In Memoriam

Twentieth anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks is observed at the Memorial Plaza

The National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York 

Lay aside your views on The Hows, The Whys, The Blame, The Cause, The Effect and above all the social media clutter.

Remember 2,977 died. 25,000 were injured. Then there were the losses of pregnancies, the subsequent deaths and severe anguish of relatives and friends, the abuse heaped on the innocent. The resonances remain raw.

People were and still are suffering.

One stark reminder for us all, one bitter symbol of an avoidable world-wide blight.

      

Today It Is Ukraine. Yesterday It Was Elsewhere. Tomorrow? This Never Rests.

Where do we begin? How do we explain?

24th February 2022. Another Date To Remember….So many events, actions and commentaries since the day Putin and his court decided to take the next step in their endeavours to bring The Ukraine back under Kremlin control. The avalanche into the medias has been such that I literally had to check the start date. It was as if Time measured in days had ceased to be a relevant method of recording, all that counted was The Narrative, every daily action is affected by The Narrative, even Sunrise and Sunset are but part of the backdrop. So many folk are asking ‘How could this happen?’ Understandable.

Under the lens of the seemingly disturbing and dispassionate study of International Relations’ Realism theories what is happening in the Ukraine is predictable, almost inexorable. However this is not the arena to be bandying terms such as ‘Anarchic World System’, ‘Biopolarity’ or ‘Interests’. Their uses are better suited to academic discussions of less vivid times and not against the scenes of raw death and suffering.

As with most events, cases and mindsets in Europe and East of the Dnieper into Russia to focus on How We Got Here is a long road. In terms of Ukraine one which requires a journeying back centuries. To Kievan Rus of the 9th Century (No Vlad you got that wrong about it not being a nation), its disintegration in the 11th to 12th centuries and the subsequent seven centuries of empires, nations and tribes fighting for territory until by the 19th Century it became part of the Russian Empire. There is a pause. Then with the intense industrial wars of the 20th Century the whole complexity of nations, peoples and beliefs starts again. For nothing is simple in Europe / Russia; arguably a portion of land which in terms of area and populations has been a place of more conflicts than any other part of the world. Heritages, folk memories, ethnicities ,injustices often correct, and always very selective run deep. No coincidence the arms industries and sciences settled then proliferated here. Blame America of the World’s ills? Blame its parents.

None of this excuses Putin and his court. They had enough recent lessons to know this would not be a swift walk in. Finland 1939. Ukraine Nationalist Insurrection 1944 to…1955?. Afghanistan 1979 to 1989; a toxic baton taken over by the West in 2001 to 2021. Chechnya (a running sore, still)  The USA / UK’s hubristic invasions of Iraq 2003 to 2011. To name the more prominent ones. And those were ones with military costs (aside from the minor fracas over the 1980 Olympics). Another big power, deluded by its apparent military might falls into another quagmire, an old, old story they never bother to read. They don’t get to walk away from this one though. This is happening in The First World.

And suddenly Western Europe is flexing financial, political, social, cultural and commercial muscles. China is concerned and arguably the USA is running to catch up. Where did that surge of anger and resolve come from? Two decades of teeth grinding frustration at the rise of suspect money? Two decades of seeing Russia is quite as capable of dishing out even more than The USA can in terms of military ‘solutions’. Maybe all those decades of The Cold War and what could happen if it turned warm and those echoes of two world wars came crashing back? Take your pick; mix and match? Though this is harder to fight against Putin. You can blow up a tank, it’s not so easy to destroy a series of expulsions from an international community; you can try to threaten to invade everybody, but you can’t be everywhere at once.

Not that this is of much comfort for those huddled in a cold basement somewhere in Ukraine, short of food, water and maybe important medicines; children crying, walls and floors shaking; the sounds of war getting nearer. Not much help when you have been on the road for days and are in a situation where you are grateful for the least of shelters and supplies which only go from day to day, uncertain of where you family are, not knowing what will be left to return to. War was ever like this. There will never be a clean, swift, surgical war. They tear, they grind, they are careless as they thrash around once the first plan and initial ideas burn up in the consuming destruction and counter destruction. What is happening in Ukraine is bad, it is unthinkable!… No. Think again. You know war did not stop with 1945, but was not just limited to those which made the nightly news. To a villager in some far away third world location to destruction visited by local security forces, militia or self-styled resistance groups, the horror and the suffering are the same. If you are distressed by one, then you should be equally distressed by them all. Selective outrage just does not cut it for the innocent. Ukraine is on TV, it is an example written in burning letters twenty stories high, laced with the choking tang that comes with the conflagration, the fuel of which you are advised not look to deeply at; your imagination will suit.

You should feel anguish. You should donate aid as best you can. You should shout against this invasion. You should also give some of your wrath to those who try and justify naked aggression or worse divert attention because it suits their own blinkered views. There are folk out there on all sides of the political divides who by default have blood on their hands because they could, but did not react or claimed reaction was wrong. A crime just as bad, in the dead or weeping eyes of the innocent. You see nothing is simple, we are fortunate this very visible one in Ukraine seems so. There are some in small shadowed corners of the world where the lines are blurred and twisted.

So we watch and we wait. But we don’t get to switch channels or turn to the sports entertainment or fashion pages so easily. This is First World ‘Business’. It demands and sucks in the attention of all. But remember, if we in the rest of the First World do get out, without a Covid-like spread, there will be a First World nation to repair, while across this Globe, the same miseries and sufferings will continue.

