A Little Fidelity Is A Dangerous Thing

There is a word  (or maybe concept is a better way to put it)  that comes up so  often that you just know it’s one of those shifty ones that gets used a lot more often than it gets understood.  Like truth , freedom or love.  and other shifty  words  (that everyone is so certain about in their gut,  but just can’t pin down in their head, )   it’s the cause of countless disagreements and debates between spouses,  lovers,  and even friends.  I’m talking about the whole idea of fidelity  and what that word even means in conflicts between intimate partners.  How many such fights over unfaithfulness in the history of the world,  do you suppose ?

The arguments are all completely specious,  of course,  which means they are meant to seem logical and sincere when delivered with the proper dramatic inflection…  but are in fact complete rubbish, deliberately lacking any actual relevance to the main point.  In other words,  no matter how good it sounds ,  its still bullshit.

Some husband  tells an aggrieved wife that he wasn’t actually being unfaithful to her when he screwed his secretary because the woman didn’t really mean anything to him. It was just drunken sex.  He still loves his wife,  etc.  Or maybe it’s the wife under suspicion.  Perhaps she has a flirtation under construction with the new pool boy,  so she tells the jealous husband that there is nothing going on because she has never so much as kissed the young man, and never would.

You and I know that both of those spouses are skirting the real issue, don’t we?  Their arguments are specious, and clearly intended to avoid the dangerous problem that is  there and that both of them know is there.

So what is it?  What  is   fidelity ,  really,  with none of that specious mincing of terms thrown in to cloud the issue?  What are the facts?

Well, the main fact is that the complex relationship between men and women consists of several aspects,  or parts,  that are inseparably linked in a mutually reinforcing way,  such that changing any one of them  forces the others to change…  in the same direction.   The three aspects involve romancephysicality and loyalty …  and yes,  of course,  there is tremendously  more to it than three short words.  I’ll expand on them a few paragraphs further on, but first let’s move into this exploration one little step at a time.

Fidelity,  faithfulness, in a relationship,  is not just one  thing.  It is a bundle of closely related things ,  and these related components involve romantic emotion,  physical desire,  and all sorts of loyalties .

This does not stop guilty parties from evasively drawing attention to only one  of the aspects in order to distract attention from the other two.  It’s is a tactic as old as lying itself.  Concentrating on the part that makes you look more innocent while side-stepping parts that make you look a lot  less  innocent is a natural tactic,  I suppose,  but it seldom works .  The victim won’t buy the lie because they are the one on the receiving end.   They feel  the damage.  It’s a waste of breath to persuade them that they don’t feel it..

I know that you understand that.  Everyone does.  Even naive little children understand it,  instinctively.

In the previous example of arguing spouses ,  the wife knows her husband’s dalliance consisted of a lot more than mere biological coupling between robots,  and the husband knows that his wife’s flirtation with the pool boy has an underlying desire (at least)  for physical demonstration that bodes poorly for their marriage.

That men are biologically inclined to focus on the physical aspect, and women on the emotional, is completely irrelevant…  because those are merely different aspects  of the same thing.

Unfortunately, our English language does not have an unambiguous word for that single thing…  and I hesitate to try to coin such an all-inclusive word for it now.  Besides, it’s unnecessary.

It is enough just to know  that the romantic relationships built between men and women consist of these three mutually reciprocal aspects of human relationship.  They are like pressure, volume and heat, in that you can’t have one without the other two,  and to raise or lower any one or more of them causes the others to rise or fall,  proportionately and together.

These three factors are:

Romantic feelings of attraction ; wanting the emotional feedback that can only be achieved through interaction with a romantic partner.  This emotion can be extremely intense and gratifying… but because it is entirely inside your head ( and bloodstream) it is fairly easy to hide it completely from others such as a spouse, especially if you know they are watching for it.

