Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The New-Zion explored in the taboo of Israel

Zionist Threat Level

SEVERE:The safety and security of the entire worldwide Jewish community is in peril.
HIGH:Current Zionist activities and statements present an imminent threat to safety and security.
ELEVATED:Zionist activity has increased and the possibility of violence and intimidation exists.
GUARDED:Zionist acivities have declined and we are cautiously optimistic.
LOW:Zionism has been almost eradicated, but as long as there are Zionists, we must continue to monitor and assess their actions.


True Torah Jews monitor news events to assess the threat of Zionism to the worldwide Jewish community.

Using a system similar to the US Terrorism alert, we will keep you posted of our assessment of the Zionism threat level based on current events.
Naturally, some areas of the world, such as the so-called "state of Israel" are in greater danger than most, but our assessment is for the entire world Jewish community.
Far from being the saviors of the Jewish People, the Zionists are the true self-hating Jews who have had nothing but contempt and outright hatred for the Jewish People and Judaism. Anti-Semitism has been the oxygen and lifeblood of the Zionists throughout the ages to the present day.
By contrast, we anti-Zionist Jews having been doing all we can to reduce hatred of Jews by proclaiming the true nature of the Jewish religion in contrast to the heresy and idolatry of Zionism. We hope this will help Jews awaken from the brainwashing of the Zionists.
Recent Zionist activity and statements which have been used in our assessment of the threat level are listed below with links to the News stories, articles and on the events.Indicates the response by True Torah Jews

The New-Zion explored in the taboo of Israel

By: Ken LaRive

The more taboos in society, the less freedom of thought there is, and mentioning Israel is a case in point. Any reference sets a barrage of mixed emotion for a place so dear to our collective hearts.

We speak of Israel these days as a Zionist Jewish State, and so it appears to be. But I use the word ‘appear’ to indicate that Israel means different things to different people, and not all of it is good. The problem is that the original benign concept of what Zion envisioned has changed.

Stigma and fear, with intentional media erroneousness, is contributing to the possibility of WWIII, and we Americans had better see past the smoke.

The beauty of Judaism comes in many richly colored coats and facets, with considerations of it being a race or religion the primary factor for confusion. A secular Jew, agnostic and non-practicing, is still considered by most a Jew. Secular, to some, means Godless, with other suitable adjectives like skeptic, or atheist. Still, there is no such thing as a secular Christian or Muslim, and that’s the rub.

For centuries a Jewish homeland was considered, and at the turn of the century the great majority of both religious and secular Jews thought Israel the perfect place. The difference was the method of acquiring it. Originally a Zionist ‘homeland’ inferred not disturbing indigenous populations, where gentle incorporation agreed with ancient textual revelations inferring a Jewish homeland would be given freely. In this way many religions could call Israel a homeland, as all Persian religions got their start in the area. It is indeed inconceivable that true Muslim believers would nuke their own precious sites in Israel, and the world expects a secularist to press that button.

From inception, America advocated separation of Church and State, but here we are with a secular warrior ally who is both. They deny the tolerant Jewish spirit with a biased yellow media and a threatening atom bomb in their back pocket.

The New-Zion is thought invalidated by the rewritten Belfour agreement of 1948, secretly ratified. Hezbollah are the ruminants of those originally exiled, still living in tent cities. Palestinians think themselves occupied, and they deny the New-Zion State’s right to exist. The Ideologies of the new secular Zion are duplicated here, dominating America’s far left, where liberal secularism is nurtured and thrives, the bane of our Republic.

When confronted, liberal-secularists may cry “anti-Semitic,” validating the taboo, but the truth is this: one can be anti-New-Zion, and not anti-Semitic, and this one resounding truth might finally inspire us to live in peace.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The force of Big Brother's secular lies

The force of Big Brother’s secular lies
By Ken LaRive

In my opinion, there is a powerful force that threatens what we are as human beings. Modern men are drawn with hooks that confuse and stymie his spirit, breaking down moral and ethical values that have previously sustained his soul. This modern plague is called secular liberalism.

Where pride and value once gave strength of purpose, men are now coerced upon an ambiguous road without substance or personification. Where value once sustained, stood the test of time, our children flounder on bear rock with nothing but smoke and mirrors as guide, and cords that once bound the duel spirits of faith and hope are severed.

Lost, weak-natured men flounder in desperation, grasping man-made icons that desensitize, demoralize, and never knowing why. Hearts once fed and full by responsibility, are empty but for gloomy and miserable despondency. New selfish norms stimulate perverse ideals with little thought of consequence beyond immediate gratification. That strength of purpose to conquer and manipulate nature’s elements is trampled without respect, and the differences of men and women blurred.

Godless, with little sound reason or judgment, the ultra secular left has devastated social systems created by God’s law, and inadvertently replaced it with individual irresponsibility, justifications, inconsistent myopic ideals, short-sighted agendas, and legal loop-holes. Change is promoted without regard to what is basic human nature and need, and what once defined us as men and women, as parents, wives and husbands, is now downgraded and betrayed by the same minorities our great country protects.

Virtue is scorned, and the absence of righteous light that once kept evil at bay now fills hearts with dread and fear. Surrounded by the many false-fronts of promised fulfillment, spirit languishes on rocks, barren, and without the servitude that once bound us together as one nation under God.

Human rights, and the blending of race and creed comes with responsibilities, and what was once considered right and good is displaced and aborted by base and acceptable corruption. Our children sizzle on the hot-pan of unsustainable ideals, and infected realities ride on spectacular animations of color, shadowy music, and graphic high resolution, all riding on innumerable beams of light beneath our city.

The poor of spirit believes that the promised handout will incarnate from conservative destruction, selling self-responsibility and dreams for promised peanut handouts designed to enslave. This is the yoke of Big Brother’s liberal left, and the degradation of the human spirit is the price. In the process we forfeit not only our freedom, but our immortal soul.

A Fresh Chapter

A Fresh Chapter
By: Ken La Rive 111697

Elements have been used for man-made pain,
Born by perverted lusts of power and gold.
History is sold in dogmatic flame,
For wings of blood-lust blackness to unfold.

Suffering is the common way of man,
Cold-fired by his iron will to bend.
Joy falls through his hands like hot desert sand,
For the horror of his ancestor’s sin.

But there are wonders left on earth’s carved face,
Where precious dreams of hope can still be found.
As empty hearts transcend both time and space,
The spirit’s path is balanced safe and sound.

The gift of hope stirs deep in every soul,
Beauty of Truth is there for each to find.
A fresh chapter starts, and the story’s told,
Of new-found hope that shines for all mankind.

There’s still time for a glory song to sing,
Where the sweet voice of innocence will see….
That strength of purpose flies on righteous wing,
As basic Truth is freedom, to just be.

Keep your spirit true to your own heart,
Responsible to self with steady hand.
Volition is the path your conscious starts,
To know full well the measure of a man.

Stand your ground with a warrior’s moral path,
Of purpose found in what you’ve found as right.
Your life will give you joy in what you have,
And light your way throughout the darkest night.

Remember that your purpose is to learn,
That nothing in this life belongs to man.
As in your heart free spirit wills to burn,
It’s all on loan to help you understand.

Take whatever hand this life can offer,
Though pain of loss seems more then you can bear.
Find that good and bad have equal measure,
And possibilities will multiply there.

Bending Physics Part two of two

Bending Physics
Part two of two
By: Ken La Rive

Note* Previously covered was an introduction to another way of thinking. Physicists are embracing a new idea on how to look at the world called “Bootstrap Physics.” Floundering in their quest to unlock the secrets of the universe, Physicists are realizing that we have a hard time asking the right questions because of our linier way of thinking. Out intellect is actually getting in the way! Using a metaphysical spiritual method of thinking, refined for thousands of years in the orient, these scientists and mathematicians are now attempting to unravel the complexity of the physical sciences, as viewed from a different vantage point.

If you missed part one, contact me and I’ll see that you get it ASAP. Here I will continue…

A simple example of size can be found in the orange. We hold it in our hand. It has weight, color, texture, and some particles move in the air around it. We can smell these particles, and can distinguish it from many other fruits. Wow! How awesome is something so simple, and how much we take it for granted!

Suppose an orange was the size of the earth, and we could view it from our perspective, impossible, but just say we could. There before us would be atoms the size of cherries. How would they look? We have no real answer for that, but say we were now able to extract just one atoms, and blew it up to the size of say, Atwood Akers Subdivision. The nucleus, we know as the center, would be about the size of a pea, and the electrons that travel around it would be in an orbit somewhere on the Lawson’s rice paddies.

Wait a minute here. Yep, 99.9+% of this atoms is just empty space, as is all of the so called matter we see and feel. What this stuff actually is, is energy, held together by forces so mysterious that our linear minds, our linear hypothesis, our linear thought patterns, doesn’t comprehend enough to know even what questions to ask!

Strange isn’t it, but the original part of our mind we men have tried to bury under the guise of intellect may finally be the very thing we need to understand the greater part? Our metaphysic spirituality and intellect traveling in parallel, side by side, using each other, depending on each other, as we realize there are consequences for intellect without the balance of metaphysic spirituality. Each holds the other in check, and growth will be one of responsibility, based on natural aspects not readily observed outward, but inside.