United Airlines Flight 93. You Too Now Belong To The Ages

United Airlines 93

Edward M Stanton Lincoln Secretary to Lincoln is attributed with saying on Lincoln’s death ‘Now he belongs to the ages’ . These words themselves have become synonymous with any act worthy of remembrance.

And so the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 on the 11th September 2001 have earned this memorial. We cannot be sure of the exact sequence of events in analytical detail. We can be certain in the time preceding the crash the passengers were aware this was not one single event and that something dramatic was unfolding. The realisation was dawning that there would be no flying to somewhere unexpected and suffering the hostage experience. People were beginning to understand passivity would not be rewarded.

The last messages are well-known, and ‘let’s roll’ has become set into the lexicon of other heroic words. There are then sounds, cries, shouts, chaos before the final descent into immortality.  

Coverage of the events of 11th September 2001 USA understandably focused on New York and The Pentagon Washington. What took place on United Airlines Flight 93 in relative terms gradually filtered out to the public.

We cannot doubt the commitment of the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93 that day, they were certain of their own fate. What they had not taken into account was the spontaneous reaction of a group of ordinary untrained civilians who aware of what was unfolding were not prepared to play the role allotted to them in those plans. The hijackers had not taken into account another style of commitment, they had not expected what any good military officer of experience could have told them, in extreme conditions even the least trained, least expected can do the unexpected.

The evidence indicates that two National Guard pilots were on their way to do possibly the unthinkable, their own lives written off. Unlike in the films or books aircraft do not fly unerringly straight to the target, particularly in a situation where all proverbial hell is breaking loose, so they did not ‘lock onto the target after a tense pause’. We will never know how that drama would have played out.

We do know United Airlines Flight 93 crashed far from whatever target the hijackers had in mind. The USA will forever be in debt to those passengers.

United Airlines 93 memorial

 

9/11. Its Other Toxic Fall-out

World Trade Center Attacked

394261 14: A fiery blasts rocks the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Forward and Warning: This is a very long post. Nothing about the events of 20 years ago can be encapsulated in mere statements. These are strong views, strongly put. In particularly the last paragraphs. The views are strong because of what has happened to the nation I was once so fond of, and at times might even have emigrated to. I am angry with all those who have pulled her down. In this post I chose one culpable group.

Revisit and Response

We reach the 20th anniversary of the most effective terrorist attack on American Soil. Those of us of adult age or late childhood/teens can remember where we were and the subsequent hours as we drew in the shock and awe of the event. I remember the news seeping into the UK from 2.30 pm onwards; coming out of work at 5pm and noticing the streets of my small town almost empty as if everything had stopped and everyone was watching news feeds, making sure what they heard had actually taken place. A death toll in hundreds upon hundreds? Surely not. But there they were, images of planes crashing into two towers and one managing to strike the pentagon too. A classic surprise attack. Maybe not so much of a shock in the UK, we’d been suffering the smaller scale Irish Republican attacks for years and were aware how much death and damage home trained and resourced folk determined and directed could cause.

Then came the aftershock 400+ emergency services personnel were killed, and another aircraft had been brought down by the passengers’ sacrifices. Both losses enshrined as an heroic acts and maybe the deaths of the emergency personnel resonated deeper, they were rushing in as other rushed away.

There would be other ramifications, trauma through loss, injury or survivor guilt, health issues through the toxic fallout, innocent Muslims or anyone not of white skin attacked. And two large scale military operations taking more lives and with no victory parades at the end.

There is another though, not the first instance but arguably at one the most insidious, most ridiculous and still all pervasive, like a cancer corrupting the body social and politic, spreading its poisons and thus causing similar sicknesses. This being that the events of 9/11 were a conspiracy promulgated by a mix of government, commercial enterprises, Israel (of course- Jews y’see) and the CIA, FBI etc etc.

Now I am not going to wade through the morass of little details, twisted, fabricated, pounced with a morbid glee to suit this inane premise. This is not the place to explain to the most dogged of these folk yet again why they are incorrect. It is a task as pointless as explaining to an adolescent why they should keep their bedroom tidy without being told. There will be drama, excuses, accusations, and storming outs. And why should you have to suffer yet again that annoyance? In the USA you have suffered 4 years of Trump as alleged president you do not need more immaturity.

This is actually a series of direct challenges to these folk to their flawed thinking and in consequence their true motivation, which many of them may not be aware of.

First Assumption.

The US government was involved.

Hostility to the Bush administration was wide and understandable. After the 2000 presidential election’s sojourn through the legal tangles of electoral laws, a lot of folk who did not vote for the winner would feel aggrieved. Now the usual response would be to blame the administration for flaws in security which allowed this to happen. However thanks to the JFK Conspiracy Cottage Industry, Watergate(The one dirty trick which was caught out) and Oliver Stone’s ‘Big Sleep’ take on JFK’s death the ground work was already set for Conspiracy Addicts and Zealots Against Bush to burst into action. Of course there was something ‘fishy’. How could a bunch of men living in caves possibly carry out this act. Never mind that one attack had been semi-successful in 1993. They could not have done it. NO it had to be a government conspiracy, carried out by….