Commonality of identity with another person ; The binding of two individuals into the unit that is typically understood to be a couple.  Along with this bonding comes the sense (and demonstration)  of loyalty,  and assigning much greater importance to the interests and welfare of the other person…  as well as to one’s own association with that person.  To see them,  be with them, carry out even the most ordinary activities with them,  become important needs in one’s own life.  One’s internal perception of this need to be together,  although very powerful,  is extremely subtle unless that need is thwarted.  If blocked from associating with one’s bonded partner an individual will move heaven and earth to overcome the obstacle.  No one and no thing will stop them from trying until they succeed.

The ultimate achievement of this sort of fidelity is the complete merging of two individuals in their own minds,  such that they feel as though they are one and the same being,  with each of the individuals being merely one-half of a single entity.  It is a blissful state,  much praised in literature, and the basis of the feeling that one is not complete unless they are with a particular individual.  Marriage is an attempt to institutionalize this aspiration of human nature,  but has of course met with only limited success…  because true commonality does not consist of a promise  to be faithful… but as the reward for actually being  faithful.

The actions that are necessary to satisfying this impulse for togetherness are impossible to hide when one is being observed,  because to be with them requires  actually going to them (or them to you)  in the real,  physical,  world.  Typically, and because such actions are so visible to an observer ,  when one has cheating on their mind this need can only be fulfilled with clandestine activity,  secret plans and trickery…  getting to where one needs to be,  without ones intentions being recognized by a watchful (ex)partner.

Physical intimacy ;   usually starts before there is any literal person-to-person touching .  Such preliminaries often consist of subtleties like body language,  sufficiently prolonged eye contact, standing inside their ‘personal space’,  or wearing that “certain look” that Tom Jones sang about.  The determining factor is simply that it is all about  physical   intimacy,  not  about the other two things.

(SIDE NOTE:  Fantasies about physical intimacy also belong under this heading.  Even though real touching may still be just imaginary,  it’s still about touching and being touched. )
When actual physical contact starts it can begin as tentatively as brushing against them lightly,  or a social hug that lasts a bit too long,  and escalate from there to kissing,  petting, and ultimately (and inevitably,  unless it is prevented )  to good ol’ sexual intercourse.
Physical intimacy has it’s own intense pleasure as reward,  but don’t underrate the effect that intimacy  also  has on romantic emotion and bondedness.  It makes them go up too,  in tandem,  and of course the pleasurable rewards that they provide are proportionately elevated as well.

The ultimate  rewards attainable from any one  of the aspects  (romantic emotion,  commonality of identity,  and physical intimacy)  can only be obtained by achieving the ultimates in the other two.  The three spiral up , or down ,   together.  They reinforce each other.  Kissing  enhances romantic attraction,  and just being with the one you want causes that sense of  “we are together as one”  to go way up,  which in turn ignites the desire to touch and be touched .  To reach the maximum in one requires reaching the maximum in all.   When Mother Nature evolves a dependable system for the creation and rearing of babies,  she does not  deal in half-measures.

It is time to put a name to this!

Since the three parts of fidelity can be identified as   Romantic emotional attraction,   Commonality of identity and bonding, and loyalty,  plus  Intimate physical contact and sex,  lets call them R, and C and I ,  or just  RCI for short.

And since the  active pursuit and development of these three aspects  (R and C and I)  is the only way to experience their rewards,  we have to recognize  that perseverance to all three  pursuits is the only way to get that job done.  Tasks don’t do themselves,  they must be done .  Fidelity  ( as in steadfast devotion to a task )  that’s what gets it done.  That includes both the job of getting things going in the first place as well as the actions  that escalate them to higher levels of development and reward as things progress.  Dedicated effort to the R and  C and  I  is essential.   No action means no result and no pay off.

So, we have coined a new term after all:  RCI fidelity.

Men focus on the Intimate physical part of it, and women on the Romantic.  So they do,  and so I say,  “So what?”  It’s still just different aspects of RCI fidelity.

The only fidelity that has any meaning in the relationship between men and women is RCI fidelity, and that means the interplay of all three aspects at once,  considered as a cumulative wholeness.

Nothing specious or evasive about that.

