Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day: A day for peace

Julia Ward  Howe- 1870, lest we forget, wrote this in the original Mother's Day proclamation:  

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Change for the Sake of Change

Change for the sake of change is a foul concept, or so my high school English teacher said to me when I would talk about how things need to change.  She didn’t get that I wasn’t suggesting “change for the sake of change,” as she suggested was my meaning. No. I was suggesting change for the sake of reason. The most unreasonable thing is consistency for the sake of consistency, or as I used to say, tradition for the sake of tradition. But that’s exactly what tradition is. It has no reason. Why do we follow tradition?

Cowardice.  Those who follow tradition only because of tradition itself, and not for a reason other than that, have no balls. But worse than that they have no mind, no soul, no thought, no reasoning, and no purpose. Tradition is not a purpose. In fact tradition is not even a thing. The word is not a noun. It’s an adjective, even if you say it’s a noun, even if Websters says it’s a noun. 

Can you see a tradition? Can you feel it? Oh you may say, well it’s abstract, like love or God. Really? Tradition is in the same realm as abstract concepts? In that case, it’s completely subjective and can only have meaning is a personal context. So any given tradition, like love or God, has a completely different meaning in the context it is used and by whom. 

You can say the very same things about change. But I don’t suggest change for the sake of change. I suggest it for reason. Is tradition suggested for reason? I don’t think so. You could stretch that to say tradition is for the purpose of pleasing those who honor tradition. But that’s just the same as saying that tradition is for the sake of tradition, which, for me at least, has absolutely no merit.  

You wouldn’t suggest that change has merit when it for the sake of those who honor change. That sounds ludicrous. So why doesn’t the same hold for tradition? Well, it does. Tradition for the sake of tradition is ludicrous, and if you suggest that tradition can be for some other valid reason, then it’s no longer tradition. It’s now a suggestion for a purpose of reason, and a purpose of reason cannot be a tradition, even though it may happen to be considered so.

Change for reason also cannot be change for the sake of change, for it is for a reason. Only concepts of reason can have merit and the reason of tradition cannot be a reason, because tradition has circulatory meaning and refers back only to itself, rendering it meaningless. And when it does mean something else, it’s not tradition, it’s now change.

It’s no stretch to substitute the word religion for tradition in the above. Religion also is meaningless and has circulatory meaning. The big argument for religion is faith, which is nothing more than to say the reason for religion is religion itself, for faith and religion are interchangeable and mean the same thing.

But tradition like religion allows people to feel secure in knowing how things are. But really that’s a lie. We can never know how things are. If we did there would be no such thing as change or surprise. If you believe in tradition you are a fallacy. You are deluded into thinking you know something. In reality you cannot know what you think you know. Surprise and change are inevitable and whatever it is you think you know eventually dissolves in the face of change. So you can only know things temporarily. But even then, not with any certainty. At any moment something could change unexpectedly.

For example. This could end and you might not have any clue as to why you bothered to read it. But the reason you read it is because you believe in change. You read anything and any story to find out what’s next and that is the act of seeking change. Everything changes constantly. There is no tradition. It is a myth.

Politics is tradition, is a lie, is meaningless, and in fact presumes lack of change. Otherwise we don't need politicians to argue for changes. Those in politics play with the word “change” like it’s a basketball. Politicians are steeped in tradition. They live and die for the sake of tradition, which amounts to nothing. All they can do is to suggest a change or two to give the appearance of life. But since they are well paid and use the opportunity to line their own pockets, it in fact amounts to self-preservation, greed, and profit. This suggests that the only value of tradition is for the sake of self-preservation of those who honor its existence. The only change that traditionalists want is the change that accumulates in their pockets. But we all knew that. So why do we bother to honor politics with the time of day? There can be only one reason: tradition.

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