A bunch of White, Educated Americans. Only White Educated Americans could have possibly planned and been ruthless enough to have done this. This line of thinking runs racism in two directions. The first one being that only White folk do evil things as second nature, everyone else had extenuating circumstances; well apart from those in the Far East, because we all know about Fu Man Chu; right?. The second flow of racism is that it is quite impossible for not-white men living in caves to think up such complicated and sophisticated plots. Never mind the times they succeeded since the 1970s, never mind that in one region they beat back the USSR. According the Conspiracy Schools even if they were the trigger men, they were, all right up to the top manipulated by White Americans, because only Whites are this clever. Ironically the only other extremist conspiracy addicts who didn’t buy into this were Nazis, KKK and other like-minded folk, folk who had never even heard of Islam were suddenly experts. So there we are. Buy into Conspiracy by White Governments and you might as well sign up to the odious Jones of Info-Whores. (Of course I did leave out the last resort of all ignorant folk be they right, left, liberal etc, etc, Israel was involved (that’s the polite term for ‘Jews’ these days), which is kind of odd since there are any number of polluted, warped, bastardised versions of Fatwahs around saying its the duty of Muslims to kill Jews)

Second Assumption 

Because I read it in A Book or On Line.

There have always been armchair generals and followers of the Simplistic School of Politics who bandy about words and phrases they have picked up from somewhere which pushed their buttons, without having the faintest genuine idea as to what they are truly talking about. Every subject is replete with the hack authors and their willing followers. The ones I noticed are popular amongst the addict fellowship are for instance  ‘Psi-Op’; ‘False Flag’ ; if you happen to question their own practical experience in such matters they either get very tangential or tell you its obvious and you are either Sheep, Sheeple or a Shill; some of the more inventive will tell you they were told by someone they cannot name, which be fair is a bit of a cop-out, as unverifiable sources are easy to manufacture. For quite some time folk of this ilk have been desperately trying to show how clever, astute, and thus superior they are to the rest of us by ‘knowing something’. Sadly there is so much fiction peddled along these lines, it is understandable it sinks into the conscious, like in the old Westerns where the hero was only shot in the left shoulder and we all believed that was not a serious wound because he kept on shooting (even if he was left-handed). Amongst all this armchair-babble by folk ‘knowledgeable’ in this area there is only one ‘False Flag Psi-Op’ which is possible- That the security services of the USA  set up the Conspiracy Theory networks themselves to detract from any ideas incompetence or complacency played a role in the events of 9/11. This makes as much, in fact even more sense that the stuff swilling around.               

Third Assumption

The Shadowy Cabal 

This is from another set of the myths which are as old as communities, and is a left-over from the time certain folk of a community would hike off somewhere secret to do secret things. These evolved into secret societies, exclusive clubs, higher echelons of belief systems and so on. Naturally those not selected either because of class, lack of resources or not being of the right status would tend to get jealous and feel left out during hard-times; these being more common than good-times, from jealously you get hostility and folklore to support that. Some wishing to elevate themselves of their own status would endeavour to prove they knew about ‘what went on’ , so if you couldn’t be a member of the secret lot, you could least to a member of those who watched the secret lot.

Now it has to be said government tends to take on this veneer. There are decisions made in private, some with good cause (telling enemies of your defence and security plans is not a good idea) and others because it would have been bad politics to let the raw process made public (who knows what the Markets will think, for instance). And that is how it is. Where the system breaks down is when the word ‘Conspiracy’ gets into the accounts; things get overheated. Let’s examine this in the 9/11 spectrum.

So assume a secret cabal of government, financiers, favoured foreigners and throw in a few religious folk decided sending plans into targeted locations in the USA would suit their nefarious purposes. Now those folk will have to draw other folk in, because the thought of a clutch of late middle aged to elderly males doing all the arranging, meetings, placing explosives and falsifying signals etc themselves is pretty hard work and likely for several of them to have coronaries or strokes. Thus in the art of delegation they must bring in other folk who in turn would do the same thing. As this goes down the line the numbers grow exponentially and three figure numbers start to appear. As all these people are presumably not going to go back to hermit-like existences  after the event, they will have personal contacts and the numbers by degrees of separation expand to four figures. This is all very well if we are talking about  The Day The President experimented with transgenderism we can all keep that quiet, right? But any event that killed nearly 3,000 people? Do you honestly think that everyone involved in that is going to keep quiet? That the knowledge would not burrow into their minds and spirits and in the resulting corrosion of guilt or anger at not getting a good enough rewards, thus causing them to give the game away? Not just the one or two beloved by the Conspiracy folk, but whole swathes of them, enough to have every professional and genuine investigative journalist on the trail, every opposition politician asking questions? Do I have to mention Watergate?….Obviously I have to. Coupled to that, such small cabals given to such thoughts and evils are prey to paranoia and rivalries and are not known for United Fronts. No one is big enough not to be thrown under the bus if it suits the rest. The idea that this mythical cabal would cling loyally together does not work. French Revolution, USSR, Nazi Germany, Communist Russia to name but a few with bloody hands were never solid dependable fraternities, many were booted to the wall or knives of some sort were drawn. For this idea to hold water we are at best in Darren Brown, Hollywood or Comic Book territory, at worst the rancid racist works such as The Protocols of Zion.

Overview  Then.  

Whether folk like it or not the guerrilla or the terrorist moves in the shadows, seeking out the opportunities, the weaknesses, the possibilities. As an IRA member once said ‘One Lucky Day’. To survive they live in subterfuge, more aware than most their lives are conditional. Above all they are dedicated. Some may already consider themselves dead, waking to their successful end. You have seen enough examples since 2001, surely.