Without our metaphysical spiritual side, our intellect will destroy this earth. It will poison it with chemicals, destroying ecosystems it took millions of years to develop in a virtual moment. Without spirituality, we will never tap into the true meaning of anything, but be continually unhappy, without direction, without conscience, without hope. We had this once. We once lived in harmony with nature, with few exceptions. No other animal on earth has developed intellect, at least none we have ever observed, and what has it brought us? We are the only species that will kill its own kind in mass, as an intellectual exercise. Without the spiritual side we have allowed the intellect to develop weapons of mass destruction so great that we could destroy this entire earth 300 times over in less than an hour. Everything, except for a few resistant cockroaches would parish.

Look, we will have to change. There is no denying that what we now face is like nothing ever presented to us before. There are medical businesses today that are doing genetic research unchecked. Can you imagine what they are doing now if what we saw ten years ago was a mouse growing a human ear? What other advances, horrific and beautiful are being primed, when human fetuses are being sold from millions of abortions, and our genetic map is now commercially owned.

Control of the individual human mind is a primary way to insure the intellectual framework of business and government remains intact. The network of paper money based on faith and promises, bolstered by wholesale information, takes our will as its own. From information compiled from the grocery store ID, the company wanting a piece of your hair and the genetic information it holds, to the selling of your name and all pertinent facts gathered in the public domain, will ultimately sell your own thoughts back to you.

Metaphysic spirituality shows the promise of unlocking who and what we are, and our place in the scheme of things. It is the balance of the equation that Einstein so tried to explain. Without it we are surely blind.

Our world and all of its color and beauty will die so slowly we will hardly notice. It will go unnoticed as the oceans, rainforests, and our swamps and woodlands are sliced and served to us, one piece at a time, as we multiply without a thought for the finite size of earth. We’ll keep buying and they will sell, until nothing remains.

Want to understand more about this new way of thinking? Read the poetry of NERUDA, study the ideas of men like Fritji Capra, Einstein, Oppenheimer, Boar, and Heisenberg, and study the philosophies that Buddha, and Lao Tzu taught.

It is not too late. There is still time, …but even if we could turn it around this very instant, the next generation would still view our time as the greatest waste since the extinction of the dinosaurs, and all of it our responsibility, our fault. But then, if we don’t turn it around, there will be no one about to judge us anyway, unless somehow roaches develop intelligence.

Finally, if it be that our ultimate quest is to touch the face of God, perhaps metaphysics can show us the way, still keeping our intellect intact. Einstein saw the words of God in math, and in the unity of his intellectual spirituality he saw an ultimate answer to the riddle of who we are.

“I believe that the world-view implied by modern physics is inconsistent with our present society, which does not reflect the harmonious interrelatedness we observe in nature. To achieve such a state of dynamic balance, a radically different social and economic structure will be needed: a cultural revolution in the true sense of the word. The survival of our whole civilization may depend on whether we can bring about such a change.” Fritof Capra. Berkley, April, 1981.

Just like God gave Eve to Adam, a balance, so too did God give us our intellect with spirituality to make us whole... This physical process, from unspeakable pressure, time, and temperature, where nuclear fires burn in the vast reaches, and cooling matter collects in orbital mass, so too do we look from our small perch. Can it be that the ultimate finale’ is the actual delicateness of life, crowned with the concluding icing, the realization of self? Our intellect is a definitive glory, but our spirituality is the phosphor glow in the mist of everything there is, lighting our way.

Bending Physics, colored stars, and Einstein's face of God Part one

Bending Physics, colored stars, and Einstein’s face of God
Part one of two
By: Ken La Rive

Several weeks ago while flipping channels, I came across an awesome movie. It was called “Mind Walk.” The credits told me it was based on a book called “The Turning Point” by Fritjof Capra. I ordered this book from our library and when it finally arrived, I just dove in. On page 82, on the chapter called “The New Physics” Albert Einstein is quoted in a 1920 argument with the Physicist Bohr about Quantum Mechanics. This sentence has followed him throughout his career. Einstein stated a metaphor: “God does not play dice.” It is because of that quote, and a question I pose here, that prompted these two columns. What did Einstein see that made him believe in God? And so, with my limited mental resources, this is what I have gathered…

Just like sound changes pitch as it travels toward and away from a point, Einstein knew that light traveling toward you was seen as a different color than traveling away, and the more dramatic the shift in color the faster it traveled. He called this, “The Doppler Effect.” Suddenly, observation of the sky took on a whole new perspective. Scientists took a deep breath as they amazingly realized that as we viewed it from 360 degrees, using our new computers, that not only could we project where each heavenly body was heading, but we could determine where it originally came from. It was more than just a mind blower to realize that all stars came from one original point in the sky, and it challenged what had been thought and taught for hundreds of years.

So now we have a new point of view. It is currently understood that there was a time, many eons ago, when everything was sitting together in a mass so great that energy closed in upon itself. With this imploding force and power it actually exploded. This idea is what is now called “The Big Bang Theory.” This original spot is so far away that what we fundamentally perceive around us is like what we might see inside of a minute soap bubble floating in a great Sahara dust storm.

Light from some of the stars has taken many millions of years to reach us, and we can see but a small part of our small galaxy. The thought that there are countless other galaxies and star clusters, is just mind boggling, even for a genius Physicist like Einstein.

It is hard to comprehend so great an amount of space and time, and the force and energy that holds it together is so far beyond what even our greatest of minds can fathom. Whenever they tried to find a building block, or just a mere fact, an exception would always occur, a paradox if you will. You see, when experimenting, matter showed itself to behave sometimes like a wave, and sometimes like a particle. How could something be both? Nothing could answer this riddle, not even math. It wasn’t until Einstein’s Special Relativity Theory, and the beginning of his Unified Field Theory that true discoveries began.

Scientists readily admit that the primary reason that Physics will not give up its secrets is because life here on earth developed a unique way of observing and learning, a perceptual process referred to as linier. This view, this way of perceiving the world, is based on previous experiences, learned and taught, with our very limited senses as guides.

Since what we see is so great, so awesome, we have learned to view just the part that makes sense. It is our way of putting some semblance of order in a world not understood, and may otherwise seem chaotic. We strive to put things in order, to arrange, to assemble facts and ideas, attempting in the process to create lines. Our intellect wants and needs order. We plant trees in lines, we write in historical time lines, boundary lines, we put thoughts on a page in logical lines, lines of meaning we give symbolically for sanity’s sake. It has been taught in the west that if we lost this ability that we would be “spaced out,” not being able to focus on a point, to promote change, to learn, or to take action. Today however, these ideas are in question.

Scientists are now realizing that a process we had long before the intellect was developed, a metaphysical or spiritual side, may be the key to unlocking the meaning of it all, the ultimate meaning. This spiritual side has been constantly pushed behind our intellect, thought to weaken it. Today scientists from many disciplines are realizing that our spiritual side may indeed be the strength we need, not only to ask the appropriate questions, but to give meaning to the answer.

You see, two hundred years ago it was thought that what we are, and what we understand around us was found in individual parts, like the workings as a great machine. The new scientists of that time told them so and they were believed. The scientific method is based on this assumption. Sure, scientists projected us on the intellectual road of advancement, but at what cost?

It was that primary theory that promoted the new science of Physics, and by math we attempted to draw an understanding, and where we actually fit into the infinitely big and the infinitesimally small. It worked only to a point, as one thing continues on to this very day… There seems to be no hard or fast rule that can readily be understood, and exceptions to every possible rule continue to stump even the most progressive of minds. Fact is, there seems to be no ultimate rule at all! Too complex? No. It is because we are looking at it wrong. Our linear thoughts, our myopic senses, hold us from seeing the entire picture.

This new way of thinking is called “Bootstrap Physics.” Einstein, and his contemporaries had been expanding on what was called a “Unified Field Theory” long before his death. This amazing theory states that the universe is not parts at all, but one indivisible whole! This non-linier way of thinking showed something different and unexpected.

Eastern metaphysical philosophy has been practiced for thousands or years, from Japan to China. It is the process of thought where intellect is pushed aside to get to an insight inside of ourselves, below the conscience surface. There, life is viewed as a process of balance in imbalance, symmetry in asymmetry, and only when this is mastered will you tune in with the balance of the physical and metaphysical aspects of the world. It is reflected in their art forms, where the mind attempts to move away from what we perceive linier, in order to see the broader canvas in three dimensions that lie inside, where your mind is one with the universe. You see, nothing in nature moves in a straight line, nor is there an observable straight line, a complete absolute symmetry, or balance. It just doesn’t exist, and so, this is why on that side of the world you would be hard pressed to see a line of trees planted in a row. It isn’t art. It isn’t Physics.

This new way of observation has opened a whole new perspective in Physics, as no longer is the universe perceived as parts of a mechanical whole, but one thing.

It is now seen that everything is so dependant on another that the universe, as Capra puts it, “is no longer seen as a machine, made up of a multitude of objects, but essentially interrelated and can be understood only as patterns of a cosmic process.”

And so, what if this so called big bang is just one of countless other big bangs, instigated by something far greater, where countless other phenomena is at work too, ad infinity. We will never know, unless we find the key inside of our own mind. This key will show that our intellectual thoughts and our metaphysical spirituality should work together in conjunction. Only by this combined unity can we develop further along this adventure path of understanding.
Look for part two in two weeks…

One other thing. Following the teachings of Buddha is compatible with any loving religion, and I mean especially Christianity.. Buddha wrote many times not to erect a statue or to make his philosophy into a religion. It is a philosophy, not a religion. 600 years before Christ, Buddha was a great human being.

