Meditation on a Pandemic

I write this from New Jersey, USA, where we’ve been under a state of emergency since March 6th due to the covid-19 pandemic. I would have thought that being mostly stuck in the house would have given me more time to accomplish things: such as teaching myself the ukulele, composing music, or writing more articles for this blog. However, for reasons I won’t go into here, I spend most of my time taking care of my autistic son—being his tutor at home, making sure he is fed, happy, entertained, etc. And there are lots of times when I feel overwhelmed by his needs, the needs of my “family” both in person and through social media, the destruction of my sleeping cycle into 1-2hr naps, the time-consuming restrictions, and limitations on shopping that have me running to stand on line at 6:30 AM at the local supermarket so I can get my major supplies for the week, or serving as “technical support” to keep people’s computers and Internet running during this crisis. So, much of the time I feel exhausted just want to crash.

I’m telling you this here, not to complain, or make myself seem like a martyr.  Because, let’s get to the root of why I, and millions like me, do these things.  Why do doctors, nurses, social workers, policemen and all the “essential” workers who have the reality of the sick and dying of this disease shoved into their faces every day to the point of their own burnout and despair manage to get up the next day and do it again?   Survival and government aside, why do we do this day and day with no particular end date in sight?  The cynic would say “because you have to.”  But that’s not it. 

We do it out of love.  We get up every morning and face this grind because of love.  Because these lives that are intertwined with our own have meaning and worth to us.  Because we see ourselves reflected back through them.  When I see my son smile at me, it’s like the face of God looking at me. 

Catastrophe brings out the worst and the best of our human nature.  There are some who believe that we are just selfish animals, fighting for survival and the other be damned. These are the sort of people who believe that their “rights” are more important than others and their wants and “needs” are sacrosanct. They would place themselves at the top of humanity—and if others are made ill or die as a result, well so be it[1]. As I write this, there are people being killed over whether a store has the right to enforce the wearing of a face mask.  There are people screaming that restrictions should be lifted because they want to get their hair dyed, or they are missing their Botox shot—and if others are made ill because of that, that’s just too bad.  Let us say that they succeed in recreating a world in their image.  What kind of a world is that?  Is that the mad existence that defines humanity? Are we really no better than dung beetles fighting over a bit of feces?

But there is something greater in each of us: our sense of altruism and self-sacrifice.  We make the choice minute by minute, second by second, to define who and what we are. We do it because we see the spirit of God in each of us.  This is what the great spiritual leaders such as Jesus recognized: we carry God—whatever we ultimately conceive of God to be—within our hearts and spirits.  When we look at each other pass politics, fear, and stereotyping, we see the face of God looking back.

God is not going to come down from the skies, wave His/Her/Its/? “arms” and save us from the virus.  It didn’t happen during the Black Plague, it didn’t happen during the Spanish Flu, and it won’t happen now.  We will.  Together.  Not pointing fingers at each other searching for who to blame.  But together working to stop this, recognizing that each life is valuable and equally worthy of being lived.

[1] Just to be clear.  I am not negating the fear and worry about the loss of income that so many are experiencing.  This unprecedented destruction of our economies and the suffering of so many says more about the flimsy nature and evils of an economic system that ultimately treats people as means to an end, rather than an end in themselves.  Perhaps after this crisis, we will finally begin to realize that this must change.

Religious Freedom is for Everyone

From Huffpost 11/27/2019

Judge’s Ruling Shows Religious Freedom Isn’t Just For The Christian Right

Scott Warren says his religious beliefs compelled him to provide water to migrants who are suffering in the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Go(o)d and Evil

This post was inspired by an article written by a very dear friend for her local paper.  If you are interested, her article can be found at No Evil.  The original is in Greek, but an English translation by the author is included

So this post may go somewhat off the usual topics, but I felt the need to write it.

Our world.  How can anyone look at the world presented to us on cable news, the Internet, newspapers, etc., and not be horrified at what seems to be daily occurrences of evil:

  • wars between countries that are enemies today, and will becomes allies in the future against some other perceived common enemy
  • the slaughter of innocent children, babies barely out of their mother’s wombs
  • the murder of parents before their children’s eyes.
  • the willful starvation of those caught in man-made Armageddons
  • the sadistic cruelty that justifies the torture and maiming of  our fellow humans
  • the destruction of children’s innocence

And so much more can be added to this list that the heavens should cry out in agony.

But they don’t!

And millions read their Bibles, their Qur’ans, their Gitas, their Surtras, in some attempt to answer their despairing question:

Why does  God allow such evil in this world?

It’s the wrong question.  Yes, certainly we use our religions as weapons to justify our hate of those who think differently.  We can pull passages from our holy books where our God seems to order us to commit terrible sins in His name.  But a God who needs men to perform such deeds for Him is no God at all, just a pathetic and weak reflection of the worst of us   A good part of I’m God ands You’re Not explores this, possibly to the point of ad nauseam.

Okay, you say, let’s take religion out of it.  You still have earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes, floods.  Aren’t these evil?  Certainly, these cause terrible tragedies and suffering to all living things,  but unless the planet is intelligent after all and is trying to wipe out the human plague that infests it, no, these are not evil.  Arguments about global warming aside, these are the natural phenomena of the planet–there is no intent, no thought behind them.  We just happen to be here when they occur.

