It Is, You

Your Choice from Pixabay.com
Your Choice from Pixabay.com

How often have you heard, “The Devil made me do it.”

Usually with tongue in cheek but instead it really should have been firmly held between our teeth whenever we feel like saying the old quip; the supernatural should probably be better left alone.  No this post isn’t about demons, evil spirits or the Devil; it is about you, and me and ‘Free Will’.  

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Satan, Sin, and Death" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/f226f620-e8f2-0130-009f-58d385a7bbd0
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Satan, Sin, and Death” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/f226f620-e8f2-0130-009f-58d385a7bbd0

We often do or say things that we would like to blame on all of the above; yet this is really a dark truth about human nature.  After World War II many perpetrators of Nazi atrocities  claimed they were only obeying ‘orders’ and by implication it was not they who were to blame for crimes against humanity.  Really?  Let us think carefully about this and not be so hasty shifting blame on others for the mistakes, selfish acts, crimes or cruelty we find ourselves involved with.  Sure most of us can claim, “I am not THAT, bad.”  Let us think about this statement more carefully.

 

Pick just one from Pixabay.com
Pick just one from Pixabay.com

 

 

If we are so innocent and intrinsically ‘good how is it many of us allow ourselves to  comply with situations and things we know clearly is wrong?  Cheat on taxes, pilfer, violate driving laws, cheat in games, cheat on our mate . . .  etc.  Worse?  We many even find ourselves doing these things without help from anyone else. If we do not capitulate completely we may regret, agonized and repent afterwards but, in the end we must take responsibility for our actions.

Bad Choice from Pixabay.com
Bad Choice from Pixabay.com

Who knows what evil lurks in our hearts and minds, acted on or not?

Clues from Pixabay.com
Clues from Pixabay.com
Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. "Magician with devils, assistant, goose and rabbit" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/b5cfbf49-a582-7548-e040-e00a18060aef
Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. “Magician with devils, assistant, goose and rabbit” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/b5cfbf49-a582-7548-e040-e00a18060aef

Once upon a time my view on dabbling, with the occult, the seedy side of life or, even taking excursions to the realm of what was culturally taboo; this was, “No big deal.”  Of course I was just curious, playful or just feeling recalcitrant. Little did I realize how wrong I really was.  So now with many years of life’s experience to consider and reflect on, I have a much different point of view.  I firmly believe we are always in the process of transitioning to the kind of person we will ultimately become. Yes, from birth until death the process continues: It all adds up.  The familiar computer programmer’s  phrase saying that is probably trite these days, “Garbage in; Garbage out,” is much more real for me than I would ever have thought.  And, sciences of the brain and mind appear to be confirming this through studies and experimentation even as I type this article.  In our country I think we, as a people, have allowed our new pluralistic and relativistic beliefs to drift toward the extreme because of the freedoms we enjoy.  In my opinion we have pushed our culture ever closer to the abyss by watering down the standards by which we have successfully lived since the beginning of our nation.

 

I believe our very foundations of morality and a clear understanding of right and wrong has been severely weakened.

An athlete acquires skills, mental ability and physical stamina by repeatedly practicing and striving for what is best. The scientist seeks more knowledge and evidence to advance her field.  So what are we to think when each new generation waters down even more, the social standard for morality, civility and the respect for law and order that made our Nation great?

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. "On Satan's mount." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-9549-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. “On Satan’s mount.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-9549-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

You do not have to be a religious Jew or Christian to see what had happened to the ancient Hebrews every time their civilization’s standard was weakened by disregard for The Law and disrespect for GOD. It was a series of disasters.

General Research Division, The New York Public Library. "The king in the chariot before a besieged city." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-46f0-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “The king in the chariot before a besieged city.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 9, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-46f0-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

We did not use the phrase “One Nation Under GOD” because we were superstitious.  Our forefathers had a deep respect for GOD and GOD’s standards for our people.

In spite of some portrayals of the establishment and history of The United States of America depicting flaws and mistakes, we were a Nation under God.  I fear what will happen to us when we fully become a Nation under many gods or no God at all.