The sooner both sides agree to that simple truth then the  sooner they can both stop evading the real situation and start making progress,  maybe even resolve some of their problems.

It is also transparently obvious that these human pursuits ( romantic interest, commonality, and  intimate physicality)  cannot be successfully divided between multiple partners.  To be fully loyal to a person requires decreasing one’s loyalty to other persons.

The same thing goes for romantic attraction.  To focus yourself on the desire for romantic response from someone  (and thereby reap the emotional reward)  absolutely requires  decreasing the attention one previously had on someone else.  That’s what focus is,  the concentration of mental capacity.  Try doing that with two targets at once and all that you’ll accomplish is diluting your attention on both.

Besides,  you can see that the dynamics of how this plays out in the real world actually causes the R and C and I to go down with the person one is leaving behind.
In order to make R & C  & I go up with one’s new romantic prospect it is necessary that the the attention previously given to another must go down.  As the new relationship builds,  the old one …   by that same process….  is dismantled.  Piece by piece.  Very simple.  Brutal,  certain,  and simple.

By  the same token,  one can NOT find one’s old partner to be more romantically interesting than the new prospect… else one would never switch.

One can not become more loyal to the person they are betraying ( that’s absurd)  but only and unavoidably less.  Less loyal,  less bonded, less identified with them, less of an idealized true couple.  One is becoming more loyal,  more bonded and more identified with the new terminal…  and it is both logically and physically impossible to become more loyal to two opposing contestants at the same time. One chooses who to ally and who to betray, and that’s that.

The desire for physical intimacy must decrease with one’s old partner,  by the very action of fueling the flame of desire for the new to greater heights.  Otherwise the old relationship would rekindle and the new one fizzle out  (which probably happens from time to time.. . but it is still ,  and nevertheless,  purely a matter of the reciprocally reinforced rise and fall of R and C and  I.

It should be obvious by now that the levels of romantic interest, commonality of loyalty, and desire for physical intimacy are not limited to the positive ranges.  The downside does not stop at some sort of neutrality or ‘zero’.  It goes way south of that.  The impulse for togetherness can all too easily become an urgent need to flee  (or throw the bum out ! ),  even harm them physically  (or get the new boyfriend to do it for you.)  Desire can turn to revulsion ,  loyalty to outright enmity,  and romantic interest to utter repugnance and loathing.  It’s all  just a natural result of the feedback loops described earlier.  Some loves  simply dwindle until love is gone,  but some turn out very badly.  Injury, insanity and even death by violence are not uncommon,  and that should come as no surprise.  These are some of the most basic human instincts at work.  The needs and impulses that determine the survival of the world’s dominant species are at stake.  They are very powerful.

Fidelity,  infidelity and love,  loyalty and betrayal,  gentle caress and vengeful blow,  warm feelings,  hot desire and cold contempt;  wanting to be together,  needing to flee,  cheating,  admiration,  respect and rejection ;  sexual/physical/emotional devotion or its flip side: sexual/ physical/ emotional abandonment;  love and devotion,  fear and loathing.  So on and so on and so on.  They’re all just part,  parcel and consequence of the same damned thing.  RCI fidelity.  The sweet expectations that draw men and women to seek each others company,  the glue that binds them together,  and the disdain that can drive them apart.  All just aspects of one complex fact of nature.

And just because these interactions control much of the interchange between the sexes does not at all mean that their effects and consequences are limited solely to that arena.  Of course they’re not.  They spill over into every part of non-sexual,  non-romantic life,  with far reaching and profound consequences.  Not just broken hearts result,  but broken people.

That’s just is the way it is and has been and will be …  or at least so long as we are players in the crying game.  Maybe what I’ve written here can help a little.  I hope so.

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“They” don’t need no stinkin’ rules

If you’ve been watching current events on the world stage recently, and wondering where their Rule Book got off to,  you might try checking the dumpster.  Don’t be surprised to see  a few other laws and principles laying in there with it.  Rules ?  What  rules ?