For Evil requires intelligence behind it.  The earth is not sadistic, humans are.  It is we  who intentionally blow each other up, cause the loss of arms and legs (sometimes physically performing the act, sometimes through our war machines where individuals only exist to be counted as the enemy dead), we who send back boats of desperate refugees while we suppress the knowledge that we are most likely sending them back to living hell or death, we who built concentration camps and tolerate the Holocausts of the innocents.  Only an intelligent human being  can be so insanely stupid as to hate another human being merely for where he/she comes from, the clothes they wear, the way they worship or don’t worship a God.

And now in America, the nation of immigrants, hate raises it head.  Follow on a  blog or on Facebook, you can read such insanity as threats of civil war because conservatives and liberals have different views–I have read death threats to both sides  on the Facebook pages of American politicians and political groups, where there seems to be a new vision of an America that cannot tolerate the very differences that it was founded on, forgetting the promise and ideals that made it the “Golden Land” of opportunity and a light to the world.

Is such sadism ingrained in us?  Is there some part of our unconscious that relishes the idea of such torture and cruelty, that contains a spark of evil in all of us?  Even though we would never condone such actions in the physical world, are we playing holier-than-thou and are unwillingly to acknowledge that under the right set of circumstances. we are blood-thirsty little gods and goddesses of vengeance?

To which wiser men than me have answered that you can have the thought, you are NOT the thought.  Throughout history, better men than me have stood up before evil and said “No!”, even at the cost of losing their lives to that very evil,  martyrs that lead the way to the best inside us.

Why should I hate you to the point of seeking your death merely for being different from me?  Why should I be so insecure, so little a person,  to feel so threatened that I become a betrayer of the ideals I hold sacred?   For what do I become less than the best in me?

What kind of world do you wish to leave behind?  One, better for you having existed, or one that only causes more and greater misery.

No, the question isn’t why does God allow such evil to exist; the question is why do we do.


PS.  Thanks to Angelina



Leave Me Out of This Yet Again!!!

There’s an awful lot of insanity going around in your world leaders lately.  We look down on you from the Heavens and can only shake our heads.  Even some of the angels have come to me and expressed their dismay—-perhaps, they say, we’d be better off just blowing the whole thing up and starting over again with slugs this time.

What is really getting my goat right now is this craziness between the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, and the leader of the United States, Donald Trump:  two little men with major penis insecurities.  As each one dares the other to start something neither one of them can control, it looks like the world can do nothing but hold it’s breath, and wait.  And yes, we’re really getting bombarded up here with all the prayers for some kind of divine intervention.   I sympathize–it’s ludicrous that the innocents of the world have to cower in fear while these two putzes  haven’t the brains to deal with their crotch itch.

Sorry, but I’m not pulling miracles out of my hat.  You’re supposed to be all grown up, humanity–well, at least most of you are–so deal with it.  As I said in my last post, it’s your mess, take some damn responsibility.

And to those fake preachers, prophets, and men of war (you know those men  of war, the ones who either sat out the last one hiding in a basement,  avoided serving when it was their turn through carefully faking the need for deferments –after all, they had more important things to do–or simply enjoy the fake glory of watching young men and women die for their stupidity), let’s get this straight:

Where in My name do you come off saying I authorized one of your jerks to annihilate the other?  You do know that most people who claim God speaks directly to them belong in the psych ward and should be heavily sedated? Or did I come down from the clouds, disrupt all your television, radio, and Internet, and broadcast out :  Go get the son-of-a-bitch?  How many times do I have to tell you that, despite what you read in your so-called holy books, I don’t need you to destroy anyone!  If I want someone killed, I’ll do jt myself.  I’m a big God, you know!  

Now leave each other alone and stop being the great embarrassment of Creation.

(Maybe I should have gone with slugs in the first place)






Leave Me Out of This

One of the disadvantages of being God is that you wind up getting blamed for things you didn’t have anything to do with (like sending floods to show my divine wrath), and then you get thanked for doing things that no self-respecting God would have any part of.

Let’s get this straight.  Stop saying that I had anything to do with your elections, who the candidates were, and more importantly don’t say I sent the winner to you.  I mean, look–just look at who you have running your countries!  Do you think I’m out of my ever-loving mind?!  You people claim you follow me, that you are good Christians, Jews, what-ever, and then you go out of your way to elect idiots who do everything in their power to betray what I stand for.

And further more, those kings and queens and such do NOT rule by any divine right.  They are just ordinary people who’s ancestors managed to pillage and rape enough to become powerful enough to do whatever the hell (and I do mean, hell) they wanted.

So, please, especially you Americans, cut it out!  I hate getting political about this, but don’t blame me for that person in the White House.  You did that by yourself, rightly or wrongly.

Though if I were you, I’d be praying that I have mercy on your poor souls.

When your holy book tells you your belief system is immoral, just rewrite the holy book!

‘Conservapedia’ seeks to crowdsource right-wing version of the Bible.

Because they know what the writers really, truly meant.  This is funny, sad, and troubling at the same time.

No wonder religions today rarely reflect what their founders actually preached!