As a Christian I believe The Holy Bible has the teaching we need. We can reverse the trend toward unrealistic freedom and again we can become the moral standard for a dangerous world.  Satan and his cohorts influence and tempt but we make the choices in the end.

Excerpts as examples from the ESV* Bible:

      1. Matthew 15:19 ESV

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

      1. Jeremiah 17:9 ESV

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

      1. Genesis 6:11-12 ESV

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

  4. James 4:7 ESV

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

   5. Genesis 3:13 ESV

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

 *Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/revealing

Beware of those who Spin Truth

Spinning Top from Pixabay.com
Spinning Top from Pixabay.com

Spinning truth is one thing but claiming a lie is true and truth is a lie is very worrisome indeed.

Politician The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "The Politician" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/129edc60-e8f4-0130-ec12-58d385a7bbd0
Politician
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Politician” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/129edc60-e8f4-0130-ec12-58d385a7bbd0

When I was teenager my love of folk music lead me to Greenwich Village in New York City where I spent most of my free time in the mid 1960’s.  I learned a great deal about the music business and recording industry but what had I learned most about?  How to negotiate life in “The Big City” and survive.  I became very street wise and not all my acquired knowledge came the “Easy way.”  Fortunate to survive unharmed and without winding up in jail was a major accomplishment.

Tammany Hall The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Tammany Hall, N.Y." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-1ff8-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Tammany Hall
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Tammany Hall, N.Y.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-1ff8-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

This practical knowledge has served me well throughout my life: when I served in The United States Army and curiosity led me to some seedy places; when I was a performer in country and rock bands that exposed me to nightlife that held many dangers; when I was confronted by unscrupulous business people.  I learned to really appreciate honest people who were truthful.

Today there is an insidious threat  permeating almost every level of society in the USA and World.

President Clinton from Pixabay.com
President Clinton from Pixabay.com

No duplicity is not new; the negative effect however can reach more people than ever simply because there are more people and they are better connected.  We can learn from the past in order to make life better but we can also learn from the past how to perpetrate more sophisticated subterfuge. On the surface it appears The United State s of America expects a  high standard of conduct from all its people but dig deeper and some disturbing trends appear.

Blind Man The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Blind man's buff ; 'Turn round three times, and catch whom you may.'" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-880c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Blind Man
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Blind man’s buff ; ‘Turn round three times, and catch whom you may.'” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-880c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Change is inevitable how we respond to it makes all the difference.

The middle class in the USA expected their children would have a better life: more economic success and security.  Sadly this seems to be falling short.  I met a skilled worker who would have many job opportunities fifty years ago but needed to accept a position as a laborer for low wages and no benefits.  If politicians spent more time seeking ways to work with change rather working with blame perhaps he would have chosen training in some other field (not going to list what fields are in or out in this article).

Political Booth The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Booths of commercial and political exhibitors at Eastern States Fair. Springfield, Massachusetts." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ba309cea-948a-4288-e040-e00a18066c61
Political Booth
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Booths of commercial and political exhibitors at Eastern States Fair. Springfield, Massachusetts.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ba309cea-948a-4288-e040-e00a18066c61

Politicians are not the only people ‘speaking out of both sides of their mouths.’

Yes No Bananas Music Division, The New York Public Library. "YES! We have no bananas" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-4f77-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Yes No Bananas
Music Division, The New York Public Library. “YES! We have no bananas” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-4f77-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Everyday people are taking their cue from politicians I fear: presenting a rosy picture on the surface while selfishly cutting corners behind the scenes despising their situation, choosing which laws to disregard and cheating where possible in order to gain an advantage.

As a follower of Jesus Christ I strive for something much better: honesty, empathy and constantly suppressing my flaws such as selfishness and self elevation at the expense of others. Instead I strive to make my yes a Yes and my no a No.

