The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life     
. . . still studying and learning how to live
 
 
Monday, May 29, 2006
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STREET FIGHTIN’ MAN: I was pondering my childhood a few days ago, and one of the topics of interest was fighting. I was a skinny and unphysical kind-of kid, so fighting wasn’t my forte. Most of the time the tougher guys picked on me, and I had to just suck it up.

But for better or for worse, I did my share of fighting as a child; mostly against my brother, to the chagrin of my parents. To this day, I still claim that HE STARTED IT — most of the time, anyway. As to fighting other kids, I generally shied away from that. But it did happen a couple of times.

I won’t claim that every punch I threw in anger was an act of defense. There were one or two times when I imitated my tormentors by finding a kid who was even weaker than me and picking on him. Ironically, this would give those above me in the physical pecking order further cause to come down on me, so as to defend the weaker ones from my aggression. Yes, their sudden interest in defending the downtrodden was a bit cheeky. At least I didn’t try to justify my own aggression; deep down inside I knew it was sick, and I eventually grew out of it.

I think it was in fourth grade when I had my big fight with a guy named Dennis. It was during recess. He had me in a corner and was picking on me, with the usual display of physical humiliation and dominance. But that morning, Dennis made a mistake by not waiting for his friends to gang up on me. He got me on a bad day; I just got fed up. So I went after him. Not in a “manly fashion” either; I didn’t take the pugilist pose with fists raised, waiting for a “fair fight”. I just lunged at my little classmate, doing all the punching and scratching and kicking and biting that I could. Well, the kids all gathered round and the teacher eventually got there and broke us apart. I was a bit red and scuffed up, but I still had all my teeth and my eyes still seemed to be working. Mr. Dennis was breathing too, but had some cuts needing a dab or two of mercurichrome. After they administered a few band-aids, Dennis and I were herded off to the principal’s office. I was lectured at, but Mr. Chandler basically knew what had happened. So Dennis got the worse end of the stick in terms of adult opprobrium. I seem to recall Mr. Chandler getting in his face at one point.

Well, life went on after that. One or two kids congratulated me for taking Dennis on (they were fellow weaklings), but the majority of the boys said that I had “fought like a girl”. You might have thought that things would have gotten worse for me — you would expect that Dennis and his friends would have made my life miserable. But actually, they didn’t. For the next couple of years, I was pretty much left alone. In fact, I had more friends and was generally accepted throughout 5th, 6th and 7th grades. Sad to say, but it took a nasty and violent act of retaliation to earn some respect and consideration during my later grammar school years.

Thus my current cynicism about human genetics and the possibility of avoiding warfare and violence. I wish Ms. Kolya (see below, May 22) and her peace-promoting friends the best of luck in teaching non-violence, but it’s a tough sell with this species.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 2:39 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Saturday, May 27, 2006
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When I see little kids today, I wonder what the heck are they in for over the next 60 or 70 years. (Yea, I know, I’m an incurable wonk; most people notice the cuteness in kids before they worry about the future. I make Al Gore look like Mother Goose). Members of my generation (the wonderful Baby Boomers) were pretty lucky. Once the Vietnam thing finally died out, things were pretty good for us. Yea, there were some oil shortages, and now we have terrorism here on our shores to worry about. But still, we’ve had it pretty good. But between now and 2099, a whole lot of fecal matter is going to hit the fan.

First off, the terrorism problem may not just fade away anytime soon. Second, a whole lot more nations in the world are going to get nuclear weapons, and eventually terrorists are going to get them too. Third, world oil and gas production are going to peak at some point in the next 50 years, driving prices thru the roof (what we’re now seeing in terms of energy price run-ups is probably part of that trend, although we may yet see some temporary downswings). Next, there’s global warming. Al Gore’s move (An Inconvenient Truth) will soon be playing at a theater near you, and hopefully a lot more people will soon be worrying about a 5 to 10 degree increase in average temperature. But if all that wasn’t enough, how about world population growth? We’re marching steadily toward the 10 billion mark.

The conservative crowd responds to all this by advising us to stay cool. The stock conservative answer to all problems, i.e. unfettered market capitalism and the technological advances that it inspires, will ride to the rescue once more. There’s money to be made in finding new sources of energy, securing our shores, and cleaning the carbon out of our air. So just keep the government out of the way of big business, let the military do it’s thing, and everything will turn out just fine.