There’s just a sort of extrajudicial free-for-all,  by governments and the money that runs them ,  at all levels .  Apparently their immediate desire for certain things takes precedence over disposable trinkets like presumption of innocence,  habeas corpus,  prohibitions against torture and assassination.  Not to mention the Constitution that establishes their jobs and authority in the first place.  They certainly don’t seem overly constrained by the rule of law,  the rules of  accounting, or even the garden variety rules of common sense.  If there are any rules at all in this total balls-up so loosely referred to as a civilization  they bear closer resemblance to the backyard ballgame rules made up on-the-fly by Calvin & Hobbs.

Why even bother to discus things like regulatory reform,  economics or the rule of law when the very language we once used to describe such institutions has itself departed the station ,  leaving Reason standing on the platform ?  The rules of rudimentary logic and the conventions of language have been ignored and twisted so completely and for so long that even  intelligent educated experts behave as though such rules of discourse and  reasoning never existed.

It is remotely possible,  I suppose,  that the Elites’ supremely arrogant disregard for logic, law and morality is simply greed,  ignorance or advanced syphilitic degeneracy …  but I deeply and sincerely doubt it.

To me it looks more sinister.   Some secret guilty fear , only stronger …   like abject palm sweating heart palpitating terror.  The elites reek  of desperation,  as though they are engaged in a fight so dire and despicable that they dare not speak  of it openly ,  even between themselves.  Maybe the real situation is that they understand all too well that the long predicted resource wars of humankind’s collapse into barbarism have begun in earnest.  Maybe they already accept, after so many centuries of false alarms,  that the end actually is near.  It looks that way.  Something sure has ’em spooked .

Just look at the completely obvious situations right out there in plain sight.  No crystal ball or supercomputer required.  Every vital system on earth is either in terminal decline,  or precariously teetered on the brink thereof .  Water,  oil,  soil,  food,  climate,  population,  you name it.   Maybe our leaders are ignoring the din of warnings because they do  ‘get’  what is being screamed at them…  and are acting accordingly,   by saving their own asses first ,  and to HELL with everybody else and the Rule Book with ’em !

If roles were reversed, and you were the one with real power, would you announce Armageddon and possibly turn relatively civilized warfare into utterly internecine chaos?  Or would you deem it wiser to fight dirty for the home team and stock up on things you reckon might come in handy for your tribe when the shit hits the fan ?  Would your fellow tribal elites see that as criminal or heroic?

So although I believe our Leaders are exceedingly unwise and corrupt,  I do not  believe they are stupid or poorly informed.  Nor do I think they share even the slightest wisp of any inclination to stop.  They are just clever rats,  pilfering the ship that they themselves scuttled,  and they view their fellow plunderers as the good guys.

Donald Trump runs for President! Fidel Castro calls for an emergency turn toward free markets and private property.  China dumps Mao and becomes Capitalist Capital of the World.  The Fed announces (and no one laughs) that they henceforth will bankroll America forever … by taking in their own laundry.  And they all speak in the worm-tongue of Finance.

Here is what’s really going on :  There is a no-holds-barred power struggle among the Oligarchs of the world,  to see who will own the serfs and the oil  ( and thus survive ) and who will not.  This is not a drill.  The only rules are those of feudal allegiance,  which shift with the ever changing estimates of probable outcomes.  Laws,  treaties and all other rules of fair play  ( including Financial rules )  serve only to distract the semi-literate,  and are ignored,  defied or rewritten on the fly.  Pure pragmatism.  Now would be a good time to brush up on your Machiavelli.

The vast majority of us are spectators to this blood frenzy…  by birth, choice or temperament.  Or,  if you prefer to say it in the forked tongue of Finance ,  we the people are just another  “tranch”  of stakes in the game.  But don’t believe that you are nothing but a hapless helpless victim…  because you aren’t .  No one has to be a spectator.  Feel free to wade in and get your hands bloody any time you like.

Personally I see see little benefit in that.  Who wants to rule over ashes?  I shall tend my garden,  care for my loved ones,  study & write enough to stay interested ,  listen to some Dylan… and continue  living  until further notice.