Examples from Holy Scripture:

Matthew 5:37 ESV

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil

James 5:12 ESV

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

Proverbs 17:7 ESV

Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince.
2 Corinthians 7:14 ESV

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

John 8:44 ESV

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Neo-Modernism

Machines Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. "Fig. V. Chiromylos, pro tincturâ sculptarum laminarum parandâ." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/5fe9a0b3-5500-68bb-e040-e00a180615c4
Machines
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Fig. V. Chiromylos, pro tincturâ sculptarum laminarum parandâ.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/5fe9a0b3-5500-68bb-e040-e00a180615c4

Have we been here before?

Certainly.  Through the centuries humans have arrived at a fallacious assumption that we have discovered all there is to know and if something has slipped through the cracks science and human intelligence will know the answer shortly.  The world was thought to be flat; the Earth is the center of the Universe; The Milky way Galaxy is the entire Universe.

Telescope The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Sidrophel examining the kite through his telescope" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/7d64b280-db8d-0130-46e9-58d385a7b928
Telescope
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Sidrophel examining the kite through his telescope” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/7d64b280-db8d-0130-46e9-58d385a7b928

These are only three misconceptions that were proven wrong  after they were considered true.  The rapid advance of science and the progress of the industrial age joined together with advances in medical science, sociology and psychology along with  increased communication lured people into a belief everything is known or will be known soon. The pinnacle? The age known by the term Modernism.  A period when humans thought all answers to all questions were within reach.

Catalog Everything Science, Industry and Business Library: General Collection , The New York Public Library. "Stelliones, Ex Matthiolo; Stern Eÿdex; Scincus; Frembd Eÿdex; Candulus; Lacertus Indicus Cordÿlo Similis; Cordÿlus Sive Vromastix; Chamælon Varius; Chamæleon niger." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dd-d2d5-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Catalog Everything
Science, Industry and Business Library: General Collection , The New York Public Library. “Stelliones, Ex Matthiolo; Stern Eÿdex; Scincus; Frembd Eÿdex; Candulus; Lacertus Indicus Cordÿlo Similis; Cordÿlus Sive Vromastix; Chamælon Varius; Chamæleon niger.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dd-d2d5-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

I am going to suggest that September 1, 1939 was the day Modernism was diagnosed as terminal.

Machine Guns The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Deutsche Maschinengewehr-Abteilung im Westen mit erbeuteten russischen Maschinengewehren." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-01b9-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Machine Guns
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Deutsche Maschinengewehr-Abteilung im Westen mit erbeuteten russischen Maschinengewehren.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-01b9-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Explosion The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "The Louisiana floating battery blown up by the rebels. Explosion of the rebel floating battery during Farragut's passing of the Mississippi forts. April 28th, 1862" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/6eaed3cc-759a-1df6-e040-e00a18065bf1
Explosion
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Louisiana floating battery blown up by the rebels. Explosion of the rebel floating battery during Farragut’s passing of the Mississippi forts. April 28th, 1862” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/6eaed3cc-759a-1df6-e040-e00a18065bf1

The realization that world order was beginning to unravel despite intelligence, advanced knowledge and skilled abilities of humans fell dramatically short of a Utopian dream.  It would take World War II and its aftermath to inflict a rude awakening upon people that we all fell short in creating a new World Order that provided universal peace and prosperity.  In stead we discovered that human used their intelligence, knowledge and skills to inflict a great deal of  suffering and death  to millions of people. What happened to the fond vision of altruism, virtue and the manifestation of a greater good for all?

Deep rooted human flaws, selfishness, lust and greed was just below a facade of civilized constraints.

Woodrow Wilson Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. "Press Club" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c1924630-f227-0130-c0ec-58d385a7b928
Woodrow Wilson
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Press Club” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c1924630-f227-0130-c0ec-58d385a7b928

Where did the evil come from? I believe it was and is omnipresent: some people can control it better than others.  Given an opportunity it appears enough people are willing to give in to ancient impulses of behavior that benefits themselves at the expense of others: “The Law of the Jungle”?  The weak succumb to the whims of the strong? Viewing a single day’s worth of news from local to international proves the point: murder, rape and barbarism. From trivial motives to ideological (faux) motives the range of evil manifestation is undeniable.