A Thread of Hope

A Thread of Hope
By: Ken La Rive 08189921:15

Hope hangs the soul on a thread
Of it’s own design…
Fashioned by that perpetual need
And God’s great sense of humor…
Its laughter brings on tears
For what little we control…
And in the finite space of life
An infinite search for light…

Salvation is in the dreams
Of the bitterness we drink…
Ice arrows pierce our hearts,
And blood boils inside the womb…
But the burdens we hold seem lighter
Taking flight when the yoke is laid…
Where in the falling we grasp
A thread of strength called hope…

The unexplained, fear, and an angel without wings...

The unexplained, fear, and an angel without wings…
By Ken LaRive

Unexplainable things happen to all of us. Some will admit it, and some will not. There are times when it seems that there is indeed a divine hand in the doings and happenings of this world, and our lives are a tapestry of wonder, and astonishment. We explain it as chance, and rationalize it with every fiber of logic we can muster, but in the end, it is fear that pushes it aside.

With the chance of being labeled strange, I’m going to tell you just four things I have recorded in my life. It is all I have room for tonight, but I’ll tell you a fifth another time that will pail all of this. I swear to you, this is all true.

ONE: It was the summer of 1956. My family and I were on the midway of Ponchartrain Beach. Everyone was having a good time. Children were running and laughing, and there was the smell of popcorn and cotton candy in the air.

We had just finished a ride, and my sister Cindy and I were running down the sloping exit ramp, and past the heavy swinging gate, held in place by a large spring. She ran to my smiling parents, and they asked her if it had been fun...

It was the ride called “The Whip” and it looked like a tea-cup with a saucer stuck to the back, you know the one. It went around in a circle and because it was imbalanced would whip with a force that would pin you to the back. It was controlled by a steering wheel in the middle, and the “bad boys” would show off by turning it at the proper moment, pinning their screaming girl friends to the back.

Suddenly I got this feeling. Can’t say I can describe it really. I was only about seven then, not knowing the ways of the world, but this feeling was strong and directing my attention to the ride. I saw and focused on a little girl walking with her friends to get into a vacant tea-cup. I knew something bad was going to happen to that girl, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.

Behind me I could hear my father calling for me to come on, but then… Her leg slipped into the hole, the slot, where the machinery met the tea-cup under the wooden floor. Then the heavy tea-cup swung off balanced and pinned her leg with a smacking force strong enough to break it. She screamed.

I remember her scream, and I made a promise to myself. If ever that feeling happened again, I would do something about it no matter how foolish I might have looked. I chided myself for not yelling out, but then, there is a kind of fear about such things…

TWO: Back in New Orleans in 1974…, back from San Diego and Vietnam, newly married, I was about to start University. We lived for a short while with my mother-in-law, “Dolsie,” as we were looking for an apartment. I went out with some old friends to the New Orleans Hypnotists Association meeting, a nurse and an X-ray Tec.

There were things I saw that night that I don’t have the room for here, but one very strange thing happened that I must tell you about…

While my friend the nurse was hypnotized, they made her guess a number from one to a hundred. The number was passed around on a scrap of paper, too fast for me to see, but I thought it was 29. We were supposed to think that number. My friend the X-ray Tec didn’t see it ether, but I whispered to him to think 29.

On the blackboard of your mind you will see a number,” said the hypnotist. “What is the first digit?”
“Two!” she said quickly.
“Yes,” he said. “Now, look at the second digit. It is written as plain as day. What is it?”
“Nine!” she said, as quick as the first.
“No dear, that’s wrong. Try again. Look at the board. What is it?” He said with a commanding voice.

I looked at my friend. She had chosen every number that was being thought!

My friends dropped me off around 22:30, and I couldn’t get all that I had seen out of my head. My Mother-in-law walked into the living room where I had just sat down on the sofa.

“Had a good time?” she asked.
“Wow, it was so strange!” I said excitedly. “They had my friend choose a number form one to a hundred…”
“Was it 27?” she asked.

THREE: Maddy and I were sitting around one night playing cards. I have never seen anyone ever beat her. Her uncle taught her the game, and I always thought she knew what the cards were.

“What is this card?” I said pointing to the freshly shuffled deck.
“Ten of diamonds,” se said. I turned over the ten of diamonds.
“What is this one?” I said pointing to the next one in the pile.
“Jack of Clubs,” she said. I turned over the Jack of clubs.
“And this one?”
“Three of diamonds” ..and it was.
“And this?”
“Seven of hearts...” It was. We looked at each other, and I could see and feel the same thing she did. Fear of the unknown. I can’t remember ever playing cards with her again.

FOUR: We were at the Evangeline Downs Race Track about ten years ago. I remember the oilfield was poor, and so was I. I had about sixty dollars in my pocket, for our gambling and lunch. Several races went by and we won them all, just missing the daily double. I was betting three dollars at a time.

I was feeling good, and the sun was streaming through the window making a halo on Maddy’s blonde hair. “You look beautiful Maddy.” I said. “You look like an angel, …the only thing you don’t have is wings.”

I turned the page for the next race. There, on line three, ANGEL WITHOUT WINGS, was number three.

It was a long shot, but I knew without a doubt it would win. I looked in my wallet. I had fourteen dollars left. I knew if I had had my entire life’s savings in that wallet that I would have bet the whole thing. It wasn’t even expected to show, but I bet all I had.

It was second to last at the start, and laid back, slowly creeping past one, and then another horse. In the stretch it was number four. I was yelling… “Angel without wings! Angel without wings!” Sweat was pouring from me like a heart attack. I can’t ever remember being so excited. It pulled up to number three and then took off like it had wings! In a moment it was first and left the last one behind by several lengths on the line.

I had to sit down. I had won $67.30.

The difference of just one starfish...

The difference of just one Starfish…
By: Ken La Rive

Disclaimer: I have been telling this story many years before the book “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” I can assure you this story is true and accurate…

Back in 88’ we lived in the Cayman Islands. Day in and day out we were presented with throngs of smiling bikini-clad tourists wanting to drink and be merry. One weekend several of us families pooled our resources and rented a large house in Finger Kay, a secluded part of the island. Yep, we wanted to get away from all that.

We barbecued lobster and fish caught fresh from the crystal clear lagoon, drank Red Stripe and wine, and snorkeled for conch chowder.

Laura was eight then, and had a little friend named Caroline. They were inseparable. Each morning they would be on the beach at first light, combing it for the night tide’s treasure. I would put on my Niki’s and pass them up jogging. This morning though, I saw them further down the beach. The glare from the morning sun was reflecting on the waves, and I had to squint to see them. From this distance they looked to be dancing, but as I got closer I saw they were picking something up and throwing it into the sea. I stopped. They were throwing red starfish.

My mind went back six months before, to a place called Fountainblu State Park, in Louisiana. We had gone home for a visit. I borrowed a couple of bicycles from my sister and took Laura for a ride. It was a beautiful spring day, and we road down the deserted blacktop roads under the dapple of moss-covered oaks and pecan trees. Suddenly Laura stopped her bike and got off. She was crying. “What’s wrong?” I asked her. From the trees, she told me, there were caterpillars that were dangling down to the ground, and she couldn’t help running them over. “They will be butterflies! This is no fun at all!” She said loudly.

So with my worldly knowledge I told her this was all just a normal thing. We kill tiny things every time we put our foot on the ground, and yet we have a right to be here. I told her that these organisms were simple, and we were complex. I told her that it couldn’t be helped, and the day was still beautiful, and made to be enjoyed.

She seemed to try and believe me, and though she kept a stiff upper lip, I could tell she was having a hard time with it. I thought she was too sensitive, and the day was mostly wasted. As a city boy, I had been told the same thing in my youth. My Cajun cousins would laugh at my city slicker sensibilities when I would visit. I thought: Here she is again, wasting a perfectly beautiful day. I asked. “What are you girls doing?” They didn’t miss a throw. “We are saving these starfish. They are caught up here from the tide and will dry up when the sun gets hot.” It all came back. “Look, Laura,” I said in my perfectly condescending adult voice, “there are hundreds of starfish here. Look at them all! What difference does it make?”

She reached down with a smile and threw another one into the crystal clear waves. “Made a difference for this one Dad.” I laughed and shook my head, and continued down the beach. Then it hit me. It hit me right between the eyes. She was right! It did make a difference. I turned around and went back, and for the rest of the morning, and the next as well, I helped them throw starfish into the sea.

Walking the Matt in Aberdeen

‘Walking the Mat’ In Aberdeen
By: Ken La Rive

Scotland is an ambiguous place, full of social contradictions, and Aberdeen, in the north east corner of the country, is no exception. The people can be warm and friendly, and also prickly and suspicious. Not really unusual anyplace on earth, but with my capacity as a traveling oil field worker, I have the opportunity to study many different cultures. I have picked up some insights into the thinking of the local people here in Aberdeen, and I see this: They are changing very quickly.

It seems that the oil industry, (which has been such a boon to the overall economic prosperity of the town), is also deeply resented, by some, for ‘ruining oor toon’, as one colleague remarked to me while in conversation on a North Sea oil rig. Even though the industry has brought prosperity to a large number of people, it has also changed the underlying character of the town, and its citizens.

Not so very long ago Aberdeen was a small town, with a small town nature. Deeply entrenched, it had a highly developed sense of community. There were only a few industries in the town, with fishing and paper making being the main employers. The locals fondly reminisce of ‘walking the mat’ on the main avenue, Union Street. It is only about a half mile in length, and on a Saturday night, all the young lads and lassies would put on their ‘finery’, and stroll its length socializing and ‘chatting each other up.’ Even young people from the surrounding areas would catch a bus into Aberdeen, to ‘walk the mat’. Those with a bit of money might drop into one of the various pubs on the street now and again for a wee dram to ‘pluck up courage’, but even those without money could have an enjoyable time (with possibly more success in courting, being sober!). It was a happy and cheerful way to meet people, and the tradition was known to be responsible for a large number of marriages in the town, and the surrounding areas as well!

