Groucho Marx

Blog Archive – July 2005

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“ I foresee that man will resign himself each day to new abominations, and soon that only bandits and soldiers will be left. ”
Jorge Luis Borges



Fahrenheit 9/11

July 09 2005

Fahrenheit G8

Perhaps it's just the effect of temperatures soaring up the Fahrenheit scale here – it's not often Scotland forgets itself long enough to remember it's July – but the remarkably instantaneous attribution of Thursday's London bombings to al-Qaeda, sourced from some statement "discovered" on the internet, seemed just that little bit too suspiciously slick for comfort. (Al-Qaeda, lest we forget, having been founded by a son of family friends of the Bush's, and meaning "the foundation" or "the base" – in other words, what's underneath it all.)

The timing of the explosions seemed quite remarkably convenient for the Bush agenda at the G8 summit too. Nothing like a nice diversionary tactic to distract attention from climate change and take the wind out of the sails of the demonstrators. Nothing like a dose of terror to spook us into forgetting about saving the world. Nothing like a bit of destruction and some heart-wrenching deaths to wipe the entire summit and its critically important issues as cleanly from our minds as it has from our TV screens ... Power to the Sheeple! Baa!

Good grief! What can I be thinking of? ... these temperatures are so rare in Scotland, I think they've gone clean to my head.

July 09 2005 | | | Permalink

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Comet Tempel 1 5 minutes before impact

5 minutes before impact

Comet Tempel 1 67 seconds after impact

67 seconds after impact

Comet Tempel 1 50 minutes after impact

50 minutes after impact

July 07 2005

Deep impact, da?

Have been following some of the discussions around on the subject of "Deep Impact", NASA's mission to collide a probe with Comet Tempel 1 which blasted a hole in the comet on July 4th. And the lawsuit being brought by a Russian astrologer who is suing NASA for the same amount as the cost of the mission, claiming they may have endangered the future of civilisation.

Most commentators seem to reckon the Russian woman to be opportunist in the extreme, or just plain nuts. She may be, depending on what criteria you judge her by, but it's fascinating to contemplate the nature of what this reflects on the mission. Events have a way of sprouting mirrors of themselves – sympathetic resonance in operation – and this is an interesting one. So on the principal that all viewpoints hold a fragment of the truth, what does this one say?

That the mission is nuts, opportunistic, attempting to appropriate resources for no real good or justifiable reason, shallow, ignorant, hasn't a clue about how things work in the "real" world, etc ...? Possibly.

There is a kind of Pandora's Box feeling about all this. (Images of Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark as the entities released from the Ark zoom about frazzling every Nazi in sight.) And a deep discomfort with the word "deep" in Deep Impact. It seems almost seedy – makes me think of "Deep Throat" – and there's a sort of seediness about the Russian astrologer too.

Which is interesting, because part of the expressed purpose of the mission was to liberate material from the comet's core. As NASA puts it, "Comets are time capsules that hold clues about the formation and evolution of the solar system. They are composed of ice, gas and dust, primitive debris from the solar system's distant and coldest regions that formed 4.5 billion years ago." So could the mission have effectively re-seeded our solar system with energies that have remained encapsulated in this comet since the origins of the solar system? The comet's name – Tempel 1 – seems rather fortuitously appropriate.

Then there's the appearance of this crop circle at East Field, Alton Priors, the day before impact.

Crop circle, East Field, Alton Priors July 3 2005. Photo © Steve Alexander

© Steve Alexander, Temporary Temples

It's 8 main points have led some people to connect it to the G8 summit, but somehow that doesn't seem so pertinent, or at least, only peripherally. To me it says "star", "explosion", "compass", "blueprint", "technology". There's also hints of the Celtic cross and the geometrical forms of American Indian art. As with many of this season's circles, and last year's too, there's much debate about its "genuine"ness. Yet works of art, which these circles surely are, have a way of resonating with issues way beyond whatever their creators had in mind, whoever they might be. It's just what we see in the mirror.

So perhaps man's deliberate head-on collision with the temple containing the blueprint of the solar system will have some interesting effects. Deep Impact indeed. No bad thing for the entirety of existence. Possibly not such a good thing for mankind, given our present attitudes and behaviour (cue G8). Perhaps the Russian astrologer has a point after all.