Bridge of all Nations The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "View of the Bridge of All Nations at the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-9bca-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Bridge of all Nations
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “View of the Bridge of All Nations at the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-9bca-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Can the be hope for the fallible species homo sapiens?

Tame Nature with a Dam Science, Industry and Business Library: General Collection , The New York Public Library. "Kensico Influent Weir. Completed Influent weir and partially completed Influent chamber. Water flowing over weir into Knsico reservoir. Contract 55. December 6, 1915." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-dd66-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Tame Nature with a Dam
Science, Industry and Business Library: General Collection , The New York Public Library. “Kensico Influent Weir. Completed Influent weir and partially completed Influent chamber. Water flowing over weir into Knsico reservoir. Contract 55. December 6, 1915.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-dd66-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Yes.  The answers have been available a very long time.  God has provided a moral framework of behavior for us several thousand years past.  As a Christian I see the message God gave us clearly in the Holy Bible.  Our nature is revealed.  The inability of humans to stay with “doing good” is ingrained.  Not because he created a flawed creature but because of our inability to utilize free will to its apex intention: use it for that which is good.  Evil can tempt all who have free will.  The only hope we have?   Accept God’s guidance, submit to God’s authority and by Faith BELIEVE GOD.

 

 

 

Johns Hopkins Hospital The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-a5ea-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Johns Hopkins Hospital
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-a5ea-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

As a Christian I believe what God revealed about our nature is clearly stated in The Holy Bible.  And, the instructions for defeating evil are also contained therein.

Air Travel Science, Industry and Business Library: General Collection , The New York Public Library. "L'aviation d'hier et de demain, par Louis Bréguet." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/627f55fd-5ceb-2cae-e040-e00a18062420
Air Travel
Science, Industry and Business Library: General Collection , The New York Public Library. “L’aviation d’hier et de demain, par Louis Bréguet.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/627f55fd-5ceb-2cae-e040-e00a18062420

Excerpts from The Holy Bible that yield the truth:

2 Timothy 3:7 ESV

Always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

Isaiah 44:25 ESV

Who frustrates the signs of liars2 Timothy 3:2 ESV
and makes fools of diviners,
who turns wise men back
and makes their knowledge foolish,

Proverbs 20:24 ESV

A man’s steps are from the LORD;
how then can man understand his way?

Proverbs 19:21 ESV

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.

Galatians 6:3 ESV

For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

2 Timothy 3:2 ESV

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

Affluenza a Dangerous Trend

( click on title to go to article page ) (comment space at very bottom of this page)

I was taught ignorance of the law is no excuse.

 

U Truck The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Truck used in connection with community canning kitchen activities. Pope County, Ark." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ba309cea-91da-4288-e040-e00a18066c61
PU Truck
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Truck used in connection with community canning kitchen activities. Pope County, Ark.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ba309cea-91da-4288-e040-e00a18066c61

The case of the Texas teen who had become intoxicated and drove his pickup truck in such a way as to kill several people neither was he old enough to drive nor drink alcoholic beverages; yet a defense of ignorance seemed to work well enough for him to escape justice with probation only without jail time. Why would an underage child behave in such an irresponsible way?  What did their parents think? How did they react?  Perhaps what their defense attorney presented gives us some idea of this child’s home life. Too Young to Carry on Like an Adult 

Tavren Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. "The bar at Palm Tavern, Negro restaurant on 47th Street, Chicago, Illinois, April 1941." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-8726-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Tavren
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. “The bar at Palm Tavern, Negro restaurant on 47th Street, Chicago, Illinois, April 1941.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-8726-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

What was behind this miscarriage of justice?  When the defense attorney revealed that the defendant was a member of an affluent family that neither corrected his behavior nor instructed him as to what was right or wrong  an argument that he deserved leniency was offered.  It seems he could not avoid misbehaving because he was not taught how to behave well.  I believe there is a lot wrong with this whole situation and not just the lenient sentence.