But hey, this time we’re betting the farm. Business usually makes its plans according to the time horizons of its capital sources. Bonds usually have 20 year terms (or less). Stock market investors theoretically have an infinite ownership horizon, but in reality most stock investors get in and get out in a few years. No one today buys stock for the sake of passing it on to their grandchildren. Profession investors managing retirement funds and mutual funds are always buying and selling, changing their portfolios in response to what they see as emerging opportunities and threats (mostly though just generating fees for themselves). Thus, business managers have no profit incentive to worry today about the way that the world will be in 50 years. Even if consumers express concern about problems such as global warming and fossil fuel depletion, businesses will run nice ads about how concerned they are (for example, those ads by Chevron and BP about their investments into alternate energy sources), and then get back to their short-run profit concerns.

Europe still thinks that government should start doing something about most of these problems (but not all), but the US has the rest of the world convinced that government should just stay out of it (except for terrorism). So China and India and Russia go their merry way, burning irreplaceable fossil fuels and polluting the air and looking the other way as nukes make their way to every corner of the globe, while famine and poverty get worse in Africa and the Middle East (and South America ain’t doing so good, either).

Actually, I think that each of the major world problems that I’ve identified could be dealt with, if the human race were a highly intelligent and cooperative lot. But we’ve still got that “me first, I got mine” instinct deep within our genes. And that causes war (including terrorism, another form of war). And war makes things fall apart. I believe that the worst threat for the 21st century is war. Technology may continue to expand our resources, but global warming, population growth and other factors will change where those resources are, how they are used, and who gets to use them. There are going to be a lot of winners and losers, and the game is going to be played very fast. Will everyone just stay calm, play fair, and wait for their cut? Will everyone trust that the winners will share some with the losers? Or will a fight break out?

Hugo Chavez, Osama Bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Il Jong and the leadership of Hamas don’t seem content to sit peacefully as the pot stirs. As things in the world change faster and faster in the upcoming decades, there may well be more like them. I hope that those little kids I see in the bagel shop and drug store will be able to figure out how to make the world that we give them work. The world today is indeed like a big stew pot that we’ve filled up and lit a very hot fire under. For a long time, the pot of stew just sits there calmly, despite all the flames. But at some point, it’s going to start boiling. My generation will be checking out just as things get bubbling. It will be up to those kids and their peers in Moscow, Cairo, Bombay, Buenos Aires, Seoul, etc. to try to keep the froth from sloping over the side and putting out the fire.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 1:04 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Monday, May 22, 2006
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DIAL-A-DATE MEMORIES: KOLYA B. After my divorce in 1988, I wanted to get back into the mating game. I wanted to try again. After a two-year healing period, I started dating again. But not being a rich, handsome guy with a wide circle of friends, I needed something to jump-start my love life. So I entered the sordid world of personal ads (this is back before they went on-line). From 1990 to 1996, I put out a series of 10 or 11 different ads in newspapers and dating newsletters. It wasn’t easy, but I did finally manage to meet about 27 different women. Most were one-time dates, but one or two developed into what you might call “semi-relationships” (lasting a couple of months). But alas, I was not destined to meet my “soul mate” this way. It was pretty much for naught.

Nevertheless, I recently started reminiscing about my “dial-a-date” days (named after the necessary phone call that you made after receiving an interesting response; it was that phone call that got you a date or banished you to an eternal wait after the girl told you that she had to answer the door and would call you right back). Some of the women I met were quite interesting, even if not “the right one(s) for me”. One of the more interesting ones was Kolya B.

Kolya replied to an ad I had posted in Concerned Singles Newsletter (which I later termed “Disconcerted Singles”). She definitely qualified as a concerned single. Kolya had a masters degree in divinity and was working at the USA headquarters of a mainline Protestant religion (interestingly, she decided not to become an ordained minister). She was writing articles and running programs on justice for Latin America and environmentalism and so on. She had been arrested for anti-war protests, and had gone to court for not paying her income taxes, deducting what she calculated as military support. Yea, Kolya definitely had the liberal Christian peace-justice vision thing going for her, and was doing her best to walk the walk. She was intelligent and well mannered despite her somewhat radical views, and was pretty nice looking to boot. And I didn’t hear anything about a divorced husband still hanging around, or kids from that former husband. Seemed like butter.