Wisdom of the Barnacle

This is not what I would ordinarily call a blog-worthy essay.  It’s more of a single amusing mental image ,  but since it  won’t go away,  let’s see if getting it out of my head and onto the page provides any relief.

Our story begins with a tiny little genetic accident of the sort that happens countless times every day.  A couple of atoms on a cross-strand of the double helix go one way instead of another,  and as a consequence of this minor misreplication of DNA there is born a barnacle  (we’ll call him Barney)  who is a little bit different.  He has a smidgen higher IQ than is common to most other barnacles,  and a LOT more inclination to figure out what the hell is going on around him.

For example,  whereas most barnacles are content to simply   be ,  Barney just naturally wants to know why he  is .  In certain aspects and to a greater than average extent,  Barney  ( within that narrow range of definition that can be applied in his  case )  is a veritable philosopher amongst barnacles .

In this manner,  and unbeknownst to himself for most of his early life,  he followed in the tradition of many who had gone before him,  but as mentioned earlier,  Barney had no way of knowing that.  At any rate,  he was certainly more given to thinking than the overwhelming majority of his brethren.

So,  Barney ponders mightily upon many things,  including the observation that most other barnacles don’t ,  by which I mean they don’t ponder   very much,  and when they do ponder it is almost always about how they might gain some advantage for themselves over one or more of their hapless fellow barnacles.

On those occasions when they do bother to think ,  one of the things they think is that Barney is more than a little odd for thinking so much.  But Barney is a nice barnacle, and they like him well enough, and don’t give him too much grief about it,  other than insisting in ways both subtle and otherwise that they would much prefer he keep his odd ideas to himself because all that thinking makes them uncomfortable.

This actually relates to our story, because a significant portion of Barney’s life is consequently spent coping with their incessant insistence that he be completely different than what he was born to be.  In other words,  be like them  and do like them   and stop wasting his time with all of that THINKING,  for gawds sake.

In any case he has little choice in the matter,  because no matter what else he attempts,  and no matter how he strives to pass himself off as just another barnacle,  he just can’t stop thinking about stuff. Clickita, clickita, clickita  (sounds of mental machinery working away day and night)  And as he thinks,  one of the more serious things that he thinks is that things overall aren’t really going quite as well for barnacles as they should be.

Barney the barnacle sees doom looming on the near horizon,  not only for himself,  but for the place he calls home,  and for all of his kindred monovalves.  He tries to warn them,  but none will listen.  He tries to prepare,  but preparation for extinction seems pretty pointless.

Then ,  after so many years,  it happens.   A Life Changing flash of deep insight.  The range ,  scope and clarity of the Revelation is epiphanous,   complete,  and with it comes both peace and a lopsided inner grin ,  which from that moment onward will never fully subside.

The newfound comprehension that changes Barney’s viewpoint so profoundly is simply that he is ,  after all ,  just a barnacle!  He is as firmly nestled and attached to the hull,  of the same vessel  (which as luck would have it, happens to be the Titanic , )  as all of the rest of his kind.  And although there are the inevitable small regrets that he might have done one thing or another differently during the brief span that is the lifetime of a barnacle,  he finds comfort in the knowledge that he had spent the time doing something interesting.

Rich & Powerful does not imply Wise

When the reality of  “Less and Less”  that constitutes most of our daily lives runs smack into the “More and More” mentality obsessed by the rich and powerful, you have both key ingredients for the basic recipe of revolution.  And that’s not just my  opinion.  Go read all ten volumes of “The History of Civilization” or it’s short version, “The Lessons of History.”

Why is that so?

Well, since Wealth & Power are the capacity to impose one’s own solutions on other ( less powerful ) people,  and since official   solutions are created by those who can ,  for the purpose of ripping off those who can’t ,  it’s pretty obvious that it’s the Rich & Powerful themselves who incite the very revolutions that take their wealth and power away ( not to mention their lives, occasionally. )

Now that’s just downright crazy no matter which side of the Great Divide you’re standing on.

Notice that official  solutions are uniformly designed to preserve and extend the wealth,  comfort and privilege of the rich powerful officials who design them.  And they do that with astounding disregard for the intentionally negative effects inflicted on everyone else.

Too often the attitude is even worse than mere disregard.  It’s outright ( and outspoken )  malice,  as though robbing the poor isn’t sufficiently gratifying.  They’ve got to insult  them too,  as though adding  insult  to injury will make it feel better.

You could call it greed ,  I suppose,  or hubris,  but neither of those explains the mechanics very well.  Anyone can be as greedy and arrogant as they please, but without the capacity to enforce those evil intentions on everybody else,  little will come of it except  a lack of close friends.

In another sense you could say it’s what happens when the mentality of ‘More and More’ is enabled  by  ( you guessed it )  Wealth & Power.

Clearly such insatiable desires are willful, but are they knowing ?  From a historical perspective they certainly aren’t in the perpetrators’ own best interests.   Just the opposite.  Through the lens of logic the consequence of always and only taking all of the marbles just because you can,  is suicidal .  Eventually the vast multitude of victims are faced with a stark choice:  rise up in rebellion or die.

So, does the current crop of Oligarchs know that they’re doing themselves in ?   Of course not.  At least not in the sense that they grasp that it is only  themselves,  who are forcing the hand that will pull the trigger,  that fires the gun,  that will shoot them dead if they don’t stop robbing the poor.

They try to pin it on the victims, of course,  but their argument is absurd.  Since when did the poor  ever vote themselves a handout?  First of all, they would have to vote… which they generally don’t.  Secondly, they would have to devise a self-serving policy to vote for in the first place, and in democracy’s 2,500 year history that particular fantasy has never  happened.  There may well be rich and powerful people who try to appear like they are serving the less fortunate, or pandering to the rabble with what they think are populist notions,  but in the end there is always the same simple fact .  Laws and policies are devised, decided and implemented by the wealthy and powerful, and such solutions are as self –serving as the framers can possibly imagine.

Therefore, it is almost beyond imagining that the rule-makers currently enjoying the fruits of such unprecedented comfort and privilege would use that power to purposefully destroy it…  by exploiting their own servants to such an extreme that revolt is the servants’ only means of avoiding death by starvation, exposure or disease.

Personally , there is only one way I can imagine it.

That is if the Rich & Powerful can only think with half a brain. That they are, in a word,  halfwits.

What if they are literally incapable ( as in “not neurologically able” ) of making the connection between the living conditions of their serfs and the living conditions of themselves ?

Humans,  and the mess ( or beauty ) that they create in the process of living  are  the greater part of the environment. It doesn’t matter how tall of a fence is put up around a smoldering toxic waste dump, the dump is  still there. Poisons leaching from it into the air, water and our souls as a consequence do not know class boundaries.

If in the quest for limitless personal comfort and sovereignty our elites trash the joint then all must live with the trash ( or war, or global warming, or rampant drug violence ) that such nearsightedness leaves strewn all over the place. There is only this one place for us all to live on.

Yes, Wealth and Power can blind and insulate for a while.  Live only in certain places, and travel only in certain circles. But eventually those trash-free zones will shrink ( and most of them already have ) to the size that the toxic waste washing up on their beaches, encroaching their resorts and piled up to the outer walls of their gated communities is theirs , too. THEN  where ya gonna go, huh ?

Wealth and Power do not make anyone immune to physical reality,  but they damned sure do obstruct the perception of consequences.

So, how’s everything going ? (in my opinion)

Are the world’s Leaders actually  leading us somewhere  ( unto salvation,  for instance )  or just sending us all to hell in a hand-cart?

My answer to that is just another question I’m afraid ;  namely,  this one :   Given the choice,  would people rather start starving to death immediately ,  or put that eventuality off until quite a bit later?

That’s really what we’re talking about here ,  isn’t it ?  Preferring salvation for today ,  even if it means having hell to pay tomorrow?

At the risk of indulging in the understatement of the millennium ,  allow me to venture the opinion that times have changed .  I would go so far as to say that times have changed a lot.

Back when most folks were subsistence farmers  ( and the world’s population was a tenth what it is now )  day to day living was a practical and direct activity.  You grew food,  or hunted it,  provided your own transportation and shelter, and really understood the importance of staying on good terms with the tribe or land lord.

The means of survival were not abstract, and they were seldom distant.

Now they are extremely both.

For most of the six billion souls currently on earth survival requires money and the overwhelmingly complex systems that money runs. The ‘stuff’ we now live on doesn’t come from nearby fields or hunting grounds any more. It comes from the other side of the planet, as often as not, and the various elements that comprise the system of creation, control and delivery are as distant as you can get on a spherical rock such as ours. That these systems are completely dependent upon shrinking supplies of fossil energy is somewhat hidden from those who don’t make a deliberate effort to figure it out, and it’s daunting even for those who do.

When Peak Energy arrives, death cannot be far behind, but for those who just hate to wait, there is a faster way to the same end. Break one of the other crucial  life support systems (and I’m thinking of one  in particular)  and the dying can start immediately.

The hands down easiest and most quickly devastating one to break is money.  Not only is money both the craziest and the most abstract of our civilized systems, but it is also the one we use to regulate and control all  of the other things that we are capable of regulating or controlling.  That we are able to pump the 82 million or so barrels of oil from the earth needed to run our world each day is completely and utterly dependent upon the orderly transfer of money to and from the millions of people involved in that process.  Screw up those profits and paychecks for even a few weeks and the oil stops flowing.  Less oil equals less food, and well, you know what happens after that.  So money is the weak link.

And how crazy is the modern way of making money?  Barking mad.  Suicidal.

Just look at the mainstream way of making money.  First, borrow too much money to acquire an overpriced thing no matter how ultimately destructive it might be  ( toxic MacMansions where fertile farms used to be,  redundant new weapons systems, fraudulently “packaged” subprime mortgages,  whatever )  on the assumption that in the near future that overpriced thing can be re-sold at an even higher price to a greater fool.  The players know that the biggest fastest bucks happen when the deal is signed. Once they’ve got the money the question of fair value is someone else’s problem. Ever larger loans mean ever larger profits (and net worth) so Banks are eager to drive the process. It is a world-wide Ponzi scheme gone haywire, and like all such scams (pyramid sales, multi-level marketing, chain letters) it hits the wall when there are not enough fresh suckers to go another round. Suckers are a renewable resource, but when that next ridiculously huge loan can not possibly be repaid, lenders turn off the money spigot regardless (and with it the supply of fresh suckers.)  And then they pray for a government bailout… because they know that what happens next is really going to hurt. But turn it off they do anyway, because lending every penny they’re worth on a dead certain loser would hurt even worse. (And how do they know something’s a dead certain loser? They know a thing is a dead certain loser when they are dead certain they won’t lend a new sucker the money to buy it.)

That brings us back, remarkably enough, to the problem getting our leaders to do something about the impending peak energy disaster.

Any energy policy capable of adjusting consumption downward to bring it in line with projected supply, will have the immediate effect of destroying the world’s economic system because that system, lamentably, is utterly dependent upon growth. Less energy consumption means less everything… and especially less credit based ‘growth.’ Such a move would end the Ponzi scam. It would cause world wide economic recession on a scale to make the Great Depression an insignificant blip.

Without ever-expanding credit to regulate and control production, distribution and security, the nearly instantaneous consequence would be chaos, starvation and violence. Train wreck on a global scale.

Actually, since the poorest are the most vulnerable it would be a ‘caboose first” sort of wreck.

To carry the train analogy one  step further. It’s a little late to be flagging down the engine to warn that the bridge is out. The engine (if you will) is doing exactly what it was designed to do: making more profit for its owners next quarter than it did last quarter. Feeding facts to the guys running that engine and expecting sensible results is working about as well as yelling at a runaway train and expecting it to back up.

In other words, we can (and shall ) plunge into the chasm beneath that broken trestle when declining energy supplies cause the collapse, but just forget about any leaders throwing their nation into that chasm voluntarily at any time prior to that event. No leader ever achieved power by promising unbearable hardship and death, nor lasted for long by delivering it.

This is all ‘In Plain Sight’ sort of stuff.  World events and the otherwise inexplicable obliviousness of our government to Peak Oil and Financial Collapse make sense (in a criminally negligent sort of way) when viewed from this perspective.

The world’s leaders (including our own, of both  parties) are not ignoring the problem. They see the situation at least as clearly as we do. They have carefully estimated the consequences of these crises. They are  responding vigorously.  They are getting themselves, personally, as far away from that damned caboose as they possibly can.

A good place to start this blog is with a post about my father, Forrest Gump

If you’ve seen the movie, “Forrest Gump,” please raise your hand.

Just as I thought, practically everybody.

And what was the take away lesson of that film?

Does all of those raised hands going back down mean that no one really knows exactly, except that SOMETHING about it made for one hell of an entertaining and uplifting experience?

I’m in the special position of having a much closer than average relationship with the lesson of the Forrest Gump story because my Dad, G.W. Smith, was for all practical purposes Forrest Gump himself.

If I wrote the story of his life, 99.9 % of the people who read it would think me a straight up liar. One guy just couldn’t have been through that many historically significant events, except that he did.

For example,  one of Dad’s experiences was that in the closing days of preparation to setting off the first atomic bomb he was Robert Oppenheimer’s body guard/baby sitter. He even helped transport the firing device to Trinity Site.

Another one played out in the rubble of Berlin shortly after Allied occupation. The OSS had caught G.W.  smuggling contraband on his aircraft during the Berlin Airlift and gave him the choice of a Court Martial or infiltrating the ring he had been selling the cigs, whiskey,  chocolate and butter to. Consequently Dad captured the Nazi War criminal the OSS was after who was part of the operation. On other occasions he performed comparable “errands” for Curtis LeMay,  Douglas MacArthur, and Wild Bill Donovan. As a pilot G.W. Smith logged 15,000 hours during and after WW II, including a few minutes leading a flight of B-25’s UNDER the Golden Gate Bridge (Maybe you’ve seen the famous photograph.) He called himself a lover, not a fighter, but the only fight he ever lost was that final one with pancreatic cancer in 1991.

Up until then G.W. survived so many deadly encounters of every description (guns, knives, fists, crash landings, aerial combat, Nazi assassins, IRA terrorists, Japanese terror squad … and more) that the highest levels of command ( who tend to be a surprisingly superstitious bunch) must have reckoned he was charmed in some way, unkillable, and so assigned him missions where danger was high, success improbable, and failure totally unacceptable. [Side Note: There’s an outside chance, though undocumented, that Adlai Stevenson had a hand in some of these remarkable assignments because Stevenson and Dad’s father were lifelong friends starting from when Grandad studied law in Bloomington, Illinois in the 1930’s]

Lest you think my father was violence prone, let me tell you that I never saw him bully anyone, strike or threaten a woman or child, or pick a fight. In daily life he was PEACEFUL. He avoided conflict whenever possible, but had an uncanny ability to perceive when avoidance time was over. He was actually rather kind and childlike, had lots of friends, and could be so brilliant one minute and gullible the next that it made you want to slap your forehead.

Like I said, Forrest Gump, but in real life, not cinema fiction.

So, back to the take away lesson of the movie. It’s simply this : we see in Forrest Gump a reflection of ourselves: unwitting idiot savants, doing the best we can with the pathetically little that we’ve got .  We are all  witness/participant/victim/beneficiary to the vagaries of history, physics, and sheer dumb luck. The reason everybody likes Forest Gump is that to one degree or another everybody IS Forest Gump, the quintessential human being.

Run, Forest, Run! Except when you can’t. Then, just do the best you can with whatever you got.