The United States of America I grew up in was not shy to put forth a high standard for the conduct of its citizens – juvenile or adult.

Street The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Grand Opera House, northwest corner, West 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue, Manhattan." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-4f5b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Street
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Grand Opera House, northwest corner, West 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue, Manhattan.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-4f5b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

My family used the Ten Commandments as a guide, as did my school, as did my local, State and Federal governments.  My church expounded on the finer details and taught how they applied in our modern world.  No the society in the past was not perfect. Yet even with its problems it did not seem as troubled as it is today.  I think it is more than how the media reports the news.afforded

Movies

The entertainment industry very often used plots that illustrated how the standard for our civilization worked.  In time a process of easing up on the standard began to have an effect however.  Now most movies I consider viewing for enjoyment have some aspect within the story line that makes me cringe.  Not just violence; not just explicit (or nearly explicit) sex.  It is the ever-increasing use of profanity even uttered by young characters that offends my wife and me.

Two World Wars forced humanity to move from Modernism to Post Modernism: Humanity reaped the horrors of war because civilization failed to protect people from wide-spread manifestations of evil.

Tomb Stones The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Arlington, Va. [View of rows of white tombstones]." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-ba06-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Tomb Stones
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Arlington, Va. [View of rows of white tombstones].” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-ba06-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Thinkers within the sphere of philosophy led the way into relativism, but soon artists, writers and then governments became energized with this liberal way of thinking.  It did not take long before every day citizens embraced the new liberal way of life as well.  One by one taboos fell.  One by one standards slackened.  One by one even some offensive aspects of society were displayed unblushingly because of this new-found freedom.  It did not seem to matter who was offended as long as free speech and liberal behavior was allowed free rein. Consequences in this mind-set are to be ignored at the worst or minimized at best.

Cultural upheaval was more than “Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’roll” it also invaded government, schools and even some churches.

US Capitol The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "The Capitol. Washington, D.C." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-7574-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
US Capitol
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Capitol. Washington, D.C.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-7574-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Ordinary people – the everyday family with a stay at home mom and working dad – were bath in a constant din of movements bringing forth some obscure minority view than, insisting on a change in its favor.  This new definition of what was good could dominate everything despite the reality that it was only promoted by a few; now the many had to allow the few to define what our civilization would be like instead of the other way around.

I was taught in classes on citizenship that in The U.S.A the majority rule included a safe guard for minority views as the many set our nation’s course. Could a real sociological and cultural Apocalypse be in our future? Perhaps like the dystopia portrayed in Clockwork Orange (movie from 1971) 

Junk The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Shabby houses and junk across street from new apartment house. Washington, D.C." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ba309cea-9140-4288-e040-e00a18066c61 Tomb Stones X
Junk
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Shabby houses and junk across street from new apartment house. Washington, D.C.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ba309cea-9140-4288-e040-e00a18066c61
Tomb Stones X

Today it appears the minorities set our course and the majority view is not safe guarded but rather demonized.  Can an old-fashioned view of our culture lead to punishment of people who belong to this majority view?  Consequences that offend, weaken and erode the fabric of our nation often seem irrelevant.

Once again I state as a Christian, that the standard for individuals and nations is revealed within The Holy Bible.  Instead of seeking out hypocrisy and failings of some people declaring these principles as a failure, we as a nation we should examine all the good that the principles contained in The Holy Bible have provided for humanity.  These principles have improved the state of humanity and should be reexamined and in my opinion re-applied to our society and culture.

Bible The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Title page" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-618c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Bible
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Title page” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-618c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

Church The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Trinity Church, N.Y." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-f35b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Church
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Trinity Church, N.Y.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-f35b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Excerpts from scripture about consequences for breaking laws:

Colossians 3:25 ESV

For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

Romans 13:1 ESV

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Proverbs 14:12 ESV

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Proverbs 20:1 ESV

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and / 4 helpful votes whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Matthew 5:37 ESV

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

James 5:12 ESV

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

Proverbs 29:15 ESV

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

Proverbs 11:21 ESV

Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.