So anyway, I wrote Kolya a letter in response to her note, telling her more about me. She then sent back a letter basically indicating that she was still interested. So then came the critical “dial-a-date” phone call. And it went rather well. I had to be a bit patient, as she had a busy schedule; but she seemed quite enthusiastic and we set a time and place to meet. The time was late November, 1995, maybe a few days after Thanksgiving. The place was uptown Manhattan. The activity: Ms. Kolya suggested that we catch a late morning performance at Symphony Space, something about Native Americans. Then we’d cross the street to the Lemongrass Grille for a Thai food lunch. Well, everything seemed to be going quite swimmingly.

However, a few days before our date, the latest Disconcerted Singles listings arrived in my mailbox. I perused it casually, given my optimism about the upcoming date with Kolya. But then I saw an ad that seemed quite recognizable. It must have been Kolya’s own ad, as she said that she had just joined. Well, it seemed quite positive: “tender-hearted, feisty but not fanatic, eclectic nondogmatic Christian”. Cool. But then there was the ending: “yearn to share it all with . . . a friend who may evolve into a partner, coparent”.

Oh, dear. I got out one of her letters and noticed her words about relating so very well to children. I had just turned 43 and was no longer in the mood to raise a family. (FOOTNOTE: my ex-wife and I didn’t have any kids. We had discussed it and I was open-minded at first; seemed to make sense at age 33. But when our relationship started going south, having kids was the first thing that went overboard in my mind. My wife responded just the opposite — she thought that a crying baby was the thing to revive our sinking marriage, even after she started getting involved with someone else. She even made the offer to stop messing around if I’d come around to the pregnancy scenario. I felt about as appreciated by her as a male praying mantis is by the female . . . . )

But I went forward with the date anyway. Let’s just see what Ms. Kolya is all about, I thought. Well, it became very clear what she was about when we entered Symphony Space. This was a children’s show. We were probably the only childless couple there. So anyway, I sat thru Mr. Coyote’s dance quite patiently, smiling at all the kiddies running around and cheering. I just wanted to get thru it without any untoward incidents. And I did. By 1 PM, Kolya and I were safely ensconced in a corner of the Lemongrass, ordering sticky rice or something.

I guess that I had passed the initial test. Ms. B seemed quite congenial throughout our lunch. Afterword, we stood on Broadway and she suggested that we take a stroll about; she was in no hurry to part company. I looked at the slate gray skies and made a comment about possible snow that afternoon, and perhaps it was best that I headed back to New Jersey. As I rode the subway to the bus terminal, I sensed that Kolya was everything I wanted and everything I couldn’t have.

There’s not much more to say than that. I quickly got out some paper and wrote her a letter saying “I think there’s something that you should know . . . .” I also included a copy of some Quaker hymn that we discussed in our lunch conversation. A few days later, I received her reply in the mail. “I appreciate your honesty, so I hope that you will appreciate mine. I’ll just cut to the chase.” And then the ironic footnote: “P.S. I appreciate your sending me the hymn. The words are quite beautiful.” That letter was dated December 6, 1995.

Yesterday night I decided to do a Google on Kolya. First thing I noticed was a hyphenated name. So she did find a guy. Kolya had also authored a book on children’s ministry that focused on global health. She has continued to write and give seminars on issues of women and children in poverty, farm workers, and child labor. She has lead meetings between Protestant and Islamic women, “to provide women with the opportunity to grow in our understanding of our Muslim sisters”. She also became a “nonviolence trainer”, leading retreats on “moving from a culture of violence to nonviolence”. Just to prove that she practices what she preaches, she was noted in the local newspaper for her participation in anti-war marches on the third anniversary of the Iraqi campaign.

A bit more research showed the guy of her dreams to be a minister at a Presbyterian church in suburban Long Island. Not surprising. Somewhere else I saw notice of the birth of her child, Marie, in August of 1999. So, not too long after our date (maybe in late 1996 or early 97), she found THE GUY, a man ready to be a father. And she found THE CHILD too, whom she took with her to the anti-war march. Yea, Kolya found her world.