The coming of the mighty oil industry, with its influx of brash Texans (every American was a Texan as far as the locals were concerned), caused a basic change in the social structure of the town. Suddenly, locals who ‘went oot to the oil’ came home with pockets full of cash, and it was a case of either joining up, or be left behind while the ‘local’ oilmen bought fancy houses in the posh west end. Because of this, and because cars became much more common, walking the mat withered on the vine, while fancy nightclubs, and fast food restaurants took over. Also the local council became obsessed with the idea of being a ‘boom town’, and grandiose moneymaking schemes and dreams suddenly seemed possible. As with all nouveau-capitalistic societies, there has also been corruption, as money falls like manna from heaven through the city’s council chambers.

In Aberdeen, as in the other larger towns of Scotland, the Labor party has dominated local politics since the Second World War. As with most situations where a single party dominates politics, corruption becomes endemic. The influx of money made it even more prevalent. It is indeed an irony, that, because of the way history has developed in Scotland, the socialist tradition is very strong, - possibly as strong as any in Eastern Europe. The socialist Labor party was the only means by which the power of the dominating and oppressive establishment could be curbed by the common man. There is a powerful tradition here in Scotland, of the working men ‘standing together’ by voting Labor. Since the class war has been pretty much won in modern Scotland, there is no longer an ‘enemy’ to fight. Still, because of the people’s inability to see these changes, they still vote Labor. Old habits are hard to change.

However, get into a conversation with most working class people and they will express views that are indistinguishable from anyone on the right of the Republican party – pro capital punishment, pro freedom of the individual, pro low taxation, pro ‘small’ government, etc. They don’t seem to see any irony that, while voting for a socialist party, they hold views far to the right of most Republicans, and never mind the democrats! The Scots are a fiercely independent people, whose history has been one of endless struggle not only against the elements, but ‘absentee’ English (and Scottish) landlords, and the need to bring up families against the odds. Because of this, Scotland has produced some of the greatest radical thinkers, soldiers, engineers and financiers that the world has seen. Would, for example, Adam Smith (the founder of modern economic theory), Alexander Graham Bell, Alexander Fleming (the discoverer of penicillin), James Watt (inventor of the steam engine), Andrew Carnegie, and many more, have been the successes they were if they hadn’t had a strong sense of their own Scottish heritage? In the UK’s last election, three of the four great government offices of state government, Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Foreign Secretary, were all Scots.

Then again, as Aberdeen drifted into the twilight of the oil boom, people have started to waken to the fact that the money that has glutted the town has also had an impoverishing effect on the social structure. Gone are the fishing communities around the fish market (now closed). Gone is that ‘cozy’ atmosphere in the local pubs where in the Northern suburbs, in the old days, ninety percent of the customers worked in the paper mills, and knew each other intimately. Nowadays, you are lucky if you know anyone, such has been the influx of new people, and the exodus of ex-mill workers (now oil men). Most of the pubs have been ‘modernized,’ replacing time-polished wood with chrome and glass, and swapping cozy ‘fugginess,’ for the cold of modern ‘efficiency’. The comforting sounds of clicking dominoes and thud of darts have been replaced with annoying mid-Atlantic ‘musak’, designed to maximize the intake of beer, but also has the effect of minimizing the atmosphere, and traditional ambiance as well.

As for ‘walking the mat’, the young people of today would gasp in astonishment if you were to suggest such an unsophisticated activity for a Saturday night. Some might say that one would more likely get a mugging than a kiss from a bonny lassie. Yes, the oil industry has made the people monetarily richer, but has also taken something away as well.

In closing, a local Aberdeen joke: A visiting Texan, stopped to talk to a farmer who was leaning on a gate looking at his sheep. “Sheep hugh?” he ventured. “Aye” replied the farmer. “In Texas, we don’t allow sheep, we only got cattle” said the Texan. “Right enough?” said the farmer. “How much land you got here?” queried the Texan. “Nae that it’s ony of your business, - but I’ve got twa hundred acres” he replied proudly. “Waal,” said the Texan, “ back home, it takes me two days to drive across my spread!” “Aye” sighed the farmer, “I used tae hae a car like that!”

I had more then a lot of help writing this by my Scottish partner, (who, by the way, wishes to remain anonymous). I’m sure his reason is sound, but I speculate that a man’s opinion here is not so readily accepted, as might be possible in our own ‘free thinking’ America. Aye! What a shame. It is indeed a waste of spirit…

Thoughts on India

Thoughts on India
By: Ken LaRive

In order to get me on a 28X28 rotation I’m going to have to put in 35. I’m not used to being away form home this long, and though the pay check will come in handy, at my age money isn’t my greatest motivation. Life is indeed short, and the concept of working for money should not take precedence.

We have two full fledged doctors out here, Dr. Deepak, a young man who is about to go back to school to be a Pediatrician, and Dr. Pradeep, who is mastering the Hindu thought from a more pragmatic sense. He is teaching me through the eyes of his Guru, Tej Gyan, introducing to me Maksh, Maya, and the idea of Happy Thoughts. I’ve found our conversations to be most stimulating, and together they are attempting to help me face myself, the noisy scramble of my inner dialogue, and I’m told it is the road to finding peace, something I have found very illusive. There have been a lot of preliminary, before self reflection can take place, before meditation, and I have learned the concept of Maya, the illusion of man made design.

I have read a bit of the Rig-Veda, the oldest book in the world, and the fundamental essence of both Hindu and Zoroastrianism, predecessors of both Judaism and Christianity. I was astounded by the words spoken so long ago, six thousand years, and how relevant they still are today.

Dr. Deepack’s friend is our training officer, Sahab Singh, who has also taken me into the Hindu mind with stories of gods and their lives. Mr. Singh is a Sikh from the highlands of India’s far north, and is of the warrior class. Then there is my night man, Ravi. I call him “Jinn” because he accomplishes so much on his tour he must have a Jeannie’s help. Over many a meal of yellow dusted curry, fresh bread, and bowls of ripe pineapple and papayas, he takes me across the width and breath of India with explanations of the many differences of religions, and India’s rich heritage that goes back into the mists of ancient history. Dr. Deepak has given me a magazine that is a special anniversary issue of India Today, 2006, and I found it most informative. There are contemporary columns by some of India’s most renowned writers, Deepak Chopra, Siddhartha Dhanvant Shanghvi, Vinay Lal, and more. I’d like to share with you the focus of their thoughts and a couple of excerpts from The Hindu, a well known English newspaper.

I will start off with a very pronounced insight from Arvind Panagariya, in the essay “Will India overtake the Chinese Dragon?” He writes: “The Indian economy performed better between 2003-04 and 2005-06 than during any other three-year period since Independence. During these three years, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)-a measure of the country’s total income-has grown 45 percent in dollar terms. Merchandise exports have doubled and service exports have tripled. The total number of vehicles produced during these three years exceeds the entire stock of registered vehicles in 1990-91. In telecommunications, India has gone from a total of five million telephone lines in 1991, to five million additional telephones every month.

These developments have placed India among a handful of future economic powers.”

Vinay Lal writes “Will Democracy Survive?” is an amazing essay of the struggle for Democracy to survive. The answer he prescribes to is: “Only if we have the wisdom and the courage to gamble everything on it.” Lal shows the dreams and visions for a democratic India, and the fear of its loss... He writes: “The wisdom and resilience of ordinary people have been exemplified not only at the ballot box, but in grassroot movements and cultural practices of syncretism.” He adds: “…the constitution of India remains, despite attempts to subvert its emancipatory provisions, a document and a vision that holds the promise of equality, justice, and opportunity.” At the end of this well thought out essay Lal mentions Gandhi. “…though Gandhi’s assassins never seem to rest, the specter of Gandhi remains to haunt, guide and inspire Indians who are resistant to everything that passes for “normal politics”, and have not succumbed to the oppressions of modernity.” And then Lal finishes with a powerful thought: “As I have elsewhere written, Gandhi took great risks and was not in the least cowed down by history, the sanctity of traditions, or scriptural authority. Six decades ago Indians entered into a tryst with destiny. The unique experiment that constitutes Indian democracy can only be sustained if we have the courage to gamble everything on it.”

Benazir answered the question: Will India and Pakistan for a viable Asian union? Answer: Yes, but only when Pakistan is a democracy.

Tarun Khanna answered the question: When will corporate India go global? Answer: When it claims the Diaspora dividend.

G. Parthasarathy answers the question: Will India and Pakistan press the nuclear trigger? Answer: No, but nuclear weapons are an irreversible reality in Asia.

Dr. Firuza R. Parikh answers the question: Will there be designer babies in the future? Answer: Yes, but technology should be used responsibly.

Nirpal Singh Dhaliwal answered the question: Will India get a seat on the United nations high table? Answer: Why does India need it? What has the United Nations achieved?

In The Hindu newspaper, Saturday, December 16, 2006: “Herbal cure for malaria… Leaves from the Chinese herb Artemisa annua have been used to treat mosquito-borne malaria for more than 1,500 years. Now, drugs based on the herbal extract artemisinin, or ginghaosu, are the main hope in the battle aginist the disease which kills one person worldwide every 30 seconds.”