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Stewardship: Manage and Preserve

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Wise use of Earth’s resources insures our progeny can use them too.

"Oil is a Fossil Fuel" Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Earth oil wells--Yenanchoung." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c2633a1c-93ec-7539-e040-e00a180617a1 forest
“Oil is a Fossil Fuel”
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Earth oil wells–Yenanchoung.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c2633a1c-93ec-7539-e040-e00a180617a1
forest

I believe the famous Greek scholar Aristotle advocated the use and consumption of things in moderation.  This is good advice: apply the concept of “The Happy Medium” to what you use as much as possible.  If people were to do just that more “good things” would be available for many more people.  Even if we were to discover a dozen new Earths tomorrow astronomical distances are so great we would not be able to obtain natural resources from them nor, can we easily obtain any natural resource we may discover on the Moon, Mars or on asteroids.

Many of Earth’s resources have a limit and some cannot be recycled.

"Coal a Fossil Fuel" The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "A trainload of coal from Pittsburgh fields for Lake Superior consumption, Conneaut, Ohio." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-9944-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
“Coal a Fossil Fuel” The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “A trainload of coal from Pittsburgh fields for Lake Superior consumption, Conneaut, Ohio.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-9944-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Coal, natural gas and oil could run out there is a finite amount here on our planet.  Metals, papers and plastic can be recycled but I think recycling 100% is not realistic.  Ships are lost at sea so deep it isn’t practical to retrieve them.  Cloth and paper gradually turn to dust and get blown away by the wind. Yes items manufactured from plants (trees, grains) are called renewable but as the population of Earth increases land used to grow them for things may have to be used to grow food.  The oceans once seemed to be able to yield unlimited food but there now are indications that the seas could be with large intricate Eco systems faltering.   With the danger of oceanic demise comes the risk of widespread loss of our food chain; not counting the damage of climate change altering vital global climate stabilizing sea currents.

The Oceans once seemed to offer unlimited food and wealth.

"Fishing an Ancient Occupation" The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Pulling the nets, fishing in the Bay of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-599a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
“Fishing an Ancient Occupation”
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Pulling the nets, fishing in the Bay of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-599a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

It may be obvious to many people who stewardship of Earth’s resources goes beyond the use of fossil fuels, food sources and recycling plastics.  Humans have effected the oceans and the atmosphere with waste material which in turn seems to have initiated artificial climate change and harm on a global scale.  People have demonstrated high levels of intelligence and ingenuity when motivated by the opportunity for profit.  Opportunity to reap vast personal wealth from the process of invention and production of useful or desirable things.  Yes, innovation has improved the lives of countless humans and made some wealthy, yet the unintended consequences are now manifesting negative side effects; air and water pollution;  tainted land; degraded natural beauty.  Although greed and expediency may be significant causes of the ill effects, they are not the only reason for them: mismanagement and waste do harm also.

Farming is an ancient occupation that is now in change.

"Farmers Go Way Back in History" The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "In the great corn fields of eastern Kansas, U.S.A." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-6318-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
“Farmers Go Way Back in History”
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “In the great corn fields of eastern Kansas, U.S.A.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-6318-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

For much of human history farms were a family, clan or co-operative endeavor but now consolidation is transforming the way humans produce their food.  Large corporations and companies are consolidating small and medium farms and ranches into large mega entities; the family culture is being supplanted by efficient science based industrial operations.  Yes they increase efficiency but I worry about the potential for profit to be the priority over preservation and conscientious use. Short term gain may be more prevalent in our times which sacrifices long-term security but, does it have to be that way?.  Our children and our children’s children will also need to eat; need shelter; clothing; energy for heating and cooling.  I hope those who are considerate of long-term issues win over those who seek only immediate gain.

          My song about vanishing farms.

Christians can seem to be on the wrong side of these issues sometimes too. 

