BIG CARBON, just like Big Tobacco regarding nicotine, wants you to deny climate change. They’re spending bigtime to keep you in denial. Don’t be naive. Predictive science has gotten pretty accurate. (If you reject science why do you watch weather reports about when and where the next hurricane will hit?) Keep an open mind! Have a look at my short post about the history of science regarding CO2, from physicist Lawrence Krauss’s new book.
FLOODS can be devastating. Noah knew! And, yes, God told him there would not be another global flood to drown the entire planet. Again, don’t be naive. Rising sea levels (and droughts) are going to cause massive population migrations. Pay attention to the science, instead of to the loudmouth spinmeisters working for Big Carbon who are laughing all the way to the bank.
COAL MINERS used to take canaries into the shaft to detect (by dying!) poisonous coal gas, thus saving the lives of alerted miners. Artists are like this, alerting the public to impending tragedy (hopefully not by dying).
ARTISTS. Linked here is an art installation in Boston Harbor, including a video, which might help you ponder what’s coming at us as the meltwaters from Greenland and South Pole soon flood the shores, topple houses, evict residents, and SHUT DOWN THE GULF STREAM (which has happened before, flash-freezing beasts in Siberia which are often unearthed in modern times with tropical vegetation still in their gut). Without the Gulf stream, a new ice age will begin, suddenly!
CLICK TO VIEW THE ART INSTALLATION, a wake-up call:
by artist (and crew)
c a r o l i n a a r a g ó n
We left Merida Sunday morning at 8am, figuring commercial traffic might be light. Apparently not so — but who could know what it would have been like on Monday? There was plenty of truck traffic. Even a wreck. ¿Did a tire blow? (The road was rough.) ¿Did somebody fall asleep? We saw tandem rigs (doble remolques) hauling rails and concrete ties for Tren Maya, along with all sorts of other big rigs.
This adventure hinges on road signs. Our plumber, Rolando, likes to make fun of those people from Campeche who try to visit Merida but get lost and end up back where they started. Well, maybe the road signs of Yucatán confuse them, along with confusing many expats trying to leave Merida. I’ve been driving here for a decade, and yet I was flummoxed, wanting to bypass the many topes (speed bumps) in Umán by taking Rt. 180. But it was hard, even after having consulted google maps regarding the correct exit from the periferico (ring road). Yes, surprisingly tricky when actually driving on the highway, attempting to comprehend the road signs while having an overview of what was sought!
But that was mild compared to our experience in Campeche state. After nearing Campeche city we pulled into a rest stop at a La Gas on that city’s periferico so we could fill the tank and drain bladders, about 10:30, at about 160 km from Merida. A few short miles after getting back on, I saw a sign flit past saying CHAMPOTÓN CUOTA (a cuota is a modern toll road), but that brief look allowed no time to change lanes to take the turn for the easier route. I even knew I was looking for that road, but thought it would be labeled 180-D, or Autopista. (You’d figure after spending all that money to streamline the highway, the traffic engineers would have done a better job of marking, inviting people to pay to use their pricey handiwork — but no, the sign allowed no time to decide, as it was virtually at the ramp.) The price is 80 pesos, which we learned on the return trip where the signage was much better. That’s about $4.oo usd, for a short but efficient ride — well worth it in reduced driving stress.
So, after missing the easy way, we took the Libre, which is very hilly-curvy-narrow-scary-blind, for about a half hour. And then we saw another invitation to connect with the cuota. But wait! There was an unstaffed tollbooth (caseta, o kiosko). It had barriers blocking access, including a barrel, a lift arm, and a short metal guardrail placed to block access. The remote entrance ramp looked unused, “abandoned”, closed. ¿Had they not finished building this stretch of highway yet? So we got back on the Libre for some miles until we came to an unmarked fork in the road — and, as Yogi Berra advised, “when you come to a fork in the road, take it”. Fortunately there were a few people cutting firewood nearby at road’s edge who told us to turn around and go back — but to where? Well, sure enough, we turned around and eventually saw a sign for cuota and arrived at the same empty tollbooth. I got out of the car and was about to take a photo of this conundrum when a young woman sprinted across the road. So I asked her how to get on the cuota. She stepped into the booth and said “pay me 43 pesos.” She gave us a digital receipt, removed the barrel, raised the bar, and we were on our way. (Apparently she lived nearby, and had gone home to pee or snack or watch a telenovela.) Onward!
We got to Champotón about noon and had a tasty fish plate at a rustic market facing the Gulf, on the west end of town, just before the squarish lighthouse. The place was bustling, even on a Sunday. And then we headed for Escarcega and beyond, on a long, straight highway which was very rough, due to multiple patchings.
Things got smoother once we passed into the lush cattle country of Tabasco state.