And finally, an excerpt from The Hindu on the same date: “Eighty rats were on the loose on a Saudi Airline flight, after eating their way out through a leather bag. They belonged to a passenger, who was held for questioning.” Thought this noteworthy… Like there aren’t yet enough rats in Saudi.

Today we are having a bit of down time fishing for a wire-line that has parted just below the casing, and so I will continue my schooling with Dr. Predeep. Today, he told me, after fifteen minutes more of preliminary explanation, that he will guide me into the practical aspects of meditation. He says that there is a method that can sweep all damaging and unwanted inner dialogue away at one time. It is only a proper focus, a proper attitude, where Truth and understanding can be found. I almost swallowed my gum when he said, “It will take you further along your Path to Truth like nothing else can.”

Blood on the Irish Shamrock

Blood on the Irish Shamrock

By: Ken La Rive

I am writing this to try and put into perspective just what is going on in Ireland. It has a long history of unrest, and bloodshed. The first factor to consider when reading this, and it underlines everything: The problems there have little to do with religion so much as the struggle of those who have, with the those who have-not. So let’s do a bit of homework:

The island of Ireland has never been united under one ruler, except when it was part of the United Kingdom. People have claimed to be ‘King of Ireland’ throughout history, but their claim has always been disputed by at least some of the people. For a couple of hundred years, while Ireland was ruled by Britain, the Scots (mostly Protestant) inhabited large parts of Northern Ireland (Ulster), living uneasily with their Catholic Irish neighbors. Ireland went through a number of periods of rebellion against British rule, but this was always complicated by the fact that predominantly Protestant Ulster had no desire to break away from the UK.

When Ireland finally achieved independence from Britain, Eamonn De Valera, who became the first Taeshoch (Prime Minister), had to accept that Ulster would have to be split off from the rest of Ireland, and remain part of Britain. This was to avoid the prospect of a major civil war with Ulster, which would have resulted in a huge amount of bloodshed. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) never accepted this agreement and counted De Valera and his government as traitors to the Irish cause. The IRA fought against the new Irish government, and a civil war broke out, during which the IRA was defeated, and many IRA men were executed by the Irish state. (It’s ironic that the Irish government of De Valera killed more IRA than the British ever did).

Meanwhile, in Ulster, the Protestant majority entrenched their power within local government, and made it almost impossible for Catholics to obtain the right to vote, by maintaining arcane rules of registration. “One man – one vote” became a rallying cry in the Sixties for the Catholic minority as they fought for their rights. Around the same time, the IRA had a huge upsurge in recruitment, and commenced a campaign of terrorism, to unite Ireland. In response to mounting international pressure, the British government over-rode the objections of the Protestants, and introduced one man-one vote for all adult citizens. This caused an outbreak of violence, with Protestant mobs attacking Catholic areas. The British government sent in troops to maintain the peace, principally to protect the Catholic minority.

The IRA escalated their reign of terror, shooting people and setting off bombs in both Ulster and the British mainland. A Protestant terror group, the Ulster Defense Association (UDA) (with various minor offshoots), formed in retaliation against the IRA. There followed over twenty years of violence, with tit-for-tat killings blighting the lives of the people in this beautiful land. Here were two groups with opposing and incompatible aims. The IRA totally committed to a united Ireland, and the UDA totally committed to remaining part of the UK.

In desperation, the governments of Britain and Ireland, formulated a compromise. They agreed to put two referendums to the people of Ireland. In the North, the people would vote on the proposal that Ulster would remain part of the Britain until the majority voted otherwise. In return for giving up their arms, the IRA and the UDA would be allowed to take part in the government of Northern Ireland (each of these paramilitary groups has their political wing, with representatives in the local government of Ulster). There would be a cross-border body set up to cooperate in trade, power and gas supplies and other matters. The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) would have the ‘Royal’ taken from its name, and be completely reorganized to ensure that there were a representative number of Catholics in it. (There are almost no Catholic members of the RUC – hardly surprising, because the IRA targets any Catholic policemen for execution as traitors to the cause). The convicted terrorists from both sides would be granted amnesty. In the South the people would vote on the proposal that Ireland repeal sections 2 and 3 of their constitution. These sections laid claim to sovereignty over Ulster and were a bone of contention with the Ulster Protestants.

The referendums were held North and South, with a huge majority in favor of what became known as the ‘Belfast Agreement’. There were various deadlines to be met before the agreement was made permanent, the principal ones being that the paramilitaries give up their weapons, and that the police force is reorganized. The power sharing government was set up in Ulster, with two of the former IRA leaders, Martin McGuiness, and Gerry Adams, being given seats on the inner cabinet of government. All of the convicted terrorists from both sides were released from prison.

A commission was set up to reorganize the police force, but the proposals that they came up with caused consternation among Protestants, because they contain no bars to ex-terrorists joining the police. One woman said on British television “just imagine how you would feel if your son was murdered, and you saw his murderer walking the streets in a police uniform”. These proposals have yet to be implemented because of these fears.

Using this as an excuse, the IRA has refused to give up even one single rusty revolver. In turn, the Protestant paramilitaries have held on to their weapons, and although some IRA weapons dumps in South Ireland have been inspected by an independent third party, shootings happen on an almost daily basis. A splinter group from the IRA recently set off a bomb in London.

The First Minister of the power sharing government, David Trimble, resigned in protest at the lack of IRA arms de-commissioning, and the Belfast Agreement has almost withered on the vine. The British government has made more concessions to the IRA in a desperate attempt to keep the agreement going, hoping that they will make a start to giving up their weapons, but so far – nothing. There are only weeks left before the deadline for full implementation of all parts of the Belfast Agreement. After that, within the terms of the agreement, the British government is empowered to re-introduce direct rule from London. Since this would almost certainly lead to a declaration of war from the IRA, the whole of Britain and Ireland waits anxiously for the men of violence to decide whether to accept democracy, or to unleash the dogs of war!

Incidentally, some Brits think Americans have a responsibility for some of the above problems. Ex-Irish movements, particularly around the Boston area, has been fund raising for years. People stuff dollar bills into collection tins, thinking that they are doing their bit for ‘good old Ireland’. In fact most of this money has gone into the coffers of the IRA, enabling them to deal with Gaddafi of Libya, and anyone else who will sell them Semtex or Kalashnikovs. Think twice before you give money to so-called Irish charities. Your dollar may buy a couple of bullets, which will be fired into both knees of anyone who dares to speak out against the IRA. This delightful custom is known as ‘kneecapping’.

One final thought – if you are going to have a bad road accident, or get shot, the safest place in the world to do this is in Belfast in Northern Ireland. The trauma surgeons there are the most skilled in the world – they’ve had loads of practice!

Many thanks to my Scottish ‘Round Table’ friends whose enlightening and lively discussions explained this point of view clearly, and of course letting me take notes.

Bohemia, and "The beast with Red Cheeks"

Bohemia, and “The Beast with Red Cheeks”
By: Ken La Rive

It is so strange when you find in you the means to understand something, and you wonder where it came from. You may try to retrace your steps, but I find time and age distorts, and can’t be trusted. I’ll get to the point as not to be confusing…

The thought I will attempt here is profound, and not easily explained. It journeyed for thirty years with a barrier I tried to overcome back in university called Plato’s Republic. There, I tried to understand a conversation Socrates had with two young Athenians, Glaucon and Adeimantus. They spoke of a chief psychological phenomenon that all men possess, a noble association with what is called courage, and the reasoning behind a reality where one will willingly risk everything, even one’s own life, for such a nebulous ideal. In echoing marble halls, they studied and discussed the motivation of the solder, who’s main objective in life was defense of the city. They wondered what would make a man risk his life for little or no pay, march in punishing conditions, sometime with meager nourishment, and danger. What was his motivation?

It was hard for me to study the writings of Hume, Alexander Hamilton, Hobbs, Machiavelli, and Nietzche, who spoke of “the beast with red cheeks.” I just wanted to take pictures. I was glad for it later, as those ideas became apparent in a simple but intense conversation in an Internet coffee shop of Czech Republic. It was like a ghost from the past…

My young Czech friend, Martin, Maddy and I, in from the snow, was discussing the human condition of pre-democratic Bohemia. Martin mentioned a man named Vaclav Havel, who became president of Czechoslovakia in 1998. He had been previously jailed as a dissident, and became the founder of a human rights organization there called, Charter 77, long before the democratic revolutions of Eastern Europe were achieved. He saw it as inevitable. He realized that men have in them, and assign to the world about them, a degree of worth. Plato called this worth, thymos, where men seek recognition based on what worth they assign to themselves and the world. While in prison, Havel formulated astonishing ideas as to the nature of the evil that was the core of the system that jailed him, and he published these thoughts in the 80’s in an essay called “The Power of the Powerless.” There he tells the story of the greengrocer, and although I don’t have the space to put it all here, in a nutshell it is about a grocer in a totalitarian society who has a sign in his window, “Workers of the World, Unite.” Havel thoroughly questions the many various reasons why the greengrocer would agree to put that sign in his window. It protects the greengrocer, to a degree, from informers, and it gives a message to his superiors that reflect their agenda and interests, while amazingly shields its real meaning. This meaning is evident to all who live by the enslavement of the spirit, and know that the sign should read, “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,” but indeed it is the semantics that leaves the greengrocer a bit of dignity. It leaves the greengrocer with what is called “disinterested conviction” and allows him to express: “What is wrong with uniting the world?” Havel wrote: “Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the facade of something high. And that something is Ideology.”