In my study of Biblical principles I have learned about God’s goodness and through His Word it is written that God wants humans to use what Earth and its resources for good. This includes plants, animals and materials.  Using and making use of, does not include excessive or abusive  behavior as I understand it the message: good stewardship benefits all and is part of what makes life good.  The behaviors associated with negative practices are greed, selfishness and neglect of the needs of others.  I am a Christian and it is my desire that all should obtain eternal life by acceptance of Jesus Christ but, I also believe the needs of people should be considered (and we should help them when we can) as we spread “The Good News” about our God’s plan for Salvation.

What the Bible says about good stewardship and competent management.

Genesis 2:15 ESV

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work and keep it.

Proverbs 12:10 ESV

Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.

Proverbs 27:18 ESV

Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit,
and he who guards his master will be honored.

as well.Numbers 35:33 ESV

You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.

John 6:12 ESV

When they had all, had enough to eat, he said to His disciples, “Gather the pieces that are leftover. Let nothing be wasted.”

Leviticus 19:9-10 ESV

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to the edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

 

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Oneness: Body, Soul, Spirit

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Our Consciousness is engaged with our Body but, Soul and Spirit too?

Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Shanghai. A Chinese funeral." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 14, 2016. htp://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c2625t01b-0364-8402-e040-e00a18060146
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Shanghai. A Chinese funeral.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 14, 2016. htp://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c2625t01b-0364-8402-e040-e00a18060146

There is no way to separate our awareness of our bodies from our consciousness since the body’s senses are constantly supplying information about where we are, what we feel, hear and see.  Our mind is embedded within the stream of data and brings together what we perceive as reality and our personal identity; it also integrates our short and long-term memories (our personal archive or database) .  Is that all there is to it?  Is that all we are?  Are we just very advanced machines with sophisticated processors with vast stored databases?  Few people will accept that, but why?

I would be hard pressed to think of a person I met who thought we were just living machines with a good memory.

I do not know about ESP (extra sensory perception) or details of the experiments being done around the world where scientists are augmenting humans with devices to add new senses (or even much about scientists replacing damaged sensory organs for that matter).  I do believe most people with ordinary senses do suspect there is something beyond what this physical world presents.  Not just thoughts of the meaning of life but, that there seems to be something more than just this physical reality we dwell within.  Sure some may believe this vague sense can furnish a deeper meaning for life or, give meaning for the person pondering this question but, is it more than that? Is it just an artifact generated by our powerful brain that has vastly more capability than any other living creature that we are aware of?  Or could our minds touch our souls subconsciously and our souls touch our spiritual nature?

Are we triune sentient beings? Body gives rise to mind; mind connects subconsciously to the soul; the soul is aware of our spiritual nature? Some people seem to believe that.

General Research Division, The New York Public Library. "Amon-ra. (L'esprit des quatre éléments, l'ame du monde matériel.)" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 15, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-5b7b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “Amon-ra. (L’esprit des quatre éléments, l’ame du monde matériel.)” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 15, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-5b7b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Some may also believe we are all connected in some way: we are just one big spirit or soul. They may believe people who have provided breakthroughs in human achievement obtained their ideas from some elsewhere, some altered state of reality or some parallel dimension (or universe). I however have a much simpler view.

I believe the human mind is capable of great achievements and especially when we advance our knowledge and abilities through teamwork – now we have the Internet and The World Wide Web to make collaboration easier. My belief does not end with that however: I believe in God the supreme being, Creator and providential ruler of all there is.

As a Christian I trust that the information about God, existence and reality, is all revealed in God’s Word.

Bible Excerpts on the Matter

General Research Division, The New York Public Library. "Amon-ra. (L'esprit des quatre éléments, l'ame du monde matériel.)" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 14, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-5b7b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “Amon-ra. (L’esprit des quatre éléments, l’ame du monde matériel.)” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 14, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-5b7b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (ESV)

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your spirit and soul

and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 22: 36-37 (NIV)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “ ‘ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ‘ . . .

Psalm 139:14 (ESV)

I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.

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