  It is of comfort for some to think all is controlled by ‘The Government’, the conspiracy addicts feel safer with believing there is ‘a plan’. They would prefer not to think their lives are conditional upon what as in the scheme of things are random events, be they natural or enacted by those who are not part of their society. It is far easier for an American 9/11 Conspiracy Theorist to believe the events of 9th September 2001 were enacted by a government than to hold to the concept that this day they could be shot down by a random gunman, struck by ice falling off of an aircraft wing, hit by lightening, killed in collision with a vehicle which had brake failure, in the wrong place when a tree blew over, or where there was a mud/rock slide, an elevator lift system failed and so on. They would rather have someone remote and unseen to blame. That takes the natural chaos out of Life.   

There Is More To It Than That 

If this was all there was to the 9/11  Conspiracy annoying as it would be I would not trouble to write a post of this length, in fact my comments would probably be limited to a reply to some other post. This is not the case. The principal reason to assail them with basic challenges and at such length is because of The Cause & Effect this particular grouping has had in society as such. John & Robert Kennedy’s assassination were world-wide events, but in the human perception; politicians and leaders get killed from time to time, you are shocked, you grieve and you move on; even if JFK’s death did spawn that cottage industry, nothing else changed. 9/11 by its scope and being seen live; did. To repeat we all know where we were and what we did. To claim that as being false at such length and depth  made The Conspiracy more viable than ever in the 20th/21st century. It settled into the American conscious not just on the Left or Liberal wings but on the Right too. The Right had dallied with this: McCarthy Era, Fluoride in Water, Lyrics in Rock Songs Played Backwards and always that National Government was essentially trying out to take your (ie White) freedoms away. But now it had a bedrock to work with. If 9/11 was a Conspiracy and gosh there was a lot of ‘evidence’, then who knows what else was going on??? The 9/11 Conspiracy had opened the door.  

Sandy Hook was bad enough, but for the parents to be accused of being actors and threatened.

QAnon which once could only have figured in the book by the masters of the satirical and fantastic such as Carl Hiaassen has now become a solid belief system for far, far too many.

The vile, poison of anti-Semitism and its literature of Hate is back and sits comfortably with other Conspiracy works.

A teenager concerned with environmental issues was subject to hideous abuse and accusations of being a front for….. Well apart from World Wide Socialism I could never make out what? The Thunberg-phobes are not renowned for their eloquence or ability to write more than five or six words; ten at tops, then a link to some spurious site

If these were not bad enough a creature of media indulgence with no experience of anything other than questionable property dealings and cult-like following on TV became president not by a popular vote but through a freak of the voting system. Because ‘apparently the whole system was rotten and filled with conspiracies’. This individual then proceeded to court the far-right and break his Oath of Office from day one. When we thought this could not be topped as the 2020 election results came in, what did the spoilt brat of privilege do? Why? He cried Fraud and Conspiracy, and later gathered a rabble to try and storm the Whitehouse. In early years his antics at the election would have damned him to obscurity and ridicule, but in this Age of Conspiracy? No. He had credence amongst the majority of the 70,000,000+ who had voted for him. Thus the toxicity of The Conspiracy nurtured by the 9/11 adherents to this Unholy Cult had its greatest triumph, the acceptable assault on the Democratic process.

The next words are going to seem very harsh indeed. They may even hurt some who have hung on this far while doubting my argument. But I make no apologies. No more than those who support Gun Control will cut any slack for those of the NRA who cling to The Right to Bear Lots of Arms. Gun Control will tell Gun Rights they also have blood on their hands for the random killings

Because if that style of accusation works in one case it works in another.

If you cling to the 9/11 Conspiracy, you are culpable of the spread of the Conspiracy in any form as an argument. In that case you carry some of the weight of Sandy Hook’s aftermath. You must bear a part played in the farce of the 2016 presidential election and the subsequent years. Your brothers and sisters in fantasy and ignorance attacked The Whitehouse and threatened and took lives on the 6th January 2021.

And people are dying of Covid through denial, let us not forget.

Nearly 3,000 people died on the 9th & 10th September 2001, many more lives were wrecked in the aftermath, more would die in Iraq and Afghanistan in the years ahead. In the USA I could not begin to count the death, injuries and intimidations caused by Hate Crime of one sort or another. To repeat you very nearly lost your seat of government and many elected officials on the 6th January 2021.

By your denial of the rational and the factual, by your RPG indulgence as some fearless seeker of The Truth (whatever that might be in the broad sweep of Humanity’s dealings down the ages), you insult those who died, those who suffered and those who worked to seek out the true villains. You do as much as Al-Qaeda could ever have hoped for.

A Lesson Left Unlearnt.

In Western folklore World War II started on 1st September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland. As far as the then British and French Empires were concerned it commenced on the 3rd September 1939 in response to the aforementioned invasion. From a Chinese / Japanese perspective this war started on the 7th June 1937, although military activity had been taking place since September 1931. Before this China had been riven by civil wars and warlords since arguably 1927 although scholars of the region would no doubt move that date back further. While Russia and Japan fought between 1938 to 1939 in a region of North-East China and the communist state of Mongolia. Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935 and there was a civil war in Spain between 1936 to 1939. Total casualties through military action, deliberate murder, sickness, famine and as in all wars error have been estimated between 70,000,000 to 85,000,000. Think on those last two figures. We can’t be certain what happened to 15,000,000 people. Imagine this ‘Oh. We’re not too sure what happened to most of the folk of New York and London, we found about a million of them though,’ (Bothe have populations in the 8,000,000 region)

Following on from the end of WWII on the 1st September 1945 would follow a series of civil wars, social turmoils and independence struggles which would give rise to more loss of life and misery. And these were the ones taking place between 1945 to 1950. Still in the echoes of WWII. No major victorious power was spared these nor those nations under its sway.