And why not just admit that he was afraid? The reason is quite simple. The greengrocer believes that he has a certain amount of worth. This is the real reason that totalitarian communism didn’t work. The greengrocer believed that he was more then his fear and need, and even though he didn’t know how to articulate it, he felt stronger, and possibly a bit smarter then those who tried to control him. He displayed that sign because he is capable of choice, no matter how subtle, and sorely for the sake of principle. He is, however, according to Havel, fooling himself, but non-the less believes he is of sound principle, rather then being entirely fearful. But I think it really doesn’t matter, even if, because of fear, he didn’t express it at all. Survival is important, but if there is just a small glimmer of hope, freedom of the spirit surfaces. It is the nature of man.

Havel wrote: “The essential aims of life are present naturally in every person. In everyone there is some longing for humanity’s rightful dignity, for moral integrity, for free expression of being and a sense of transcendence over the world of existence.” And then on the other hand he wrote: “…each person is capable, to a greater or lesser degree, of coming to terms with living within the lie.”

Is this our true reason for being: dignity, and its opposition, humiliation? Both are so evident in our daily lives, and yet those two words are the description Havel gives for life in communist Czechoslovakia! Though Brezhnev totalitarian states attempted to make the populace complicit, not so much by terror, but by the constant dangling of the features, advantages and benefits of modern consumerism before them. This was the fuel, this desire for a better life, of material possessions, i.e., a vacation in the Alps, a refrigerator, and a foreign car, as materialism is the catalysts that pitted the desiring part of the soul with the thymotic part. Once that hunger is there, nothing else will quench it. A true Totalitarian Government must constantly oppress free will, when it can no longer function in its tyranny, it is doomed.

So here we finally come back to Plato’s thymos. It is defined in The Republic as an innate human psychological set of virtues like bravery, courage, idealism, principle, morality, self-sacrifice, and honor. Thymos is the process of evaluating these principles by putting value on them, and this value can be so powerful that it can outweigh life itself. As we evaluate ourselves in relation to how we perceive others to be evaluating us, whether accurate or not, we may then assign a value to ourselves based on that. Indignation is a feeling one gets when self worth is not balanced with what we perceive another’s set of values to be. Perhaps this model can help us ascertain the twisted reasoning that motivated the shootings these past few years in our American schools. These murdering individuals seem to have lost, or displaced, their value or self worth, considered themselves irrevocably separated, and placed that same negativity on the others they massacred. As the value they have for themselves are not shared by their peers, the indignation is too much to bear. So there is a desire here, for simple recognition, and it arises from the thymos. The thymos phenomenon is a psychological attempt to balance by justice and selflessness, but at the same time is itself selfish in nature, and as Socrates pointed out, it has a potential to be an alley of reason, suppressing wrong or foolhardy desire. This duality can twist us into reacting to the world in anger and violence, and its understanding is paramount to getting control of our emotions. When our perceived values of both ourselves and the world are not recognized by others the thymotic self-assertion kicks in with feelings of frustration, questions of self-worth, and then anger. And also then, if a person become angry, for instance by indignation, he may react without regard for anything else, including his own safety. There are some that suggest that thymos is also the starting point for conflict, and the fundamental source of evil. On the other hand if the thymos is nurtured with positive affirmation, it can flower with untold conviction. As an evaluation of one’s self-worth, it can mean the difference between self-esteem or self-reproach.

I have been told that I care too much for what others may think of me. This is something that was taught perhaps in Mother’s lap. What control we have of these emotions, and the thoughts they induce, is proportional to the understanding we have of them, and the effort we set forth. A modification of the values that we held close as a child surely should be reevaluated to fit our adulthood. I’m not saying it’s easy. There are other avenues of the thymos that expands its understanding too. Megalothymia is the thymos at work in the authoritarian, or tyrannical type of person, and it’s opposite the isothymia. It defines a person’s need to be recognized as an equal. To learn more about values and how much of a role they play in how we think and act, there are several sources to go to, beside the ones I’ve mentioned. Read: “The End of History and the Last Man,” by Francis Fukuyama, “Nietzsche’s view of Socrates,” by Werner J. Dannhauser, and “On History” by Immanuel Kant.

“Hagel…believed that work was the true essence, the true essence of man.”
-Karl Marx

Knights in shining armor, baubles, and the tides of men...

Knights in shining armor, baubles, and the tides of men…
By Ken La Rive

I spent a few days last week offshore. It had been months, as my new sales job keeps me mostly on land. As always, the ways of men presented themselves to me. A young man of about thirty-three and I were having a conversation about marriage when he indicated to me that there was a bit of strain in his. He questioned his motivation and feelings.

“Well, I can tell you right off if you love your wife.” I said.
“Yea? How’s that?” he said with a smile.
Right up, I said: “Would you die for her?”
He hesitated, and came back with: “I wouldn’t die for any woman!”
“Well,” I said, “you have answered your own question.”

Now we know that men don’t always mean what they say, and I’m certain he did not mean this. It is like this with a lot of men, American men, and the men of the world alike. There is something deep inside all men, well guarded, a standard of what is right and wrong, and surrounded by an armor of our own design.

Some men will cry by the sentimentality of a simple movie, and others who would never admit it touched them, even putting on a display that would show them to be crass and insensitive. They would rather be thought of as insensitive then display emotion! To some, showing emotion is a sign of weakness. They haven’t yet understood that it is our emotion which is the finest element of men, and a real man is not only in touch with these feelings, but uses them for the good. Emotion is stronger then anything this world can present.

These emotions are hard won. They span our manhood, our civilization, for many thousands of years. There was a time when there was no written law, and men tried to come up with a way not to hack each other to death. A small group of enlightened souls realized what energy emotions could promote, trying to explain it to the rest of us. There have been times where it was actually woven into the fabric of society, it fell, rose grandly again, and fell again.

In our times, I am ashamed and reluctant to say that for the most part these ideals that took so long to develop, like chivalry, honor, charity, and justice, are for the most part today, lost. Ideals that were once so precious, molding and lighting the hearts of men, are generally forgotten. Before written law, men lived by a code called justice, but today, though we have written law, justice is mostly lost.

Sure, we still remember the Knights of old. Those polished armor men on powerful steeds who learned the code that might for right was better then might is right. Inside of every man there is an element of that Knight.

However, the world we live in does not adhere to these fundamental and treasured rules. People make up standards to suit themselves, or by public opinion, without virtue, or regard for the good of others. Most live fast lives, and work toward goals to fill the voids laid bare, …with the baubles our so called success buys, spurred by its competitions, its rivalries, and yet, frequently leaves us asking why… It is as if our actual reason for being is in question! Surely, as we attempt to slow down, when we see that there is more to being then the drudgery of wringing from our fellow man meaningless possessions… If in just a brief intermission we can stand back and realize that there is a real lack of devotion to the world. If we could see that our passions are myopic and evil, and the love we possess selfish, we will begin to see the grand waste of it all. All of our earthly desires will come to nothing in the end, while we race each other to acquire. The acquisition becomes our god, and our reason.

Sure, position and wealth are great incentives. That will may overcome many obstacles, overturn barriers, and bring material possessions. But what does any of it mean without our most prized, “Home Sweet Home”, our loving social intermingling and alliances, our brotherhood, and personal friends? What good can come from something born of evil intent?

And more, what can we hold inside of us to keep us on the path to justice; What will see us through, when all earthly acquisition may be lost? How can one man face loss by jumping from a Wall Street window, while another would stand tall in a soup line. How can one man be caught stealing, with no evident remorse, while another would take his life by Samurai justice, for lack of honor? How could two men fight to the death by sword, or dueling pistols, just over a hundred years ago, but today, kill another for the tennis shoes they are wearing? We are not naive enough not to realize that horror, and injustice did not exist in yesteryear, but established principles, I propose, were in place where the hearts and souls of men could be illuminated by them.

What we see today are self serving opportunist, and egalitarians who manipulate the law by loop and knowledge of Achilles' heel. Men who find it easy to tear down traditional value, replacing it with their own agenda, and for their own good. Men who care little or nothing but for what they can carve from the derrière’ of justice, with little or no regard for the safety, the good, or the value that is broken on the backs of men.

Perhaps there are a few left, men who will take up the banner of justice once again, with a clear vision to do right, when the world revels in wrongness. Men with strength of purpose who will stand guard as examples of what finer illuminations are possible. Men with strength of purpose, and who could never be bought. Men who have mastered themselves, and the passions and selfishness that corrupts the spirit. Men, who are found in the bright and shining armor of righteousness, indomitable and purposeful, and with no trace fear…

Where did it all begin? Who was the first to document these jewels of moral purpose, past the veils of time? Though there have been men far beyond recorded history, and in every nation, every continent, to see this light of reason. The very first one of European decent, in my homework, to intelligently unify these truths, upon the rock, in a time of disintegrating virtue and primeval superstition, was called Pythagoras.

In the year 570BC, Pythagoras was born on the island of Sicily, off the coast of Italy. Though his life has been passed down to us through legend and fable, distorted by the ages, the core of his philosophy lives on in our hearts even today. All so called Secret Societies of the Western hemisphere, in my opinion, the Knights Templar, The Magi of Zoroaster, the Illuminati, The Skull and Bones, The Jesuits, Freemasonry, and the Knights of Pythias, all had as a base the teaching of Pythagoras as blueprint. As founder of the Italic School of Philosophy, codes of honor, chivalry, friendship, and justice became a guiding light for the goodness of humanity. This Pythagorean fraternity of men still exist today, and though diminished, our founding fathers all knew and belonged to several, with non-sectarian and non-political Pythinism as the core. What our nation is founded on are these high principles, wrought by a man who now dwells in obscurity, in a world run amuck.