Arrival in Palenque was a bit fraught, at least according to my wife. I had studied the city on google street-view, and thought I knew where our hotel was situated. So I was open to wandering around a bit, as it was only 4 pm — meaning the transit time from Merida, including lunch and that strange detour near Campeche city was 8 hours. So, why not explore?
Well, we got a bit lost and found ourselves on a very rough, steep, unpaved street, which was badly eroded. It was not passable without 4-wheel drive. (Believe me, I tried, much to her distress.) So we backed out, and wandered some more, finally asking a local how to find barrio La Cañada, the lovely hotel district : watch for a sky blue hotel of three stories, on the main highway thru town. Turn there, perhaps after looping around a glorieta, (there’s a median) onto cobbled streets. This will get you away from traffic noise, to reveal several blocks of cozy hotels and eateries. This enclave is shaded by tall trees. They’ve wisely retained the trees, covered with vines and populated by birds. It’s a taste of tropical jungle — a welcome spot to rest and explore.
We had visited the famous ruins of Palenque two years ago on a wonderful tour with our good friend, Marina, on her “signature tour” of Chiapas, staying briefly at the Mission Hotel in Palenque, near the edge of the hotel district, which was comfortable. This time we opted for the Tulipanes, which was also comfortable:
It’s hard to book hotels online, as middlemen have muscled into the process, which I detest. (I won’t use them, as I had to fight hard for a cancelation/refund a few years ago.) As a retired small-business person, I prefer to go directly to a site to consider my choices, but this is no longer easy. One Palenque hotel, the Chablis, online seemed to be closed, as their site, their phone number, and their email address on the internet and on facebook, no longer worked; but they were clearly open, just down the street from where we stayed. (So I told an employee standing out front that their marketing was presently blind, explaining my experience.) Even Hotel Tulipanes did not confirm my reservation by email, which they had agreed to do — not even after several email queries from me. (I did not give them a credit card number.) But my reservation was on file when we arrived. The world gets stranger by the day.
The purpose of our visit was to know the city better, as it will become one terminus of Tren Maya, the other being Cancún. We appreciate train travel, and thought it would be worth visiting this destination to understand the city better before the train arrives. Well, the city seemed chaotic, and already overgrown.
Maybe humans are feeling a bit stressed living atop each other, considering the population density, and the housing crush evident in this city. (I didn’t see a single for-sale sign.) Palenque has some big-box stores (Chedraui, Boxito, Coppel) and plenty of little tiendas, all planted atop hillocks (think Bullet, an old film from San Francisco, California). And plenty of traffic gridlock.
The monkeys, too, are experiencing stress in their lifestyle. But apparently some sympathetic relatives have taken pity, and built them safer highway crossings, just outside of town, “monkey bridges” to keep our furry friends safer (after clear-cutting their jungles nearby, replacing the trees with palm-oil plantations).
Tedious driving aside, this trip was a fun outing after being mostly housebound for more than a year due to pandemic! We would rather have ridden the train, but we just got impatient.
¿¿ Peril ahead ?? This is an important book, written for lay people, as you might notice from the endorsements, below. The author is a highly accomplished physicist who has won major awards across his discipline. (Yes, it contains some formulas, but don’t let math phobia deprive you of his careful thinking and clear writing — simply trusting, instead, that he knows how to do the math.) Professor Krauss describes how we have come to know the basics of climate change over the past two centuries. And, like Charles Dickens, he peers from future-present into a future which might be, by borrowing a literary technique from A Christmas Carol.
So, is the sky falling? Well, it depends. >Read and learn. Don’t let the trolls own your thinker! Krauss argues compellingly that there is peril ahead for which we can prepare. (Maybe you want to read a free sample from the Kindle store — you can read it online without owning a Kindle, by clicking Look Inside, using their > arrows < to turn pages.)
“The renowned physicist Lawrence Krauss makes the science behind one of the most important issues of our time accessible to all.” —Richard C. J. Somerville, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
“A brief, brilliant, and charming summary of what physicists know about climate change and how they learned it.” —Sheldon Glashow, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Metcalf Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Boston University
“The ideal book for understanding the science of global warming..at once elegant, rigorous, and timely.” — Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prizewinning author of The Sixth Extinction
There is a new provisioner in the barrio, on C.59 between Bicimoto and OXXO (x c74 y c72). Watch for the blue door, as there’s no sign yet. (They’ve relocated here from Santa Ana.)
They have a good range of hard-to-find foodstuffs, including US-grown russet potatoes, salamis and cheeses from Italy and Spain, harissa, and staples such as rye flour and semolina flour. (I’m hoping they might source my favorite potato, the Yellow Finn, now that Mexico is allowing potato imports.)