From there on each subsequent decade had its series of major conflicts and minor ones which might have made a fleeting glance somewhere in the record. Some involved large swathes of the populations; others a 1% to 5% of the local population. A child crying is a child crying, a woman raped is a woman raped, dead person is a dead person, whether the perpetrators were security forces, ‘resistance fighters’ or local opportunistic bandits  it’s all the same to the victims and their families.

Some folk would like to make this simple and blame one root cause, that is like trying to catch fog and put it in a bowl. You take aware one cause and we, Humanity will find another. If we did not put down our guns after the events ceasing in 1945 then we are the flaw in the system. Not one government, not one belief system, not one perceived injustice. It is us.

This of course is as old as our history. Each war or conflict  has its own sets of unfinished business. The problem now is whereas as before as long as our numbers were small, the world could indulge our follies. No longer. Our time is running out. The clock started ticking in 1930.   

Memorial Day

Some mildly profane words; borrowed from those who were ‘there’.

They may have volunteered out of patriotism, or for the ‘adventure’. They may have been told by the Government they were ‘required’. They may started out as ‘ordinary’ folk; they may have been ‘screw-ups’; they may have been downright annoying; they may have been ‘nasty pieces of work’; they may have been tough; they may have spent their time being scared or ‘bitching’.

They may have been killed, died of injuries, disease, accident or ‘dumb luck’. They may have survived and lived or are living out the war in a loop.

 

Malmedy MassacreMalmedy December 1944

EyewitnessWWII-03._V389839563_Normandy 1944

‘Somewhere and Somewhen in Korea’Korean War 2

In Vietnam

C rations

 ‘Boy, you sure get offered some shitty choices,’ a Marine once said to me, and I couldn’t help but feel that what he really meant was that you didn’t get offered any at all. Specifically, he was just talking about a couple of C-ration cans, ‘dinner,’ but considering his young life……..Vietnam 1 …….you couldn’t blame him for thinking that if he knew one thing for sure, it was that there was no one anywhere who cared less about what he wanted.…Extract from Michael Herr’s ‘Dispatches’ 

And still it goes on 

21st US Amry 4 21st US Army 721st USA Army 221st USA Army

And for some it never stops

21st US Army 5

No one composes laments quite like the Scots; this songs was written for the 51st (Highland Division) as they left Sicily in 1943- there are several versions song in broad dialects and are difficult to follow without study- this version by the Clancy Brothers was angelized for general consumption. The message is universal for all soldiers leaving a warzone. One mild profanity from the original song and not here here but worth a mention:

‘Poor biddy (bloody) bastards are weary’

Some might feel uncomfortable about what may be seen as a celebration of war. This is no celebration; this is a remembrance for those who witnessed, heard, smelt and felt the weakness of flesh when fed on by metal, flame and explosion.

Normandy (2)

Maybe if all the national cemeteries were like this, there might be less …’next wars’ 

Pinnacle of Creation? (An exercise in speculation and perception with figures)

Foreword:

The two pivotal ‘dates’ are based a very broad scientific estimates; the latter being arrived  on a possible assumption that ‘nothing else happens’, which in our Universe is stretching it a bit.

The maths are replete with rounding ups and downs to suit the narrative. This is therefore not a serious mathematically based socio-environmental statement. It is a speculative musing intent on giving one sense of perception of ‘Our’ place on this planet.

 

Most of us will be familiar with the old saw about the history of Humanity being placed in the context of a 24 hr clock. I never cared for this, because it was based on the assumption that at midnight there was no need to go any further because we had arrived…yea! And the 77 seconds it took for us to get there was all you needed to know.

If we ignore this monumental piece of vanity and consider a possible Life of the planet Earth, we see a different alternative. So let us look at the figures

Age of Earth to date                           =                 4.5 billion years

Remaining Life Expectancy of Earth  =                 7.5 billion years (then falls into the Sun)

Total Estimated Life of Earth             =               12.00 billion years

24 Hour clock

1 hour                                               =        500,000,000(0.5 billion) years

Each quarter on clock (1/4 of an Hour)=       125,000,000 Million years

Each minute on a clock (1/15 of quarter)=         8,333,334 Million years

Each second on a clock (1/60)            =                138,890  thousand years  

 

So now we have arrived at the rough figure of 138,890 years per second, let us consider Humanity in the scheme of things. Now I am not going to inflate us with the arguable time we’ve been around, scratching, surviving, hunting and gathering. I am going to fast forward to our much vaunted ‘civilised ‘period which is when we started to farm, build communities, tear up the land and fight wars. This is estimated at 12,000 years ago. Divide that figure by 138,890 and you get a time of 0.0864 of a second. That is all we’ve racked up so far and even if we concentrate at making things right and double that it will still only be .0.1728 of a second. Still a long way to go to get to the magic 1 second. 114,890 years as an estimate.

Some might say we have achieved so much in such a short space of time. I would argue, let’s just count another 0.00864 (1,200 years) of  a second before we start celebrating our speck of existence.

