Okay. Will do.

Here’s my best translation.

For a typical citizen of Ethiopia, everyone you don’t know (and many people you do know) are spies for the enemy. Cab drivers, people at the bus stop. The person next to you at the market. If you hear people in the the apartment above and below, or any adjoining wall, assume they too are spies.

Add to this that, instead of, or in addition to markets, there are food banks.

How does an approaching army pass through a town? It doesn’t take much to imagine that only a few deaths (+ these spies) would powerfully dissuade other resistance efforts.

How does the army feed itself? They send some men with guns to the food-bank and load up—maybe killing a few non-combatants in the process, which again acts as a tremendously powerful deterrent.

There is also the typical scene from Hollywood, where the “bad guys” steal the “foreign aid” and then “give it” to those in need to show their generosity and confuse the matter of who is good and who is bad.

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Back to pontificator role: the lying/deception involved in the “spying” is the only area available for change. Until some large group of individuals experiences an event which leads them to fear Jesus’ eternal judgment more than their this-worldly death, the situation will never meaningfully change.

On The Exalted Teaching of Native American Buffalo Carcass Use and Anthropocene Anxieties

In the realm of par exemplar scenes of heavenly and harmonious human life on Earth, hardly any surpass the Native American’s total use of the American Buffalo carcass. Seriously. From grade school through college, no teacher of mine could avoid using this example to illuminate my classmate’s and I’s young, dim minds while lifting up the poor Native Americans as the truly perfect earth-inhabitants, despite simultaneously being the unfortunately (and remarkably) trusting foes of the white man and his futuristic ideas of prosperity.

I mean, the fat from the buffalo was even used exhaustively. And all the bones! Even the organs were put to good use!

(I say the following soberly for affect.) Their total use of the buffalo carcass was amazing, simply amazing.

Here’s my question: Why isn’t the West’s growing and seeming total use of the Earth viewed as just as noteworthy? Isn’t the use of coal and other fossil fuels (and now wind and solar and more) a perfectly matching analogy, down to the quark? If not, then what’s your problem with the analogy? That your own mind lacks the ability to process the scale of “time”?

Maybe you would call my attention to landfills? So we have landfills today. Didn’t the Native American have to set aside some part of the buffalo before attending to it? One thing at a time, like?

Or maybe it’s deeper. For instance, do you, when you imagine these conquered gods besides their bloody victims, picture that they developed this lofty and perfect total use of the buffalo carcass in one post-hunt pow-wow? Or do you give it some time to develop into the behavior that teachers exalt today?

My intention here is to use this comparison to reveal that your problem with life is that you’re afraid that we’re inventing problems too difficult for us to solve, in our quest for prosperity, while acknowledging that on a small scale we perfectly solved our problems.

Put shorter: You believe we can’t solve problems.

In a word, you’re depressed.

It’s not that I’m not wrong for using everything I can get my hands on to gain whatever perceived advantage there is in this life. It’s that you’re simply depressed and hopeless.

Look around you. Focus. Life goes on. You can’t stop it. Neither can I. So chin up. Put your oar in the water. And cut the Henny-Penny crap.

Herd Immunity Defined

In the podcast episode linked here: Uncommon Knowledge, you’ll hear an excellent episode about the pandemic.

Two key points: Herd Immunity is defined as when you spread the virus to one person or less—not some miraculous moment when a community is completely free of the disease.

Secondly, the interviewee preaches harder than any actual sermon I’ve heard in years and years and years—and he doesn’t even raise his voice (nor is he a preacher). He says that all the folks claiming to want to protect the poor, the elderly, and the children in pre-pandemic times had their chance to shine during the pandemic—and blew it. Those groups have all suffered the most because of the lockdowns. (If you’re not seeing the connection, try, the people who were going to stay employed during lockdown were all in favor of it, no matter who said what about how negatively it would effect the poor, the elderly, and the children of the world. Way to go, hypocrites!)

Okay. I feel like this second point may turn-off some possible listeners, so I want to be clear. The doctor guy didn’t rub it in anyone’s faces or anything. He’s compelling throughout. I rub it in their faces because I am under the stress that we all are this week as we see what happens to our co-workers come Nov. 1.