I can tell you this, unless we pick up this banner again, we are lost…

Whitter, of the Pythagorean Fraternity wrote in the 1800’s:

“ ‘Live for something, have a purpose,’ ”
And that purpose keep in view,
Drifting like a helmless vessel,
Thou canst ne’er to life be true.
Half the wrecks that strew life’s ocean,
If some star had been their guide,
Might have now been riding safely;
But they drifted on the tide.”

First kiss and a pepperment twist

First Kiss, …and a Peppermint Twist
By: Ken La Rive

I was taught to have respect for women. In my day we tipped our hats when they crossed our path, and said something cordial like “Good evening Ma’am,” or just “Ma’am?”, like it was a proper question. Usually it would get you a coy hint of a smile in return, which was thought to be a priceless gift. We opened all doors for women, with respect bordering on reverence. Never did it cross our minds to ever swear or cuss in front of one, and with a woman on our arm, a man would be right to dot the eye of anyone who spoke out of turn. But then, somewhere in this proverbial tangle of ideas, those that define our human nature and our place in society, I learned that women were indeed beautiful, made to love, admire, and an enigmatic and mysterious art object. I was nervously tongue tied around then, in admiration of their self-control, their practiced poise, their articulation of language, and their demure and soft strength that proved to be stronger then steel, and stronger by far then me.

A mother and child are so beautiful, beyond a poet’s wonder, or understanding. There is a tie that binds them together that was so amazing to me, so awesome, and so spiritual. I realized this before I realized myself: that although our physical bodies are weak, a woman’s will, a mother’s maternal love, is the most incredible strength of all.

I remember those CYO dances, and the first time I ever did the “Peppermint Twist” with a girl. Before air conditioning, the night’s fresh breezes blew from open windows and mixed by revolving ceiling fans of St. Raphael’s recreation hall. My taps rang out as I made the long walk across the polished hardwood floor, to the girl’s side. I had jelly legs, a burning in the pit of my stomach, but I had a mission, to ask one of these angels to dance. I had scoped her out hours before, long before I had the nerve to break away from my buddies. What great fear there was in my heart. Fear that she would say no, but even more fear that she would say yes! Notwithstanding, there is a bridge that must be crossed by all of us, one way or the other, as we realize that both men and women are two halves of the same thing. I got my first inkling of this powerful thought, as in a dream, and clumsily tried to guide her between the other dancers, to that perfect and comfortable place. Those soft and moist cheeks, the smell of spray net on teased hair, and subtle smells, like fresh baked bread, vanilla extract, and something more, like a pheromone magnetism radiating from the heat of dancing. I was hooked.

I played the gambit, the game, by what I knew of love from songs and television. I saw literally what was meant by “Venus in Blue Jeans” and the whispers of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, The Shirelles, and Tommy James dictated the words and feelings that came pouring from my heart. I remember well that fevered first kiss, and I thank you Debbie, wherever you are. A million miles and years ago, it seems, but really, only yesterday. I have carried effortlessly, tuns of girl books, while walking home from school. Those perfectly covered books, without a mark, a scuff, a dent, …and I tried with boyish wonder to understand the hows and whys of these bewildering and perplexing creatures that could touch something so deep inside of me. They were so clean, so fresh, so sparkling…

I have been lucky with women. Though there have been a few to have broken my heart, mostly, it was magic. One along the way took up my spirit as her own, and through the years I can no longer tell where she leaves off and I begin. I guess love is the cement for such a thing, and as time has a way of teaching us what we thought we already knew, the joy and pain blend into what we are and have become, and finally gives a sense of peace.

I have never been much into praying, not for something, anyway. But I constantly give thanks for the grace of Maddy and our daughter Laura, and what they mean to me. What purpose would I find in life without them to share it with? How lonely would it be to look out over the vast night stars, without having them to share it with? They are with me even when I’m half way around the world.

I have gotten jokes by email about the gross and subtle differences between men and women. Most of them I don’t find the least bit funny, but really, they are kind of sad, aren’t they? So condescending in the display, I feel sorry that life has treated some so harshly that they would be so insensitive, so detached. What we are, men and women, are the concave and convex lenses that focus into infinity. We are both the marriage of spirit and body, and this blend is the most beautiful and rewarding experience this life has to offer. How strong is an idea, a dream, when two is of one mind. What divine greatness could have perceived it?

I can’t Peppermint Twist like I could in the old days, but in my heart I still feel the same twinge of magic when I ask Maddy to dance. I guess I’m still in love, and surely, still in awe…

Caribbean Calm

Caribbean Calm
By Ken La Rive 120893

We passed hot days behind pastel curtains and cooling wood fans. Her blond pale beauty glided from room to room in flowing gowns of alabaster and coral. Smiles reflected glowing drapes of beach glare on soft porcelain skin. Damp breath and whispered laughter filled my ears as we lounged on the verandah hammock. Knots of creaking hemp calmed my mind as the afternoon turned to evening in each others arms.

In the twilight cool we would drive out red Stellar under giant breadfruit and palm, darting along Georgetown boulevards of pink stucco and aqua-blue sunblinds. With sweet dusk breezes on our faces, we would search for rare treasures through cavalcades of multicolored boutiques. Women in white summer dresses, and men in colored cotton shirts, moved slowly along the boardwalk, glowing festivity in the late day sun.

Mingling with tourists, we would watch the sun die as glinting gold on the tide, and breathe the chilled night breezes of Caribbean spice, sea salt, poinciana, periwinkle, and rum. From tables of crisp lenin, we hardly noticed our Cayman water floating past, refilling our “sundowner” from a frosty pink pitcher of Pimm’s cup. Shells of lobster and bowls of conch salad are brought, followed by plantain slices and scoops of stuffed land crab. Small green parrots squawked goodnight in the gloom of lofty mahogany trees as the last patches of sun would flicker as a rosy halo around Maddy’s head.

Somewhere along the beach of strung lights and moon was the sound of children’s revelry and steel drums. Wavelets chimed like broken glass beyond the rail. Tiny rainbow fish danced in the shadows of crystal water, drawn by the same light reflected in Maddy’s eyes. I caught her glance at the blue-black horizon band and a pair of white schooner sails bellowing to safe night’s harbor. Holding her hand I could close my eyes... and a hush of calm would fill me...

A fresh Chapter

A Fresh Chapter

By: Ken La Rive 1997

Elements fuse from man-made pain,
In the pursuit of power and gold…
History burns in dogmatic flame,
Under wings of evil they unfold…

Suffering is the common way of man,
Cold-fired by his iron will to bend…
Through his hands like hot desert sand,
Joy falls in a multitude of sin…

But there are wonders left on earth’s carved face,
Where precious dreams of hope can still be found…
As empty hearts transcend both time and space,
The spirit’s path is balanced safe and sound.

The gift of hope stirs deep in every soul,
Beauty of Truth is there for each to find.
A fresh chapter starts, and the story’s told,
Of new-found hope that shines for all mankind.

There’s still time for a glory song to sing,
Where the sweet voice of innocence will see….
That strength of purpose flies on righteous wing,
As basic Truth is freedom, to just be…

Keep your spirit true to your own heart,
Responsible to self with steady hand…
Volition is the path your conscious starts,
To know full well the measure of a man…

Stand your ground with a warrior’s moral path,
Of purpose found in what you’ve found as right…
Your life will give you joy in what you have,
And light your way throughout the darkest night…

Remember that your purpose is to learn,
That nothing in this life belongs to man…
As in your heart free spirit wills to burn,
It’s all on loan to help you understand…

Take whatever hand this life can offer,
Though pain of loss seems more then you can bear…
Find that good and bad have equal measure,
And possibilities will multiply there…

The Old Lady

The Old Lady

By: Ken La Rive 101897Ó

Once, when very young, we sought to finish a student assignment. Searching, we happened upon an almost empty room in an old folks ward. The afternoon sun reflected off the polished wooden floors, filtered by old lace curtains pulled back from the blinds. It was a glittering spectacle, as there in the middle of the room, was the bent and crippled body of a very old woman in a wheelchair. Bent she was, as if weighed down. It was as if the years were tons; like a butterfly being pressed between the pages of a book. Our photo assignment was, “decadence,” and yes, here was a subject… a subject for study.

We stood back, measuring the balance in imbalance, the symmetry in asymmetry of our teachers philosophical art, and clicked our first pictures. She didn’t move. To our novice eyes she seemed somehow, inanimate.

We moved in and around with macro and flash: a study of a blue veined hand clutching the wheelchair grip, another as a wisp of gray hair on parchment colored cheeks, the bend of the neck from a twisted spine, the unmoving and dangling head that almost touched her knees, and the cup of a crisp white collar showing through the dark green of her sweater. It seemed an eternity. Click….Click….Click…we went, moving in slow motion around her.

And there, under the scope of our three lenses, highlighted by the golden glow blend of light and Extachrome, I heard a whispered exclamation that echoed in the room, and in my mind. It bounced on the empty walls, without thought, and motivated only for the rush for a spontaneous picture… “Look, Ken! There’s spit coming out of her mouth!”…and I saw it. That perfect accent, a crystalline syrup of spittle, sparkling in afternoon sun. I debated, for a moment, to put on my star filter, but was afraid to miss the moment. At the instant, I thought I understood. I, we, thought we saw it for what it was. The decadence of a life. The last few moments, alone in an empty room...