Conclusion: If these figures unsettle you, then feel free to find another interpretation. Scientists, Historians, Economists and Sociologists do this all the time.

Addendum: If you are a writer, don’t be discouraged by this, you are part of the Quantum World and must work on the Planck Scale
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_units  

A Case for The Christian Easter Actually Happening

Foreword (And Long Post warning….)

Looking at any subject from one point of view is a natural way. After all we have our views, our driving forces, our beliefs and those are the starting points for most of our reactions. However it should always be borne in mind this is a multi-dimensional world  (at least 11 if you want to go down the quantum road). Taking just one of those as your basis does not truly carry the day with the opposition in a general and genuine debate (as opposed to the screaming, shouting and sweeping generalisation style)

Easter: Like every other well-known festival in the Christian Calendar when it arrives. (1) Somebody will tell you-like they are the first to discover it- that whatever it is didn’t happen on that date & anyway it’s the same date as an older pagan festival- like most Christians didn’t know that already- ‘Symbolism’ people  (2) There’s no point because ‘no one’ believes anymore- which is a very Caucasian euro-centric and in a world perspective minority view (3) And there are the more intelligent and thoughtful arguments on the details, which are the ones worth responding to. So here we go.

Why Easter Is An Event It Is Plausible To Accept That People Believe Took Place (and that’s about as inclusive a statement as you can possible get as opposed to say…. ‘Why Some Folk Accept it. And Just Deal With It People’… That just is not dignified.

 

Historical Overview Palestina/Judea

Irrespective as to whether you accept or deny the events celebrated as Easter it is wise to have some historical perspective  

As far as Rome was concerned this piece of the Syrian Province was important as it was part of the buffer which kept the main regional rivals The Parthians from getting hold of Egypt from where Rome was getting most of its grain a vital import. Back in 6AD unhappy with local rule they had changed it from client state to direct rule with Herod Antipas as client king and a roman official to keep an eye on him. It was a bothersome place for a roman official for these folk insisted their god was The God and to make things even more difficult they had divided themselves up into four mutually suspicious groups. Being: (A) The Sadducees most common in the upper classes and wanted society to bit a bit more greekish, (B) The Pharisees, more amongst the common folk and the what we might see as a conservative outlook and could raise a mob, no problem.  (C) The Esseenes being the aesthetics and these days linked with The Dead Sea Scrolls (D) The Zealots who were revolutionaries and were quite capable of attacking not just Romans but anyone else; this is before you get around to the Samaritans who no one wanted to associate with.

Then you add the layers of government. Rome at the top, Herod as the local ruler and The Sanhedrin, the Council of the Elders and as far as the other two were concerned those most likely to start really big scale trouble if their put their minds to it, which they were to during the later era of the Jewish-Roman wars. What none of them wanted were ragged road preachers turning up from some backwater like Galilee saying the Romans were not permanent and the other two sets were corrupt and hypocrites. They’d done away with John and now there was another called Jesus, getting bigger crowds, alleged to be performing miracles and what was worse when they tried to pin him down on points of law showed he knew more about the spirit of it than anyone. AND what was worse he was heading for Jerusalem during of all times The Passover. He was going to have to go.

At this stage, if you look from the perspective of Christ being set upon Earth to fulfil God’s plan by dying as The Sacrifice for Humanity’s Sins then this turbulent political time and place in Jewish History was the correct one to choose.       

Accuracy of the Gospels and What Some Call Discrepancies 

There is this argument about the discrepancies in the Gospels which means the whole account is invalid. This has always puzzled me because in vast swathes of history you are likely to find a statement along the lines of ‘Historians disagree on whether ‘A did B at C during D’ or was it ‘At E during F’ . Even if they can agree on A-B-C-D, there are likely to be differences on B / B.1 / B.2 and so forth. If you have a favourite era of history you read, do all the accounts agree on every detail or if they do, do they agree on the interpretations of the participants?  If they manage that do they have exactly the same methodology with exactly the same emphasis on each event and participant?  The fact that the four gospels tell things differently leaves out the rather obvious observation that they are FOUR different accounts. As Wellington (Duke of- Waterloo etc) said “The history of a battle, is not unlike the history of a ball. Some individuals may recollect all the little events of which the great result is the battle won or lost, but no individual can recollect the order in which, or the exact moment at which, they occurred, which makes all the difference as to their value or importance.” . Against the backdrop of that turbulent time, no, there would not be one definite accurate account written down with all the precision of a court record.   In short differences are not discrepancies, and then we have to consider that the gospels were not accounts written then, but at a later stage and written for different readerships. Thus to suggest the differences invalidates the events is not a strong argument, if this reasoning is used to its fullest extent we can doubt whether anything ever happened, which actually is a pretty prominent Human tendency when it suits a certain mindset.  

The Four Gospels of The New Testament arose as written records between 70AD & 110AD with revisions in later decades. Whether they were the first attempts to make a clerical record of previous oral accounts or based on pieces of now lost accounts I leave to the historians of that era. Mark, Matthew & Luke have similarities to the extent that scholars can set them side by side in parallel columns. And there is debate or hypotheses concerning their relationships which comes under the Synoptic Problem. The generally accepted opinion being that Mark came first then Matthew and Luke used this as source material. It is at this stage it is important to remember we are looking at a translation in English, from a translation into Latin AND we are always instinctively seeing these through the perspectives of modern day perceptions.  Wrong approach. So let’s look at a summary of the context of each, assuming Mark comes first. 

