Looking deeper than the surface

Bird Droppings April 29, 2011
Looking deeper than the surface

It has been a long week. I am working hard on pulling nearly eight years of graduate school notes together, writing and reading at home as I develop my ideas for my dissertation. I will be driving down to Statesboro more than likely several times this summer usually it is a two or three day trip now. It always amazes me how in days gone by I could drive to Philadelphia and back on a weekend and go to work on Monday morning. Today I need to spend the night when I drive the 230 miles to Statesboro. I guess that means I am getting old. I need to work on our blueberry patch soon after we moved in to this house almost six years ago we planted a few bushes out in our back yard. I am somewhat pondering changing the format as I write, perhaps too much time working in APA style for graduate school hopefully I will not include references and a bibliography.

“Give me a fruitful error anytime, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections.” Vilfredo Pareto

I found it interesting that over the past few days several thoughts of error and or problems brought forth answers in and of themselves. It seemed as if the problem was bearing fruit from within the problem. Vilfredo Pareto was a unique thinker and philosopher from the tail end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. In the detailing of his economic theory with mathematics and linking his great writings to sociology as well, he spawned numerous socio-economic political entities in that time. Fascism and Communism both use Pareto as a resource. What is amazing is that he wrote against communism and the other socialisms of Europe.

“The principles that a writer chooses to follow may be put forward in two different ways. He may, in the first place, ask that his principles be accepted as demonstrated truths. If they are so accepted, all their logical implications must also be regarded as proved. On the other hand, he may state his principles as mere indications of one course that may be followed among the many possible. In that case any logical implication which they may contain is in no sense demonstrated in the concrete, but is merely hypothetical – hypothetical in the same manner and to the same degree as the premises from which it has been derived. It will therefore often be necessary to abstain from drawing such inferences: the deductive aspects of the subject will be ignored, and relationships be inferred from the facts directly.” Vilfredo Pareto

So often we accept a writer’s premise and all that follows, as if each word is true, based on the value of the last word. We never seem to question beyond that first point. So often politics is this way we follow blindly the thoughts based solely on that first good effort. Watching our Congress and Senate work we read of a bill that appears to be so noble, and then we find tacked on numerous other bills that literally that seem to take apart rational thought. On one bill a few years back there was “15.6 billion for buying out tobacco farmer’s quotas” tacked on legislation to give tax breaks to corporations. Even the initial bill in this case is wary, but we seldom look past face value. Republicans and Democrats argue over who voted when and for what, based on face value and not details of the bills.

“Faith by its very nature is exclusive. If one believes oneself possessed of the absolute truth, one cannot admit that there are any other truths in the world. So the enthusiastic Christian and the pugnacious free-thinker are, and have to be, equally intolerant. For the believer there is but one good course; all others are bad.” Vilfredo Pareto

Other than the election of John Kennedy I do not recall faith and or religion being a factor in any other another election until George W. Bush and Barrack Hussein Obama. As we went into our presidential election and even now politics is being preached from pulpits around the country. All of a sudden ethical values and morality is a reason for electing someone and or not electing someone else. Often those standards are mixed and contorted and many times lies and or distortions much like the birth certificate arguments that even still have not subsided.

“….for the image of social activity is stamped on the majority of such propositions and theories, and often it is through them alone that we manage to gain some knowledge of the forces which are at work in society – that is, of the tendencies and inclinations of human beings.” Vilfredo Pareto

A bit deep this morning perhaps, as I slip into sociological theory of the early 20th century. We do and are compelled by human nature to move and act in particular ways. It is societal perhaps cultural as we follow patterns that are predictable. Advertisers prey on this as do politicians.

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” Albert Einstein

“Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.” R. Buckminster Fuller

We are our worst enemy as we go through life. Focusing so often only on only the now. We become so self centered and egotistical, seeking only that which provides sustenance for the moment and little if any effort for tomorrow. We do this in politics and society. We do this in how we treat others daily. We do this in education and teaching. It is in that rare moment and rare individual; others are seen and dealt with. These special people are few and far between and have been all through history.

“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.” John F. Kennedy

It has been some time since I was standing for a moment in the dark of the morning with the eerie orange of clouds masking out societies’ lights. At that moment the crickets were droning, the only sound available to me. It is interesting to perceive we have been here many years, many days situated perhaps in different towns and cities, in different cultures, yet we continually seem to forget there is someone else across the road. There are other people across the country and across the world.

“…for the image of social activity is stamped on the majority” Vilfredo Pareto

We do not see the starving child infected with river fever in Sudan. Even closer to home, the children in poverty in Louisiana or on reservations of the south west or even closer, in the city next door to you, Atlanta or Philadelphia. I remember taking my wife to Philly for the first time, as we came to the steps up from the subway, a homeless man lay in a puddle of urine at the foot of the stairs by a heat grate. We stepped over him and went on; maybe for us it was human nature. I have used this statement many, many times as I write, recalling my own days of seeing and believing.

“What is in life? Is it the flash of the firefly in the night? Is it the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime? Is it the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset?” Crowfoot, Blackfoot orator and warrior

We all too often get caught in the now in the advertising and forget that there is so much more. What is seen as majority may truly not be. What is seen as justified in that moment may not stand up to history. Hopefully we will be remembered as John Kennedy stated “for our contribution to the human spirit”. So I look into this morning, a new day, a day filled with anticipation and hope and one in which perhaps rays of sunlight will permeate the darkness and there will be light ahead. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.