There is an espresso machine, and a seating area with four chairs and tiny table. I forgot to ask if they feature real whole milk, instead of that UHT milk (ultra -high temperature “dead milk”) which doesn’t even require refrigeration, standard in most cafés here. (Twice monthly we drive all the way to Costco to buy fresh milk for our fridge.)
Welcome to the neighborhood, guys!
I recently donated this important book to the collection. It’s about the inevitability of geo-engineering, to attempt to compensate for environmental damage that the human species has done to Mother Earth. The last half of the book is especially troubling. Note: books must be “quarantined” between borrowings. Expect delays.
In Walter Isaacson’s masterful biography of Einstein there is a footnote about an exchange between NY Regents (NY’s top group of high school educators) writing to ask Einstein what they should have students study. This was during the space-race with the Russians. His response: “have them read the biographies of the great ones.” While he didn’t name any, it is well known that Einstein was a big fan of Spinoza — especially of “Spinoza’s God”. But few have ever heard of the man. So, who was Baruch “Benedictus” Spinoza? Glad you asked.
He was recognized early in school as a prodigy, and was being groomed to be a rabbi — until he began to ask uncomfortable questions. (I liken this to a fictional character in my favorite children’s book: The Emperor’s New Clothes, who dared to announce that the king was naked.)
Spinoza was a deep student of the Hebrew scriptures, but dared to opine that Moses couldn’t have written these five books, called Torah, the “instructions”, or the “law”. Ooops! Nor could he believe that God would “choose” any group of people to be favorites. Double-ooops! Well, at the young age of 23, he found himself permanently excommunicated from his synagogue in 17th-century Amsterdam, and utterly marginalized by his own community, cursed. His brother (his business partner) could no longer even speak with him. According to the writ, he was damned by all Jews for all time.
This didn’t seem to trouble him much. Rather, it was liberating. He was suddenly free to think and inquire, and hang out with other like-minded people, of which there were many in Holland. Most of these were “fringe” Christians (not Calvinists!); one was a former Jesuit. Spinoza began to teach his friends how to read Hebrew. He learned to write in Latin from the Jesuit. And he wrote deeply about his favorite topic: reality — which he was convinced was a spiritual topic: God, or Nature). He wrote a book titled ETHICS which is almost like a geometry textbook of axioms and theorems.
He had enemies among Jews, and Calvinists. Somebody tried to stab him to death, but only penetrated his heavy coat, leaving a big slash. He wore that coat for the rest of his short life. He was especially interested in logic and math. And tolerance. (He never joined a church.)
The biography depicted above suggests that the English philosopher John Locke, who spent five years in Holland shortly after Spinoza’s death, hung out with Spinoza’s fringe friends. Locke was later a big influence for the Founding Fathers (Jefferson, Franklin, et al) who drafted the US Constitution. It is possible that the concept of our First Amendment was benefited by Spinoza’s courageous free-thinking. Tolerance, and separation of church and state, are (were?) key factors in the success of the American nation. (Another famous Jewish philosopher, Karl Popper, offered what has become known as Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance) which we would do well to grasp.
But why my headline? For several years I’ve been donating important books to MEL, and of late have been offering to underwrite select books for approval by the Library’s Collection Committee, hoping to enhance the Philosophy and Religion section. But this Spinoza biography was declined, for “lack of shelf space” or for being “of marginal interest to our readers” or some other inscrutable reason. When I suggested that Spinoza’s Ethics, which the library owns (and is rarely borrowed, and is available free at Gutenberg dot org) could be replaced (deflating the “space” argument) with a biography which is more accessible, the rejection still stood. (I can’t tell if this is literary suppression, or something personal; but if you live in Merida, and wish to borrow my copy of the biography, leave a comment at the blog, which I will not publish; but I’ll contact you.)
This is a dangerous book, as it will have you thinking outside the box of dogma. Note: you can read a generous sample of Betraying Spinoza here, at Amazon — click on the cover to Look Inside. The book contains some Jewish words that are usually translated on the fly (once), by the author, who herself is a former Orthodox Jew, and a professor of philosophy at Princeton, as well as being widely recognized as a literary talent. (The question of identity: ¿Who am I? is a prominent feature in this book.) Dare to discover!
If you want to read Spinoza directly (in English translation) this might be a good place to start — but Goldstein’s biography, in my view, provides inspiring context of a courageous life well-lived and well-told.
A creative writing assignment arrived today in my t-mail (thought mail): pick a favorite story, and juice it, bringing your own experience and insight into the account. My pick : the parable of the grower and the vine — feeling playful, SEE END NOTE* (Blue words are clickable to koine Greek references, etc.)
I am (consciousness) is our family nature, if you will. We’re known as the VINE family, sort of a neural network. (¿We are all connected, no? Queue music: Sister Sledge) The Grower, our divine Parent (plural), is dedicated to our family enterprise – our purpose, our assignment – which is known as the Bearing Fruit Company.
All branches of the family get pruned. Oww! But (relax) Pa’ knows what they doin’.
Now, this pruning cleans us up by snipping off what’s no longer essential.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me,and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing*.
We are all One, inseparable, interconnected, nearer than hands and feet, closer than breathing, energized and made fully alive by our togetherness. Take a bite! Do you feel it? Can you taste it?
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Lonely? Come in out of the heat. Reconnect. Just ask for your assignment, with all your heart (but without wishing blessings onto your own plans).
Success is a group effort. While there’s no i in TEAM, the i in FAMILY is bound with AM. The point: working together is a fruit of self-discipline which is requisite for success.
Our eldest brother, the firstborn, is our example, a model for success.
The core of his teaching reflects The Growers’ instructions, which house so much love of family.
Catch my vision and delight. It will fill our surroundings.
My teaching is basic: Love gets reflected by love. (I’ve staked my life on this principle, and will show it to you – when you’re ready.)
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
We’re friends and companions when you heed my instructions, which is why I think of you so fondly, rather than merely regarding you as employees; as I’ve invested in, and trusted, your spiritual aptitude. Yes, I have faith in you! Catch my vision.
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
Doesn’t it feel great to be chosen? You’ve got access! And access affords welcome, one of another.
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Even if you detect hatred, our circle of love triumphs over that rawness; and our love is noticed, and it’s effectual.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
Yeah, persecution is ignorant, and it will threaten; but Love never fails.
When hatred is confessed aloud, it embarrasses itself, and blushes; it then has no place to hide. Give it no room! Let it slink away into oblivion.
24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
DEDUCTION : hatred has neither agent nor address. Defeated!
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
CONCLUSION : Our Comforter is at our side, ever reminding us, emboldening us, of Our family’s Nature, excluding nobody, but dismissing the lie and the liar, with authority. So be it. AMEN.
*END NOTE : Some literalists might be offended that I’ve dealt with scripture casually, even blasphemously. If this is you, please forgive me. Child-mind is to be prized. (Try it!) I’m dedicated to reading between the lines of scripture, in quest of the spirit, rather than the letter. Blessings are ours today, if we will have them.
Her book, UNDER A WHITE SKY: The Nature of the Future, is mostly about the inevitable need for geoengineering as remediation for our abuse of nature. I found the first half to be mostly appetizers for the main course, which is served steaming, based on irrefutable historical records locked into ice cores, and confirmed by other natural records (pollen, ash, tree rings, etc). She introduces us to colorful expert characters who are realists, and are candid in sharing their evidence.
If you don’t like horror stories or thrillers (or pandemics) maybe it’s time to book a vacation on another planet, as there is no vaccine for climate change.
NOTE: I am donating my copy of this book to Merida English Library. MEL also has my donated copy of her earlier book, Sixth Extinction, which won a Pultizer.
Wikipedia has a fascinating article on various world religions’ Names of God. (While my headline words are Jewish; I’m not Jewish – nor of any denomination, beyond being a frequent student of the old and new testaments of the Bible; I rarely sit in pews, except to pay personal respect.) A name is often thought to indicate a nature. Thus, God derives from the ultimate good.
In recent years I’ve been pondering what has been called the central thesis of Judaism, found in Deuteronomy 6:4 (All of chapter six is about living in the Promised Land.) Here’s that central thesis I mentioned :
Interlinear (clickables) – sorry, ignore the ads, or use a private window :
(Torah translation, according to “me”):
Listen up, you who call yourselves God’s-in-charge*: I AM~º, and WE^ the Divine, are all ONE Being, [ONE Consciousness; ONE Organism].
~ First appearance of I AM (merger: Elohim + I AM = LORD God)
^ First appearance of name, Elohim (plural in Hebrew)
Ha Shem means literally “the name”. It is a way of expressing deep reverence, referring to what is too holy to be mentioned aloud — as in, Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain. (Ex20:7). The name I AM is not said aloud for this reason — so much so that the pronunciation of the four letters Y H W H comprising this name has been forgotten by the culture. Note: biblical Hebrew does not include vowels; so the pronunciation Jehovah, or Yehovah, is purely speculative. (Imagine an English word written without vowels, thusly: B R N D. ¿Would it be pronounced brand or brained or brined?)
It seems evident, at least to me, that there is more than a hint of nonduality (or monism) in this verse which I’ve extrapolated in my rendering, above. (Think monothesim in its purist form.) Note, for example, that one bunch of grapes features many berries.
Somewhere CS Lewis observes that: God’s name is I AM, and we steal it and use it with impunity, multiple times each day.