I was a bit sad thinking about it. But then again, that world is not my world. I take my hat off to those liberal suburban Christian peace activists. But in the end, that’s not me. I just see too many sides of the coin, and just don’t know which side to bet on anymore. Nonetheless, I’d like to take a bow right here for getting out of Kolya’s way early on, for not messing with her mind, for not dragging out a relationship that was ultimately untenable but could have gone on long enough to have included some physical delights (you know how those liberal Protestant women are . . . ;). I left things on a positive, no-hard-feelings note (the Quaker hymn); in doing so, I’d like to think that I made it just a tad easier for the next guy, the right guy, who ultimately did come along.

So please allow me this self-indulgence. I’d like to think
that I fulfilled the spirit and inspiration behind Jackson Brown’s “Hold Out”. Not to be confused with “Hold On, Hold Out” from the same album. That song was for Kolya and the minister; recall the line: “I love you, well look at yourself, just what else could I do”. For me, the lyrics went more like this:

Baby I guess you know my story, Maybe there’s not much left to say
You know the more we talk the more we
Turn each other’s hearts away
Now I’ll be leaving in the morning, Leaving half of me behind
To find the pieces life’s been torn in, And take whatever love I find
But you better hold out, Go on and hold out
Just walk away and hold out, For what you know love can be
Move on and hold out, Don’t let your love be sold out
It’s starting to be cold out
For people who live like me
Move on and hold out, And somewhere later no doubt
You’ll find another hold out
Someone just like you baby, wait and see . . . .

◊   posted by Jim G @ 8:24 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Friday, May 19, 2006
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Get Ready For Popetown! I just read about Popetown, a cartoon parody of the Vatican which has been playing on MTV in Germany. Wow, that’s something! Obviously the Catholic hierarchy is having a fit over it. Interestingly, Jewish and Muslim groups are also demanding that it be banished. Amazing — getting those three religions to agree to something! I hope that Popetown comes to America soon, maybe it will help us to heal our rifts too.

One of the ad posters for Popetown shows Jesus sitting on a sofa watching TV and laughing. There’s an empty cross in the background. The caption reads: don’t just hang around, have a laugh!

Next, let’s talk about some major-league religious sacrilege. Iran, with its theocratic government, is hell-bent to build an atom bomb. A holy bomb, no doubt (ironically, the USA named its first nuclear explosion the “Trinity”). The question is, do they have the brainpower to do it? After the ayatollahs took over in 1980, almost 2/3 of Iran’s scientists left the country. But over the past two decades, they have been wooing some of them back, and at the same time have been training the best and brightest of their youth in nuclear technology. They can’t send them to European or American universities (where they might pick up western ideals), but they have been patronizing Russian schools. Obviously, Russia still knows a lot about nuclear weapons. So, Iran probably does have the capacity to go nuclear within the next five years or so.

However, there is some question about how well they can use that bomb. Despite Iran’s growing oil revenues, they haven’t bought any new jet fighter-bomber aircraft in a decade or so. They probably could have bought the Russian SU27 / SU30, which is arguably the world’s premier jet fighter (India bought a bunch of them). Why didn’t they, given the need to defend their airspace from possible Israeli or American raids against their nuclear facilities?

I suspect that it’s because they don’t train enough young people as engineers anymore given that they can’t send them to western schools. Thus they don’t have the pool of talent to fly and support such high-tech weapons. They are putting all their techies into producing the bomb, but don’t have enough left over to fly it around. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’ll bet that they don’t have such good missiles either, not good enough to evade US and Israeli anti-missile defenses. So they may well be popping off a nuke in the desert before long, for the drama and fear that it inflicts. But as to being able to use those nukes once they get them, it may be another 5 years until they are a real threat. Let’s just hope that’s enough time for the younger generation over there, who are getting pretty sick of all the old tyme religion crammed down their throats, to change things. (They would probably love to see an AyatollahTown on Teheran TV). Let’s hope for the better.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 10:42 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Sunday, May 14, 2006
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Three things:

1.) Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there.

2.) The picture of the day is entitled “hand of God waving”. I have an arbicola plant that I inherited from my ex-wife many years ago (1986), and I’ve managed to keep it alive somehow. Every now and then it starts a new frond, which looks a little bit like a tiny hand waving (well, to me anyway). When I’m in a pan-theological mood, I think of it as the Hand of God. This is what it looks like . . . . the plant, anyway.