We stood back, measuring the balance in imbalance, the symmetry in asymmetry of our teachers philosophical art, and watched. That ancient hand, holding a tiny white handkerchief, slowly but with deliberate movement, wiped her mouth.

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Blogger: Ken LaRive Facets - Manage Posts: "Love is rare
Love is rare

Love is rare… Medium rare.
By: Ken La Rive 1998

Her eyes are the windows of imagination. She is timeless, built to last, and her beauty will remain at ninety-five. She blushes when I touch her, and glows in a radiant warmth. She was created just for me. Coy she is, and undresses behind a screen…but I know the feel of her, and turning her on is only a matter of touching the right button. I play the cat, and she is the mouse. She loves me unselfishly, remembers every touch, every whisper. She never tires of my advances, and her heart is filled with a vibrant electricity.

Her type is rare, medium rare, and in the dark of night I whisper her name, “PRESARIO!”"

The lost art of faith and hope...

The lost art of faith and hope...
By: Ken La Rive

We let a lot in the uninspiring and gloomy particles of life slide past us. Some of these elements make us so uncomfortable that we have actually learned to ignore them, even to accept them as normal. It is a survival technique developed as far back as the metaphorical garden, before the creation of faith and hope.

Our ancestors lived in a world that was perceived to possess unlimited resources. They ran together with firebrands and chased whole buffalo herds over cliffs. Some thought nothing of cutting down the last tree in the little vale they chose to make home, just for another meager cooking fire. When they altered an environment by slash and burn, or depleted the animals in an area, they found a simple solution. All they had to do was move over to another ecosystem beyond the hill and start over. The hunter-gatherer-nomad was the norm then, and responsibility small.

Times have changed, and never before are we more accountable for what we do. We have found our borders to be finite, and that even small things make a difference.

Modern men perceive the world in desperation, trying to find sanity in an ambiguous and irrational world. We hold accountability a bit out of focus, with a bottle of Scotch, or a football game. Like sheep, most have little understanding or control of themselves, and lost, scratch blindly to the end of their days, without reason.

With little worth dying for, taking a stand, for love, honor, righteousness, or civil justice, is just too dangerous a proposition, the effort to consuming.

We forget that many men have died to incorporate moral value into our social consciousness? What civility we take for granted, the right from wrong we hold in our hearts, began with the faith and hope of a single man of principle.

We can’t go back to the irresponsible days of abundance, where a fresh start was a few miles away. This world is finite, and without sound moral principles that promote hope and faith, we will loose more than the bounty of our precious earth, but our very souls as well.

Fear grips the hearts of those who have lost the strength of faith, for without it there is little reason for being, and no hope for the future. If you can find nothing to die for, you have found very little to live for.


Observations of Moonlight
By: Ken La Rive

There has been a full moon from dusk tonight that lights up everything out here, including my imagination। The many production platforms in South Marsh Island Block 73, as well as several work boats moored, mix the gold of tungsten, the blues of soda lamps, and combine with the silver of moonlight to make a dazzling display on the heaving water. My mind wonders, and I grow quite spellbound.

Last night I went up on the heliport, and laid on the deck awhile, just looking at the heavens। There was a great canopy of high salmon clouds, frosted silver by the moon. The sky was so beautiful, it took my breath away. So high, it vaulted in patterns and swirls of ice crystals, and mist. It brought back some long forgotten night, and some feelings of excitement lost deep in my subconscious memory.

So bright was the moon that I could barely distinguish the surface, and the stars were extinguished with only the very foremost showing. A rainbow ring occurred close to the rim, and the colors appeared almost magical, as a lunatic’s dream. In wonder, the emanated light seemed to be heavy, suspending a fine shimmering powder, that some may have once called, “moon dust”. The night was clear, but there was a quality of a mist, as a haze of angle dust would sparkle and shine. It hung in the air. I could almost taste and smell it as a sugary cold vapor. It would sound, as if by elfin ears, like millions of tiny glass bells, or the tinkling of a great leaded chandelier in a breeze। It is beyond my ken that these preternatural perceptions could dissipate so quickly in the light of day, yet at the time my lunacy seemed quite real.

The rainbow precedents reflected on the clouds seem to be showing what the silver color composition really is, a mixture of reflective short wavelengths that seemingly possess metallic qualities. I have observed these same color mix in the layer of oxidation found on weathered copper, or on old glass, the multipolar carbon-colors produced on surfaces of overheated steel, reflected polish scratches on sheet metal such as tin, and the stress marks produced on plastic, as in the mirrored layered lenses of our platform marker lights। These particular stress marks can be more easily observed through polarized light, but all have the same quality nuance not easily produced without a metal medium। Moonlight gives off that same cast, as when observing reflective scratches on metal, when no matter at which angle seen, a symmetrical arc is radiated outward, refracting light। Likewise, this reflected color on the moons ring and the accompanying “dust”, gives off that same scratched effect। It as if the clouds are silver strands of spun wire, or scratches on the sky. In it’s totality, the full moon’s light gives us an unlimited amount of circumstances, and new perspectives to observe, and redefine, in the constantly changing night. Objects that are otherwise thought common, and understood in the light of day, take on a magic, insubstantial appearance in the moon’s light. There are realities found in this silver light that can only be detected without the blinding light of day. Our limited spectrum perceptions help us understand what we may have otherwise taken for granted with more illumination. Its lunacy is truly wonderful.

Life is a bowl of Paradoxical Cherries

Life is a bowl of Paradoxical Cherries
By: Ken La Rive

I don’t know if it is like this for everybody, but the older I get the more amazed and overwhelmed I become at the ambiguity of life. What I see others do, like taking a stand, or finding an open-minded answer, just seems to be getting harder and harder with abe. Learning an answer to a question is sometimes so elusive, that one question just seems to pose another! It takes a lot of hard work to understand both sides to an argument, and I may have found a shortcut. There may be a better way toward awareness, and a solution to every problem.

Understanding “The Paradox” can help us better cope in a world of countless directions and ideas. Finding the paradox in a situation can help us more understand another’s viewpoint, while giving us an opportunity to glimpse the opposing side.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary, a paradox means: “A seemingly contradictory statement that may none-the-less be true.” For instance, the paradox: standing is more tiring then walking, might at first glance seem wrong. Reality is a judgement call, based not only on life’s experiences, but how we are indoctrinated to perceive ourselves in relation to the world. The thought: you are what you think you are, is also true when we perceive the world. The world is so grand, so vast, that what we choose to focus on becomes our reality. Though these may dictate a bit of what reality is, it may sometimes, in truth, be totally wrong. Not only is there a language barrier to contend with here in Scotland, but there is a certain way a typical American thinks and reacts that may sometimes be misunderstood, and visa versa. One thing conversation has taught me in my months in the North Sea: there may just possibly be several rights, and several wrongs. I know that this statement may seem essentially self-contradictory, but then we have to realize that what we hold as reality may differ from another by just a few degrees. Though some of these degrees may seem slight, they could be so profound as to be a catalyst for war.

While traveling, I come in contact with a very wide variety of philosophies and religions. I find this very exciting, not only for the opportunity to further my understanding, but to help put my own life into perspective. Seems to be an overall reluctance to study the thoughts of other cultures, and even rarer to accept and embrace a new idea, as most people everywhere think they have been taught the one true meaning of life. This is normal, I suppose, as there is certainly strength in a culture that works together. However, the more rigid and intolerant a culture is, the more easily it is dominated and controlled by fanatical religious models, or totalitarian regimes. An individual who accepts without question, is usually coerced to be that way, probably by some type of fear, and will have a harder time realizing some paradoxes. Understanding paradox is a key to understanding how our perceptual minds work, and in the process, help us to be better people, with wider comprehension, more insightfulness, and most of all, tolerance.

Let’s look at it with a story. Say you are a police officer, and have just purchased a brand new and powerful apple red convertible sports car. You are very proud of this toy, and feel like it expresses your true nature. It is polished, fueled, and ready to rock for a Sunday drive.

You are traveling at a safe and moderate speed, down a familiar winding road where you can get the feel of its handling ability. Your focus is on the reflection of the trees off the gleaming hood, the roar of the perfectly tuned engine as you shift through the gears, the feel of the road, and the wind that plays in your hair. It is truly a happy moment.

Suddenly from around the curve comes an old rusty car out of control. The woman spins her wheel in an attempt to regain the blacktop, and nearly sideswipes you while she passes. You see the blur of her face. She is wide eyed in what you perceive to be indignation, and she yells: “Pig!” Not a good word for a policeman. A flash of adrenaline instantly rushes through you, a combination of the fear of collision, but also to her blatant response. Quickly you yell back, “Cow!”

You are glad she missed, but also glad that she heard your comeback. You think this at the same moment you run into a pig.

Just knowing that paradox exists in our minds is a good step. Though there will always be some irreconcilable differences in people and culture, perhaps, with a little understanding, we can be more tolerant of these differences, and the lines that separate us will be more indistinct. Annihilation of a religion or race of people is not an option, understanding is. Our country is strong because we have embraced and absorbed these cultural differences, and though there are some who would argue this, we have made all world cultures part of our collective whole. I know of no other country where tolerance for the difference in others is so accepted. We are lucky to have been born here, but it is the understanding of the paradox that makes it so.

Finally, I would like to give you a paradox that is very well understood here in Scotland, but is a bit over my head… “You have the paradox of a Celt being the smooth Oxonian.” Understanding the difference between a Celt and an Oxonian comes from being a viable part of the culture. Study may help, but the subtle differences between the two may only come from actually being born into it. Just knowing that we don’t see the whole picture is half of understanding it.