Most scholars date Mark to around AD 70. It is sparse on the details you’ll find in Matthew or Luke, this it can be argued is because it was a bare account of facts for the early Christian Communities. Who when you consider the climate in Palestina/Judea and other parts of the roman empire were being viewed with at best suspicion  AND that as with all organisations they were already fragmenting this gospel would have been that basic set of important facts and guidelines.

Matthew Somewhere around AD 80 and 90, but could go back to 70AD and forward to 110 AD. This account was essentially for the basic Jewish-Christian community with roots in the original converts thus has a stronger emphasis on Jewish elements. 

Luke Could be later around AD 80–110 and is the more cosmopolitan account. It would seem produced to be read to a wider spectrum of new followers in communities around the eastern Mediterranean; hence it’s stronger Greek style and a bit more ‘colour’. An example being the one thief on the cross next to Jesus asking to be remembered by Him.  

John is the different one, which might be evolving for some time and finally ‘surfacing around 100AD. There is more of the mystic in this gospel. Although for another Jewish community their devotion to Jesus as a revelation from God takes on a resonance of the mystical rather than the basic ‘I believe’ and arguably is where the concept of ‘The Holy Spirit’  originates.  

So basically it does not matter who was standing where. how many there were at a given time. As any lawyer will tell you, getting witnesses to agree on the details is a nightmare. However these events are agreed on. 1. Jesus Christ was born at God’s Instigation. 2. Jesus Christ preached through a tenure and gathered a following. 3 Jesus Christ was crucified, died, buried and rose again. Since there is an historical consensus as to the Historicity of Jesus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus and a great deal of energy devoted to varying concepts of the Historical Jesus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus   there is sufficient evidence for me to believe what was recorded took place, as for the smaller details. Well? And I leave it at that.

The Important Point  

There are varying critical appraisals of the role of ‘the women’ at the tomb of Christ. (A) That these women mistook a gardener for an angel, (B) that someone took the body and they were hysterical, (C) that they were hysterical anyway, that it never happened. The interesting thing is, the critics are men from later ages…seeming to suggest women as hysterics who believe anything…that sounds familiar. So let’s look at this from the perspective of those times. Judaism at that time was a patriarchal society. Women were considered the property of men they had no rights or education and certainly their witness was not valid in any court. Thus for any person placing women as major characters in part of a narrative had to have a strong belief in their relevance there. The documents were being written as cornerstones to a Belief, you do not take risks with such works, just on the basis of ‘well, maybe, perhaps’ . The message would have been quite clear Christ was for All and this important news of the Resurrection was delivered by the most obvious persons, for in that era no one in authority would have paid attention to ‘weeping women’ as opposed to being on the look out for those disciples . And the Women were the ones who went to shake loose the disciples out of their collective despair. No writer of those times would have dared use that imagery without having some measure of belief it had happened.

Rising From The Dead After Public Execution….Seriously?   

I’m going to start off with Shakespeare here: ‘There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio  than are dreamt of in your philosophy’ (bear in mind in that era ‘philosophy’ also had a scientific connotation).

Going back to something said earlier about ‘quantum’ A brief examination of any of the scientific disciplines will reveal that amongst the responsible and intelligent part, ie the overwhelming majority of the scientific community there is a basic theme  of ‘We don’t know that bit yet’ which is not an admission of failure but an excitement which signifies there is more to learn. Here’s an example: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/56643677 .

Now if you take this one step further, and embrace the idea of a Supreme Being and a theistic viewpoint, then it is plausible to accept that events could take place which are in seeming defiance of our perceived understanding IF  these were of a particularly spiritual significance. You can ditch the argument  that I am masking superstition under the veil of pseudo-science because that argument assumes that Humanity knows everything about anything and that is Superstition. In this Cosmos and its Physics we have only just begun to begin. Thus the whole of the Passion of Christ and the Resurrection can have happened because of an unknown element. And no one can deny an unknown element when it comes to matters outside of our current perception of Physics, Chemistry and any branch of Science. To summarise, no one can take me to a place in The Universe and say to me ‘There, this proves there is no Supreme Being’. 14, billion years old possibly 93 billion light years in span?…Yeah good luck with that notion. I’ll stick with my Faith thank you.          

Conclusion

We all have our beliefs. We all have our motivations. We all have our perceptions. I have stated the case for mine. You can adhere to yours if you wish, state why you believe what you believe. Just don’t try and tell me, I am wrong in mine. You just do not have the evidence. You only have your beliefs. As do I.

There’s Nothing New Here. Just Another Nation in Decline. (This time it is The UK in Brexit)

I am somewhat honoured that Keith of ( musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com  ) has asked me to write this, following a response to a question he raised on Jill’s ( jilldennison.com ) blog

I would warn you, there will be no quotes, statistics or links, these by their very nature are selective and can be turned around by oppositions, often getting side-lined in arguments over the character of the provider of the quotes, statistics or links. This is an essay, or if you like a polemic. This is based on the readings of the Histories of Humanity and all their various accompanying  follies and tragedies. This is about something very old, on this occasion making its appearance in Brexit Britain.