July 07 2005 | | | Permalink

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The Earth

“ A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. ”
Albert Einstein

“ In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. ”
Eric Hoffer

“ Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness. ”
James Thurber

Sulian Stone Eagle Herney

Sulian Stone Eagle Herney
Photo: Murdo MacLeod, The Guardian 1994

July 03 2005

NO d'oh

Last month's essay (Time for a Change of Heart?) suggested that there may be a single underlying factor at work in the global epidemic of cardiovascular disease (and in many types of cancer and a whole range of modern "syndrome"-type conditions into the bargain). Not only do compounds of nitrogen have a very specific affinity for the cardiovascular system (they've been used to treat these conditions for over 100 years), but the patterns, spread and incidence of the disease worldwide correlate very closely to the extent and manner in which humankind has gone about disrupting the global nitrogen cycle. We are presently estimated to be fixing twice as much nitrogen into material form as can cycle back into the atmosphere again through the normal functioning of the biosphere. That's a 100% increase on the input side of the equation.

To even imagine we could blithely mess about with the balance of the global ecosystem to this extent without getting into this kind of trouble seems not only childishly naïve but quite hopelessly stupid. Few, if any, complex biofeedback systems that we've studied can tolerate that kind of latitude without serious consequences, so it doesn't take any great genius to extrapolate that to the global level. (D'oh ...!)

What we now appear to be getting as a result of our actions – at least 17 million deaths per annum – is exactly what First Nation peoples have been warning us about for a long time now: "If we fail to [address environmental deterioration] then Mother Earth will cleanse herself of the offending organism that is killing her. This is our teachings." (Mi'kmaq Warrior Chief and Sacred Peace Pipe Carrier Sulian Stone Eagle Herney in his statement to the 1994 public enquiry into the then proposed superquarry at Mount Roineabhal in Harris.)

It seems quite incongruous really. Even ironic. In the wake of any disaster – including natural disasters like the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean – there are invariably knee-jerk calls for massive investment in all manner of early warning systems. Yet here we have an early warning system which is functioning perfectly and who's klaxons have been blaring up and down the corridors of every doctor's surgery and hospital across the West for the last 60-odd years. And what are we doing about it? We've so inured ourselves to the cacophony that we've come to accept it as a "normal" part of everyday death.

Is it that it's simply too big for our heads to grasp or our hearts to hold? We can experience tidal waves of emotion in the wake of tsunamis which carry off little more than 1% of the annual mortality from cardiovascular disease, while the steady blinking out of all those individual lights, so often prematurely, year in, year out, nearly 2,000 every hour, leaves us largely unaffected. Yet in terms of numbers, it's the equivalent of a tsunami every 5 days!

Is it a case of burying our heads in the sand and hoping it'll just go away or that nobody will notice? We don't much like the idea that we might be responsible for the things that go wrong with us, do we? We shy away from that one. Get quite angry about it even. No! It's got to be some nasty vicious germ-type thing that's got it in for us. Nothing to do with us, oh no ... What us? Stupid? Impossible!

Or is it that we've made this way of death a way of life for too many? Global agricultural practices, agribusiness, food supply, processing, distribution, retailing; the tobacco industry, doctors, nurses, hospitals, care-homes, the pharmaceutical industry, the research community, the health-and-fitness industry, other industries that ride on the back of it all – finance, insurance, legal; the bureaucracy that ties it all up in knots, and many more besides ... the global disruption of the nitrogen cycle is big business and there's a lot invested in keeping it that way. Not the sort of thing you can unwind overnight.

Of course you could argue that we've all got to die from something some day. And against the background of an unprecedented explosion in human numbers – the global population is estimated to have quadrupled in the last century, having taken the previous nineteen to multiply ten-fold – perhaps it's just as well something's keeping us in check. Trying to grasp the enormity of the global nitrogen cycle or the scale of the CVD epidemic might be beyond us, but big though they might be, they're still only a symptom of something far bigger, far more insidious, far more deeply destructive. What is heart failure on a global scale if not failure of heart on a global scale? A failure of compassion, of empathy, of the understanding necessary to live in harmony with our environment.

And if, in our failure of heart, we are behaving like a cancer in the body of the Earth, no small wonder that so many of us are dying of that as well. As above, so below.

Yet it's only taken a generation or so for this particular twisted bloom to flower, even if its roots wriggle way back into the seeds of time. Can we nip the rest of the Bush in the bud? As Stone Eagle said, "It is my firm belief that we, of this generation, have no hope in solving the environmental deterioration that is ongoing as we speak. However, I also have firm convictions that we of this generation, may be able to slow down the destruction of our Mother Earth enough so that the next generation that will be replacing our leaders will find the solutions and the cure for Mother Earth."

July 03 2005 | | | Permalink

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smeddum.net – Blog: Confessions of a Serial Prover. Weblog on homeopathy, health and related subjects by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard