Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Globalization

Power over Wisdom

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - a concert piece by French composer Paul Dukas was originally an ages-old fairy tale that had been interpreted as a poem by Goethe.

You may recall Walt Disney’s version in Fantasia

where Mickey Mouse is the mischievous apprentice-magician to the Sorcerer, Yen Sid (Disney spelled backwards) assigns Mickey the task of filling a large vat with water that requires using buckets to collect it from an outdoor fountain. Yen Sid then departs leaving Mickey to the task. He is soon bored and by putting on Yen Sid’s magical hat uses his powers to put arms and legs on a broomstick and commands it to fetch the water. Mickey sits back and proudly waves his arms like conductor as he watches the broomstick merrily going back and forth with overflowing buckets. Mickey falls asleep and dreams of controlling the clouds, the planets and the universe. Mickey suddenly awakes with water crashes over him in the flooded room. Mickey doesn’t know how to command the broomstick to stop. In desperation he smashes the broomstick into many pieces. They come alive and now he has an army merrily carrying water and a swirling flood threatens to drown everything. The story has a happy ending when the Sorcerer returns and put an end to the flood

The lesson? Don’t start what you don’t know how to finish or know your limits. The story illustrates the dangers of power over wisdom.

Globalization is a replay of this story with many thousands of tiny apprentices turned loose to use their magical powers. The only problem is that we don’t have the Sorcerer or Wizard that can tell them when to stop. Like Mickey they dream about their power and lead their little assigned activities to expand and grow. They have no idea where it will end.

One billion people in the world at the beginning of the 20th century have now become seven billion at the beginning of this century and there isn’t much room any more for the animal kingdom. In another 100 years at this rate there will be standing room only and the wild animals will be gone. In the meantime our tiny apprentices will build more of everything, strip the land of our forests and voraciously dig into the earth’s crust to extract whatever remains to in order to satisfy their ambition and to supply the needs and wants of this ever increasing and demanding human army. Temperatures will rise, the coastlines will flood people from their homes and the mountain glaciers will disappear thus drying up the fertile valleys below that feed millions of people. In a world of scarcity people will flee increasingly uninhabitable lands. Tiny apprentices in political roles will rally their citizens to gain control of a portion of this unstoppable momentum and wars will be inevitably fought over what remains.

There is a lot of wisdom out there but who can stop the tiny apprentices?

Maybe we have to hope for a Sorcerer to arrive before it is too late.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Scary Bible Quotes Applied to the Law

I've just read Scary Bible Quotes

To all those Christian fundamentalists out there who believe the ancient scriptures show the way just imagine if our legal system and foreign policies applied these quotes. This LORD sure is bloodthirsty. 


Leviticus 20:9
If anyone curses his father or mother he must be put to death. Wow! this one is a dandy. When I was a kid my mom used to wash out my mouth with soap and water when I said those words, and that was bad enough. It would certainly reduce the kid population if parents got serious about this. It would take quite a legal system to draw up the rules and I don't envy the role the police would have to play. Not sure how many kids would be left.
Leviticus 20:10
If a man commits adultery with another man's wife - with the wife of a neighbour - both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. This sure gives a lot of power to betrayed spouses. This is going to put a lot of people to death and here again the courts and police must carry a heavy burden. And how if the death penalty is applied, is the offended party going to get any alimony? Also I am not sure what the punishment is if the adulterer is caught with a single woman.
I must say that the Muslim Shira laws are much better because I understand that they only the adulteress is stoned to death and the man gets off the hook.
Leviticus 20:13
If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death. Well, this will put an end to the gay community. Hopefully there might be a few exemptions for some creative people like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Leonard Bernstein and maybe a good politician like Barney Frank.
Deuteronomy 22:10-1
If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of the town shall stone her to death. There needs to be some rewording of this because single moms raise a lot of kids now. I wonder what the role of the police will be in all this. Are they spectators? And who cleans up after? And my understanding is that there aren't too many virgins left any more so this law will get really nasty to apply.
Exodus 35:2
For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. Well there goes Sunday shopping! Walmarts and the Big Box stores will be in trouble. Same goes for the flea markets. And how will this law apply to those who practice the Sabbath on other days of the week?
Deuteronomy 7:1-2
When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations . . . then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. This sounds like what George Bush and Dick Cheney did to Iraq.
When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. . . . This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby. This is quite a foreign policy!! We are obviously making some progress in Iraq and the men and women can certainly be used as cheap labour which fits in with the goals of Globalization. Problem is we are killing too many men because they won't give up and you know what the Lord says about that. Not so sure however what we can do with the kids. As for the livestock, why pay for it if this law is on our side and we can get it for free. Everthing else I guess would include the art we have already plundered

However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them as the Lord your God has commanded you. Well the Americans tried this in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not so sure this foreign policy should apply any more. Maybe the British, French and Dutch felt this way about their empires at one time and how the USA still feels about Central America and Cuba. Atomic warfare could help the Lord to make this work. .
Ephesians 5:22-24
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Men will really like this but it is going to be a really hard law to enforce. Women are going to get very mad. The Lord is going to have an uphill fight to pull this one off.
1 Peter 2:13
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men. Dictators, and armies have always liked this one. Now corporations, politicians, the people who hand out parking tickets, and school teachers will like this too. No more messy protest movements and demonstrations.
Jesus, on His Second Coming
Matthew 24:29-34
[T]he sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. . . . They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. . . . I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. [Emphasis added.]
Lately global warming is causing storms like this. As for the 'Son of Man' Wikipedia doesn't know who this is so we will just have to watch the clouds 
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom

I don't know who this Son of Man is but I suspect this is going to be THE BIG EVENT. They say when this happens that the chosen few will rise up from whatever they are doing - through the roof of their car or from the dining table, the bath tub and even making love - and zoom up bodily into heaven while the rest of us will perish in the fiery end.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

How it will end for Human Life

Environmental Scientists are telling us that we are polluting this world at an ever increasing rate and we have about 10 years left to alter these trends before much of this earth in the following years to come will become uninhabitable. Polar and glacial ice will melt away, the seas will rise and our coastal cities will be submerged, storms will ravage our lands and tropical regions will lose their fertility as the mountain streams running off the glaciers will dry up. Populations will desperately flee to regions where the soil remains fertile. Governments will be unable to prevent this unplanned migration. Increasingly scarce resources such as arable land, oil, water and minerals will be fought over thus ensuring an escalation of world conflict.
Just finished an interesting book by P.D.James entitled “The Children of Men” The story begins in 2021 in England. Worldwide men became sterile in 1995 and as the story begins the final generation has just turned 25. In another 60 years the human race will have disappeared, the cathedrals, libraries and factories will become silent and the animal kingdom will carry on. I will not tell you how the story ends but it got me thinking about how it affects our pollution problem. Forests and fields would cover the land, the air would become sweet again, lakes and rivers would fill, and the animal kingdom would repopulate. Unfortunately no human would be around to appreciate it but it clearly would present a solution to our pollution problem.
A less drastic solution would require leaders of major nations enforcing draconian policies that would drastically alter how we travel, how we live, what we eat and produce and what we dispose of. Leaders need public support and that means making popular policies and decisions that fit into a four year electable time frame. The time frame doesn’t fit even with the modest Kyoto plan, a fair predictor of how the environmental challenge will unfold.
In the PD James story a dying population doesn’t care about the future on this earth because there is no future. They live a futile life simply waiting for the end. Their goal is simply to hang on to what they have and to collect more as generations die off and leave their possessions behind. Presumably the last person alive will own everything, albeit in a cleaner world..
In the real world I think most of us in our own way do care about the future.. Why do we care? Clearly because we see life as a continuum from past to future generations; we will die but our family and others will carry on in the future. The problem is we are inexpert individuals preoccupied with the here and now. In the absence of visionary leaders a disaster is inevitable.
Maybe the religious fundamentalists have it right. At some point the end will abruptly come.. As an agnostic I have my doubts however about the Rapture when those born again Christians who have already died will have their bodies restored, ascend through the air, and meet Jesus in the sky. This supposedly will be followed by a mass migration of the born-again who are currently living. It will be quite an event. Mom will disappear from the bathtub, people from their automobiles, some will disappear from the dinner table and lovers from the bedroom and rise up through the roof and through the air. Babies are innocent so maybe they will rise too.
Presumably the rest of us, including my dog, will wave good bye before Jesus returns on a horse leading an army who will exterminate most of the earth's population in a massive genocide. It will be numerically the largest mass extermination of humans in history. Certainly this represents another solution to global warming. but it isn’t the loving Jesus I read about.