Although shadowed by the world-wide pandemic, this lesser event will still have its ramifications even if many of the world’s population can be forgiven for barely noticing it; after all, what will it matter to someone living in a nation a few time zones away and more concerned with their own day to day struggles? Some in the UK so wrapped up in their myths and dreams would have you believe the entire planet will shake as the UK rises from some European induced torpor calling on spirits of Churchill, Thatcher, Drake and Arthur (King) to inspire our current political and economic leadership to gather the people together in a glorious endeavour bringing in the proverbial New Golden Age. And this will be our True Finest Hour. If you examine the headlines in the right-wing tabloid press and the comments of their readerships or have the misfortune to run into them on FaceBook you will see I am somewhat understating the rhetoric.

Each nation or community which would be a nation or movement has its own baggage of legends, myths and massaged history mixed into a heady brew which offers in a far more glorious vision than it deserves. Never look too deeply into your people’s past unless you are of thick skin, detached or objective for you will not be comfy. Many in the UK in 2015 to 2016 feasted too deeply of the Empire, Victors in WWI & WWII mythos rich stew without reading the warnings on the various contents’ packets, and to keep their sacred beliefs firm still partake.   

And whenever a collection of folk take the step towards independence or dominance you can be certain there will be the taint of outright or implied discrimination, for the collection of folk will have convinced themselves that all ills, and the end of the none-existent “Good Old Days” are down to interlopers and non-believers. So never mind the economic and legalistic arguments surrounding Brexit, Race and Prejudices played a major part in many a voter’s decisions. One of the two truths folk do not like to mention. The other being on the Left that without Corbyn’s lukewarm unenthusiastic campaign or the section which believed the EU was an adjunct of the multi-nationals the Right might never have won the referendum and subsequent 2019 General Election. Struggles are not just won by one side’s courage or tactical superiority; they require a degree of failure within the opponents’ ranks.

So here in the second decade of the 21st century  The UK is positioned. A collection of islands without their own independent mercantile fleets or major ship building trades. Other types of industries which for many years have been owned by overseas groups and now without the mutual protection of the EU. Whereas there are a large number of small ventures making herculean efforts, these are now all vulnerable to the unpredictable and savage storms of international climates of trade and politics along with another layer of avoidable paperwork.  Meanwhile the UK places some of its faith in a leisure industry which waits for Covid to be supressed and hopefully the tourists to return. And forgetting the financial hub currently residing in London can in these cyber days be moved with relatively little effort. The balm to soothe these worries is that the UK can make new vibrant and fresh deals with other nations outside of the EU; however the problem is these ‘Other Nations’ looking to make deals are by their natures on the rise or with a very strong base whereas the UK has been in a steady decline of nationally based infrastructure, services and industries since WWII, thus these Isles are negotiating from the lesser position with the give and take going in the other direction. It is hard not to view us as the wilful self-absorbed member of the family who has blustered out of the home to seek life on their own believing their ‘smarts’, determination and cherished fantasy masquerading as a plan will see them through. This is the character who ends up on the streets, a battered minor hustling supplicant desperate that the next day will bring ‘the break’ while looked down upon by the major players.

There is another facet, that is the strength of the nation as displayed in its military prowess. In some this is simply the self-defence capacity; in some it is the ability to operate outside of the borders. Questions are being asked of that capacity, and at a time where there is an undercurrent in the USA of questions as to the future of NATO and Russia’s the inevitable historical draw to surround herself with client states. Examples of the never ending tides of human action and reaction in the political world, a dance as old as communities.

And herein lies the evidence lain bear by Histories. Nations and Empires rise and fall the names, locations and components change but the tectonic that is Human activity continues. Thus worn out by a century’s effort and the shedding of a role too heavy to bear do these Isles suffer their turn in this cycle. The sensible, rational long term approach would have been to hunker down, regroup and reform within the security and stability of a Union. This is not the Human way, we must believe in our legends and our folk myths, we must live them, we must be seen to be independent with all the angry deluded stance of the someone Lear-like living their past glories, denuded now of past abilities  observed by predators looking on to take away the last vestiges of independence, dress that someone in their own cloth and have them dance to their own tune, for their profit. Look into Histories and read the runes, observe that Rise and Fall over and over again.

There is a large swath of the population who have seen the message and are not turned by the populist press, the self-important financially secure commentators and their political relatives. Sadly these have divided themselves into fractious groups busy blaming each other for the 2019 General Election debacle which allowed a previously nationally indulged self-serving jester to become Prime Minister, now having to grow up, fast. While they are reduced to self-aggrandisement, anger and bitterness on Social Media. Whether there will be a steady movement by the national groups of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland away from England and into some connection with The EU remains to be seen. It could be that the old Islands’ story of  infighting and opportunist accommodations with whoever holds Westminster will be played out again and all will once more bow before The Centre; nothing new there, despite what the Nationalists would have you believe. There again delusion and desperation have their own tectonic and a fragmentation with a nominal centre could arise. A mini-version of the Holy Roman Empire, nodding to someone, a nominal head yet with each region going its own way. And of course the fate others have suffered so often; Client state, something which happens in so many ways often without folk noticing. Or battered and ragged knocking on Brussel’s door the prodigal state returns, only this time there will not be one loving father with a fatted calf; there will be a clutch of judgemental siblings. 

The permutations and variables beckon with a skeletal finger as we stumble out into the storm, eyes closed and muttering invocations from a false religion.

One last salutary note. By all mean shake your head sadly at these Isles’ ill-considered venture. However do not walk away feeling secure. At some stage these tectonics will reach you. Be sure you are prepared for the shock and have a plan to prevail. For we have still not evolved beyond those first communities of villages and small towns looking to survive or dominate.