3.) The Big Kiss on The Office. I “picked up” on NBC’s Office (TV show) during the winter, so I had to watch the season finale this past Thursday. It featured a typical forbidden love scenario: nice young guy with a future, while biding his time in a backwater town, falls in love with a cute local girl. But local girl is engaged to a local barbarian who could pound the stuffing out of nice young guy. Nice young guy and cute girl get along well, really in synch, but guy doesn’t cross the romance line; until season finale, of course.

However, the really interesting thing is the acting chemistry between John Krasinsky (playing nice young guy) and Jenna Fischer (obviously playing the cute local girl). They really do seem to click; they know exactly when and what to laugh at together and how to finish each other’s jokes. They actually make flirting look like fun. It really would be great to find someone of the opposite sex that you could laugh with like that, so easily, so naturally. I’ve never experienced it, and never knew anyone else who did either. Wow, if only real life were like TV . . . . (although that kiss is gonna mess up the laughter for a while; it was no laughing matter!).

◊   posted by Jim G @ 11:11 am       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Friday, May 12, 2006
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There’s a book out called The Roman Predicament by Harold James, and it may be worth some attention. I haven’t read it yet, but the reviews say that it compares the Roman Empire’s decline and fall with modern trends here in America. I believe that Mr. James concludes that it’s not too late yet for the USA, but there’s a lot to worry about.

Hmmmm. The Roman Empire had way too many civil wars; luckily we’ve pretty much avoided that, except for the big one back in Abe Lincoln’s day. However, our national political process, while not bloody, seems to get nastier and more divisive with every passing year. Now it’s turning into red state versus blue state, a form of cultural war. That could weaken the nation if this trend turns out to be more than an illusion.

The Roman Empire was really on the way out when it could no longer get its own citizens to serve in its armies and had to depend on hired barbarian tribes for its defense. Well, things haven’t gotten that bad yet here; we don’t depend upon Hamas or the Taliban to do our fighting. But our armed forces are increasingly recruited from the lower economic classes, the urban inner-cities and rural counties that are becoming more and more disenfranchised from the American economic mainstream. The services continue to exhibit dedication and patriotism, but you’ve got to wonder if increasing cynicism over the Iraqi involvement / stalemate will permanently damage our military’s morale.

Another possible comparison point: Rome was vexed by its big, organized enemies in the East (Persia, Mesopotamia), but was ultimately done-in by small roving tribes. We had a big eastern enemy called the Soviet Union, and today we still have a troublesome rival in China. But it’s the unorganized Middle Eastern terrorists that worry me the most, just as the Goths and Huns and Berbers did the most damage to Rome.

And then, of course, there’s religion. When Rome was at its best (which wasn’t very often — maybe a few decades in the 1st and 2nd centuries), it took a liberal attitude about differing religious beliefs and practices out in the provinces — including Judaism and Christianity. But then it over-reacted to early Christian intolerance for other (admittedly cruder) mythologies by persecuting those Christians; and when Christianity eventually overthrew paganism, the formerly persecuted Christians returned the favor. The USA in the second half of the 20th Century seemed to reach a peak of toleration for differing spiritual beliefs. But now the pendulum seems to be swinging back towards Christian triumph. I wouldn’t say that the First Amendment is in any immediate danger, but the Bush Administration certainly has moved the state a bit closer to the chapel; more so than what would have been acceptable in 1970.

I think that the biggest long-term problem for America regards distribution of income and wealth. The American economy is an incredible wealth generator. There has been nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Per-capita income has risen incredibly over the past quarter century, even after adjusting for price increases. But unfortunately, many people haven’t benefited economically from this; their income and wealth levels have remained essentially flat over this period. And the poor seem to stay poor; their prospects seem to get worse. The ladder of social mobility doesn’t extend all the way down to the lower socioeconomic levels any more. It’s roughly true that the top one-third of the population has seen their incomes and wealth levels rise amazingly; the middle third has pretty much stagnated; and the lower third has seen its standards of living erode over the past couple of decades. If the concentration trend continues to get worse such that a broader and broader swath of American families face depressing economic prospects while a small group continues to accumulate tremendous wealth, you’ve got to wonder if the poor are going to continue doing this nation’s dirty work cheerfully, especially fighting its wars overseas so as to protect its economy.

As Mr. James indicates, I don’t think it’s too late yet to prevent an American collapse; even a genteel decay scenario can yet be avoided. But something has to be done to better share the wealth and the benefits, even if it slows up the rate of economic growth that America is capable of (when not burdened by concerns of conscience and social justice). One area where economic unfairness is especially apparent right now regards access to health care. If the working class and the poor are left to bleed in the streets, then what do they have left to lose once an exploitive demagogue finally comes along (and one always does come along in such a situation)??

◊   posted by Jim G @ 11:18 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Sunday, May 7, 2006
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May is in full bloom here where I live. But right now, I feel a bit wintery. I just found out that a guy that I’ve known since 1967 is waiting for a biopsy on something that could be pretty darn serious. Yea, I know, this happens to thousands of people every day, but it’s still never easy. The guy wasn’t exactly my best friend; sometimes we were hardly friends at all. He was a little mean to me at times when I was a kid, although he could also be very generous. After I got thru college and grad school (he just managed to get thru high school), there were long spells when I totally lost track of him — and hardly regretted it. Yet somehow our paths kept on crossing every so many years or decades. And he even reached out to me unexpectedly a few years ago. So it finally struck me that I’m in my 50’s and he’s around 60 and life ain’t forever; so even if we don’t have everything in common and we’re very different in many ways, I should still return his calls, maybe even make some calls myself.

Anyway, I feel in the mood right now for cold and greyness, not flowers and sunshine. Actually, I’m probably worrying more about my own future than his. He’s the kind of guy that doesn’t break very easily. If his doctor tells him next week that he has cancer and needs an operation and chemo, that won’t stop him from working on his crazy plans (like going down to South America to marry a woman around half his age — it’s a long, long story). Disease will slow him, but it won’t stop him. Still, I want to offer my sympathies and tributes to anyone who reads this who is worrying or caring right now about someone else coping with a serious situation. Or it you’re going thru it yourself. Here’s my hope that nature’s metaphor of the cold, grey winter that turns into a beautiful spring applies somehow to our lives too. Let’s hope — let’s try to keep faith — that there’s more to it all than we see right now; just as I’m beginning to realize that there was (and still is) more to our friendship than I could see.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 4:38 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Thursday, May 4, 2006
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A LAUGHING MATTER: I came across a rather good explanation of the purpose of laughter in V.S. Ramachandran’s “Brief Tour of Human Consciousness” last night. Yea, you might say that laughter makes us feel good; but which came first, the laughter or the feeling good?

What really came first, according to Ramachandran, is this: laughter evolved in humans (or maybe at an earlier stage, as some monkeys like chimps seem to have a laugh response) as a way to deal with strange situations. Strange situations are a universal problem, one that bothers us today in modern times as much as it did when the earliest human tribesmen and women roamed the African savanna over 100,000 years ago. When something new and unknown suddenly happens, we get thrown off balance. We don’t know whether it’s good or bad. We just gape at it with a stupid look on our face, wondering if it could give us wealth and power and delight, while hoping it doesn’t kill us or curse us. Sooner or later the strange thing reveals its true nature. If that is bad, we react with panic and dread. Think of all those cheezy sci-fi movies from the 50s and 60s on TV every Saturday and Sunday afternoon — some innocent people come across a sparkling silver box in the woods, or a strange hole with a humming sound coming from it. Well, you know that their bewilderment is soon going give way to something nasty.

But what if that silver box or humming hole turned out instead to be just some kids fooling around? You’d laugh once you found out, right? So there it is. Laughter is a universal “ALL CLEAR” signal amidst human beings. Once someone finds out that a strange thing isn’t really a threat, they laugh. Everyone around them knows deep down inside exactly what they mean. Don’t worry, relax. We don’t need to fight it or run from it. Put you energies into something else. Laughter definitely had an evolutionary purpose, and actually still has. If someone falls and cries out in bloody pain, you get upset and try to help them. If that same someone falls and just gets scuffed up, you laugh.

Of course, we’re not cave men and women any more; we now live in a complex society. So laughter is probably a lot more complex than it was way back then. We know how to use the subconscious signal behind laughter for other purposes. Insults, for instance. If you want to make someone feel insignificant and powerless, you laugh at them. What you are saying is this: HA, YOU ARE SO WEAK AND HELPLESS AND PATHETIC THAT YOU COULD NEVER BE A THREAT TO ANYONE; NO ONE NEEDS TO TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY.

That’s why people get rather ticked off when others laugh at them, and sometimes do very irrational things in response. So watch whom you laugh at. Then watch your back.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 8:33 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
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